GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 254-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


JOHNSON, Paul1, MOE, Kyaw Soe1 and ZAITSEV, Alexander M.2, (1)Gemological Institute of America, New York, NY 10036, (2)Department of Engineering Science & Physics, College of Staten Island and Graduate School of the City University of New York, Staten Island, NY 10314,

Black diamonds with poor transparency due to an intensity of mineral inclusions and fractures are routinely traded in the gem market today. Although the inclusions and fractures are of natural origin this type of diamond is often heated to create a more uniform black color by further graphitizing these inclusions and fractures. Graphitization is often prominent at these fractures resulting in poor quality heavily fractured material. After nitrogen hydrogen is the most common impurity in natural diamond and is often responsible for a gem quality diamonds color. Color in diamond related or attributed to the hydrogen impurity can range from brown to green and gray. These colors are often undesirable to the gem trade and consumers. Recently GIA laboratories have seen a lot of faceted “Black” diamonds (graded as Fancy Black on GIA’s color scale) for identification. These diamonds are hydrogen rich and it is suspected that this material is treated (heated). Probably unattractive grayish green brown material that is virtually worthless in the gem trade before treatment. With such large quantities of this treated material available a serious threat and identification problem is posed to the Gem Diamond industry. Three faceted round cut hydrogen rich diamonds (0.30, 0.52 and 0.58 carats) colored by dense hydrogen clouds giving them a murky grayish appearance have been documented and systematically heated. A black color identical to that of the suspected treated black diamonds has been achieved, thus confirming this coloration treatment and new identification techniques to detect it. These treated black diamonds have a uniform color and lack the heavy fracturing and surface graphitization of typical treated black diamonds. Heating conditions and techniques will be discussed and we report on this new type of material and gem stone treatment.

  • H-Rich blackdiamonds 2016.pdf (842.3 kB)