Chameleon diamonds

Chameleon color diamonds

Chameleon diamonds change color depending on their surroundings. The diamonds change color either when there are significant changes in temperature or when they have been stored in the dark for a while. This is where her name comes from. They are particularly rare, truly unique and highly valued. They are therefore a complete exception in the world of fancy colored diamonds.

Chameleon color diamonds

Chameleon Diamonds: History

In 1943, Peter Kaplan, a diamond dealer with Peter Kaplan Inc., was the first to observe that the color of a diamond he was cutting with a hot grindstone appeared to have darkened. After processing, the bright, yellowish green diamond went into the hands of its owner. She kept the piece of jewelry in a box. When she opened it again after a while, the diamond was no longer yellowish green and light, but dark green. The owner returned the diamond because of this strange change, not knowing that she owned an extremely valuable diamond that was most likely worth much more than she paid. From this point onwards, many specialists have studied this miraculous phenomenon in detail. However, to date it has not been documented how this effect occurs. There are now many theories, but none have been scientifically proven.

Overtones and intensity in chameleon diamonds

Chameleon diamonds are not available in all color intensities. The categories “vivid” or “intense,” for example, do not appear here. Chameleon diamonds are generally not pure, but have overtones, which leads to color combinations. They often even have two overtones at the same time: green, yellow, brown or gray. The same applies to chameleon diamonds: no two diamonds are exactly the same and the possible color combinations are immense.

"Classic" and "Reverse" chameleon diamonds

Classic chameleons have two different natural ways of changing color. They can be thermochromic, meaning they change color according to temperature, or photochromic. This means that the color changes depending on the light.

With a thermochromic change, the diamond becomes darker as the temperature increases. When the stone cools down again, it slowly returns to its lighter color. If the diamond is stored in a darker place, such as a jewelry box, this is the photochromic color change. In the dark the diamond also becomes darker. When the diamond comes back to light, it becomes brighter again.

Reverse Chameleon Diamonds change color in the opposite way to the Classics. They change their dark natural color to a lighter color. In reverse chameleons, however, only a photochromic change occurs, i.e. light-related change. Temperature has no effect on color. In general, thermochromic changes are more visible than photochromic color changes.

Famous Chameleon Diamonds

The largest chameleon diamond in the world
The largest chameleon diamond in the world Source:

In 2007, the largest chameleon diamond (31.31 carats) in the world was purchased by Chopard, a well-known Swiss luxury watch and jewelry company. The color difference can be easily observed with this diamond: the larger the diamond, the greater the color differences. In daylight the diamond is green and in darkness or high temperatures the color changes to yellow.

The Fancy Dark Gray-Green Chameleon
The Fancy Dark Gray-Green Chameleon Source:

The “Fancy Dark Green Chameleon” (8.04 carats) is one of the most famous chameleon diamonds. An 18k red gold ring holds this dark gray-green diamond. It is surrounded by pink diamonds in a pavee setting. Due to its weight and its classification as a chameleon diamond, this diamond is truly unique. He is estimated to be worth over $2 million.

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