Green diamonds | Diamond color influenced by radiation

When you hear that green diamonds get their color from the radiation you might worry. There is, of course, no need. Green diamonds are nothing like kryptonite from the Superman universe; it has no adverse effects on the mind or body.

The green color of these diamonds can be attributed to the amount of radiation they were exposed to while being formed. This happened hundreds, maybe even millions of years ago; making the green diamonds harmless nowadays. 

Diamond color classification

Due to the unique origin of these colored diamonds, green diamonds aren’t able to be easily classified as most other diamonds. You might have heard of type Ib, type IaB and type II. This classification is made to reflect the way diamonds absorb infrared and ultraviolet light, which decides how we view their color purity. The source of color for green diamonds is irradiation which makes this classification less meaningful.

The color of emerald

While both emerald and green diamonds are green, the source of their color is completely different. Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl with ‘impurities’ caused by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. The origin of the color in emeralds and green diamonds are, therefore, miles apart.

Dresden green diamond

One of the most famous green diamonds is the Dresden diamond. The history of this diamond can be traced back to 1722 when Augustus III of Poland bought it from a Dutch merchant. Its name is derived from the German city Dresden where it has been displayed over the past two centuries. 

This rare green diamond – weighing 41 carats – has been set in a beautiful hat ornament with two other large diamonds and a total of 411 smaller diamonds. It can still be viewed in Dresden at the New Green Vault in Dresden Castle.

However, what makes this diamond truly special is its ability to identify synthetic diamonds. It’s often used to check if a green diamond is natural or manmade. 

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