Some of the most expensive fine jewelry is made from rare diamonds. A naturally occurring diamond can take up to 3 billion years to form, making them extremely precious. While all diamonds are unique, certain forms of diamonds are especially uncommon. In general, colored diamonds are very sparse, red diamonds being the rarest of them all. In terms of formations, Type IIa is the rarest form of diamond followed by the Type Ib. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the rarest kinds of diamonds in the world.
One of the lesser known facts about diamonds is that they come in a variety of colors ranging from faintest of pinks to the deepest black. Colored diamonds comprise of only 0.01% of the total diamonds mined worldwide. Their rarity makes them immensely valuable. Yellow, brown, and black diamonds are more readily available of all the colored diamonds.
Red diamonds are the rarest and some of the most expensive in the world. Also known as Fancy Reds, they come in a variety of shades ranging from orange-red to brownish red. Majority of the world’s red diamonds come from the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia. The below 5.11-carat, Moussaieff Red Diamond is the largest IF graded fancy red diamond in the world.
The Moussaieff Red Diamond | Image Courtesy: Geology In
Arguably, fancy blue diamonds are the second rarest diamonds on the market. Comprising only 1% of all the mined colored diamonds in the world, blue diamonds are often associated with royalty. The color grading ranges from a very faint blue to a fancy vivid blue. The below grayish-blue 45.52-carat Hope Diamond is one of the most blue diamonds in the world.
Also on the rarity list are fancy green diamonds. Due to the volume of artificially enhanced green diamonds on the market, ascertaining its natural color is key to determining its value. The Dresden Green Diamond is one of the most popular green diamonds in the world. Pictured below, The green diamond is set in a military hat ornament designed by Franz Michael Diespach.
Pure orange diamonds are extremely rare. Yellowish orange diamonds are easier to find. They range from dim yellowish orange to fancy vivid orange. Due to comparatively lower market demand, the stunning fancy oranges are more of an collector’s item. The 5.54-carat Pumpkin is one of the most well known orange diamonds.
A Fancy Vivid Yellow-Orange Diamond | Image Courtesy: Diamond Envy
Romantic and feminine, pink diamonds are highly popular. While intense fancy pinks are extremely rare, faint pinks are more easily available. Over 90% of the world’s pink diamonds are produced by the Argyle Diamond Mine located in Australia. The below vivid pink colored 59.60-carat IF grade Pink Star, formerly known as the Steinmetz Pink is one of the most popular pink diamonds in the world.
The Pink Star | Image Courtesy: Ritani
The Rarest Types Of Diamonds
The Type IIa diamonds comprise only 1% of all the diamonds in the world. They are also sometimes called “Golconda Diamonds” named after the famous Golconda mine in India, which has historically produced many iconic Type IIa diamonds. They have no nitrogen impurities, as a result of which most of them are colorless. Most D flawless diamonds are of the Type IIa form. They can also be pink, gray, light blue, or light green. Of all the diamonds, they are considered to be the most chemically pure and are very expensive. Some of the world’s most famous and opulent diamonds have been cut from this type of rough diamond, such as the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, The Graff Pink, and the Koh-i-noor, which still sits on the British crown.
The stunning Type IIa Elizabeth Taylor Diamond | Image Courtesy: Baunat
Type Ib and IIb
Supposedly less than 0.1% natural diamonds are Type Ib. These diamonds are usually intensely colored, including yellow, brown and orange diamonds. These warm toned beauties are extremely rare. Diamonds of this type are often classified as “canary” colored.
The IIb diamonds are also very rare and usually have a bluish tinge to them. They are also known to conduct electricity. These are highly valuable and many gray-bluish diamonds are of this form.
Type Ia: The Most Common Type of Diamond
The Type Ia are the most commonly occurring diamond type, comprising around 98% of mined diamonds in the world. Many of them exhibit blue fluorescence. Since these types of diamonds absorb blue light, their color ranges from near colorless to pale yellow. They can further be divided into Type IaA and Type IaB. The nitrogen atoms in type Type IaA occur in pairs and thus do not affect the diamond’s color. In Type IaB, however, the nitrogen atoms appear in larger aggregates, imparting a yellowing/brownish tinge to the gemstone.
Irrespective of their rarity, diamonds are exquisitely stunning and extremely precious.