January 12, 2023

Blue Diamonds

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Blue diamonds look too stunning to be true. So just how real and expensive are they? Find out what to look for and how to own one yourself.

Are you the bold type who wants to stand out? Then a blue diamond ring is perfect for you.

It's unique, eye-catching, and definitely a color you won't forget. On the romantic side, it also symbolizes loyalty. So it's a great color to show your commitment to your partner.

But blue diamonds are one of the rarest and most expensive colors. And finding a good quality blue rock could hurt your head and wallet big time.

That shouldn't end your blue diamond journey, though. With the right info and tricks, you can find the perfect stone that will suit your taste and budget.

Ready? Let's begin.

What is a Blue Diamond?

Blue diamonds are real diamonds with a blue tint. Their color is natural, usually from boron, so they're not treated or enhanced to get color. You'll see them in different intensities of blue, often mixed with gray, green, or violet.

Also, blues are among the rarest fancy-colored diamonds, next only to reds in rarity. That's why they also command one of the highest prices in the gem world. So today, some methods are used to make less expensive but equally beautiful blue diamonds.

What do blue diamonds symbolize?
If you're the cheesy type, blue diamonds might also suit your style. Their gorgeous color represents loyalty and trust. So proposing with one is like a gesture of devotion to your partner. How romantic is that?

How are Blue Diamonds Made?

They might look unreal, but Mother Nature made blue diamonds blue. The usual culprits behind their color are boron impurities inside the stone. The more boron present, the deeper the blue will be.[1]

But radiation and hydrogen defects can also cause a blue tint. Diamonds exposed to radiation typically get a green-blue hue. Meanwhile, gray-blue and violet-blue rocks are usually caused by hydrogen.[2]

But except for these impurities, blue diamonds form just like any diamond. They're also made from carbon exposed to extreme pressure and temperature. Only that they're found 4x deeper in the earth.

Of course, it's a different story for treated and lab-grown blue diamonds. We'll get to them later.

Blue Diamond Color Intensity Levels

Whether you like it bold or understated, there's always a blue diamond for you. They come in a range of intensities and secondary hues (if any). As a result, their color can look pale, brilliant, or intense with a mix of gray, green, or violet.

In terms of intensity, the GIA grades blue diamonds as Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark, or Fancy Deep. It's the same grading scale used for other fancy colors.

And while any blue diamond is rare, pure blues are even harder to find. Most of them have gray and green tints, with a few getting violet tones. These secondary hues can even mix with each other to form other gorgeous combinations.

You will find a blue diamond's secondary hues in its grading report. Just like in this Fancy Greenish Blue stone from James Allen.

At over 45 carats, the Hope Diamond holds the record for the largest blue diamond in the world. Its unforgettable blue tint was graded "Fancy Dark Grayish Blue" by the GIA.[3]

How Rare are Blue Diamonds?

Natural blue diamonds are so rare they're found in just a handful of mines across the world. Today, they come from two major mines: the Cullinan in South Africa and the Argyle in Australia. So it's not surprising that only less than 0.02% of mined diamonds are blue.

There's even a saying that most jewelers won't encounter a blue diamond in their whole life. This extreme rarity explains why these gorgeous rocks are so expensive.

And if your dream ring is a big, very vivid blue rock, there's even more bad news. More intense colors and bigger carat weights are even more rare and pricey.

What's the rarest diamond color?
Blue diamonds only come in second as red takes the crown for the rarest color. There are only about 30 of them in the world. And between 1957 and 1987, the GIA graded no red diamonds at all.

Are Blue Diamonds Real?

The stunning color of blue diamonds makes some people think they're fake. But while they're super-rare, they are as real as white diamonds.

They have the same properties, so they're just as durable and sparkly. But with a mesmerizing blue tint, of course.

Treated Blue Diamonds: Should You Buy Them?

Because they're so rare in nature, many blue diamonds were treated to get their hue. In this case, a white natural diamond is exposed to radiation, pressure, or heat to become blue. The result is your stunning yet more affordable treated blue diamond.

Treated rocks often show a very intense blue tint. In most treatments, the color is permanent and won't fade over time. And you don't have to worry about durability since they don't damage the diamond at all.

Still, there are cases where the blue hue is only coated and won't last forever. You should also remember that treated blue diamonds have poorer resale value. Remember to check the diamond's certificate to be sure of your purchase.

Lab-Created Blue Diamonds: Real But Affordable Alternatives

Blue lab diamonds are an even more affordable way to wear a stunning blue rock. The good news is lab diamonds are also real diamonds with the exact same properties. They're just as gorgeous and durable, only that they're made inside a lab.

Another piece of good news: there's a huge price gap between a natural vs. lab-created blue diamond. The gulf only widens as carat weight increases since bigger lab diamonds are easier to make. If you don't mind the man-made origin, you could get a jaw-dropping blue ring for a fraction of the price.

Check out this table comparing natural and lab-made blue diamond prices. We use real examples from James Allen since their collection of both diamond types is bigger:

NaturalLab-Created
1 carat pear cut$133,060$2,510
1.5 carat pear cut$255,090$4,610
2 carat oval cut$389,860$6,080

Note: Prices are current and diamonds are in-stock as of October 1, 2022.

Aside from being so much cheaper, lab diamonds are also eco-friendly stones. Learn more about them in our guide here.

Blue Diamonds Price: Are They Worth Anything?

Given their extreme rarity, blue diamonds are very valuable gemstones. A Fancy Light Gray Blue stone as tiny as 0.04 carat retails for $1,750. The same price will get you a much bigger 0.50 carat white diamond from the same store.

