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Diamond Types

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All Diamonds Are Not Alike?


In addition to differences in their cut, clarity, color and carat (weight), they all fall into at least one type (or category). The various diamond types are based on identified chemical and physical properties as well as atomic makeup.

Diamonds have a carbon-based, cubic crystal structure, that is, the diamond is made up of carbon atoms arranged in a cube-like manner. During the initial forming process, some of the carbon atoms may actually be replaced by nitrogen atoms which, in time, consolidate affecting the diamond's appearance and color.

A diamond's classification or type is delineated on each stone's accompanying certificate once it is determined by the experts and that directly affects the stone's value in the marketplace.

Type Ia Diamond:

• Presents a yellow cast when nitrogen atoms group together in three's absorbing blue light and as a result reflects yellow light,

• Most common type - some degree of florescence present which may affect the color of the stone,

• Can be broken down further into the subcategories IaA and IaB

• IaA: Nitrogen atoms consolidate in pairs - cannot absorb visible light,

• IAB: Nitrogen atoms consolidate in four's - cannot absorb visible light

Type IIa Diamond:

• Forms under very high pressure for longer periods of time,

• Tends to have an irregular shape,

• Has no visible absorption of infrared or U.V. light,

• Has very little if any Nitrogen impurities,

• Is rare, valuable and a good choice for investing,

• Produces a superior look and is considered a white diamond because it is almost pure carbon

If one is looking for an ideal diamond, it is recommended by some that one consider a Type IIa  diamond with D color, no florescence and a clarity of either IF or VVS1.

 
Some Type IIa diamonds may have an inclusion that absorbs certain light giving the stone a colored hue. These diamonds known as fancy colored diamonds can be pink, gray, yellow, brown, light blue or light green.


 Famous stones that fall into the Type IIa classification include the Cullinan, Koh-i-Noor, Graff Pink and Hope diamonds.


Type Ib Diamond:

• Not as common as Type Ia
• Comprises less than .1 % of all natural diamonds,
• Contains single Nitrogen atoms evenly dispersed throughout the crystal structure,
• Absorbs a great deal of visible light on the blue/green end of the spectrum, and
• Presents intense colors such as browns, oranges and yellows

Type IIb Diamond:


• Extremely rare and valuable comprising only 0.1% of all natural diamonds,
• Contains Boron atoms instead of Nitrogen atoms,
• Electrically conductive
• Presents a blue color or bluish grey hue due to the fact that Boron absorbs light on the red end of the spectrum.
• Can be nearly colorless

DIAMOND CLASSIFICATION TABLE

Type

Occurrence

Characteristics

Visual Presentation

Ia

98%

Clustered Nitrogen Atoms (2’s, 3’s & 4’s)

Yellow, Colorless

Ib

0.1%

Single, Scattered Nitrogen Atoms

Brown, Yellow, Orange

IIa

1 - 2%

Pure Carbon

Yellow, Brown, Pink, Purple, Colorless  

IIb

0.1%

Boron Atoms

Blue, Gray

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