Fancy Colored Diamonds: Information On Natural Versus Synthetic Colored Diamonds


If you have been thinking about buying or wishing for a fancy colored diamond read this article first! Colored diamonds are the next big trend in jewelry design. The spectrum of colors is as big as your imagination. Choosing what’s right for you can be overwhelming in today’s diamond market. This article will address a few important factors to consider when buying a fancy colored diamond for yourself or a loved one. Most important is knowing the differences between colored diamonds that are formed naturally and ones that are man-made.

Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds
Diamonds colored naturally are very rare and fetch very high prices. There are three ways in which colored diamonds are formed by nature. The first method is when a foreign element is introduced to the carbon material that a diamond is made from. For example, nitrogen can cause a diamond to have yellow or orange hues while boron can make it blue. The second method is when pressure compresses the carbon and creates a red, pink or purple hue. Lastly, natural radiation deep in the earth generates diamonds with colors of green or blue. Green, red and purple diamonds are considered very rare and command high prices. Indeed, there are only six naturally formed red diamonds currently in the market. One can only imagine the prices these stones will fetch. Natural fancy colored diamonds are so rare that there exist at least 10,000 colorless stones for each colored stone.

Synthetic or Treated Fancy Colored Diamonds
Fancy colored diamonds can also be man-made in labs. There are a variety of methods used to color diamonds. Some of these stones are purely synthetic, meaning they were totally created in a lab to simulate the properties of a real diamond. They are formed from carbon just like the real thing. However, these stones can be formed in a matter of weeks where as it takes thousands of years for natural diamonds to be formed. These type of synthetic diamonds are so similar to the real thing that only high tech equipment can detect subtle differences in the crystal formations within the stone to know they are fake.

Another man-made method to produce fancy colored diamonds involves irradiating a natural diamond that possesses an unattractive color. Irradiation is a process in which a diamond is exposed to a source of radiation that changes the position of atoms within the stone thus causing its color to change.

Treated or synthetic diamonds may look very appealing to the consumer because of the price and uniformity of color; however, these diamonds have no value to the serious buyer and have little resale value. Therefore, if you are purchasing a colored diamond for investment it is vital to obtain certification from the diamond seller. The certificate should come from a reputable laboratory and contain the origin of the stone and the natural origin of the stone’s color.

Diamond Certification and the Four C’s of Diamond Buying
Grading colored diamonds presents another set of unique issues for the buyer. Colorless diamonds are graded on the four C’s: Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color. Colored diamonds are also valued based upon the four C’s but another factor weighs most heavily on the value of a fancy colored diamond. This factor is based upon the hue and rarity of the color. Indeed a rare fancy color will garner a much higher price than a colorless diamond of many more carats. Colored diamonds have three characteristics by which they are graded. These are hue, tone and saturation. Hue refers to the dominant color of the stone, tone refers to the light within the stone and saturation refers to the intensity of the hue. Be sure to look for these factors on the diamond certificate.

Having knowledge about the differences between natural and synthetic colored diamonds will help you to choose the diamond that’s right for you. One thing is certain, in today’s marketplace jewelry designers are using fancy colored diamonds to create beautiful and unique designs that consumers want to own.

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