Estimating blue diamond prices can be tricky. There are many factors that affect them. Generally, higher carat weight and color intensity mean higher prices. And pure blues with no secondary hues are also more expensive.

Here's what you can expect to pay depending on carat weight, color intensity, and color purity. These are actual examples from Leibish & Co. since they specialize in fancy color diamonds:

BlueGray BlueGreen Blue
0.3 carat Fancy Light$25,050$11,150
0.06 Fancy$13,125$3,875
0.3 carat Fancy$56,100$21,850
1.5 carat Fancy$647,900$340,575$175,600
0.7 carat Fancy Intense$306,700$17,100
0.7 carat Fancy Vivid $630,100

Note: Prices are current and diamonds are in-stock as of October 1, 2022. Because blue diamonds are rare, not all specs and colors were in-stock as of writing.

If you're canvassing diamonds for your engagement ring, here's our guide on how much to really spend on one.

Now let's compare white vs. blue diamond prices per carat. We'll use examples from Blue Nile since they have a wider selection for both colors.

Blue DiamondWhite Diamond
0.5 carat$274,615$2,182
0.7 carat$370,440$4,425
1 carat$823,845$11,565

Note: Prices are current and diamonds are in-stock as of October 1, 2022. As a benchmark, all white diamonds are D color, IF, Ideal cut. Their blue counterparts are Fancy Intense.

As you can see, even tiny blue diamonds command very high prices. That's why these stunning stones are out of reach for most buyers.

How to Save Money on a Natural Blue Diamond

Buying a natural blue diamond doesn't mean that saving money isn't possible anymore. With a few tricks, you can still save some cash even if you're getting a blue rock:

  • Save on clarity and cut.
    As long as the stone is eye-clean, choose a lower diamond clarity and cut grade. Focus your budget on color since cut and clarity won't matter much.

  • Choose smart settings.
    Can't afford big blue diamonds? Halo settings can give the illusion of a bigger ring. They can distract your nosy coworker from the fact that your blue diamond is small.

  • Try blue diamonds with secondary hues.
    Pure blue diamonds command the highest prices. If you like how they look, you can save at least 50% if you pick a stone with a gray, green, or violet hue instead.

Best Places to Buy a Blue Diamond

If you plan to buy from a local jeweler, it might be harder to find a blue diamond. You'll have more chances of snagging the perfect stone if you buy from online retailers instead.

For a wider selection of blue diamonds, consider shopping from these online diamond stores:

  • Leibish & Co.
    Leibish & Co. is the leading online dealer for natural fancy-colored diamonds. You can find over a hundred natural blue diamonds here, most of them smaller than 1 carat.

    They also allow you to design your own ring with their collection of stones and settings.

  • James Allen
    James Allen offers both natural and lab-grown blue diamonds. But with over 150 choices, their lab-created blue diamond collection is huge.

    You're likely to find the perfect blue lab diamond for you here.

How to Choose a Blue Diamond

Given its very high price tag, buying a blue diamond is a huge financial decision. So it's only natural that you want to get the best value for your money.

Here's how to make sure you get a good quality blue diamond:

Color
Color is the single most important factor when choosing a blue diamond. Generally, you want a stone whose color faces up beautifully. To ensure this, check the certificate if the diamond's color is evenly distributed.

For color intensity, more vibrant hues are more popular. But your choice should still depend on your taste. Do you like subtle or vibrant hues? Pure blue or a gorgeous color combo?

Just keep in mind that deeper colors and purer blues fetch higher prices.

Cut
Unlike in colorless diamonds, cut doesn't matter as much in fancy colored diamonds. That's why you should make color your top priority rather than aiming for the best cut grade. Sparkle should only come second, next to a gorgeous color payoff.

Also, remember that colorless and fancy-colored diamonds are not cut the same way. Colorless diamonds are cut to maximize sparkle. Meanwhile, fancy-colored diamonds are cut to bring out their color.

That's why evaluating a blue diamond based on cut grades won't cut it (pun intended). Focus on color instead.

Clarity
Clarity is another factor where you can save. The color of blue diamonds hides flaws well, so there's no need to choose higher clarity grades. You can then use your savings toward a deeper color intensity.

Usually, you can go as low as SI2 and still get an eye-clean stone. Just be sure to inspect the diamond visually to ensure its quality.

Best Settings for Blue Diamonds

Your blue diamond will look stunning on its own. But you can make it even more beautiful with the right setting.

Consider these settings to bring out the best in your stone:

  • Halo setting. Aside from making your ring look bigger, halo settings also make a blue diamond stand out. The ring of white stones around the diamond emphasizes its color. That's a surefire way to draw eyes to your stone.

  • Three-stone setting. Your blue diamond will contrast nicely when flanked by two white stones. If the halo setting is too flashy for you, this could work like a more subtle version.

  • Tension setting. A diamond in a tension setting looks like it's floating between the metal. Because the stone is set apart, it becomes even more emphasized. Especially when you use white metal.

Blue Diamond vs. Sapphire: Are they the Same?

Blue diamonds and sapphires may share the same color, but they are not the same stones. You can tell their difference visually since sapphires show a deeper blue. And while they're cheaper, they're less durable and more prone to scratches.

Remember that these stones are made of entirely different materials. So there's a huge gap in their price, value, and durability. But depending on your taste and budget, both are great choices for your engagement ring.

Bottom Line

Natural blue diamonds are stunning rocks that will command anyone's attention. But they also command one of the highest prices in the gem world. Even small carats and pale hues aren't affordable for most buyers.

Still, you have plenty of options that will get you a gorgeous but more affordable rock. So in the end, whatever type of blue diamond you choose should depend on your taste and budget. It should always be a stone that you will love, forever.

References

Write to Chesca Santiago at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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