All The Colors Of The Rainbow

Diamonds come is all the colors of the rainbow, and more… While it’s true that most people think of diamonds as being clear and colorless (or “white”), tiny imperfections and “foreign bodies” present in most diamonds result in there being many different colors and hues – from clear and all the way through to black diamonds.

These tiny flaws, known as inclusions, were present at the start of the diamonds creation, many millions of years ago. They can be minute quantities of trace elements or of chemicals that affect the way in which light passes through the diamond giving it a specific color or hue.

There exist two diamond color ranges, each with its own, internationally accepted standard specific measurement scale:

The White To Yellow Scale

The Normal Color Scale is the accepted color measurement standards in use across the world.This scale starts from D (clear or white diamonds which are a rarity and command very high prices) and goes on to Z (yellow/brown). In general terms, the closer a diamond’s color grading to D, so the more valuable it is. As the letter grading increases, this shows an increased presence of color. Having said that some of the color differences are extremely subtle and may even be invisible to the naked eye.However, a diamond’s color grading is part of its Gemological Laboratory certificate. The vast majority of diamonds mined fall within this color scale

Fancy Colored Diamonds

This term is used to describe all diamonds that have a normal color grading that would exceed Z, the highest. Unlike the normal color scale where value is the result of lack of color, with fancy colored diamonds, the deeper the color (and its rarity) can have a powerful impact on its values.

Fancy colored diamonds can be found in a range of colors and hues including red, yellow, green, pink, blue, and even black. However, fancy colored diamonds are very rare, a fact which can contribute to their final value.

How does a natural fancy color diamond get its color?

It takes millions of years of heat and pressure to form a diamond. A fancy colored diamond is the result of the normal diamond creation process but one in which tiny variations in environmental conditions can affect the diamond’s final color.

  • Minute quantities of trace elements can affect the diamond’s color. For example, quantities of nitrogen provide a yellow color – the more nitrogen, the deeper the yellow. Blue diamonds’ get their color from traces of boron, again, the greater the concentration of boron, the deeper the color.
  • Varying degrees of background radiation present during the process of the diamond’s creation process can also result in color changes. A green diamond, for example is the result of radiation displacing carbon atoms in the diamond’s structure. However, the green color is usually confined to the diamond’s surface which is why most cutters intervene as little as possible when cutting a green diamond.
  • Changes to the diamond’s electron structure (also known as plastic deformation) as it moves from the earth’s mantle closer to the surface can also affect its color. Some scientists say that this is what gives purple and pink diamonds their color.
  • Structural defects which absorb light in a brown diamond’s lattice give it its brown hue.
  • Black diamonds are the result of minute inclusions of graphite and iron which give this diamond its deep, opaque black color. Black diamond’s lack the fire and brilliance of white or transparent diamond and are more susceptible to fracture when cutting which is why most are classified for industrial use only.