Red Diamonds

Written by Harriet Kelsall on 29 November 2009

This is an updated entry to a previous blog about red diamonds that I bought not so long ago as I have learned more to tell you about.

Natural red diamonds are very very rare and valuable and are really museum-pieces out of our reach financially. There is tried and tested technology to treat white diamonds to turn them blue or green for example and these beautiful and unusual treated diamonds have been available for at least a couple of years. For example:

However achieving a good way of treating a white diamond to make it pink or red has been harder and for some time has been a bit of a 'holy grail' in the jewellery industry. Some of these have recently been offered to the industry but they are basically coated with a layer of 'pink' and so this is not a proper solution and in my opinion isn't really a true treatment of the gemstone as it isn't entirely permanent.

However, a couple of years ago I met a new contact who had been working on a diamond treatment method which he tells me was invented in India. These are called 'Infusion Diamonds'. These diamonds undergo a form of ion induction colour treatment that substantially enhances the colour appearance of diamond and this actually changes the surface layer of diamond. The treatment is completely radiation-free and should provide a consistent, reliable and predictable method for producing the desired colour shade without many of the drawbacks of existing colour treatments for diamonds such as irradiation. These infusion diamonds are stable under harsh chemical environments as well as elevated temperature that are typically used during jewellery stone setting, repairs and cleaning.

Even though this contact had been saying that the red on the surface isn't a 'coating' – it actually is a coating according to the GIA. Despite the fact that it is ion infused INTO the surface of the diamond, because something is essentially added to the outside (be it in a very fancy high tech way) they still feel it is right to call it a coating.

This diamond contact has then tried treating white diamonds to achieve beautiful pink diamonds (we had been working with similar diamonds from a different source - see this ring). These are beautiful - such a lovely shade of pink. In addition to this, he has treated naturally cognac coloured diamonds with the same methods and has managed to achieve a beautiful fiery red - they really are stunning. The only trouble at the moment seems to be that they are hard to repeat as it seems that they require a specific base cognac colour and a specific coating that the lab are finding hard to get right.

Regarding cost - they are more expensive than similar clarity white diamonds of the same size but are not out of reach and the rings will both be within reach of most of our customers.

So far, I have designed a simple and elegant platinum solitaire engagement ring with the 0.25cts brilliant cut stone. I have designed a ring inspired by a candle flame for the 1.4cts pear shaped red diamond which is made from predominantly platinum and includes 18ct rose gold in a the simple and elegant shape that defines our HKJD design style. We are working on another project at the moment too - and hope that the lab will get the colour right soon!

Best wishes

Harriet

PS Here is some technical information about red diamonds from our suppliers:

Infusion diamonds are diamonds that undergo a form of ion unduction colour treatment that substantially enhances the colour appearance of a diamond irrespective of its original colour/clarity grade. This treatment is completely radiation free and provides a consistant reliable and predictable method of producing the desired colour shade without many of the drawbacks of existing colour treatments for diamonds such as irradiation and HPHT. The Key attributes are compared with existing treatments.

Infusion diamonds are stable under harsh chemical environments as well as elevated temperatures that are typically used during jewellery setting, repair and cleaning.

Do's and Don'ts for loose and mounted infusion diamonds:

Do

Ultrasonic cleaning using commercial jewellery cleaners. Steam cleaning. Cleaning with a mix of ammonian and water. Cleaning with mild detergents. Use of soft brush to dislodge dirt or dust from under the setting. Diamonds cna be removed from the setting and professionally cleaned using caustsics or oxidizing acids at room temperature.

Don'ts

Wax setting for precious metals. Prolonged exposure to concentrated caustics and acids at elevated temperatures. Recutting.