Saturday, October 16, 2021

Viva la difference



By Richard Alan

A strange occurrence has appeared at my shop the past few weeks and that is the demand for diamonds that are any color than white.

Different from white you say? The most asked for is the yellow canary diamond. But you thought that if a diamond is yellow that means it’s not a good color diamond. Right?

Wrong! I’m talking vibrant yellow like a canary in a coal mine. I’m amazed that customers are surprised to see that diamonds come in many colors besides yellow; there are many shades of blue, green, pink, even brown and jet black.

In my opinion nothing is more stunning than a truly bright yellow canary diamond set in platinum or white gold surrounded or flanked by white diamonds. So how did something that oozes so much class occur? First it was nature: most everyone has heard of the Hope diamond. It is a large diamond that is a natural dark blue.

Ah, but just like life itself not all colored diamonds are a natural color, mankind has figured out how to make undesirably colored diamonds desirable.

IRRADIATION is the way it’s done. The diamond in question is bombarded with combination of radiation and heat to “color” the diamond to the desired shade. The process began in 1904, by a Brit scientist named Sir William Crookes. The original method was to say the least, dangerous, and to this day his experimental diamonds are still radioactive. Today the process is safe because of the use of non-lethal Gamma or proton rays I won’t get into too much detail. It’s all fascinating stuff.

My point is NATURAL colored diamonds are rare whereas IRRADIATED colored diamonds are not, which makes them more affordable for all of us. The difference between the two can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Don’t misunderstand, a 2 carat Irradiated yellow diamond can still cost $7,000 and up. But smaller stones, 1 carat and below, are less expensive than natural white diamonds.

There are several of my gentlemen customers sporting blue diamond rings. They love the compliments received when wearing them; let’s face it it’s different!

Colored diamonds are not for everybody, and that is what makes them so special; heck everyone and his brother own white diamonds.

Now that I have officially announced my new status of being” semi-retired” I am going to blow the dust off of hundreds of designs I have accumulated on paper and in my mind over the past forty years and I just never had the chance to actually create and make many of them a reality.

Business as usual for me is all going to be different; you can bet that colored diamonds will be incorporated into a good percentage of my newest finished pieces.

My last colored diamond sales were a pair of one carat canary stud earrings set in 18kt. yellow gold that were breathtakingly bright, and a classic 1.50 carat center radiant cut (multi faceted rectangle) canary with white half moon cut diamonds flanking it.

Celebrities, movie stars and sport figures alike are always sporting huge canary diamonds for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s nice to know any of my customers can afford to own colored diamonds and also look like a star.

Richard Alan is a designer / goldsmith and proprietor of the Harbor Goldsmith and Richard’s Reefs on Marco Island. With over forty years of experience in the jewelry business Richard has announced his transition from full time to semi-retirement and is available by appointment only, to design and create commissioned pieces for discerning individuals. He also welcomes your questions about all that glitters. 239-394-9275.

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