Exquisite diamond jewelry is not limited to colorless or clear diamonds. Pieces of fine jewelry can also feature the vibrant or subdued tones of colored diamonds within their design. While structurally, a diamond is a diamond, the appearance of colored diamonds differs as a result of the environment in which they develop.
Anyone who seeks to shop jewelry needs to be aware, however, that there are naturally occurring and synthetically colored diamonds. Understanding the difference between the two is critical when selecting a piece of fine jewelry.
Coloration in diamonds
Diamonds come in every color of the spectrum. Conditions in the environment and the presence of specific minerals determine the shades of these gemstones. While all diamonds are basically carbon-based structures, the presence of other minerals during a stone's formation makes a difference. Nitrogen, for example, creates yellow, brown and some shades of pink in diamonds. Red, some green, violet and blue diamonds occur as a result of hydrogen atoms in their structure. If boron is present, gray-blue colored diamonds result.
Conditions in the environment can also create colored diamonds. Gamma radiation creates vibrant green diamonds, for example. It also creates physical defects in the diamond crystals that create coloration in other diamonds.
Natural versus synthetic coloration
Coloration can also be created synthetically. Diamonds with lower quality coloration, meaning otherwise clear diamonds with a yellow or brown hue, can be treated to create virtually any color. The coloration process can also be used on synthetic or man-made diamonds.
In addition to their differing origins, the value of natural and synthetically colored diamonds is not the same. Naturally occurring coloration is a rare thing. As a result, diamond jewelry featuring these stones is given greater value.
The smarter way to shop jewelry
When browsing a diamond jeweler's inventory, noting whether a stone has natural or synthetic coloration is an important part of the evaluation process. Since organically created coloration is not an everyday occurrence, fine jewelry that showcases these stones can be a better investment. Understandably, diamond jewelers' collections of naturally colored stones tend to cost more than their pieces featuring synthetically colored stones.
It can be confusing to evaluate diamond jewelry's quality while keeping in mind the amount you wish to spend. Diamond jewelers can be a helpful resource during the process and make it easier to find the highest quality diamond that is within your budget.