What is an Irradiated Diamond?

  • By Claire Avery
  • 30 Nov, 2016
green irradiated diamond
Green Irradiated Diamond

Some of you may be familiar with the term "irradiation" when it comes to diamonds, but most of you are probably thinking, "What? My diamonds are radioactive?" No need to worry. Your diamonds aren't radioactive. But you should be familiar with the term in case you make a jewelry purchase that contains irradiated diamonds. For hundreds of years scientists have experimented with ways to enhance the color of diamonds. Most of the effort is to treat nearly colorless diamonds have even less color, but sometimes it's treatments are used to help colored diamonds have an even more attractive or vibrant color.

First we will take a look at green diamonds. Green diamonds, whether made green in the earth or in a lab, are irradiated. What that means is during the growth process of the diamond, the stones are exposed to, you guessed it, radiation. Because this is the way the green color in diamonds is achieved, it is nearly impossible to tell if a green diamond was irradiated in the earth or in a lab because it's a nearly identical process. Sometimes already green diamonds are even further irradiated to achieve a more vibrant color. Modern irradiation processes often paired with annealing have perfected the process and have even been able to achieve other colors such as blue, brown, yellow, black and other colors.

​There have been many experiments of how to irradiate diamonds in a lab and make them sellable to the public. The first few tries left the diamonds extremely radioactive, which obviously can't be used for public use. After many years and many more experiments, scientists were able to discover ways to irradiating diamonds with a fairly short half-life. All of a sudden we're back in chemistry class, "What's a half-life?" A half-life is the length of time required for half of a group of atoms of a particular type (radioactive) to decay into another type (non-radioactive). The diamonds are never available to the public before there is little to no radioactivity left in the diamond.

What does all of this mean to you? You need to be aware of diamond treatments when you purchase jewelry. Although treatments can help your stones look more attractive, many of them aren't permanent. As far as irradiation goes, you need to be aware in case your beautiful piece of jewelry is ever being repaired by someone who didn't sell it to you. During routine repairs and being exposed to extreme heat (like a jeweler's torch, or recutting) can affect the color. That could mean the color could intensify, which might not be all that bad, but it could also dull or even change the color entirely. It's important that you remember and let your jeweler know about any irradiated stones to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Written by Claire Avery
red irradiated diamond
This 0.55ct brownish orangey-red round brilliant cut synthetic diamond was treated by irradiation and annealing to produce its red color. Photo credit GIA.

Caleesi Jewelry & Gemology Blog

By Claire Avery 08 Dec, 2017
Please join us for our upcoming Guy's Night Event at Caleesi Designs Jewelers at our location on South Lamar in Austin, Texas. We will have beer, snacks, and refreshments. Free gift wrapping for all Caleesi purchases.
By Claire Avery 01 Dec, 2017
Please join us for our upcoming Diamond and Gemstone Event at Caleesi Designs Jewelers at our location on South Lamar in Austin, Texas. We will have wine, cheese, and refreshments. Loose stones and finished diamond and gemstone jewelry available for purchase for a limited time!
By Claire Avery 13 Nov, 2017
Please join us for our upcoming Ladies' Night Wish List Event at Caleesi Designs Jewelers at our location on South Lamar in Austin, Texas. We will have wine, champagne, cheese, and refreshments. 
By Claire Avery 26 Oct, 2017
You guessed it! Sapphires come in EVERY color! Technically, red sapphires, as long as they meet certain color requirements, are considered rubies, but they are still the same material, corundum.

Sapphires are also known for their vibrant coloring. There is no other gemstone that can capture the bright blue of a sapphire with it's beautiful transparency. 
By Claire Avery 17 Oct, 2017
We are as confident as Khaleesi that you will find all your jewelry needs at Caleesi Designs Jewelers on South Lamar in Austin, Texas. We specialize in custom jewelry, but also do jewelry repair, appraisals, and watch repair. Come and see us today!
By Claire Avery 20 Sep, 2017
Your money supports your community . When you make a purchase from your local, independent jeweler, you're helping keep the money you spend in your community which helps grow the local economy. The taxes you pay circulate back to our beautiful city to help keep Austin weird. You also know where your money is going. You aren't filling the pockets of some corporate head, you're helping feed your neighbor's family. At Caleesi Designs Jewelers, we eat and shop local whenever we can because we like supporting other entrepreneurs like ourselves.

