Gemstones and Jewelry


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Add a Touch of Blue This Season

Colored Diamond Guide:  How to Buy Colored Diamonds

What is a Colored Diamond?

There are actually two types of colored diamonds – natural colored diamonds, which are very rare and color-enhanced/color-treated diamonds – white diamonds in which color has been imbued via HPHT (high pressure, high temperature) or other methods.icon

iconNatural colored diamonds, usually in shades of pink, blue or brown, are called ‘fancy diamonds’ and while white diamonds are graded on their colorlessness (the more colorless the diamond, the more valuable the diamond), fancy colored diamonds are graded on the intensity of their color.  According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), 10,000 colorless diamonds are discovered and mined for every 1 natural fancy color diamond.


How are Natural Color Diamonds Graded? 

GIA grades natural color diamonds on three factors:  hue (the diamond’s color), tone (the lightness or darkness of the color) and saturation (the strength or weakness of the color).  The GIA color grading system encompasses 27 different diamond hues and is used worldwide.

What is the Value of Natural Colored Diamond Jewelry?  

Of course it depends upon the individual diamond and its other characteristics but in general, brown and yellow colored diamonds are less rare and therefore less valuable than fancy pink, blue or green diamonds.  The rarest and most valuable of natural colored diamonds is red.

Most of Colored Diamond Jewelry is Color-Enhanced

Lets face facts:  There aren’t many of us that can plop down $100,000 for a natural blue icon diamond ring.  And no, that price isn’t made up.  Do an internet search for “natural color blue diamond.”  There’s a lovely site with out-of-this-world gorgeous natural color diamond jewelry and the price referenced above is for a GIA-certified 1.04 carat natural blue-green diamond ring, VS2 clarity (Very Slightly Included).  And that ring was one of the cheap ones.  And we rounded that price down.

Should I Buy a Color-Enhanced or Color-Treated Diamond Jewelry?  Which Diamond Color Treatment Method is Best? 

If you crave colored diamond jewelry, by all means you should consider color-treated or color-enhanced diamond jewelry.  It’s beautiful, it’s affordable and it’s probably what most people are flashing when they’re showing off their colored diamond jewelry!

There are four prominent color treatments for diamonds:


HPHT – High Pressure, High Temperature – the most well-known and prevalent treatement process.

CVD – Chemical Vapor Deposition

Irradiation – Radiation treatment, most commonly found on blue, green and black diamonds.

Surface Coating – Diamonds are layered with a surface coating of color.  As the name implies, it is the least desirable, least lasting color treatment method.

We’re not going to go into all the ins-and-outs of these color treatment methods; leave that to the gemologists.  Suffice it to say that HPHT, CVD and irradiated color treatments are all very stable, meaning the color of your color-treated or color-enhanced diamond isn’t going to wear away with everyday use. 

The only real cautionary note to add is this:  If you purchase color-treated diamond jewelry and need to have the jewelry repaired, resized or otherwise worked on in the future, be sure to let your jeweler know that the diamond is color treated.  Exposure to intense heat could affect your color-treated diamond and your jeweler will need the information in order to decide how to proceed with any repairs or altering to your color-treated diamond jewelry.

By now hopefully you know about purchasing Certified Diamonds so we won’t reiterate the hows and whys of the process.  Any reputable fine jewelry dealer is going to proclaim their certified diamond jewelry loud and long and clear (it’s THAT important as a selling point).  You’re after full disclosure in your diamond jewelry purchases, whether we’re talking about flawless diamonds, natural color diamond jewelry or color-treated diamond jewelry.  Proceed with eyes wide open, get written provenance on your diamond’s quality and if you see discount prices on ‘natural’ colored diamond jewelry that are unbelievable, don’t believe ‘em.

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