Introduction

In light of the growing interest in color diamonds it is important to clear the confusion between treated or synthetic diamonds on the one hand, and natural color diamonds on the other.

Today, technical developments allow to artificially create color diamonds using diamonds of lower quality.

A natural color diamond is unique. It is a product of nature, shaped by millions of years of crystallization. Its color is the product of chance and no two natural color diamonds can be identical: it is this uniqueness, this rareness that gives them all their value.

Natural and treated color diamonds are two completely different products that operate on different markets. The intrinsic value and the price of each of these cannot even begin to be compared. And the confusion which now exists - and some would say is willfully created by some manufacturers of treated diamonds - is dangerous since it will impact on consumer confidence.

Natural color diamonds are to be considered like unique treasures of nature. Treated or synthetic diamonds are only pale imitations, created by the thousands and sold at low cost - just as is the case for copied works of art.

Natural color diamonds are a stable investment whose value has only increased over the past 25 years.

HPHT Diamonds. Photo: GIA

They may be cheaper to buy, however their resale value is almost zero past 30 years.

Colors obtained through treatment are not always guaranteed to be stable with time - the long-term effects of such treatments are not well known.

It is therefore indispensable, before purchasing a color diamond, to obtain a guarantee from the seller - or a certificate from an approved laboratory - stating the origin of the stone, and certifying the natural origin of its color. Some laboratories can now certify parcels of small diamonds that weigh 0.01 carat and up. The process consists of screening a minimum of 20 diamonds together and enables to detect synthetic diamonds.

However, treated or synthetic diamonds can be found in auction houses. When that’s the case, they are sold as such. Incidentally, most laboratories now deliver certificates for treated diamonds. As for synthetic diamonds, if they are incomparable to natural ones, they have the advantage of being cheaper. They can be compared to semi-precious stones and can be purchased like fashion jewelry. 

There are two categories of diamond treatments: treated natural diamonds, and synthetic diamonds.

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