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Going Green: Your Guide to Buying a Green Diamond

by Clean Origin
Last updated on August 21, 2023

One of the things that make diamonds so widely valued is their rarity. Green diamonds form under extreme heat and pressure. While traditional colorless diamonds have always been a popular choice, some prefer more exotic gemstones. For these discerning individuals, there are few options as rare or as prized as a fancy green diamond

The Origins of Natural Green Diamonds

green diamond

Green diamonds are some of the rarest diamonds. They range in color from subtly light green pastels to deep forest greens. Green diamonds are available in any shade to fit essentially any preference. Green natural diamonds are formed deep in the earth — about 100 miles down in the upper mantle. Weighed down by billions of tonnes of the planet’s outer crust, green diamonds go through much the same formation process as standard diamonds. However, at some point in the process, an outside element makes its way into the diamond, adding that green hue.

In some cases, impurities from nickel, nitrogen, or hydrogen can create a green hue within the developing diamond. In other examples, the internal ‘defect’ in the green diamond may come from exposure to radiation, such as those that develop in closer proximity to uranium. The radiation penetrates the diamond’s outer surface, punches ‘holes’ within the carbon lattice of the diamond, and creates an internal imperfection that allows the stone to absorb red wavelengths of light and reflect green light (for a predominantly green tint).

Most natural green diamonds come from mines in Africa and South America. Lab grown diamonds — which are chemically, physically, and visually identical to mined diamonds — can also be produced with green hues.

What Does a Green Diamond Represent?

newly married couple in a green lush setting

Although there’s no set, agreed-upon ‘meaning’ for any particular colored diamond, the color green traditionally represents vibrancy, youth, life, growth, prosperity, and new beginnings. The green diamond’s strong association with nature makes it a natural choice for environmentally conscious individuals, particularly when the green diamond in question is an eco-friendly lab grown stone

But perhaps more than that, green is a tranquil color, boosting mood and reducing stress. Green is also an optimistic color, often associated with happy emotions and memories. In other words, many people equate green with positivity and comfort, making green diamonds a natural choice for everything from pendants and earrings to engagement rings. 

Difficulty in Cutting and Polishing Green Diamonds

It’s important to note that cutting and polishing green diamonds carries with it certain dangers and can actually alter the color of the stone. In some cases, the green coloration is little more than a shell, with the green diamond’s tint confined to a thin layer on the surface of the diamond. Polishing or cutting the gem can reveal a clear or yellowish-green stone beneath the surface. 

At the same time, even an expensive green diamond can change colors when not taken care of correctly. The friction from polishing and cutting diamonds produces heat. In the case of many green diamonds that get their color from defects in their crystalline structure, that heat can excite nearby carbon atoms and cause them to fill in or repair the holes that absorb red light — eliminating or altering the diamond’s green hue. As such, only the most experienced gem cutters choose to work with an expensive green diamond.

The Most Famous Green Diamonds in the World

The most famous examples of green diamonds include:

The Dresden Green Diamond

The Dresden Green Diamond (or simply Dresden Green). is a 41-carat (8.2 g) green diamond. Reports indicate that it originates from the now-extinct Kollur mine of the Golconda Sultanate of India (famous for producing stones of unequaled purity and transparency). This magnificent stone made its way into European royalty until it ended up in Königstein Fortress, near Dresden, Germany. This fancy, intense green diamond is the most striking example of green-color distribution in a diamond in the entire world.

The Aurora Green Diamond

The Aurora Green Diamond is a stunningly beautiful example of a fancy vivid green diamond, notable for its quality, its size, and the price it fetched at auction. At 5.03 carats (1.006 g), this diamond became the largest vivid green diamond to ever sell at auction, going for a record-breaking $16.8 million (or $3.3 million per carat) in 2016. The Aurora Green Diamond currently belongs to the Hong Kong-based jewelry company Chow Tai Fook. 

The Gruosi Green Diamond

The Gruosi Green Diamond originates from South Africa and may have weighed as much as 100 carats (20 g) in its rough form. Today, this nearly-flawless 25-carat green diamond belongs to Fawaz Gruosi, the founder of the Swiss Jewelry house de Grisogono, who purchased the stone in 1998. 

