The World of Color
Unlike traditional colorless diamonds, colored diamonds come in all sorts of colors. All diamonds are formed from carbon molecules deep in the Earth's core. Through heat and pressure, these carbon molecules turn into diamonds. Naturally colored diamonds get their color when other elements are trapped in this process. Different elements and concentrations of these elements provide different colors and hues. Below we take a tour and learn what creates each color.
Natural pink diamonds gain their appearance from subtle alignment changes in the carbon atoms of the diamonds. The scientific gemological term that describes this phenomenon is called “atomic distortion.” The arrangements of the atoms in the crystal from the heat and pressure in the earth will determine the color it becomes. This is the same structural anomaly that will cause a diamond to appear red, purple. or brown. Natural pink diamonds exist from pastel and blush shades like cherry blossom to strong saturation like strawberry. Pink diamonds can be modified by, orange, purple, brown and gray.
A majority of pink diamonds today come from the Argyle mine in Australia. Learn More about their rarity HERE
Yellow diamonds exist from a pale champagne yellow to the extreme of daffodil and sunshine. They account for the largest variety and selection of all the naturally occurring diamonds. They can also be found blending with modifying or secondary shades of brown, orange and green.
Yellow Diamonds are found in most diamond mines around the world. The biggest sources are South Africa, Australia, Canada, and Russia.
Yellow diamonds are caused by the element nitrogen that is captured in the carbon diamond structure during its development in the earth. The greater the amount of nitrogen in the right patterns the stronger the saturation and the appearance of the color.
Natural green diamonds slept for eons next to a radioactive element (uranium) which altered the diamond atomic structure to make it appear green. The proximity, strength of the radiation and length of time exposed will determine the strength of the saturation. A short time period would yield a pastel green color. A long period would yield a strong green color. Too long a period would turn the diamond black.
Natural green diamonds can be modified by yellow, blue and gray tones and can also be a pure mint color.
Green diamonds are found in various mines in Africa, Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana.
Natural blue diamonds are caused by the element boron caught in the carbon lattice that formed the diamond during its growth in the earth.
Depending on the amount of boron and its position in the carbon matrix, a blue diamond can appear sky blue, as a pale color to deep blue like the ocean.
Blue diamonds can have modifying colors and tones like green and gray.
For the past century, most natural blue diamonds have come from the Cullinan mine in South Africa. This must be an area that was not only rich in carbon but also boron atoms that were captured during the growth stage. The Golconda mine in India was the first place blue diamonds were discovered. The mine stopped yielding diamonds in the 17th century
Purple diamonds are also extremely rare. The cause of color is "atomic distortion" as are pink, red and brown diamonds. They are mostly found in Russia and possibly in Canada. This may be due to the conditions in the earth in the arctic region of the world where diamonds are found. Almost all purple diamonds are small in size (below 1 carat) and have imperfections that one might be able to see with the naked eye. Purple diamonds most often have modifying colors of pink, brown or gray.
Red or reddish natural color diamonds are one of the rarest colors that exist in nature. They can be modified by purple, orange and brown. These diamonds, like pink, purple, and brown, gain their appearance from subtle alignment changes in the carbon atoms of the diamonds. They mostly exist in sizes below one carat and only a few hundred are known to exist in the world. The largest documented red diamond is 5.11 carats, today known as the Moussaieff Red Shield.
This diamond was discovered in Brazil. The source of most of the red diamonds today is Brazil and the Argyle Mine in Australia.
Learn More about their rarity HERE
From subtle beige to rich cognacs, brown diamonds are the new classic. Their golden tones make them a softer, gentler alternative to the colorless diamond, and their neutral color makes them the perfect choice for fashion jewelry with a contemporary feel.
Brown diamonds gain their appearance from the subtle alignment changes in the carbon atoms of the diamonds from the heat and pressure in the earth. The scientific gemological term that describes this phenomenon is called “atomic distortion.” This is also the phenomenon that give the color appearance to red, pink, and purple natural color diamonds.
Brown diamonds are found in Africa, Australia, Brazil, and Russia.
The element Nitrogen is also the cause of color in orange diamonds. The difference is in how the nitrogen atoms have arranged themselves among the diamond's carbon atomic structure. The amount of nitrogen and their position in stone, and aggregates of nitrogen within the carbon, will determine the strength and purity of color. Natural orange diamonds are usually modified by yellow, brown and sometimes pink. Orange diamonds with no modifying of secondary color are extremely rare.