Want a Green Diamond? Radiation May Just Be Your Best Asset

Less than one in every thousand diamonds is green, and you can thank ionizing radiation for that.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Have you ever seen a green diamond? They really exist and they are quite a sight to behold. But how do you get green diamonds?

It also has to do with radiation. A diamond is just a particular arrangement of carbon atoms called a lattice. When this lattice gets disrupted, diamonds can turn into all kinds of colors.

It all begins underground where diamonds sometimes form next to naturally occurring radioactive ores. These radioactive elements have an unstable nucleus at the heart of their atom. 

Decaying radioactive ores

Because of this, they release ionizing radiation as they decay. As these particles are released they can sometimes reach the diamond and collide with its lattice structure. 

In this process, they move aside a carbon atom creating a defect in the lattice structure. These defects tend to absorb the red and blue parts of the visible spectrum.

Without red or blue light, there is only green left to be reflected out of the diamond. But don't think this is a common occurrence! Less than one in every thousand diamonds takes on this color. 

Some would argue this makes green diamonds even more desirable. Watch this video to find out more about these beautiful freaks of nature.

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