Huedunnit: Why colourless diamonds are playing second fiddle to coloured diamonds

While translucent diamonds have long been considered elegant and eminently desirable, their multicoloured counterparts have oft been decried as vulgar, trashy and, all together, the kind of gems no truly sophisticated girl would ever acknowledge as even a nodding acquaintance, let alone a best friend. Such, indeed, was the received wisdom, but – whisper it not – this supposedly time-honoured truth is now more than a little out of date.

Cartier Magnitude Equinoxe necklace with yellow diamond

Over the past few years, colour-free diamonds have gradually lost ground to their tinted brethren, with the pastel tones of the latter becoming ever more keenly sought out by gem-loving gentlefolk across the globe. Indeed, far from being inferior to their colour-free cousins, the rarity of these hue-imbued variants renders them far more valuable, with their per carat worth actually several times higher.

Jacob & Co. pink and blue diamond earrings

The belated recognition of this has seen jewellery aficionados across the world become voracious collectors of coloured diamonds. Indeed, according to Knight Frank, the global property consultancy (which also publishes an annual guide to luxury investment trends), demand for multi-spectrum sparklers has surged by some 113% over the last 10 years.

King Fook Jewellery green and pink diamond ring

Explaining this worldwide taste turnaround, Lily Leung, founding chair of the Asia Fancy Color Diamond Association, said: “For many, it’s now comparable to choosing to buy either a black-and-white or a colour TV. Ultimately, multi-hued diamonds are just more dramatic and offer more choice for customers.”

Harry Winston blue and pink diamond ring

As to which colour of gemstone is the most keenly sought out, well, while pink and blue diamonds both have their proponents, it is the red varietal that is by far the most precious. In fact, only 20-30 sumptuously scarlet specimens have ever been uncovered, making carmine-mining just about the most profitable pastime known to personkind.

Text: Suchetana Mukhopadhyay