Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but the luckiest gals on the block are the ones with rocks in shades of yellow, pink and blue. Colored diamonds are attracting more attention than ever, spurred by celebrity purchases, explosions of wealth in China and Russia, and the general desire to own the exceptional. "It's not just happening in jewelry. It's happening in art; it's happening with anything that is one of a kind," says Henri Barguirdjian, the president and chief executive officer of Graff in America. "All around the world, a very affluent clientele is seeking and collecting rare things. And colored diamonds are on top of the list." For those just finding their footing in the rarefied world of colored diamonds, W offers a primer, from the mines that matter to the most coveted shades under the sun pullquote: One of every 10,000 diamonds mined is a color other than white, and each has its own raison d'être.
Diamonds form and surface over millions of years when carbon comes under high levels of pressure and temperature; naturally occurring colored diamonds get their hue from unusual chemical compositions. One of every 10,000 diamonds mined is a color other than white, and each has its own raison d'être. Yellow diamonds, for example, occur when nitrogen atoms replace some carbon atoms in the formation process. Blue diamonds benefit from too much boron, and green diamonds sparkle thanks to natural radiation. It's thought that pink diamonds occur because of a certain type of blemish known as graining, the presence of lines within the stone that signify an altered structure. Though colored diamonds can occur in any mine that produces white diamonds, certain locales, such as the Argyle Mine in Australia, known for its pink and champagne stones, are famous for producing specific colors.