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Colored diamonds are fast gaining popularity. But can consumers differentiate between a fancy color and low-grade color? Sometimes one word on a grading report can make the difference between sticker shock and a sale.
The presence of colored diamonds in auctions, exhibitions, and the media has whetted the appetites of sophisticated American consumers. Well-heeled Europeans have been tuned into colored diamonds for a lot longer, though they tend to prefer smaller stones with much more vivid colors than their American counterparts. America's awakening comes at a fortuitous time, as most of the demand for colored diamonds had been centered in Asia in recent years, and dealers who'd invested millions in them were facing the specter of sales falling into an abyss. But it's now routine for luxury jewelers to feature a gorgeous yellow diamond (or even an occasional blue or pink) in catalogs, advertisements, displays, and promotions.
"There are really two kinds of colored diamond buyers," says Harton Wolf, diamond buyer for Schwarzschild Jewelers in Richmond, Va. "The first are those who really love colors and for whom price is not much of an object The second are more price-conscious but want something distinctive with a nice color." Buyers who fall into the first category usually want "vivids" and "intenses," while the budget-conscious go for light fancies, he says.
Some consumers already recognize the …