There is a fascinating and beautiful variety of diamonds around the world, far beyond the traditional colorless stones that most people are familiar with.
If you’re interested in some of the rarest and most intriguing varieties, then you will want to know: what is a green diamond called?
This article will give you all the information you need to know about these lush and vibrant precious stones, including the different names that they are known by and how you can tell them apart from more common emeralds.
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How Are Green Diamonds Described?
It can be a little confusing to research and explore the world of diamonds sometimes, particularly when it comes to all of the terminology that is involved.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the different ways that green diamonds are referred to.
Green diamonds can go by the names:
- Green Diamonds
- Green Colored Diamonds
- Green Fancy Color Diamonds
- Green Fancy-Colored Diamonds
- Natural Green Diamonds (Those that have naturally formed with green coloring)
- Chameleon Diamonds (A variety that appears to change color under different conditions)
There are also quite a number of different shades, hues, and secondary colors that can be included in a green diamond, which we will detail a little later on.
What Are Green Diamonds?
So, what exactly are these luscious stones? Green diamonds are exactly what their name describes: they are true and genuine diamonds that have a green coloration.
They belong to a family of diamonds most commonly known as “fancy color diamonds”. This term refers to any diamonds that have formed with a distinct and noticeable color, and there are more varieties than most people are aware of.
Fancy color diamonds can be green, blue, pink, purple, orange, yellow, and many other shades besides, and they are all rarer and more valuable than traditional colorless stones.
How Are Green Diamonds Made?
Diamonds can sometimes develop a unique or distinctive color to them but, interestingly, these colors don’t always appear for the same reason.
Some colors occur because of an additional trace element that is within the stone as it forms (such as boron, which gives the stone a blue color). Other colors may be the result of shear pressure or post-growth influences of some kind.
When it comes to green diamonds, their color actually comes from radiation. This most often happens when the stones develop in rock that contains a small amount of radioactive material – like thorium or uranium. Over time, the radiation will affect the carbon atoms in the stone and introduce a green color.
Due to the fact that this color comes from an external source, these diamonds will generally have a stronger outer layer of the green color, with that hue being less distinct towards the center.
This makes it complicated to cut and shape naturally-occurring green diamonds without removing too much of the layer that contains the strongest coloration.
Are All Green Diamonds Naturally Occurring?
While green diamonds do occur naturally, it is an extremely rare phenomenon, with less than 0.1% of all diamonds exhibiting a pure green hue.
There are, however, other ways for green diamonds to be formed. Scientific methods for growing diamonds in a laboratory have been developed over the years, and there are even ways to introduce a desired color during the process.
To make green diamonds the stones are usually exposed to radiation, which is a practice that has been used since the 1940s to turn colorless or yellow diamonds green.
This can be done to natural diamonds or those that have been created in a lab.
Are Green Diamonds Radioactive?
Although the color of a green diamond is due to exposure to radiation, the stones themselves do not contain radioactive material, and precautions are taken to make sure their radiation level is as safe as possible.
All green diamonds that are irradiated in the United States actually need to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and stored securely until their radioactivity is well below safe levels.
What Colors Do Green Diamonds Appear In?
Even between individual green diamonds, there is a surprising amount of diverse shades and tones.
Most stones are differentiated by the strength of the green color that is present, and the diamond industry generally categorizes them as:
- Faint Green
- Very Light Green
- Light Green
- Fancy Light Green
- Fancy Green
- Fancy Intense Green
- Fancy Dark Green
- Fancy Deep Green
- Fancy Vivid Green
Truthfully, though, these categories cannot fully cover the nuanced variety of different colors that green diamonds encompass.
They can have a yellowish-green, rich dark green, or blueish-green hue, and they often display secondary colors of gray, brown, yellow, or blue as well.
Are Green Diamonds The Same As Emeralds?
To the untrained eye, it can be easy to mistake a green diamond for an emerald or assume that these are simply alternative names for the same type of stone.
In reality, they are actually two very different things.
- Emeralds are the quintessential green gemstone, and they are a type of beryl that contains trace amounts of chromium or vanadium.
- Green diamonds are true diamonds, which means they are a solid form of carbon that is arranged in a crystal structure. Their green color is due to radiation exposure.
This means that the stones are fundamentally formed in different ways, and from different materials. They also have quite different properties.
Green diamonds sparkle but emeralds don’t, emeralds are typically a much more vivid green color, and green diamonds are tougher, more valuable, and less cloudy.
Colorless Diamonds vs Green Diamonds Price
To understand just how much these rare and beautiful stones are worth, we can compare them to the value of traditional colorless diamonds.
As a natural green color is much rarer, it usually means that the cost of the stone will be higher.
Colorless diamonds typically sell for between $4,000 and $8,000 per carat (depending on the features), whereas the cost of a natural green diamond will usually vary dramatically based on the intensity of the color.
|Color Intensity||Price Range per carat|
|Faint Green||$5,000 – $10,000|
|Light Green||$10-000 – $20,000|
|Fancy Green||$50,000 – $100,000|
|Vivid Green||$200,000 – $300,000|
Many other factors will also affect the value of the stone, including the other major characteristics besides color: the carat, the cut, and the clarity.
What Are The Most Famous Green Diamonds Called?
There are a couple of very famous green diamonds that are known all over the world.
- The Aurora Green Diamond: A 5.03-carat green diamond with a vivid green color that is the biggest of its kind to be sold. It fetched a price of over $16 million at auction in 2016.
- The Dresden Green Diamond: Named after the capital of Saxony where it is displayed at Dresden Castle, this is a rare Type IIa that some claim is potentially flawless.
So, what is a green diamond called? Green diamonds are known by a few different names, including green colored diamonds, green fancy color diamonds, and green fancy-colored diamonds.
They are genuine diamonds that have been exposed to radiation, which introduces their distinctive color.
Green diamonds are very rare and highly valuable – and they are not to be confused with the more well-known but less sought-after emerald.
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