Colored diamonds are high fashion nowadays. The trend for wearing them started on the celebrity Red Carpet, and when A-list figures, such as Jennifer Lopez and Victoria Beckham received pink diamond engagement and eternity rings, interest peaked. And where the celebrities go, everyday fashion follows. But most colored diamonds these days do not have celebrity price tags. This is because they are normally treated by irradiation and temperature. So does this mean they are fake diamonds?
Although most diamonds are colorless, fancy colored diamonds do form naturally in the Earth’s crust. But they are incredibly rare. Natural fancies get their color hues from different trace elements present within the crystal structure of the diamond. Trace nitrogen produces yellow diamonds. Other trace elements produce different colors including red, green, yellow, orange, blue, pink, purple and violet as well as many shades in between, and the color can be intense (saturated) or faint.
But their very rarity makes natural fancies prohibitively expensive for many. In fact some of the most famous diamonds in the world are natural fancies. The fabled Hope diamond, for example, is one of the most perfect examples of a blue diamond. The Tiffany diamond is yellow. Both are priceless.
To satisfy the demand for the stunning look of a fancy, but at more affordable prices, gemologists have pioneered techniques to enable them to create affordable gemstones. This is now normal practice for most colored diamonds found in jewelry today. The process is known as color enhancement and involves treating clean diamonds with a combination of irradiation and safe electron accelerator technology (intense heat) to replicate exactly the process by which Mother Nature forms fancy diamonds, only much quicker! This process enhances natural diamonds to intense hues but does not alter, dissipate or hide internal flaws.
The process yields a myriad of stunning colors including blue, green, red, orange, yellow, pink, purple and black diamonds, all of which are considered permanent.
These are real, mined diamonds, which have been treated with exactly the same conditions radiation and high temperature conditions that would have produced a natural fancy in the Earth’s crust. They are in every sense, real diamonds. The real beauty and popularity of these gemstones lies in the fact that they combine the unmistakable dazzle and brilliance of a diamond with the color saturation of colored gems, like rubies and emeralds.
However, there are laboratory created faux fancies too, where the diamond crystal was grown in a laboratory and not mined. So when you shop for colored diamond jewelry ask about the origin of the gemstones, and check the certificate of origin to verify authenticity. Make sure you know what you are buying.