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Chameleon diamonds: How heat and darkness bring out the best in these colour-changing stones

Chameleon diamonds in the Canadian and U.S. markets

Nice Diamonds' 'Forever' collection of chameleon diamonds is one the largest of its kind. The image on the left is before heating, while the one on the right is after heat is applied.
Nice Diamonds’ ‘Forever’ collection of chameleon diamonds is one the largest of its kind. The image on the left is before heating, while the one on the right is after heat is applied.

Nilesh Sheth has been selling coloured and chameleon diamonds for more than 20 years in New York City and has one of the largest collections of these stones (Figure 5). “Rarity and unique colour-change characteristics combine to create a special interest in chameleon diamonds,” says Sheth, president of Nice Diamonds. “In comparing prices of similarly coloured diamonds, a chameleon typically commands a 30 to 50 per cent premium. Given greater consumer awareness, partly in response to more celebrities wearing coloured diamonds and gems, prices at auction have been favourably impacted.” Colin Ferguson of Rare Investments in Vancouver concurs, noting “more consumers are looking to own unique stones that will showcase high clarity and colour at any time of day. It’s not enough to be rare—it has to be beautiful to look at, as well.”

Coloured diamonds are becoming increasingly more popular in the Canadian market and colours other than yellow are now finding their way to jewellers and consumers. When rare size, colour, and the chameleon effect are combined, as in a 2.02-carat IF fancy greyish-greenish-yellow diamond, for example, the end result is a highly desirable and very expensive stone. Chameleon diamonds are also in demand among those who love to collect unique gem pieces, partly because they cannot be reproduced in a laboratory. Although many mainstream jewellery stores are not yet offering these coloured diamonds, they are already a special ’boutique’ commodity for consumers with a passion for the unusual and rare.

Branko's photoBranko Deljanin, B.Sc., GG, FGA, DUG is head gemmologist and director of CGL-GRS Swiss Canadian Gemlab Inc., in Vancouver. He is a regular contributor to trade and gemmological magazines, and has presented reports at a number of research conferences. Deljanin is an instructor of standard and advanced gemmology programs on diamonds and coloured stones in Canada and internationally. He can be reached at info@cglworld.ca.

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