By reuvenveksler
June 17, 2021
2 min read

What makes diamond colored?

What makes diamond colored?
What makes diamond colored?

Each gemstone has its own story to tell. Natural colored diamonds owe their outstanding appearance to several fundamental chemical reactions that take place deep down the Earth surface.

Here is our guide to how different color shades appear in stones.

Brown, red, pink

Diamonds of these colors mostly owe them to a combination of heat and pressure. However, pink stones are still a mystery: according to one theory, their hues come from special distortion in the crystal structure, but not from trace elements – as it usually happens. This structural defect is known as “plastic deformation” and leads to the gem absorbing the light differently and emitting the beautiful pink shade. 

Gray, blue

As a rule, boron is responsible for the blue and gray colors of these gems. However, sometimes it is caused by radiation exposure or hydrogen: stones exposed to radiation usually feature green-blue shades, while those exposed to hydrogen come in gray-violet to gray-blue. 


Green stones get their sophisticated color from radiation exposure or from complex defects including nitrogen, hydrogen and nickel impurities. For instance, while gems colored by radiations typically have pure green or blue-green shades, those colored by hydrogen commonly have brown or gray shades.

What makes diamond colored?

Violet, purple

The source of purple and violet colours is crystal distortion. Alternatively, some amount of hydrogen may also create some of its hue.

Orange, yellow

Such a juicy shade of yellow and orange diamonds is attributed to one chemical element – nitrogen. Therefore, the intensity of the shade depends on the amount of this element.

So, that’s how nature and chemical reactions create unique, beautiful gems! Brown and yellow ones are considered to be the most common colours in natural coloured diamonds, while pink, blue, orange, green, red, and violet shades are extremely rare.

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