Did you know that diamonds are available in many different colors? Ever wondered how they are created? Of course many of them are produced in laboratory settings but I would like to tell about the little treasures mother nature creates.
Only one in 10,000 natural diamonds is a colored diamond. A diamond requires billions of carbon atoms to bond, and all of those atoms must be carbon to create a colorless diamond. Any other element in the mix and you get a colored diamond.
Red is the rarest diamond color and the most expensive. Red & Pink shades are thought to be due to changes to the electron structure during the diamond’s voyage to the surface. Nitrogen is suspected of being the modifier for orange diamonds. Yellow diamonds are very common. The yellow color comes from inclusion of nitrogen; nitrogen atoms are similar enough to carbon atoms that they easily take carbon’s place in the formation process.
Natural Green diamonds are very rare, with an estimated less than ten coming to market each year. While some green diamonds have a trace amount of nickel mixed into their carbon, the coloration in most green diamonds is due to the natural radiation from nearby rocks, which traps electrons to create a green surface color. Since the colored portion is the outer layer, some of the natural green is lost during polishing.
Boron is another element that is similar in size to carbon and can easily be found in trace amounts in a diamond. However, when boron is present and the level of nitrogen is very low, the boron gifts the diamond a Blue color. Other blue diamonds are unrelated to boron; nickel or high concentrations of hydrogen are the hypothetical causes of blue color in some diamonds.
Structural defects in the diamond lattice give Brown diamonds their color, as the defects absorb light. The presence of nitrogen can also give a diamond a brown hue.
Contrary to how most colored diamonds are formed, a Black diamond's color is not related to trace elements. Small inclusions of graphite and iron clusters create the “black” color. While other colored diamonds are transparent, the many inclusions in a black diamond means it is typically opaque. Black diamonds will not exhibit the fire and brilliance of a white diamond or transparent colored diamond.