We all know that over time things become different – and aging becomes more apparent. Some people say that “diamonds are forever,” but does that make them stay the same forever – or are there some indications of aging?
That’s why most of you asked the question: Do diamonds turn yellow with age? And honestly, we don’t blame you. We asked ourselves the same thing before writing this guide.
Sure, glass and diamond-like objects tend to become yellow with time. But does that mean that genuine – as in, real – diamonds might also turn yellow at some point?
The simple answer is no – but there are some things worth noting on this topic.
With tons of information on the Internet, it might be pretty easy for some of you to be misled into thinking diamonds drastically change color with age. But we’re going to debunk all of that in just a few minutes.
So, if you’re interested in reading more on this topic, we highly recommend you keep scrolling – and find out what we have in store for you regarding this brilliant topic!
What Gives Diamonds Their Color?
First of all, let’s see what’s responsible for diamonds being the color they are – regardless of the actual color we’re talking about here. You might know them as “white” or “colorless,” but blue and purple diamonds exist, too. Heck, even black diamonds are a thing!
We’re not going to talk about artificial diamonds and diamonds made in labs since they’re a bit different story. We’re going to focus on genuine and natural diamonds instead.
Getting to the bottom of this question is not easy, and it requires a bit of chemistry knowledge, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
The thing that is responsible for the diamond’s color is its atomic structure. That might sound a bit confusing, but be patient, and you’ll understand everything soon enough.
When a diamond is still “young” and underground, a series of complex chemical reactions take place, producing the diamond’s atomic structure.
Don’t forget that diamonds are essentially carbon that withstood immense pressure and heat, becoming what we know as diamonds. That also plays a role when talking about diamond’s color.
Now, back to the main point: Since nothing can change the diamond’s atomic structure, that means that nothing can alter the color of that diamond, either.
Diamonds can have this sort of white-ish color and be almost transparent. Depending on what color diamond we’re talking about, the atomic structure can be quite different.
That doesn’t mean that there’s some possibility for a change in color in either of them. It means that the atomic structure is a bit different; that’s all.
What Can Make A Diamond Become Yellow?
Earlier, we’ve said that there are some things worth noting when it comes to diamonds turning slightly yellow in certain situations.
Diamonds won’t change their color out of nowhere – but you could affect it by accident. Here are some things that may change the color of a diamond, making it go from white to yellow:
Now let’s look at how these things can influence a diamond to turn slightly yellowish.
If a diamond is worn close to the skin, for example, on a necklace, a watch, or a bracelet, there is a possibility of human sweat and oils making the diamond appear more yellow in color.
You’ve probably noticed that this happens to many things – including other pieces of jewelry that are brighter in color.
So, why does it happen? Sweat and skin oils naturally have a yellowish color – especially against an all-white background – so this might not come as a surprise to some of you.
When a piece of jewelry with a diamond – or multiple diamonds – is worn daily, the diamonds could retain a part of those skin oils. And that build-up might have an effect on the color of the said diamond.
Note that this needs to happen very often – with no maintenance in between – for the change to be noticeable. You shouldn’t worry too much about it happening.
But, the fact that it needs a lot of time to happen doesn’t mean it’s impossible; it just means that you’ll have to wear it almost daily for a couple of years – without cleaning it – for you to see that yellow color appearing.
Dirt is also something that could make your diamonds appear more yellowish in color – but it’s even less likely to happen than your diamond turning yellow from sweat.
Now, dirt is often associated with the color brown. However, the amount of dirt that can surround your diamond will merely make it look a bit darker or yellowish – and not brown.
You might assume that just because dirt is all around us that it’s more than likely for it to change the color of your diamond. Luckily, that’s not true.
Rolling your jewelry piece with a diamond in it – or just placing a diamond in the dirt for whatever reason – might make this process faster. But we certainly don’t recommend doing this under any circumstances.
Paint, sprays, or even nail polish can turn your diamond into any color – including yellow – with ease.
One could argue that changing a diamond’s color artificially and on purpose doesn’t count – and we have to agree with that. Still, it’s something worth noting.
It might not come as a shock to most of you, but one of the obvious means of changing the color of your diamond is – well, painting it. Of course, we don’t recommend ever doing it.
Then again, if you have kids around and notice your diamonds and jewelry are changing colors unexpectedly, just know that it might as well be a funny prank!
You’ve probably seen how it looks when a lot of dust gathers on a piece of glass or something of that sort.
