When someone says “Diamond” I bet you probably think of a colorless beautiful sparkly crystal and call them at times even “white diamonds”. Perhaps if your diamond knowledge is above average, you would know that diamonds also exist in yellow hues. What I have realized recently is that most people are not so familiar that diamonds come in various colors of the rainbow! Yes! there are blue, green, orange, yellow, purple, violet and even red diamonds discovered in the world! I would love to share some of my knowledge with you so if you are interested read along.
So, may I interest you in some colored diamond knowledge? Read on if you’d like to know further!
A diamond crystal in its purest form is made up of one element and it is Carbon as you may know from school science! So, when various chemical elements are combined, they can create an array of colors in our diamonds. However, there are also other contributing factors to color in diamonds apart from chemical elements and that’s sometimes-natural inner earth irradiation or growth of the crystal structure! I will just explain very basically in abbreviated form which color is created in which way, that way you don’t have to read for so long like we have whilst studying! Diamonds may seem like such a simple subject when you think it’s only made of carbon, however, when all factors are considered it can blow you away! I will just put it simply for you: 1. How they get their color and a few other minor factors here and there.
Yellow – Created when nitrogen is present and usually most diamonds have Nitrogen present! That is when you get your E, F …K ,L, M and after Z they become those fancy Yellow colors on the Diamond color charts! The reports may state vivid yellow, light fancy yellow and so on. Yellows are one of the more abundant natural colored diamonds out of all other colors discovered, relative to other crystals discovered in the world they are still yet come to be the most precious and rare!
Brown: These are the diamonds you probably heard of called “Champagne” “Chocolate” and “Cognac” at a jewelry store. Brown color is probably not the best marketing term but for science and in this brief explanation it just suits fine. Brown is more common than any other color and usually the diamonds in this color come from Australia! Now, these diamonds hail their appearance due to presence of nitrogen (you probably might have guessed it) and also “internal parallel grain lines”- GIA. The internal parallel grain lines are a structural irregularity and caused by distortion to the crystal lattice of the diamond whilst growing. So, when the crystal is growing and the glide planes misalign the outcome are those gorgeous Chocolate, Cognac and Whiskey diamonds!
Orange: The pure color “orange” diamond is the no.1 rarest of all and even scientists aren’t aware what is the cause for their color! Not enough material has been gathered yet to identify and do further research. So for now we are just aware that there are these gorgeous autumn colored diamonds exist and we should admire them.
Pink/Red/ Purple/ Violet
- These owe their color to the graining in the diamond crystal and the amount of “pink graining” it contains producing all sorts of tones and saturation of pink, red, purple and violet. The distortion of the crystal lattice very rarely produces the nice juicy reds. They were so rare prior to 1985 discovery and production of these diamonds from the Argyle mine in Western Australia. Recent discoveries in Russia have lead to new sources for pink color diamonds and also the largest documented red diamond has previously been discovered in Brazil in 1990 weighing just over 5 carats! The red diamonds normally found at the Argyle mine are maximum half a carat (that’s less than five millimeters in size) making them super rare and sought after for investment or collection purposes.
The Above photos from Right to Left: 5.11 Carat Moussaieff-Red By Peter Lopez
The Pink Star 59.60 Cts Photo Credit to Sotheby's
Argyle Violet 2.83Cts Credit AuraJewelry
Green- Occurred naturally through radiation in earth while the diamond crystal is travelling to the earth’s surface and it must also have some nitrogen to create the green. Correspondingly the green can occur when the diamond deposit (whilst still in the Earth’s crust) is near radioactive rocks, the natural radiation can also occur this way. Do not be alarmed by this information because by the time they get to us to be worn they are very safe! So if you admire this color of diamond wear it! These diamonds are paler and have low saturation sometimes even look greyish, brownish and yellowish. Green color is the more rare on the scale of all and are considered by GIA as “Extremely rare” diamonds.
Blue: Truthfully this is my personal favorite color of diamond. The natural blue diamonds are a pale sky blue with at times a hint of gray with lots of fire and scintillation! These are also much rarer than other colors and this is because the color can only occur in diamonds that are Type 2B. Ok it gets a little complex here, but briefly to describe this- there are 2 diamond types and each type is divided into another subcategory. Type 2a are colorless and have no impurities and they are the very clear ones- pure carbon. Type 2B has boron impurities added to carbon and Boron is the element when added to carbon gets you this beautiful blue diamond! Not always are blue diamonds owe their color due to boron however, as discovered in the 1990’s there were some not containing this element and still were blue! Also, in some instances grayish blue diamonds can be caused due to presence of hydrogen. The main known source of this type is the Cullinan mine in South Africa and some are also rarely found at the Argyle mine in Western Australia.
Black: The black diamonds have a lot of what we as gemologists call “inclusions” in them and it is usually graphite, so when looking under magnification, you will be able to see parts of colorless crystal and a frozen looking like black crystals. Those elements create the black tone and because being so heavily included most rough black diamonds discovered are aggregate and hard to cut into a faceted gemstone.
White: Well you probably think that they are the usual D colored diamonds but no, they are actually white in tone due to the presence of lightly scattered colorless crystals. These submicroscopic inclusions create a milky look to them and some cutters even cut them in a way to display opalescent flashes of color.
Grey diamonds also exist! When hydrogen is present- so if you ever feel like dressing up for a rainy day this could be a diamond to suit your outfit for the day!
Now you have some basic idea about Colored Diamonds, which colored diamond appeals to you the most and why?
Thank you for reading my first blog about something I’m passionate about and please provide your feedback as I would love to take everything into account for my next blog. If you’re interested in investing into a colored diamond, please contact me by email and let’s talk, perhaps I can find the right one for you!