Artificially coloured diamonds
There are several procedures that can be used to artificially change the colour of a diamond. Due to the high expense and often poor intensity of available natural fancy coloured diamond treated diamonds are able to fill a vital part of the diamond market. Most artificially coloured diamonds are produced using very cheap and otherwise unappealing diamonds. Artificially coloured diamonds can be created in a laboratory, irradiated or colour coated. The methods for colouring a diamond are often still very uncontrolled as to the final result but ultimately produce a more valuable diamond than what they had previously.
Colour Coated diamonds
THe cheapest and easiest way that a diamond can be coloured is for a coloured coating or film to be put over the surface of a diamond. This method let the diamond be specifically coloured to the exact requirements but is not considered to be a permanent colour change. They are very cheap and often cheaper than a regular white diamond and are probably best avoided unless used in costume jewellery. These diamonds are not available in large volumes in Australia but are found in the United States and on many overseas websites pushing cheap diamonds.
Created or man-made diamonds are now a reality of the diamond industry and make up about 0.5% of the industry. Although made in a laboratory they are perfectly real and there is no difference chemically or structurally to a natural diamond. They are generally about 65% of the price of a natural diamond and are being certified by diamond laboratories as created diamond which is really the only way to identify them. Good white diamond can now be created but most of the diamond created from this process are coloured. The exact colour created cannot be predetermined but there are many very nice fancy yellow and red diamonds produced. This is a permanently coloured diamond at an affordable price but is only sold through very small sources and are not current found in Australian retail stores.
Becoming a very popular option now in Australia is the range of coloured diamonds available created by the process of radiation treatment. This is a process copied from the natural formation of green coloured diamonds where radiation in the earth’s centre manipulates the crystalline structure of the diamond to produce the diamond’s colour. Scientists have found that by exposing less favourable coloured diamonds to the same radiation found deep under the earth’s surface the diamond’s colour can be enhanced to brighter and deeper colours of pink, blue, green, yellow and orange. Although the final result produced cannot be manipulated to exact specifications the colours produced are often better than natural coloured diamonds. These colours are stronger and brighter than natural coloured diamond and are often more marketable. Compared to natural diamonds there is an obvious difference as their resulting colours are very rarely found in natural coloured diamonds. The pinks are often have deep purple, blues are like a light sapphire colour with aqua green infusions and the yellow and orange diamonds have a deeper intensity. Although different to the natural diamond they have an every increasing market presence as they are a natural diamond and prices are more consistent with the prices being more consistent with white diamonds.
For people wanting to buy a coloured diamond but find that the prices of a natural fancy coloured diamond is out of their budget, radiated diamond are a great alternative.
Although often distinctively different in colour to the natural diamond colours irradiated diamonds are very marketable with very popular tones at drastically more affordable prices. With the improved awareness and popularity of coloured diamonds the irradiated enhanced diamonds have been the most accepted choice in Australia as they are a permanent colour change. Almost all natural fancy coloured diamonds come at quite a premium price especially the pink and blue diamonds that can be up to 100 times the price of a white diamond. With their increased market presence and pleasing strong colour tones irradiated diamonds are an affordable option with prices that are more consistent with a good quality white diamond. For people wanting to buy a coloured diamond but find that the price of a natural fancy coloured diamond is out of their budget, irradiated diamonds are a great alternative. The diamond’s colour will never fade or change colour and in most cases the colour is better than the natural alternative and it is a genuine diamond.
Although called radiation, the process is quite a safe form of diamond enhancement that has been developed to physically alter the diamond’s crystal lattice from bombardment by high energy particles. The irradiation process produces colours of green and blue then the diamonds are heat treated (annealed) to produce the shades of yellow, orange and pink. Heating increase the movement of carbon atoms which can help correct and even the defects created by the irradiation. The final colour will depend on the composition of the lattice structure and the time and temperature of the annealing process. Any radioactivity that the diamond emits will usually only occur for several hour after treatment.
HPHT Coloured diamonds
HPHT or High Pressure High Temperature coloured diamonds are natural diamonds that are heated under pressure in a laboratory to permanently change them from off white to fancy colours like: pink, green, yellow, orange and purple.
These are real diamonds that have be adjusted to improve their colour quality and provide an affordable range of fancy coloured diamonds that are often much better quality colours then what is created through irradiation. These created colours are much more difficult to identify the difference between them and natural coloured diamonds.
As these diamonds had a relatively small value prior to treatment they provide a great option for buyers looking for a cheaper alternative to natural fancy colour diamonds. It should also be a warning to people purchasing large and small coloured diamonds that they are getting natural diamond if paying a high price and where possible an international diamond certificate should be supplied.