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Colored diamonds have captivated humanity for centuries with their unique beauty and extreme rarity. In contrast to the white diamonds we all know, these dazzling crystals have their own distinct personality defined by their color. With exquisite hues ranging from fiery red to royal blue, and including green and pink, colored diamonds are a coveted gemstone in the market for their scarcity and unparalleled value.
The color in diamonds is due to the presence of specific chemical elements in their composition, mainly nitrogen, boron, or other minerals. These elements can naturally be incorporated during the diamond formation underground, giving rise to the most sought-after natural colored diamonds. However, they can also be artificially added in laboratory processes to produce treated or synthetic colored diamonds.
Natural diamonds absorbed these elements while forming hundreds of millions of years ago under high pressures and extreme temperatures inside the Earth. These harsh conditions precisely explain the extreme rarity of finding diamonds with intense or vivid colors created naturally.
As mentioned earlier, the incorporation of elements such as nitrogen and boron is crucial in forming the fascinating colors of these diamonds. The process is mainly due to structural defects produced when these atoms, not belonging to pure carbon, lodge in the diamond's crystal lattice while it gestates underground.
Each of the chemical elements or other impurities incorporated naturally contributes to the appearance of specific colors. For example, nitrogen often produces yellow or brown hues, while boron is responsible for exquisite pink and red shades. Meanwhile, iron or titanium impurities give rise to characteristic blue or gray tones.
Given that extraordinary geological conditions are required for this to happen, most diamonds lack any color. That's why the few that exhibit intense colors, especially red, blue, or green, are highly coveted and valued pieces.
There are three main categories of colored diamonds that are important to distinguish: natural, treated, and synthetic or lab-created. Natural diamonds are the most valuable and scarce because their unique colors are solely the result of the geological conditions under which they formed.
Treated colored diamonds are originally colorless crystals. Through various technological processes, artificial color is introduced to them in specialized laboratories. Finally, there are manufactured or cultivated colored diamonds created entirely in labs, mimicking geological processes. Despite looking similar to natural diamonds, they lack their singularity and value.
To assess their authenticity, it is essential to turn to independent diamond certification institutions such as GIA or IGI. They issue reports confirming whether a colored diamond is natural, treated, or synthetic based on an analysis of its internal composition.
There are also various types of diamonds determined by their nitrogen content, whether Type Ia, Type Ib, Type IIa, or Type IIb, which define their rarity. However, this applies to both white diamonds and those with fantastic colors.
Undoubtedly, the intensity and vibrancy of colors are the most determining factors in the rarity and value of colored diamonds. There are certain specific tones that stand out above others in the exceptional world of these exquisite gems. We're talking about red, blue, pink, green, and orange diamonds.
The most coveted and scarce color in the realm of diamonds is unquestionably red. This is produced by the presence of the chemical element boron, which acts during the diamond formation, creating the exquisite red hue. Due to requiring extraordinary geological conditions that seldom occur in nature, specimens of this type are extremely rare. In fact, only about 20% of all existing red diamonds are natural.
Just below red in terms of rarity are the elegant blue diamonds. Resulting from contamination by iron or titanium elements, they possess a spectacular color reminiscent of the mysterious ocean. While not as extraordinarily scarce as red diamonds, vivid blue tones are extremely challenging to find and command unparalleled prices. Superior specimens can reach several million dollars per carat.
With their exceptional beauty and eternal youth, pink diamonds are favorites among many celebrities. Their striking pink color, also derived from the presence of boron, makes them worthy of being set in the most lavish jewelry. The exact shades of these vibrant pink diamonds can vary from soft pale tones like seashells to intense fuchsia colors that take your breath away. While more available compared to red or blue diamonds, pieces with extraordinary characteristics are extremely scarce and exorbitantly expensive.
Not as revered as red, blue, or pink diamonds, enigmatic green diamonds possess their own irresistible and mystical charm. Their peculiar color is caused by natural radiation emitted by uranium atoms near specific diamond mines. The attractive green color can range from bright emeralds to more subdued olive tones. Regardless of the shade, every green diamond evokes an irresistible fascination for nature, and those with vivid tones and high purity are extremely coveted in the world.
Finally, with their vibrant and warm tone reminiscent of exotic sunsets, there are orange-colored diamonds. This unusual color is due to the deformation of the crystal structure caused by the presence of nitrogen. Although more common than the previous colors, high-purity and vivid orange pieces are fabulously coveted and can reach six-figure prices per carat in auctions.
Assessing natural colored diamonds involves a complex process that integrates several key factors. Naturally, priority is given to the rarity of the color, as well as its intensity and specific tone. It is also vital to consider qualities such as purity, cut, and carat weight of the crystal.
The purer, better-cut, and larger the diamond, the higher its value. Therefore, a one-carat red, blue, or green gem with visible impurities and a poor cut will have a much lower price than a 10-carat one with high purity and impeccable cut, even if they share the same precious tone.
That's why, when appraising these gems, international specialized institutions such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI) are consulted. Through rigorous analyses, they precisely determine the exact color of the gem, as well as other critical aspects to define its final value.
These characteristics are documented in a Report or Certificate issued by the institution, serving as an unequivocal "identity card" for the colored diamond.
When it comes to investments in gemstones, colored diamonds are exceptionally valuable and reliable assets. Unlike traditional white diamonds that abound in the market, fancy or fantastic colored diamonds are extraordinarily scarce. This, coupled with a constantly growing demand for these magnificent jewels, causes their value to constantly skyrocket, well above inflation and even assets like gold or silver. In just the last decade, iconic pieces like the Graff Pink Diamond or the Wittelsbach Blue Diamond have set historical records in international auctions.
And since the natural reserves of these gems in the world are finite, everything indicates that extraordinary colored diamonds will continue to increase their value by leaps and bounds over the years. That's why collectors and experts affirm that investing in these jewels today guarantees significant gains for the future.
Recently, scientific advances have allowed for the creation of colored diamonds in specialized laboratories through artificial growth processes.
Using technologies like Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), it is now possible to cultivate crystals identical to natural ones by incorporating elements that produce desired colors: yellows, pinks, blues, etc.
They even have the same physical and chemical properties as a diamond extracted from a mine. However, the significant difference lies in lacking the uniqueness that only Mother Nature provides. Each natural diamond has an unrepeatable identity with a geological history of hundreds of millions of years.
It is this exclusivity that will always make native diamonds truly extraordinary, unique, and coveted by generations of collectors and beauty lovers.
At Albert Hern, we only trade in natural diamonds of ethical origin, ensuring that their brilliance never fades. Thank you for joining us on this journey through the rarest diamond colors and their context. If you're interested in following this topic, follow us on our blog, and don't forget to check out our diamond catalog.