The orange diamond is one of the rarer fancy colour diamonds, making it a sought-after and highly prized gem by collectors. Find out everything you need to know about these exquisite precious stones in our guide to them.
What Is An Orange Diamond?
Also known as a fire or pumpkin diamond, an orange diamond belongs to the family of fancy colour diamonds. They are real diamonds that naturally have an orange colour, rather than being treated or coloured artificially. We’ll go into more detail about what causes the colour below.
The Origin And History Of Orange Diamonds
The majority of orange diamonds come from two locations, namely South Africa and Western Australia’s Argyle Mine. The first orange diamonds were found a few centuries ago.
One of the most memorable early references to them is found in gemologist Edwin Streeter’s 1882 book, Great Diamonds of the World. In the book, Streeter refers to them as fire diamonds, and for good reason. Well cut, the stones flicker and flare like solidified flames!
In the late 1990s, a 5.54-carat orange diamond known as the Pumpkin Diamond was discovered in central Africa. At the time, the stone was the largest of its kind ever discovered. Diamantaire William Goldberg cut, polished, and set it in a ring between two smaller clear diamonds. This led to a sudden interest in the fancy coloured gems.
Ronald Winston bought the Pumpkin Diamond for US$1.3 million at a Sotheby’s New York auction on 30 October 1997. A few years later, the precious stone’s value was estimated to be approximately $3 million – and its value has more than doubled since then. One of the stone’s most famous public appearances was when Halle Berry wore the ring to the 2002 Academy Awards. The stone also appeared in the Smithsonian’s Splendour of Diamonds exhibition.
In 2013, a private collector revealed they had an orange diamond that broke all previous records. Known as the Orange, the 14.82-carat fancy vivid diamond with VS1 clarity went on auction at Christie’s Geneva. The renowned auctioneers expected the stone to fetch between $17 million and $20 million. Instead, the Orange sold for an incredible $35.5 million – that’s a whopping $2.4 million per carat. Considering orange diamonds larger than 4 carats when polished are a rarity, the Orange was a once-in-a-lifetime find.
How Are Orange Diamonds Made?
Basically, orange diamonds are formed in the same way as other diamonds – carbon is exposed to high temperatures and incredible pressure deep underground over billions of years. The difference between these coloured precious stones and other diamonds is the presence of nitrogen.
If nitrogen atoms group in a specific way during the stone’s formation, they absorb blue and yellow light. This process creates the stone’s orange colour. Some orange diamonds contain modifying colours such as brown, pink, or yellow, sometimes enough to make orange the secondary colour. If the stone’s overall colour is less than 25%, it’s known as an orangy diamond. Orangy stones are much more common than true orange diamonds.
Different Types Of Orange Diamonds
The respected Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades orange diamonds by several colour intensity levels. Those levels, or different types of orange diamonds, include:
- Faint Orange
- Very Light Orange
- Light Orange
- Fancy Light Orange
- Fancy Intense Orange
- Fancy Vivid Orange
- Fancy Deep Orange
The last two colour intensity levels are the most expensive and the most sought-after. When grading the stones, GIA assesses three main components, namely hue, saturation, and tone.
Are Orange Diamonds Valuable?
Orange diamonds are highly prized for their beauty and because of their rarity. A pure orange diamond with no modifying or overtone colours is one of the rarest stones in the world. The only diamonds that are rarer than orange ones are red, violet, pink, and blue.
Considering how much the Pumpkin Diamond and the Orange sold for on auction, it’s safe to say that they are valuable! That said, the presence of modifying colours makes orange diamonds significantly less expensive.
What Is A 1-Carat Orange Diamond Worth?
The price of a 1-carat orange diamond depends on four key factors. Those factors include colour, carat, clarity, and cut. The more orange a stone is, and the higher the intensity of the colour, the more valuable it is.
The Pros And Cons Of Orange Diamonds
As with all precious stones, there are pros and cons to orange diamonds.
- They’re beautiful and have the fire and brilliance associated with diamonds
- They’re rare, which means you’ll have a unique, eye-catching piece of jewellery
- They’re durable
- They’re an investment
- Higher-grade orange diamonds are not easy to find
- They’re more expensive than colourless and many other fancy colour diamonds
Why Are Orange Diamonds Becoming Popular?
Orange diamonds are becoming popular for a few reasons. Firstly, they’re a gorgeous status symbol – their value and rarity mean they’re obtained only by a select few. Secondly, their colour makes them a great option as solitaire stones as well as centre or accent stones in settings with other gems. Thirdly, fashion loves colour – why go for colourless stones when you can have one that appears to flicker and flare with fiery energy! Fancy colour gems are on the rise in diamond industry trends.
How To Care For An Orange Diamond
Follow these tips to care for your orange diamond:
- Don’t handle the stone often – Whenever you touch your diamond, the oils from your fingers stick to the stone’s surface and dim its brilliance and fire. It’s best to handle the gem sparingly to make it easier to clean.
- Clean your orange diamond regularly – Soak your precious stone in a gentle degreasing solution once or twice a week, depending on how frequently you handle or wear it. You can make a solution by adding a few drops of mild dish soap to a bowl of water. After soaking the diamond, use a clean soft-bristled toothbrush to gently remove any grease or dirt that remains on it.
- Rinse and dry after soaking and cleaning – Rinse your orange diamond in clean water and dry it with a soft lint-free cloth.
What Are The Best Setting Options For An Orange Diamond?
If you choose an orange diamond, you’ll want to make it look as good as possible – and that means making a careful choice when it comes to the diamond setting. Yellow gold and rose gold can help make the colour pop, but that doesn’t mean white gold isn’t an option.
Orange diamonds set in combination with colourless, green, and pink stones are stunning, but we think they look their best when accented or haloed with colourless diamonds. They make breath-taking pendants, rings, earrings, and bracelets.