Diamonds are a natural beauty that people have cherished throughout the history of mankind. These precious stones have always been held on such a high level because of the outstanding beauty that they reveal.
Chameleon diamonds possess one of the most unique values in the fancy colored diamond family. As rare as all fancy colored diamonds are, these stones are so admired because of their magnificent color changing capabilities. They are the only natural diamonds that possess the ability to actually temporarily change color according to their environment.
Video of a Chameleon diamond changing colors in real time by being heated
Below is an image of the very same chameleon stone at different points while being heated. Notice the miraculous change of color in the diamond.
Step 1 - the diamond is cold
Step 2 - the diamond is getting warmer
Step 3 - diamond is getting even warmer, color change is very obvious
Step 4 - the diamond is orange!
One of the most well known, absolute basic diamond characteristics is the fact that a diamond's color will never change. Chameleon diamonds are the only ones that have the ability to temporarily change their natural color.
The year 1943 was the first time the phenomenon of Chameleon colored diamonds was officially recorded. Peter Kaplan, of Peter K. Kaplan Inc., noted that the color of a diamond seemed to have change to a darker color while on a very hot polishing wheel. The story goes that the diamond was confirmed a light yellow-green stone. The owner noticed the light yellow-green stone she had purchased turn to a dark green color after having been stored in a jewelry box for some time. She went to return the stone for its peculiar behavior, not knowing at the time that she had possessed a highly valuable diamond that was most likely worth a lot more than she had purchased it for.
Since that time, many diamond specialists have studied the miraculous phenomenon. Only, to this day, there is no documented cause to the affect. There have been a number of theories recorded, but none with enough science to prove the fact.
Famous Chameleon Stones
In 2007, the world's largest Chameleon diamond was purchased by Chopard, a Swiss based luxury watch, jewelry, and accessories company. The diamond's carat weight was an astonishing 31.31 carats.
Another famous piece was the 8.04 carat fancy dark grey-green Chameleon colored diamond. The piece was surrounded by pink diamonds in a pave setting and set in an 18 karat rose gold ring. Due to the size and rarity of this piece, the ring was purchased for $2,100,000.
In May, 2001, a superb fancy dark gray-yellowish green chameleon diamond ring was sold at Christie's Hong Kong auction for approximately $240,000. The stone was a 4.41 carat cut-cornered, triangular-cut stone set on a platinum mount. The image below shows this stunning piece before and after heat was applied to the stone.
Chameleon diamonds are such intriguing stones because of the 'unknown' capabilities that these jewels posses.
What is a Chameleon Diamond?
Color is a fascinating trait that every diamond possesses. The color of a diamond never changes regardless of the temperature or storage environment. Color, which is the most important characteristic of fancy colored diamonds, will always appear just as strong as it did on the original day the diamond was polished.
Needless to say, when people began noticing that certain diamond colors would change depending on the environment, this caused a pretty big stir in the industry.
A chameleon diamond changing its color in real time
There are two types of Chameleon colored diamonds.
Classic Chameleon colored diamonds possesses two very distinct natural capabilities. Thermochromic and photochromic behavior patterns.
Its thermochromic behavior enables the stone to temporarily change to a darker color when heated from 150° Celsius to 250° Celsius, for a short period of time. As the stone cools off, its color gradually changes back to the lighter original color. Its photochromic behavior enables the stone to temporarily change to a darker color when stored in a dark place for a longer period of time. When the stone is exposed to light, the lighter color is gradually restored.
Reverse Chameleon colored diamonds, as the name suggests, act almost exactly opposite to Classic Chameleon stones. Reverse Chameleon colored stones have a darker stable color. Its photochromic behavior enables the stone to temporarily change to a lighter color when stored in a dark place for a longer period of time. When the stone is exposed to light, the darker color is gradually restored. Reverse Chameleon colored stones do not have any reaction to temperature changes.
Common Chameleon Characteristics
There are a number of diamond characteristics that are common with all Chameleon colored diamonds. Chameleon diamonds do not appear in all color intensities. For example, they cannot be found with vivid and intense colors. Chameleon diamonds always possesses diamond fluorescence and they will always include some sort of color combination. The combinations always include any of the following colors: Green, Yellow, Brown, and Gray. This phenomenon cannot be found in pure colored diamonds and most often contains at least two overtone colors. However, there a number of stones that contains only one secondary hue, for example the 8.04 carat fancy dark grey- green Chameleon diamond discussed earlier in this article.
Depending on whether the stones are 'Classic' or 'Reverse,' the dominant color can be any of the four colors mentioned. Some of the more common overtone combinations are Brownish-Yellowish, Gray-Yellowish, Grayish-Yellowish, Gray-Greenish, Brownish-Greenish, and Green-Yellow. Still, similar to all fancy colored diamonds, no two stones are exactly alike and many other color combinations will be found.
The Mystery behind the Cause
Chameleon diamonds have been classified as a natural color of their own. Their behavior cannot be replicated and there is no known treatment to cause the chameleon affect on other stones.
Chameleon Color Change Through The Heating Process
The color of a diamond is created by the compound elements absorbed into the composition throughout its creation. Through the study of spectroscopy the various elements present in the composite of the diamond are defined. Even today, there is no known constant definition of elements present in Chameleon colored diamonds.
Obviously, the large the diamond is the easier it will be identify the difference in color variations. However, since these stones are so rare, finding a large Chameleon is not such an easy task. As a result of the rarity, Chameleon colored diamonds are extremely sought after fancy colored diamonds and are often sold for quite a hefty price.
Browse through our wide selection of Natural Chameleon Diamonds.