Chameleon Diamonds

Chameleon diamonds are the only type of diamond that exhibits a colour changing effect. These rare diamonds are natural, and scientists have been unable to replicate this unique colour changing diamond in the laboratory. The changing colour effect of the chameleon diamond is a temporary one, and the diamonds revert to their normal body colour once their environment is stabilised. Other fancy coloured diamonds include pink diamonds, champagne diamonds, yellow diamonds and blue diamonds.

Chameleon diamonds are the only natural diamonds that can temporarily change colour. This colour change effect is in accordance with the environment – chameleon diamonds change colour according to temperature and/or light levels. They can occur in either the ‘classic chameleon’ or the ‘reverse chameleon.’

The ‘classic chameleon’ diamond has a brown to olive green body colour that changes to a brown to organish yellow. Classic chameleon diamonds change colour as a response to thermochromatic and photochromatic changes in the environment. This means that the classic chameleon diamond can change colour if it is exposed to heat of about 150°C or if it is kept in a dark environment.

The reverse chameleon diamond is a yellow colour that changes to a brown to olive green. Unlike the classic chameleon diamonds, the reverse chameleon diamonds are only affected by thermochromatic changes in the environment.

Chameleon diamonds are a relatively new discovery. In 1943 Peter Kaplan observed that a green diamond adopted a darker colour next to a high temperature diamond polishing wheel. The diamond was then sold as a light yellowish green stone. The owner of the stone noticed that when she bought the diamond out from its jewellery box, it was a dark green! This chameleon diamond was sensitive to both heat and light conditions and so had changed colour temporarily in storage.

Since this occurrence, scientists have tried to find the exact cause of this unprecedented colour change effect, but have not managed to explain the phenomenon. Most chameleon diamonds contain traces of hydrogen as well as nitrogen, and it is thought that these elements may be connected with the optical properties of the stone.

The chameleon diamond is a particularly unique, mysterious and fascinating fancy coloured diamond. It is the perfect choice for someone who is after a diamond with a story! For further information on any coloured diamonds, contact our team of diamond specialists on 01335 453 453 or email sales@britishdiamondcompany.com.