Guide to Gemstones: Colorful Stones

From alexandrite to zircon, there are many colored gemstones. They come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, and each one has its own unique history, symbolism, and meaning. These gems can be used in a variety of ways, from jewelry to decorative accents.

With so many different colors and varieties, there is something special and unique about each one. From the fiery red of rubies to the deep blue of sapphires, these stones are all unique and beautiful in their own way.

Fancy? Fancy Intense? What Does it All Mean?

The color category of the gemstone can have a significant impact on the price. This is especially true in colored diamonds, which can be the difference between an average diamond price and a record-setting one.

The classifications in colored diamonds range from faint for the lightest color and fancy vivid for stronger color. Usually, in colorless diamonds, the less color it has, the more valuable it is. However, with fancy colored diamonds, the higher the strength and quality of the color, the higher its value is.

Sometimes these diamonds will come in more than one color. These diamonds will be labeled by their primary color first, followed by their secondary color. Although it looks like a mouthful, a ‘fancy vivid blue green’ would be a very rare and valuable diamond.

What Colors Are Valuable in Diamonds?

Diamonds come in a variety of colors, ranging from traditional white to blue, yellow, pink, and even black. While all diamond colors are beautiful, certain shades can be more valuable than others. 

The rarest diamonds are those that are graded D. These diamonds are colorless, meaning they are completely free of any color tint. Diamonds with no color are highly sought after and can be priced up to 20 percent higher than other colored diamonds. 

Related Link: The History of Birthstones

Fancy colored diamonds, such as yellow, blue, pink, and even red, are also highly sought after and can be priced higher than colorless diamonds. The intensity of the color and its rarity are two factors that can affect the diamond's value. For example, yellow diamonds with a strong yellow hue will be priced higher than those with a paler yellow hue. Similarly, pink diamonds with a strong saturation of color will be priced higher than those with a paler hue.

Finally, diamonds with an intense black hue, known as carbonados, are the most valuable diamonds of all. Carbonados are extremely rare and it is due to their rarity that it is so highly sought after. They are often priced 10-20 times higher than colorless diamonds.

Related: The 7 Precious Stones: Gemstone Guide

Does Color Strength and Quality Matter in Other Gemstones?

In certain gemstones, certain color qualities are highly prized and sought after. Here are a few examples of how color strength and quality can make a gemstone more valuable:


In most cases, rubies exhibit the greatest value when they are a deep, vibrant red. The finest rubies have a pure, saturated hue that is sometimes described as “pigeon blood” red. This color is created when the ruby contains a high concentration of chromium, which is responsible for giving the gem its vivid red hue.

Rubies can also have a variety of secondary hues, such as pink, purple, or orange, but these colors tend to be less valuable than the purest red. The strength of the secondary hue will also affect the value of the stone, with a light or faint hue being less desirable than a vivid hue.

In addition, color zoning is important when it comes to valuing a ruby. Color zoning occurs when the color of the ruby changes within the same stone. In order to be considered of high value, the color of the ruby should be even throughout the gem. If there are patches of different colors, this is considered a “zoning” defect and can significantly decrease the value of the stone.

Related: Garnet vs. Ruby: What Are The Differences?


Taaffeite is an incredibly rare gemstone that is unique in its color variety. It is one of the few gemstones that can display different colors depending on the lighting, making it highly sought after by collectors. While all of the colors of Taaffeite are valuable, some colors are more valuable than others.

The most valuable colors of Taaffeite are deep purple, deep blue, and deep pink. These colors are typically more intense and vibrant than other colors of Taaffeite, and they are highly sought after by collectors. Additionally, the presence of strong secondary hues such as red, orange, and yellow can also increase the value of a Taaffeite gemstone.

Other colors of Taaffeite such as green, peach, and brown are also valuable, but they are typically not as valuable as the more intense colors. Additionally, many of these colors are often difficult to distinguish from other types of gemstones, so it is important to have a qualified gemologist examine them before making a purchase.

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The value of emeralds is determined by a variety of factors, including color, clarity, and carat weight. However, certain colors are more valuable than others, especially when it comes to emeralds.

Rich, deep green is the most sought-after color for emeralds and is the most valuable. The color grading scale for emeralds is based on the term "vivid," which is the highest grade for color intensity. The deeper and richer the green, the more valuable the emerald.

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Light green or yellowish-green colored emeralds are less valuable than their deeper counterparts. The same is true for blue-green emeralds, which are valued less than other colors.

Finally, emeralds with a brownish or grayish tint are the least valuable, as they lack the desired level of saturation.