There’s a lot of out there about diamonds – what’s more important, carat or color, cut of clarity. What about artificial diamonds (they’re not really diamonds but…)? Is there a special type of diamond for an engagement ring or wedding band? But the simple fact is that, the best diamond to buy is the one that you like the best and that is within your budget.
Having said that, because we are asked by so many of our clients about this, we decided to provide a brief background to the main qualities of a diamond. But don’t worry, if you still have questions at the end, talk to us and we’ll do everything we can to help.
All natural diamonds are created close to the center of the earth where immense heat and pressure transforms carbon into a precious, beautiful diamond (after its cut and polished of course). This is a process that takes thousands of years and sometimes, small particles of foreign materials trapped inside the stone when it is being formed or a slight distortion causes the final polished diamond to take on a spectacular color and hue.
Many basically white diamonds can exhibit some color variations caused by minor imperfections in the stone. About one in every 10,000 diamonds is a natural or, as known in the trade, a “fancy” colored diamond.
Colored diamonds can be found in five main colors. Each one can occur in many different hues and shades which is why you may often hear of brown, scarlet or even black diamonds.
Heat and pressure causes carbon to crystalize, forming a diamond. Sometimes, the crystal matrix of the raw stone is distorted causing the stone to absorb lights green wavelength which, in turn, makes the stone appear red or take on a red shade.
All color properties are imparted to the stone during its creation. With a blue diamond, microscopic amounts of boron are trapped inside the raw stone. Red, yellow and green wavelengths are absorbed from the light passing though the diamond causing the stone to appear in varying shades of blues according to the level of boron in the stone.
Over the centuries, the raw diamond is slowly pushed from the earth’s core towards the surface. Close (relatively) to the earth’s surface, the stone may absorb naturally occurring radiation which gives it a green appearance.
Naturally occurring nitrogen atoms within the diamond are aligned, by pressure and heat, into a specific formation that absorbs blue light and reflects yellow or orange light.
The purple or violet hues of some diamonds are also caused by distortion to the stones crystal structure during formation. However, research also suggests that minute traces of hydrogen trapped inside the stone may also contribute to the color and shade.
NOTE: Be aware that it is possible to alter a diamonds natural color using one of four techniques: irradiation, coatings, heat and pressure and fracture filling (this last is still a relatively new technique). Altered diamonds will cost significantly less than a pure colored diamond and are a great choice if you have a budget (and who doesn’t). Check your diamonds Gemology certificate to see if the diamond is enhanced and to be sure that you’re not being charged for a pure colored stone.
One of the world’s leading gemology labs responsible for examining and issuing each diamond’s unique ID (gemology certificate), uses two diamond color scales to classify each diamonds color.
A white diamond can contain imperfections or impurities that give it a faint color (usually yellow to brown). GIA grades white diamonds on a scale of D through to Z with D, E, and F being stones where color differences can only be seen by a trained gemologist and, at the lower end of the scale, S through Z being stones that have excessive color and carry a lower price.
Fancy (natural) colored diamonds are graded on a scale of 1 to 9 which signifies color intensity. Unlike the white diamond grading system, a higher value indicates a higher color intensity and gives the stone a greater value.
We already said that colored diamonds come in many different hues (the GIA color scale includes 27 different shades of color) and so this scale also measures hue, tone and saturation to give the diamond its final classification.
Hue - refers to the dominant color of the diamond. As we said, there are 27 in total.
Tone - defines how light or dark the diamond’s color is and ranges from Very Light (1) to Very Dark (7)
Saturation – refers to how much color is present in the stone and includes six grades from Fancy Light to Fancy Vivid.
That’s a lot of technical information, but if you you’re buying a diamond, either for yourself or someone special in your life – then technical stuff may not be that important. The diamonds size, its shape (cut), its looks and what it signifies are what usually count.
So, since we’re talking about color, what does the color of a diamond signify?
The Significance of Color
Obviously, the way we relate to any color is subjective – we’ll react differently to the color of a rival soccer team’s kit that to that of our team’s kit.
But, there are traditional meanings to diamond colors. Here are just a few.
Red symbolizes confidence, stability and strength. For the Chinese, it also means good luck.
Pink is the color of creativity, love and romance.
Orange represents vitality and passion.
Yellow signifies friendship, happiness and joy.
Green is the color or richness, wealth and nature.
Blue is the color of harmony, spirituality and good health.
Black diamond’s represent sophistication.
Purple is the color of nobility and royalty, of luxury.
Brown is connected to nature and the Earth and represent and harmony and tradition.
We hope that you found this article enjoyable, informative and helpful. Our goal is to help you better understand the world of diamonds so that when you purchase your Couplez’s diamond jewelry, you’ll be confident and informed.