How to Determine the Quality of Green Diamonds

Generally speaking, those who perform diamond ratings appraise diamonds based on the 4 Cs grading system

  • Cut – The cut of a diamond indicates the cut quality of the diamond’s facets. This directly impacts how sparkly or dull the diamond is to the naked eye.
  • Clarity – Diamond clarity considers the number of inclusions (internal) or blemishes (external) visible in or on the stone, with fewer inclusions or blemishes qualifying the diamond for a better rating.
  • Carat – The diamond’s carat represents its weight; 1 carat equals 200 mg.
  • ColorColor describes the hue of the diamond. Typically, colorless diamonds are more valuable than those that have a noticeable yellow or brownish tint.

Of course, while most of these elements carry over perfectly well for green diamonds, color isn’t quite the same consideration. After all, a green diamond wouldn’t rank very highly in this category because it isn’t ‘colorless.’

Colored diamonds are often called fancy diamonds, and they are rare enough that they have their own color scale from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The GIA color scale instead rates the intensity of the desired color, along with any secondary colors featured in the stone, such as gray or blue. This scale ranges from the least valuable classification (faint) up to the ultra-rare (fancy vivid). At the same time, those diamonds with noticeable color but little saturation may be termed fancy dark (or fancy deep) diamonds. 

The GIA rating report thoroughly addresses every factor that contributes to the stone’s value, so buyers know exactly what they’re getting.

The Advantages of Lab Grown Green Diamonds

engagement rings hanging from green flowers

Mined green diamonds are hard to find and difficult to cut and polish without negatively affecting the color. As such, those who are interested in purchasing a natural green-hued diamond may be in for a shock when it comes to price. A good-quality natural fancy green diamond can go for about $50,000 – $300,000 per carat. But natural diamonds aren’t the only option available. 

As we addressed earlier, lab grown diamonds are compositionally identical to natural diamonds in every physical way. These diamonds follow the same formation process as those that develop underground but are accelerated and managed in a laboratory setting. This cuts out most of the costs associated with mining and transportation. How significantly? Lab grown green diamonds of similar quality sell for about $3,000 – $4,000.

And the dollar amount associated with these diamonds isn’t the only advantage.

Blood Diamonds and Their Negative Impacts

green forest deforestation
Coal mines like the Lumbung Mine are having a huge impact on local and indigenous populations in Indonesia, destroying the environment and polluting river water, normally used for cooking. Central Kalimantan, Borneo. June 8th 2013. The World Development Movement is campaigning for banks and other parts of the financial sector to be forced to disclose the carbon footprint of their investments.

All too often, diamond mines are used to illegally finance violence and injustice in politically unstable regions. These blood diamonds can be nearly impossible to identify, making the purchase of a mined diamond a morally ambiguous decision. This issue is further compounded by the poor working conditions of many unregulated mines. 

Diamond mining also takes a serious toll on the environment. Mining consumes more than 126 gallons of water per carat recovered, much of which carries pollutants and waste into other water sources. At the same time, diamond mining is an energy-intensive process, requiring 538.5 million joules of energy per carat. Carbon emissions associated with mining are likewise costly, producing more than 125 pounds of carbon per carat.

Lab grown diamonds avoid these problematic issues. Grown in regulated environments and distributed through legal, monitored channels, synthetic diamonds give buyers the peace of mind that comes from knowing their beautiful stone wasn’t bought with human suffering. Lab grown diamonds also use substantially less water and energy, and produce only a tiny fraction of the emissions. 

Whether you’re interested in promoting peace, going green, or saving green (ie. money), a lab grown green diamond is the answer.

Colored Diamonds from Clean Origin

Clean Origin showroom

If you want a little color in your diamond, then look no further than Clean Origin. We offer top-quality, lab grown diamonds in a range of vibrant colors. If a green diamond interests you to top off your engagement ring, we can help you make it happen. Shop green diamonds from Clean Origin today, and get ready to go green in more ways than one!