The longer the dust collects on the surface, the more that piece of glass becomes “foggy” – and partially yellow. That’s what can happen to your diamonds if you leave them exposed for a very long time on a dusty surface.
The good thing is that you can dust all of that off pretty easily. So, you don’t have to put in the time (or the work) to wash or otherwise clean your diamonds.
Nicotine is a substance responsible for turning many things into a dark yellow color. Your walls, glasses, books, teeth, fingernails – or anything else exposed to it, for that matter.
If you’ve been around somebody that smokes regularly, you’ve probably seen the effects it has on the surroundings. Nicotine and tar can easily stick to surfaces – even smooth ones like diamonds – and make them darker and yellowish in color.
What Actually Happens To Diamonds Over Time?
Well, actually, nobody knows. The saying that diamonds are forever is pretty accurate when it boils down to the facts. Diamonds don’t disintegrate or take significant damage with time, like paper or other materials.
These precious carbon-made things last more than a lifetime, so it’s generally unknown what time does to them. Not enough time has passed for a diamond to show any significant change.
They can last for centuries and look like they are brand new – all depending on how they’re kept.
Some diamonds that have been found in rubbles or less-than-stellar conditions did show signs of damage – but that’s not due to time. It’s due to extreme conditions they were in for years – or even decades.
Imagine throwing a diamond into a river; would its edges become rounder? Well, you get the point.
If diamonds are kept in a safe place where dirt, rubble, harsh weather conditions, and any other destructive forces can’t influence them, those diamonds will look brand new.
Knowing this, you probably begin to realize that diamonds are forever – at least when kept under proper conditions.
Otherwise, your diamond could become severely damaged – and might even turn into vapor in some extreme conditions.
After such an extreme statement, we feel obligated to elaborate: Exposing a diamond to immense heat for longer periods can turn it into vapor. However, those temperatures are not easily reachable – so you don’t have to worry about doing this by accident.
The thing is, a staggering 763 degrees Celsius is the actual temperature that could cause this to happen. And, well, we’re pretty sure that none of you have access to that kind of temperature.
So, the point is that diamonds really are forever – and time doesn’t really do anything significant to genuine diamonds.
Yellow Diamonds – Do They Exist In Nature?
Some of you have seen yellow diamonds and might be confused by us saying regular diamonds don’t become yellow with time. Well, while regular diamonds do not turn yellow, there are diamonds that are naturally yellow in color – ranging from really light yellow to deep and intense yellow hues.
These diamonds are called Canary diamonds, named after the canary bird that shares the same color. Canary diamonds are one of the rarest and most appreciated diamonds out there, so it would be hard to see them in person. We’re hoping that some of you have at least seen pictures or videos of them online, though.
The yellow color of these diamonds comes from the nitrogen in their composition. The nitrogen molecules absorb blue light directed into the diamond, making this precious stone yellow rather than greenish or blueish color – or any other color other than yellow, for that matter.
The more nitrogen there is in a diamond, the more yellow it becomes.
So, if you see a Canary diamond that’s a deep and dark yellow color, that diamond probably has more nitrogen in it.
We feel obliged to state that “Canary” isn’t the official term for a yellow diamond – to avoid any misleading information. Instead, it’s a commonly used term to describe fancy yellow diamonds.
Also, these diamonds go for anywhere between $22,000 and $32,000, depending on their size and the intensity of the yellow color. Canary diamonds are also graded on the official GIA color grading scale – and they’re generally graded as:
- Very Light
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, or Fancy Dark
Fancy Vivid, Deep, or Dark is the rarest one and the most expensive when it comes to yellow diamonds.
Our Final Thoughts On The Subject
We know that this might have been a confusing journey – but that’s what the world of diamonds sometimes is. Let’s go over all the information once more to help you sum up everything you’ve just read and briefly see whether diamonds turn yellow with age.
Diamonds don’t turn yellow with age – not due to time, that is. But some things might influence your diamonds, causing them to turn a yellowish color. Those things are sweat, dirt, paint, dust, and nicotine.
If your diamonds do come into contact with any of these things, they may turn yellow, but you’re not to worry: You can reverse the effect of these by cleaning your diamond at home – or getting them cleaned by a professional.
And don’t forget: There are yellow diamonds in existence. These diamonds didn’t turn yellow, though. Instead, they contained nitrogen which absorbs the blue light – and makes the diamonds shine yellow.
All in all, yellow diamonds are an exciting topic, but they definitely don’t become that way over time. Mother Nature makes them like that! We hope this clears up the air about your diamonds turning yellow – and why that’s completely impossible.