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There are many reasons diamonds have been loved for centuries. Their durability coupled with the brilliance of colorless diamonds has made them an unusually sought-after commodity. For those looking for a bit of color, there are Fancy Color Diamonds, which are found in all of the colors of the rainbow.
While pure colors do exist, it’s much more common to find stones with secondary colors (ie, orangey-yellow). In any case, whether a pure color or a color combination, a diamond’s color won’t change.
An often overlooked aspect of the whole marketing campaign of ‘diamonds are forever’ is in fact that a diamond’s appearance lasts forever – it never changes. It might get dirty, but if you give the stone a good cleaning it will be just as beautiful as it was the day it was first purchased.
This is the case with every natural diamond other than the chameleon.
Those seeking something a little bit less permanent might want to consider the chameleon diamond. While the base color is an olive tone like this 1.07ct cushion cut, there are multiple hues. Unlike any other diamond that exists, this variety is a diamond that changes color temporarily, hence the name. It is, needless to say, very unusual and unique.
The Color Change
A color changing diamond sounds crazy. It most certainly is – but the color change itself is not permanent. Still, only chameleon diamonds have the ability to have their color naturally altered, if even only temporarily.
The stone changes color, often from a lighter yellowish tone to a darker greenish color when exposed to heat or when hidden from the light.
The History of the Chameleon Diamond
It is very likely that the abilities of the chameleon diamond were observed at some point in history; however, their existence was only first documented in 1943 when Peter Kaplan noticed a change in the diamond when placed on a hot polishing wheel. Since then chameleon diamonds have received a category of their own and are considered more unique and valuable than similar colored diamonds that do not change color.
Types of Chameleon Diamonds
Chameleon diamonds can be broken down into two types: Classic and Reverse. The former variety refers to most chameleon diamonds, which generally go from an overall olive green color (generally some combination of gray, yellow, and green. ie, grayish yellowish green) to a lighter orangey yellowish color for a short period of time when exposed to heat, or when left in a closed, dark place.
The latter category encompasses stones that display the opposite behavior. They are lighter yellower stones that can temporarily become darker and greener when stored in a closed and dark spot. In contrast to Classic chameleons, their color is not affected when treated with heat.
What To Look For
In order to spot a genuine chameleon diamond, you will need to know about a few of its main characteristics. For starters, chameleon diamonds are not found in the typical stronger color intensities such as Vivid and Intense. Instead, Chameleons are either Fancy, Fancy Deep, or Fancy Dark.
Generally speaking Fancy Deep or Fancy Dark chameleons are more desirable because their color is stronger and generally the color change effect is more pronounced in these stones.
Also, as is the case with all diamonds, the price of chameleon diamonds goes up drastically with increased size. This phenomenon is even more pronounced with chameleons, since large stones of this type are so extremely rare.
Furthermore, a chameleon diamond will always possess diamond fluorescence as well as a color combination. Green, yellow, gray, or brown will be one of the colors.
Common color combinations for chameleon diamonds include gray-yellowish, grayish-yellowish, gray-greenish, green-yellow, brownish-greenish, and brownish-yellowish. However, many other combinations exist – you can basically find any combination of green, yellow, gray and brown.
Sources for chameleon diamonds are extremely hard to come by as it is a result of combined elements in that specific area where the stone is formed. There was a small mine of chameleons discovered in Southeast Asia, mostly containing stones under half a carat in size, but others are obviously found elsewhere as well.
Chameleon diamonds aren’t just a source of interest for diamond collectors, they are also a scientific enigma. Scientists do not know the cause for the color change and have not been able to replicate the phenomenon with other stones. The only way, therefore, to obtain a color-changing gem is by purchasing a chameleon diamond. Since they are quite rare, they are generally priced more than most colorless diamonds – yet they are far more affordable than the higher priced colors (pink, orange, etc).
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