Colored Diamonds

Colored diamonds are created the exact same way that colorless diamonds are created—under high temperature and pressure. The difference in the creation of the world’s most valuable commodity is different for each color of the rainbow.

Yellow Diamonds —aka “canaries.” Mother Nature’s addition of nitrogen atoms sprinkled into the diamonds lattice (approximately 100 nitrogen atoms per 1,000,000 carbon atoms)can cause the yellow color. That, combined with turning up the furnace to temperatures of over 1400 degrees Celsius, agitates the nitrogen atoms in such a way that they dance around the interior of the crystal forming groups which alters the color from colorless to yellow. A top of the line canary yellow diamond can easily run $30,000 per carat.

Pink Diamonds —Pink diamonds have been around for hundreds of years dating back before the 15th century. However, their presence seemed imperceptible due to their scarcity. It wasn’t until the opening of the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia (1980’s) that there was a sufficient supply to market them on a world-wide scale. The color of a pink (and red) diamond is due to a microscopic imperfection at the atomic level. No trace ingredient here, but rather an irregular growth pattern at a sub-molecular level. Fancy pink diamonds typically go for $100,000 per carat, with deep pinks easily running the gamut to over $250,000 per carat.

Blue Diamonds —The secret ingredient behind some of the world’s most renowned diamonds, like the Hope Diamond in Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institute, is boron. Just as nitrogen was stirred into the mix of the canary, boron gas turns the white snow cone blue. Blue diamonds are one of the rarest colors of the rainbow, fetching prices from $100,000 per carat to $554,670 per carat, as was paid for a 13.49 carat fancy deep blue at auction in April, 1995.

Green Diamonds —As we continue to climb the scale of the world’s most valuable colored diamonds, we find green coming in second place. With prices that range from $500,000 per carat to $750,000 per carat, green diamonds owe their beautiful color to high energy gamma or neutron radiation, not alpha or beta. The “Ocean Dream,” a 5.51 carat modified triangular brilliant by Cora Diamonds Corporation is a classic example of the magnificence of Mother Nature on a good day. Note: Green diamonds were used on a spectacular production scale when the Dallas Stars hockey organization used them in their NHL Stanley Cup rings manufactured by Diamond Cutters International.

Red Diamonds —Red diamonds are atop the food chain when it comes to the world’s most expensive bauble. Ranging upwards to $1milllion per carat, (“The Hancock Red” set a world’s record of $926,316 per carat) these rocks aren’t for the light of wallet or the impatient. Like the pinks, their atomic structure is imperfect. But, thank goodness, if nature hadn’t gone amok, we wouldn’t have the handful of samples available to study. There are currently clients that have been waiting over 15 years in line to get the next red when it hits the market.

Today, the biggest sellers are the yellows—from light fancy to fancy vivid in color. Pinks and blues are in hot pursuit with clients ranging from rap
singers like P. Diddy to Jennifer Lopez. In this town, its one thing to have the new pastel Louis Vuitton hand bag; it’s quite another to have the matching
ring to go with it!

by Fred Cuellar, author of the best-selling book “How to Buy a Diamond.” More questions? Ask the Diamond Guy®

The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, Fred Cuellar is one of the top diamond experts in the world, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred Cuellar
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