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Where Do Colored Diamonds Come From?

Where Do Colored Diamonds Come From?

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Where Do Colored Diamonds Come From?

When it comes to gemstones, there is nothing more classic than a diamond. Over the years they have become a symbol of power, wealth, and even love. Diamonds come in a variety of colors ranging from clear to pink, blue, red, brown, and green.

The history of these various stones has captured the interest of many throughout the centuries.


The first diamond color-grading system was established in India during the sixth century. It was based upon the country’s class structure or caste system. Diamonds acted as badges of status, and members of different castes were allowed to own and wear specific colors of diamonds.

Kings were allowed to wear any color of diamond they wanted. The Brahmins, who were the rulers and priests, wore white and colorless diamonds. Warriors and landowners were allowed to wear brown diamonds. Black and gray diamonds were for members of the lowest class.

Over time, the color-grading systems for the stones have evolved and there are no longer restrictions placed on owning and wearing various colors of diamonds, aside from cost.

During the 1867 Paris World Exhibition, a rough yellow diamond out of South Africa was presented to audiences. The public was amazed by the fancy colored stone, but it took a long time for them to become readily available to the masses.


Starting in the 1980s, brown diamonds mined in Australia were given marketable trade names like “Cognac,” which is a more reddish-brown hue, and “Champagne,” which is a lighter brown. These names helped boost awareness and sales of the stones. These same businesses changed their strategy in the late-90s however, and have become well-known for their rare pink diamonds.

These colorful stones have continued to gain popularity. South Africa, India, and Australia are the most well-known sources of these different colored stones, and they are also found in Guyana, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, and Venezuela.

Famous Colored Diamonds

In 1877, miners in South Africa’s Kimberley mine made an incredible discovery: a 287-carat yellow diamond. The gem was purchased by famous jewelry trader Charles Tiffany for $18,000. The yellow stone was later dubbed the Tiffany Diamond and is currently on display at Tiffany’s New York flagship store. It has been featured in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Lady Gaga recently wore it to the 91st Annual Academy Awards.

The Dresden Green Diamond made its historical debut in 1722 when it was featured in a London news article. The 41-carat stone is believed to have been discovered in the Kollure mine, located in Andhra Pradesh, India. The pear-cut stone was on display in Dresden for nearly two centuries, before jewelry firm Harry Winston had it moved to their flagship store in New York and later to the Smithsonian in Washington DC, where it was displayed next to the Hope Diamond.

The blue Hope Diamond may be one of the most famous colored diamonds in history. The 45.52-carat stone is known for its unique deep blue/gray color. It was first discovered in India, where it was the subject of a legend. It’s believed that the diamond was an eye of the Hindu goddess wife of Rama, Sita, which was stolen. According to the legend a curse was placed on the diamond. After traveling around the world, the diamond was purchased by Harry Winston and was donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

If you’re thinking of selling your fancy colored diamonds or jewelry or you want to have it appraised, contact Ralph Mueller & Associates or call us at 480.949.9229.