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Ask a Diamond Pro: Fancy Vivid Diamond for Around $1,500

By Mike Fried,

Every month, we’re contacted by hundreds of readers interested in finding the perfect diamond at the right price. 

Although the specific details can vary, most of our readers are interested in colorless diamonds, typically in well-known diamond shapes

However, every month we also receive emails from readers interested in finding something that is a little different, whether it’s a particularly unique shape or a fancy color diamond with a vivid, eye-catching appearance.

example of a 0.43ct Fancy Vivid round diamond
An example of a 0.43ct Fancy Vivid round diamond in a custom setting from Abe Mor

Some time ago, we were contacted by a reader interested in buying a fancy color diamond in a vivid yellow tone. We love getting messages like these, because they offer a fantastic chance to help someone create an engagement ring that’s truly unique and different. 

As the GIA explains, “when a diamond falls outside of GIA’s D-to-Z color scale, it is considered a colored diamond (sometimes called a fancy-color diamond).” Fancy color diamonds are graded by strength, with intense and vivid diamonds typically commanding the highest prices.

In other words, beyond a certain point, diamond color becomes an asset, not something you’ll want to avoid.

This reader’s budget was approximately $1,500, and they were interested in purchasing a small but stunning fancy yellow diamond to give their partner a unique, special ring. They initially sent us an email asking about the trustworthiness of IGL diamond certification:

“What about IGL certification? Is it better than IGI and GIA? 

Benma Fancy Color Diamonds only have IGL certificates.”

We explained that most diamonds sold using IGL certificates are artificially enhanced, meaning their color is made more intense via a high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) process.

Our guide to enhanced diamonds discusses this process in more detail, including the effect that it can have on a diamond’s appearance and the way in which it alters a diamond’s natural state for aesthetic purposes.

We also mentioned to this reader that James Allen and Leibish & Co. are the best vendors out there for buying high quality, GIA-certified fancy color diamonds.

Finding a Fancy Vivid Diamond for $1,500

So, let’s get into the details. After looking at several diamonds with GIA certification, this reader sent us an interesting 0.34 cushion cut diamond to review. This diamond had natural coloration (a good thing) and a color grade of fancy vivid yellow-orange, with even distribution. 

This diamond was priced at $1,353, which is a beautiful price for a diamond like this. They also sent a heart-shaped diamond with a color of fancy vivid yellow-orange, which was priced a little lower at $1,300. 

Fancy Vivid Yellow-Orange Heart shape diamond
An example of a Fancy Vivid Yellow-Orange Heart shape diamond from Leibish & Co.

Both diamonds were captured on video (you can see a video of the cushion cut stone here), but the quality of the video wasn’t exactly spectacular.

This is a common problem when buying diamonds from some online vendors. That’s why we write reviews of jewelers for people to see which ones offer quality.

Many smaller diamond vendors record video footage of their diamonds in all kinds of conditions, making it difficult to tell if any differences in perceived color are due to the diamonds themselves or different camera exposure settings or lighting conditions. 

Because of this, it’s important to understand that not even looking at the GIA certificate provides a complete understanding of a diamond’s color. Often, several diamonds with an identical color intensity grade from the GIA will differ significantly in appearance.

That’s why it’s important to stick to diamond vendors that video their diamonds under strict, consistent conditions, allowing you to more easily identify color issues, inclusions or other flaws that can affect a diamond’s beauty. 

We mentioned that both of the fancy color diamonds were priced well and suggested the reader select the cushion cut if they liked it better.

Yellow diamnd color intensity graphic

When it comes to buying a fancy color yellow diamond, there are several important things to be aware of. The first is that the intensity of the color has a huge impact on its value.

  1. While “faint” or “light” yellow diamonds are inexpensive, “fancy vivid” diamonds are significantly more expensive on a per-carat basis. In more general terms, the more intense the yellow color of the diamond, the more valuable the stone. 
  2. The second is that the purity of the color (or the supporting colors) can also have a real impact on the diamond’s price. Pure yellow diamonds, such as canary yellow, are typically the highest priced, as are diamonds with an orange or green overtone. 

    This makes it important to look closely at a diamond to check that its intensity and color purity match what you’re looking for, as it’s easy to overpay for a diamond that may not possess the aesthetic you prefer (or, alternatively, pick a diamond that’s less intense than you’d like). 

    If you prefer a weaker yellow color, you can also find diamonds that provide excellent value for money by prioritizing lower color intensity, such as a “light” or “fancy light” intensity level. These diamonds are much cheaper and can still look stunning when paired with the right setting. 
  3. The third is that the traditional “rules” of buying a diamond very much still apply to fancy yellow diamonds. Cut quality is still essential for an aesthetically pleasing diamond, as is clarity, as an inclusion that would be visible in a colorless diamond will also show in a fancy yellow stone. 

    Because of this, it’s important to closely check the diamond’s cut grade, if you’re purchasing a round brilliant cut diamond, or examine it manually to ensure it’s properly cut if you’re buying a fancy shape diamond that doesn’t have a GIA cut grade.

If you need help assessing a fancy color and/or fancy shape diamond, feel free to contact us to talk to our team and review your options. 

A fancy vivid yellow diamond in a beautiful tension ring by Abe Mor
A fancy vivid yellow diamond in a beautiful tension ring by Abe Mor

It’s also critical to look closely at the diamond’s GIA certificate to check that it has natural color and verify that it has even color distribution. 

We’ve discussed these factors more, as well as how you can use them to get a great deal on a yellow diamond, in our fancy yellow diamond buying guide

With a budget of $1,500, it’s very possible to find a modestly-sized but impressive fancy intense or vivid yellow diamond. 

For example, this 0.38 carat, VVS2 clarity, fancy intense yellow oval diamond from James Allen is available for $1,140, while this 0.41 carat, SI1 clarity, fancy vivid yellow cushion cut diamond, also from James Allen, is available for $1,430. 

Both of these diamonds look stunning and offer the unique appearance of a yellow diamond, all while providing excellent value for money. 

A comparison between a fancy vivid yellow and fancy intense yellow diamond

Our Recommendation

Choosing a fancy color diamond is a fantastic way to create an engagement ring that’s unique and truly special, especially if your fiancé-to-be has a favorite color that you think they’d like as part of their jewelry. 

With fancy color diamonds, the usual rules of buying a diamond still apply. Understand how the four Cs (or, at least, the three Cs — cut quality, clarity and carat weight) affect a diamond’s price, then prioritize diamonds with the type of fancy color you’re looking for. 

In general, we recommend shopping from James Allen or Leibish & Co. if you’re considering a fancy color diamond, particularly a yellow diamond. Both of these vendors offer excellent value and stock large selections of fancy intense and fancy vivid yellow diamonds.

If you have a budget of $20,000 or more for your diamond, Abe Mor is an option that’s strongly worth considering. Their selection of fancy color diamonds is outstanding, and they’ll likely have  a diamond (or several) to suit your tastes. 

If you need help comparing diamonds, or simply working out what to look for within your budget, feel free to contact us. We help hundreds of readers every month, and we’re happy to help you compare diamonds and find the best options for your budget and preferences.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
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  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing.Save 25% on settings at Blue Nile!

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What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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