Posted on July 17, 2014 by

The Big Colored Diamond Debate: Natural vs. Not

Diamond Colors

Not all diamonds are created equal and colored diamonds are no exception.  Some form naturally within the Earth, some are lab created and some are enhanced by man.  When it comes to diamonds, “natural” refers to one that was made in the Earth’s mantle over billions of years, not by humans in special pressure cookers, and has not been treated to improve color or clarity.  The yellow color of a natural yellow diamond, for example, is thanks to small amounts of nitrogen that meld with carbon during the crystallization process.  Below you can see examples of color enhanced, created, and natural yellow diamonds.




The Colored Diamond Debate


enhanced yellow diamond

Color Enhanced Yellow Diamond Ring

A diamond can be enhanced in a few different ways for both color and clarity.  Color enhancements are usually done by coating the diamond with a layer of plastic or other chemicals.  In some cases, a simulated diamond is covered with a film of synthetic diamond material, making it look real.  Another method of color enhancing is HPHT, or high-pressure, high-temperature.  This means that a diamond with undesirable color can be heated and pressurized to change color.  This type of treatment is virtually undetectable except by a grading lab with proper equipment.

lab created yellow diamond

Lab Created Yellow Diamond Ring

Diamonds created in a lab also use HPHT and a different process called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).  In both, a small rough diamond is placed in a sealed machine that contains carbon. Under controlled conditions, the diamond grows, one atom at a time, to create layers of new diamond material until it reaches a certain size.  A larger rough diamond emerges and is then cut and polished for sale.

natural yellow diamond  engagement ring

Natural Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond Ring

Natural diamonds, as we know, are mined from the earth.  To be considered natural, the diamond cannot be changed in anyway to make its color or clarity better.  Their color comes from different chemicals that are introduced while a diamond is forming or from an anomaly in their crystalline structure. If you want to know more about each color, check out our colored diamond information page.


Following our example, a current analysis of diamonds with comparable clarity shows that price ranges vary drastically for these three types of yellow diamonds.


  • 1ct. color enhanced about $6500
  • 1ct. man made about $3500
  • 1ct. natural about $9500


The selection of a colored diamond is a matter of preference.  Some will choose to have a man-made or color enhanced diamond because it gives the rich color desired at a budget-friendly price, while others will choose a natural colored diamond because of its true beauty and investment qualities.


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2 Responses to The Big Colored Diamond Debate: Natural vs. Not

  1. Lauren says:

    I guess I can see why you’d buy an enhanced diamond, but natural beauty is what makes a diamond so interesting!!

  2. Mark says:

    I’d buy whatever is cheapest!