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  • Writer's pictureRayah Levy, FCD Invest President

All About Color Modifiers

It’s funny sometimes when reading descriptions of fancy color diamonds. You’ll see words like “orangey” or “yellowish” and it makes you wonder how something so sophisticated as a billion-year-old diamond that is potentially worth 6+ figures could have such a seemingly rudimentary description so widely accepted and encouraged.

Fancy color diamonds are extremely complex in their formation and the slightest alteration of chemicals or the environment in which they were created can change a diamond’s color dramatically. Many fancy color diamonds contain two or three colors; some even contain up to four! Some examples of descriptions you would see on a diamond report are blue, orangey yellow, or brownish-yellowish-orange. The last color listed is not labeled as an “ey” or an “ish” because it is the main color most dominant, so it is listed plainly. The other colors listed are considered color modifiers and the order they are listed goes from least present color to main color. For example, brownish-yellowish-orange would mean that orange is the most predominant color, with yellow clearly present, and brown less present.

Color modifiers are usually applicable to stones that are categorized as fancy light and above. For example, in the light category, it is rare that one would find a light yellowish green. In this case, green would be considered the only color.

Although Vivid and Intense colors are considered more valuable, from an investment standpoint, it is still very common to have an investment-grade diamond that is multiple colors as long as the color combinations are colors that are coveted. For example, if you take two diamonds - one being orangey yellow and the other brownish yellow - the main color in both diamonds is yellow. However, the orangey-yellow diamond will be worth more overall because orange is a rarer and more valued color than brown.

Color is the main factor when considering the value of a color diamond, so if you take a pink diamond and compare it to a purplish pink, one would actually not be worth more than the other because pink and purple are equally rare, so both diamonds are equally valued. Of course, there are factors that could tip the scales, such as Argyle provenance and saturation, but if we’re solely considering color, they would be equally valued, even though one is only one color and the other is a combination of two colors.

When the modifier contains the suffix “ish”, (yellowish), that means there is a difference between the two colors. If a diamond is listed as yellowish orange, essentially, it means that the secondary color is a smaller percentage of the diamond’s overall body color. Otherwise, if there is no “ish”, for example, if a diamond is listed as yellow-orange, it means the yellow color is more dominant (perhaps about 40%-45% of the overall diamond color) but not as dominant as orange.

When considering fancy color diamonds, the more coveted colors are red, blue, pink, green, orange, and purple/violet. Less desired colors overall (though there are some exceptions) are yellow, chameleon, grey, brown, and black.

If you would like to begin your investment journey with us and are curious about what the steps would be to begin, email us at


Please email FCD Invest at to discuss your personalized long-term investment strategy. For more information on Fancy Color Diamonds as an investment, please visit our Fancy Color Diamond informational page linked here.

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