Though many people may not be aware of green diamonds, they happen to be some of the rarest and most sought-after stones in the world. The lack of public awareness has only been compounded by the confusion between green diamonds and emeralds. At first glance, the two stones look very similar, but they are actually quite different. If you’re considering a green stone for your next engagement ring or piece of jewelry, you should make sure that you’re well-versed in the different types of stones available to you.
So, this begs a few important questions. First and foremost, are there green diamonds found in nature? Are green diamonds real or fake? Finally, what does a green diamond look like? In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s clear up some of the most common misconceptions surrounding green diamonds.
What Is A Green Diamond?
As the name implies, a green diamond is simply a diamond that has either a natural or man-made green hue. In many cases, the green color is only present in the thin layer at the surface of the stone. This means that jewelers and diamond procurers must carefully plan how to cut the diamond to avoid removing the green coloration. Since natural green diamonds often have green only at the surface, the color is very subtle.
Due to the subtle hues of natural green diamonds, they are often modified by adding hints of other colors, most commonly blue and yellow. These variations can help enhance the natural color of the stone and even make it more attractive to consumers and collectors. That said, the most valuable green diamonds on the market are pure green, with absolutely no color modifications added.
Where Do Green Diamonds Come From?
Green diamonds can come from several different sources. Diamonds that develop a green hue naturally come from underground. During their formation, these stones are exposed to radioactive materials like uranium. This means that natural green diamonds often contain very small traces of these radioactive materials, though not enough to cause harm to humans.
But how does radioactivity turn diamonds green? As radioactive materials decay, they emit radiation capable of penetrating diamonds. The interaction between radiation and the carbon atoms changes the appearance of the diamond while it’s formed, particularly on the outermost layers of the stone. While diamonds that are completely green throughout the stone can occur in nature, they are incredibly rare. Instead, most naturally-green diamonds only have green coloration on the outside.
While natural irradiation is the most common cause of natural green diamonds, it is not the only cause. Defects in the structure of a diamond can also result in green discoloration, particularly if the diamond contains elevated levels of nitrogen or nickel. However, these defects are less common and do not always result in a uniform color over the entire surface of the stone.
It is also important to remember that green diamonds can be created outside of processes in nature. This is not to say that man-made green diamonds are less “real” than natural ones; they are simply not as rare. To create green diamonds, scientists simply replicate natural processes in a lab. Contrary to popular belief, green diamond treatment is not a new invention either. This practice dates all the way back to the late 19th century, though treatment methods have improved substantially over the last few decades.
Lastly, many manufacturers create synthetic green diamonds to imitate the look and feel of natural or lab-made diamonds. However, these are not real diamonds. As previously mentioned, lab-made or lab-altered diamonds replicate the same processes found in nature. Consequently, lab diamonds have the exact same makeup as naturally-occurring diamonds. This ensures that lab-made diamonds are still real diamonds. Alternatively, synthetic diamonds are fake, and therefore far less valuable — even if they have a green hue.
Are Green Diamonds Rare?
The short answer is yes; green diamonds are incredibly rare. But how rare are green diamonds? Even if your green diamond was made in a lab, it is still more valuable and rare than a white diamond due to the complexity of the processes involved. Only a very small percentage of diamonds are green, with an even smaller percentage of these diamonds actually being found in nature.
This rarity is only made more pronounced by the limited access to green diamond jewelry. Consumers will not find real green diamonds in most jewelry stores. In fact, most of the naturally-occurring green diamonds are displayed in museums around the world. For example, the famous Dresden Green Diamond is a 41-carat green diamond that was mined in India and has spent the majority of the last two centuries on display in its namesake city, Dresden, Germany.
The scarcity of natural green diamonds has also made them a prized possession among collectors and celebrities. One of the more famous examples is Jennifer Lopez, who got an 8.5-carat natural green diamond to celebrate her engagement with Ben Affleck in 2022. The ring is often cited as one of the rarest pieces of diamond jewelry in the world.
What Do Green Diamonds Symbolize?
While green diamonds are frequently celebrated for their rarity and value, they are not always discussed in terms of symbolism. This is because people typically associated green gemstones with emeralds. Nonetheless, all green stones (including green diamonds) represent a wide range of meanings, from wealth and opulence to youth and vitality.
The color green is often associated with the beauty of life, particularly as it pertains to the natural world. Nature is full of green colors, yet green diamonds are one of the rarest gemstones in the world. This gives green diamonds a unique significance as gemstones that represent both abundance and scarcity.
Green Diamonds Vs Emeralds
It is impossible to discuss green diamonds without bringing up emeralds. Generally, emeralds are considered rarer and more valuable than diamonds, but this is not the case with green diamonds. Green diamonds are so rare that they far surpass the value of most emeralds (with some exceptions based on size).
In any case, it is important to remember that green diamonds and emeralds may look similar, but they have completely different compositions. Diamonds are made of carbon that has been exposed to extremely high temperatures and pressure. Alternatively, emeralds are the name for stones made of a mineral called beryl. This mineral, in turn, is formed by chromium, vanadium, and iron. All of these components help give emeralds their signature green color.
Another significant difference between diamonds and emeralds is the ratio of weight to size. Emeralds are not as dense as diamonds, which means that a 5-carat emerald is larger than a 5-carat diamond, even though they weigh the exact same amount. However, if you’re in the market for green gemstones, both green diamonds and emeralds are rare, beautiful, and comparable in price.
We hope you found this guide on green diamonds both useful and informative! Are you in the market for green diamond jewelry? Do you want beautiful, certified lab diamond engagement rings at competitive prices? If so, be sure to check out the luxurious products available at Liori Diamonds today!