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Roses are red, diamonds are blue… and green…and yellow…..

Kathleen Taylor G.G.
(c)BetterThanDiamond.com, 2003

The mesmerizing blue of the Hope Diamond; the captivating allure of the Tiffany Yellow; the unique distinction of the Dresden Green; the inky depths of the Black Orloff. These are just a few of the famous, fancy colored diamonds whose very names inspire thoughts of intrigue and romance.  Royalty, socialites and movie stars, among other powerful people throughout history, have used diamonds as visible proofs of their importance and wealth - both to themselves and to others. The fact that a remarkably-sized diamond has a distinct hue adds to its uniqueness. But, what exactly gives gem diamonds their variety in coloration?  Is it possible to alter the hue of natural diamonds from their mined appearance to become visually more appealing?  Can we reproduce this effect in synthetic diamonds?

Many people are unaware that diamonds exist in a multitude of colors. To them, ‘colorless’ personifies what all diamonds are supposed to look like. But to truly appreciate the value of any diamond, especially a diamond with a “fancy” designation, an understanding of the color’s cause and origin is important.

The causes of color in diamonds has to do with the chemical composition and arrangement of atoms that form each diamond’s individual crystal structure. But before you can discuss how color occurs, you must first answer the basic question, “What is color?” 

Simply put, color is energy. Our color vision results from the interaction between light, external objects and our eyes.  Think of light passing through a prism.  It breaks up into a rainbow of different hues. Each hue has a different energy wavelength measurement. White light is made up of all those colors together in a balanced blend - one not stronger in intensity than any of the others.  When we see the color white, all the different wavelengths of colors are reflected back to our eyes equally.

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