Why are natural colour diamonds so rare?


A legend of Indian origin says that the diamond is the superior defender and is the sign of virility, wisdom, and other virtues. But, even if the diamond was associate with powerful symbolism, it was not so valuable as today, because of the lack of brilliancy. Ruby and emeralds were much more valuable before the Renaissance. Once new diamond shapes were discovered, the diamond took a prominent position in the history of precious gemstones and jewellery.

Today, diamonds are often associated with transparent gemstones. In the past, natural colour diamonds were already known as exceptional and rare diamonds. Blue, green, pink and even red natural colour diamonds are the most valuable gemstones in history. First and before the 18th century, the Golconda mine (now extinct) in India was the only mine which gave the most fabulous natural colour diamonds in history: the “French Blue”, the vivid yellow “Moon of Baroda” (owned by European Royalty and worn for a promotion campaign by Marilyn Monroe), The green “Dresden”, the French pink “Hortensia” diamonds have all a fascinating heritage. After the 18th century, new diamond mines were discovered and India wasn’t anymore the only source of natural colour diamonds.

But why are natural colour diamonds so rare? Since the 1930s, diamonds could be analysed by its chemical composition and are essentially composed of pure carbon. But many diamonds contain also other elements as nitrogen or boron, which were included during their natural formation. The chemical position of the diamond determines if the diamond has a natural colour or not. Specific diamond mines as in Brazil, South Africa, Guyana, Indonesia, Australia and Canada are some few mines which produce these natural colour diamonds.

The intensity of the natural colour is an important feature to evaluate precious gemstone. The more intense the colour is, the rarer and more valuable the natural diamond will be. It is said that only one of 10.000 mined diamond has such an intense colour or “Fancy colour”.

Unfortunately, not every natural colour diamond has such a vivid colour. Since the 18th century, when diamonds were extremely fashionable, jewellers used (coloured) foils to set under the diamond and improved the colour of the stone. Today, with modern methods of stone cutting and greater knowledge of gemmology, stones are selected or rejected for their quality and colour. It is legal (under supervision of sector organisations) and practised that precious gemstones -and thus also natural colour diamonds -are colour enhanced by heating or other techniques. An ethical conscious jeweller will always communicate about these features to his client. The choice of the jeweller to mix colour enhanced and natural colour gemstones is a question of rarity and design.

The natural colour diamond could never be confused with other intense colour gemstones, due to its brilliancy. For those who have ever seen natural colour diamonds in real, the rare emotion of excitement is an experience to never forget.

Text ©World Luxury Jewellers.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive updates on new creations.