Diamonds must be clear and colorless – that is one thing that everyone knows about diamonds. Or is it? While it is true that a ‘pure’ carbon-only, and therefore ‘proper’, diamond, with no impurities, blemishes or inclusions, will appear almost entirely transparent except for that evocative and unmistakable light-reflecting sparkle that makes a diamond so very special, there is a growing taste for colorful diamonds too.
How to Choose a Diamond Ring
The four Cs of diamond perfection are still important:
- Cut: The way the diamond is shaped, with light catching facets to increase the sparkle and reflectivity of the diamond
- Carats: Unlike in other areas, size does matter for diamonds, and as long as the stone has few or no inclusions, a bigger stone will cost exponentially more than a smaller one
- Clarity: Blemishes are marks, cracks, or flaws on the outside of the stone, while inclusions are the same inside the stone. Any flaws will affect the sparkle of the diamond, lowering the value and detracting from the beauty of the finished stone
- Color: Traditionally, diamond-lovers look for a stone that is as close to colorless as possible, so that the cut diamond will sparkle with its inner fire, reflecting back the world around it. In truth, however, a very good quality diamond, in D color, for example, which is as close to ‘perfect’ as one can get, is only discernible in test conditions, when it is placed, face down on a piece of pure white backing. As soon as the diamond interacts with other colors – gold, for example, flesh tones, other gemstones, etc. – an H-color stone is undistinguishable from a D-color stone, despite the fact that the latter will be twice the price of the former.
But bright, cheerful yellow diamonds are increasingly rising in popularity. In jewelry as in clothing, there are fashions, and the recent sight of bright yellow diamonds on celebrity outfits has seen a surge in demand for the colorful stones. Diamonds that have formed from carbon with a hint of another element can take on unique – and sometimes quite beautiful – colors, and they can be found in shades of pink and red, blue, green, brown, and yellow.
How Do Yellow Diamonds Form?
The brown and yellow diamonds are the most common colors, if ‘common’ can be applied to a phenomenon that occurs perhaps once in every one thousand diamonds. Nitrogen is responsible for the extra coloration of the diamonds, but it is not as simple as simply placing nitrogen in the vicinity of the carbon: the atoms must align themselves is certain ways as the crystals cool deep in the earth, in order for a pure clear color to show through.
Many yellow diamonds have a hint of another color mixed in with them – green, for example – making pure yellow rather rare, highly prized, and beautiful. Bright yellow diamonds are known variously as Canary diamonds, Cape diamonds or Zimmy diamonds (the latter named for the mine in Sierra Leone where the deepest natural yellow diamonds are found). The best yellow diamond ring would have a deep yellow hue, with perhaps a hint of orange, and these can be much more expensive than a colorless diamond of the same weight and clarity, being a much rarer stone, and thus a unique and gorgeous piece of jewelry.
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