What Are the Different Types of Diamonds?

There are countless types of diamonds to love. There is the classic mined diamond, cutting edge lab diamond, and much more. We have created a guide of the different types of diamonds. Discover what makes each type of diamond captivating.

The Different Types of Diamonds

There are five different types of diamonds:

  1. Mined Diamonds: Diamonds extracted from the earth.
  2. Industrial Diamonds: Diamonds used for industrial purposes.
  3. Fancy colored diamonds: Diamonds with colored hues such as pink and blue.
  4. Lab-grown diamonds: Diamonds made in a lab.
  5. Artificially enhanced diamonds: Diamonds that received artificial treatment.
  6. Diamond simulants: Stones created to resemble diamonds.


Mined Diamonds

Mined diamonds are diamonds that form beneath the earth and became mined. Billions of years ago, extreme heat and pressure helped diamonds grow. After volcanic activity, diamonds traveled to the earth’s surface. In 2019, 147 million carats of diamonds came from mines! Yet, only 30% of diamonds are gem-quality.

Natural diamonds are one of the hardest natural substances. They have a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are softer stones that are easier to damage. Diamonds are ideal for daily wear because of their strength.

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Industrial Diamonds

Diamonds are not only for jewelry. Their thermal, electrical, and chemical properties make them useful for industrial operations. Industrial diamonds are used as abrasives. Industrial diamonds are tools to drill, cut, grind, and polish.

Industrial diamonds are non-gem-quality diamonds. Industrial diamonds have many flaws, odd shapes, and poor colors. They are cheaper than other industrial abrasives. These diamonds cut material faster and last longer.


Fancy Colored Diamonds

Some of the most beautiful and expensive diamonds come in a rainbow of colors. Fancy colored diamonds refers to any colored diamond. These diamonds can be green, purple, blue, orange, and many more colors.

Fancy colored diamonds are priced based on their rich colors. Starting from lightest to darkest, the fancy colored diamonds span:

  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid

Fancy colored diamonds get their colors from minerals present when they form. Boron makes blue diamonds and nitrogen makes diamonds yellow. Diamonds can also become colored from irregular growth like red diamonds.

Of all the colors, yellow and brown diamonds are the most common. They are less expensive than other fancy colored diamonds.

The most expensive and rare fancy colored diamonds are reds. Only 20 to 30 truly red diamonds are believed to exist. Over 90% of red diamonds come from the Argyle Diamond Mine. The mine will close in 2021. This will further drive up the price of red diamonds.

In 2001, the 5.11-carat red Moussaieff Red Diamond sold for $8 million. A value of $1.6 million per carat! In comparison, a 1-carat blue diamond costs about $200,000.

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Lab-Grown Diamonds

Not every diamond on the market comes from the earth. Lab-grown diamonds are synthetic stones made in a controlled environment. They are made by replicating how natural diamond form.

Man-made diamonds are just as real as their mined counterparts. Lab diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and physical properties as mined diamonds. Only a gemologist with equipment can tell the two diamonds apart.

Lab-grown diamonds are a popular alternative to mined diamonds for many reasons:

  • They are less expensive.
  • They only take a few weeks to grow.
  • They can come in any diamond color.
  • They are strong and versatile.
  • They are less harmful to the environment.

Learn more about Lab-grown diamonds:


Artificially Enhanced Diamonds

Diamonds can get artificial treatments. These treatments improve the diamond’s color, flaws, and beauty. Popular treatments include:

  • Laser Drilling: A laser drills a hole to remove a flaw in the diamond
  • Fracture Filling: A glass-like material fills in the diamond’s fractures.
  • HPHT (High-Pressure High-Temperature): Heat and pressure improve the diamond’s color.

Treated diamonds are not considered natural. Due to this, they cost less than other diamonds. A diamond’s certification will state if it is enhanced.

Learn more about Artificially Enhanced Diamonds:


Diamond Simulants

The final type of diamonds is diamond simulants. A simulant is something that resembles something else, an imitation. Diamond simulants are not real diamonds. They only share some diamond characteristics. Diamond simulants have different properties than real diamonds. Popular diamond simulants are:

Diamond simulants are much cheaper than lab and mined diamonds. They are weaker and will become damaged from daily wear. Imitation diamonds do not have the beauty or sparkle of real diamonds.

Learn more about Diamond Simulants:


Now you have mastered the different types of diamonds. Before buying your next gemstone, consider which type is right for you. Depending on your tastes and budget, each diamond type is a suitable option.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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