Black Diamond Color and Treatment

Sandra Bullock flaunting the black diamond studs or Kim Kardashian getting a black diamond engagement ring from Kanye; Black diamonds are ‘The Thing’ in the fashion world.  Coveted for their rich black color and enigmatic sheen, like that of a shiny black Rolls-Royce, not all the mined black diamonds are black and as beautiful. Though naturally black untreated diamonds do exist but they are extremely rare therefore very expensive; as a result the not so perfect real diamonds are treated to alter the color, remove defects and improve the quality.

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Most black diamond jewelry sold today has treated black diamonds. Diamond color depends on the quantity and type of inclusions – graphite, pyrite or hematite. The color of the natural black diamonds may range from dull gray to almost colorless to milky to brown or “olive” green. These diamonds are therefore treated to obtain the black color.

Treatment Facts-

  • Most black diamonds available in the market have been treated.
  • Treated black diamonds are more affordable than their natural untreated counterparts.
  • Treatment is used to improve the diamond color, alter the diamond color, remove factures and other imperfections.
  • To know if the black diamond is treated simply view it under a strong maglite or fiber-optic light the edges will appear deep brown rather than black.
  • A 1.00 carat natural untreated-unheated AAA quality black diamond will cost between $2000-$2500 and a treated black diamond will cost around $900-$1300.

The most common treatments for black diamonds are Heat Treatment  and Irradiation.

Heat Treatment –

Polished or rough diamonds under this treatment is exposed to very high temperatures, almost burning them to change the color. The treatment is permanent and considered natural. Usually yellow or heavily included grey diamonds are heat treated that changes their color to almost black dark green. The diamond looks black but when viewed under the artificial light it appears green at the corners. This treatment is also used to remove the light brown or yellowish tint from the colorless diamonds. Depending on diamond the treatment is used either to enhance or alter the color. Heating can render the diamond brittle so should be protected from any harsh blows.

Irradiation – The process is used to physically alter the crystal lattice of the diamond to change its diamond color. The diamond is blasted with high-energy electron or neutron particles that relocate the carbon atoms thus altering the color. Usually blue, green and black diamonds are irradiated. The gemological labs can detect the treatment. Irradiation is often followed by heating to obtain the perfect color.

Irradiation Facts –

  • The amount of radiation in diamonds/gems is extremely small and absolutely safe to wear. Even the most irradiated Blue Topaz is absolutely safe. Read more
  • No proof found of irradiated diamonds/gems causing any health hazard or cancer.
  • The radiation continues to decay over the period of time, so the dose rate goes down.
  • Irrdaiation is only done to change the color of the stone, it does affect the clarity of the diamond.
  • Irradiated diamonds are 100% natural and real, the process only changes their appearance.
  • Diamonds are exposed to irradiation while still under the earth, which means all diamonds are irradiated.
  • Exposure to extreme heat may affect the color of the diamond though will not render it colorless in any way.
  • Irradiation was first done by a British scientist Sir William Crookes in 1904.

Treated black diamonds are more affordable and equally stunning as the untreated natural black diamonds. A treated black diamond engagement ring can cost you three-times less than the cost of a White Diamond engagement ring of the same carat. Black diamond studs, black diamond pendant or a black diamond stackable ring, make a pick.

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