Keep Austin Weird . Our city is one of a kind and we know it. So why not shop for one of a kind jewelry? Don't buy what everyone else has from the corporate box store. Our goal is keeping our clients happy and creating a unique piece they'll love for years to come. Your happiness supersedes our profit goals. Yeah, that might be kind of weird, but so are we, and so is Austin. Let us know if you own or work at a local small business, we will support you in whatever way we can. Small businesses give our city character, and we like to keep it that way. After all, we are all what makes Austin so special.

Superior Customer Service . When you call us, you'll immediately talk to one of our jewelry experts. No call centers or talking to people about things they know nothing about. At Caleesi Designs Jewelers, we are here to help. If you aren't entirely satisfied with your jewelry, we will do whatever it takes to make you happy. Our customers come first above all else. We want to be your first call... or email or text for all of your custom jewelry needs and repairs.

Lowering prices through competition and diversity. By supporting large corporate businesses, you are supporting in lowering the diversity of options because the larger stores are only going to offer what sells for them. Going to larger box stores also reduces the competition, so they can raise their prices at their will. Also keep in mind, you're also helping pay for their huge marketing budgets. By shopping local, you help increase competition and diversity which in turn keeps your prices lower.

Made in Austin and the USA . Any custom piece created at Caleesi Designs Jewelers is either made entirely in our Austin Texas store, or contains parts created here in the USA. Whenever possible, we make an effort to buy American made products. 
By Claire Avery 07 Sep, 2017
The difference between sizing beads and pillows is slight. Essentially one is a sphere shape, and the other is more like a pitcher's mound. Both solutions are great for people who have arthritic knuckles or have problems with their ring spinning around on their finger.

The process is simple. We size your ring up slightly, then add two beads or pillows on the bottom inside of your ring. This way when you go to slide the ring over your knuckle, your finger has room to move around between the beads, and once it is on your finger, the beads hold the ring on the smaller part of your finger. The great part of this is it is a fairly inexpensive solution. You may ask about a  ring guard  which wraps or twists around the shank of your ring. We do not recommend this solution, because in time it will damage your ring.

Some people find the beads uncomfortable, so in that instance, we would put in the sizing pillows. If you think you would prefer the pillows, please let us know, as beads are our default.
By Claire Avery 23 Aug, 2017
Let's start simple with some basic definitions.

Genuine or Earth-made diamond : A diamond produced in the depths of our Earth, minded, and fashioned into the diamonds you are familiar with seeing in the market.

Synthetic or created  diamond : A stone produced by humans in a lab, creating a crystal with essentially the same chemical makeup of an Earth-made diamond then fashioned into a faceted stone.

Diamond imitation : A stone that only looks like a diamond, but can be a genuine gemstone or lab created stone.

In other words, a lab created diamond with essentially the same chemical makeup of an Earth-made diamond, is still a diamond. A lab created stone is made in a lab which replicates nearly the same environment as what happens deep in the Earth. And imitations only look like diamonds to the untrained eye.
By Claire Avery 09 Aug, 2017
I get asked this questions a lot. "Can you show me a traditional engagement ring?" It's a difficult question to answer. Not because I don't know, but because it really depends on what you mean by "tradition.

"Traditionally" there were no engagement rings, only wedding bands, and they were typically just simple plain bands. Hundreds of years ago, if peasants couldn't afford rings, they would steal silverware from the rich and make them into rings. I'm sure you've seen a "spoon ring" before. It wasn't until the late 1940s that you started to see diamond engagement rings. So in a way, the 1940s and 1950s engagement rings can be considered traditional. Usually when people ask me that question, I interpret it as, "Can you show me a classic engagement ring?" This implies a ring that has always been in style, and will always be in style in the foreseeable future.

Gemstone engagement rings became popular when Princess Diana was given a blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring in 1981.
By Claire Avery 20 Jun, 2017
Say you have two diamond solitaire rings, one set in platinum, and one set in gold. Both are worn the same way by the owners, but which will stand the test of time? Platinum is ultimately the most durable of all the fine metals. If you were to knock a platinum prong, the prong would move slightly and maybe "squish" a little (as much as metel can really "squish"). If you were to knock a gold prong, a small bit of the prong would shave away. Over time, the platinum will have more metal left over, where as the gold will wear down faster.

Because platinum is, as I call, a "squishy" metal, this also means it is much more likely to scratch than gold. Now, let me make this clear, I'm mostly talking about 14 karat gold. I'll get more into the differences in the karats of gold in the next section. Gold is likely to hold a high polish much longer than platinum.
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