Different Types of Natural Diamonds

There are many types of natural diamonds out there. Identifying the different types requires research and practice. While the differences between the natural diamonds themselves is so slight, it can drastically impact its value. In this article we aim to explain these types in simple language.

There are four types of diamonds. These types are Type Ia, Type Ib, Type IIa, and Type IIb.

Type Ia Diamonds

The first thing you’ll notice about type Ia diamonds is that they emit a yellowish tone. The reason? Because they contain nitrogen in aggregates or large clusters throughout the crystal lattice. When the nitrogen atoms occur in groups of three, these aggregates absorb wavelengths of visible light on the blue end of the spectrum. As a result, the light that is reflected appears to be yellow.

It’s worth noting that Ia diamonds can be broken into subcategories: IaA and IaB. The former refers to diamonds with nitrogen aggregates in pairs, while the latter contains aggregates of four nitrogen atoms. Neither type can absorb any visible light. Type I diamonds as a whole are the most common, and are known for their characteristic fluorescence as well as absorption of infrared and ultraviolet light.

Type Ib Diamonds

This type is not as common as type Ia – in fact, it represents less than .1 percent of natural diamonds. In these stones, single nitrogen atoms, instead of clusters, are dispersed throughout the crystal lattice. Because they are scattered, a lot of visible light on the blue end of the spectrum is absorbed, resulting in an intense color – typically yellow, orange, or brown, according to the GIA. True canary diamonds are a perfect example of this. In some cases, yellowish green diamonds can contain this atomic formation.

Type IIa Diamonds

Type II diamonds have differing fluorescence and no visible absorption, no nitrogen impurities that may cause a yellow or brown tint. Additionally, type II diamonds form under remarkably high pressure for longer time periods, and tend to have an irregular shape.

Of all the diamond types, type IIa diamonds are the rarest, most valuable, and therefore, the most sought-after by collectors and investors. In fact, this type represents just 1 percent of all diamonds, so they are highly valuable and obviously a superior choice for investment. The reason why these stones are so exceptional is that they contain very little nitrogen or none at all within the crystal lattice, so they do not easily absorb short-wave light.

The result is that light is easily able to pass through and bounce back at the beholder’s eye, producing a stunning appearance. Because they are almost pure carbon, white diamonds are remarkably colorless, unless they contain an inclusion that absorbs certain light. Fancy colored diamonds of this type can be pink, gray, yellow, brown, light blue, or light green.

Sometimes these stones are referred to as “Golconda Diamonds” after the Indian mines that produced some of the best gems in the 16th and 17th centuries. For customers who are seeking the “perfect” diamond, type IIa, with D color, no fluorescence, and IF or VVS1 clarity, is ideal. Many of the most famous diamonds throughout history have been this type. The world’s largest cut diamond, “the Cullinan,” is one example. The Koh-i-Noor and its sister diamond, the legendary 45.52-carat Hope Diamond, The Graff Pink (previously world’s most expensive diamond) and the De Beer Millennium Star are also type IIa. Additionally, the 33.19-carat Asscher-cut “Elizabeth Taylor Diamond,” which was bought by Richard Burton in 1968 for his wife’s ring, is this type.

Type IIb Diamonds

Like type IIa, this type lacks nitrogen atoms within the crystal structure. However, these stones contain a distinct difference from the other types as they have traces of boron.

The presence of this element not only makes these diamonds electrically conductive, but also gives most of them a bluish or bluish gray tint. This is because boron absorbs light on the red end of the color spectrum. Type IIb is also extremely rare, representing only 0.1 percent of diamonds, and are thus highly valuable. For some, the blue tone can be a visual advantage.

However, you shouldn’t let this scare you off from purchasing a diamond unless you are looking for something with a very specific trait. For the vast majority of consumers who are simply looking for an engagement ring, these attributes have very little effect on the process of choosing a beautiful looking diamond.

On a final note, buying a diamond is not something that you want to jump into without doing due diligence. It takes careful planning and a lot of time to find the right type and style.

At Lao Pride Inc, we meticulously design and fashion fine jewelry pieces to the requirement of jewelry designers, artists, and various international brands. Our pieces impart a deep sense of value as a tribute to the precept that diamonds are forever, using natural diamonds from the highest quality and color. Contact us today to learn how we can make your dream design a reality.

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