Why Do Diamonds Have Color?

When we think of diamonds, we often think of the sparkly bright white transparent diamonds adorning divas like Marilyn Monroe. But did you know that colored diamonds also exist? They are so rare that only 1 in 10,000 diamonds is a colored diamond. What makes one diamond have color and another to be colorless? The answer lies deep beneath the surface where diamonds form.

To make a colorless diamond carbon atoms need to bond, and there can be no impurities or structural defects. The trip to the surface must be perfect, pretty impressive when you take into account that the trip to the surface is a deep seated volcanic eruption. A colored diamond gets to the surface the same way, but it has other elements mixed in.

This mixing of other elements or structural deformities that give color to a diamond are incredibly rare.  And they are stunning. A colored diamond on your finger or around your neck shows that you value something that nature has worked hard to produce.

When a trace amount of Boron absorbs red light during the formation of a diamond, and when the nitrogen content is low, the hue of the diamond is blue. Gorgeous no matter what the color, color does come into play when it comes to cost. Different blues fetch different prices.  Nickel and high amounts of hydrogen can also make blue diamonds ,

Yellow diamonds are a little more common and might be a great place to start if you are just entering the colored diamond market. They are less rare because nitrogen and carbon are similar and nitrogen easily takes the place of carbon during the formation process. Orange is also thought to be caused by nitrogen infusion.

Wouldn’t you like to have a purple diamond? I know I would. But they are also incredibly rare. Actually they are the second rarest diamond in the world. It is thought they are formed due to post growth plastic deformation on the way to the surface via magma. Most are pale purple yet some are strongly colored. They are all strikingly beautiful.

Green diamonds have an interesting origination. They occur when radiation from nearby rocks trap electrons in the diamond. This gives green diamonds a range of greens from light to deep. No matter how the diamonds are formed they are beautiful and rare, a good investment as well as a fashion statement.

Red is the most expensive diamond color as well as the rarest. Only 20 to 30 true red diamonds are said to exist and of those most are small, being under half a carat. Most people will never be able to see a red diamond in their lifetime. Unlike diamonds that get their color from impurities, red diamonds are pure carbon- just like colorless diamonds. They get their color through a deformation in their atomic structure.

A fun fact is that 90% of pink diamonds are found in the Argyle mine in Northwestern Australia. They are thought to originate from changes in the electron structure on the way to the surface.

Brown diamonds absorb light due to structural defects. Champagne diamonds are light brown and Cognac diamonds are a darker brown. Paired with rose gold, they make a gorgeous combination and are great to wear to a cocktail party.

Grey diamonds can be made from trace instances of Boron, or they can be black diamonds that are just not totally saturated.

Perhaps the most interesting diamond in the diamond world are the black diamonds. Unlike transparent and colored diamonds they do not sparkle and they are not transparent. Instead they are opaque. But they are every bit as stunning

So whether you are looking for an investment piece, something to show off to friends, or a treasured heirloom to pass down for generations, colored diamonds are a great way to go.