Green Diamonds: Rare, Beautiful, and Valuable

Last Updated on September 27, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Did you know that less than 0.1% of all diamonds mined are green?

Welcome to the ultra-exclusive, mesmerizing world of green diamonds. Here, rarity and beauty dance together in a dazzling array of hues, telling a story that spans both geological epochs and cutting-edge science. 

fancy green diamonds

I look forward to guiding you through the unique attributes of these gems. From their astonishing origins deep within the Earth to their investment allure in modern markets, green diamonds captivate on multiple fronts. 

Whether you're intrigued by their rarity, considering an investment, or simply mesmerized by their spellbinding beauty, you're in for an illuminating journey. 

What are Green Diamonds?

When we talk about diamonds, the first image that often comes to mind is a sparkling, colorless gem. But the diamond world is far richer than that; it's a spectrum of hues and complexities. Among these colors, green stands out as an enigma, a hue surrounded by both myth and scientific curiosity. Let's delve into the mysteries that make green diamonds a subject of endless fascination.

How They Get Their Color

If you've ever wondered about the intricate forces behind the ethereal green hue of a green diamond, you're in for an awe-inspiring tale. Unlike most other fancy color diamonds that get their hues from trace elements like boron or nitrogen, green diamonds are an intriguing exception.

Natural green diamonds get their unique color through exposure to natural radiation over countless millennia, deep within Earth's mantle. They have to be growing within rocks containing radioactive uranium, nickel, or hydrogen. These elements replace some of the atoms in the crystal lattice, causing us to see them reflected as green. So, every time you hold a natural green diamond, you're connecting with geological forces that have been at work for eons.

Different elements may cause different hues in green diamonds. Pure-green diamonds are the rarest, comprising only 0.07% of green diamonds.

Here's a video that goes really deep into the science of it.

Synthesizing Nature: Treated and Lab-Created Green Diamonds

While the focus here is on natural green diamonds, it's worth mentioning that technology has enabled us to influence diamond colors artificially. There are treated natural diamonds that have undergone irradiation to bring out a green hue.

Likewise, lab-created green diamonds exist, made in controlled conditions using techniques like High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) or Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). The green color in lab-created diamonds is usually introduced through a separate post-growth treatment that mimics the natural radiation process.

However, these diamonds often come with caveats concerning their value, durability, and sometimes even ethical considerations. A gemological certificate will spell out whether a green diamond is natural, treated, or lab-created, so always keep an eye on that.

Where They Come From

Where we come from defines us, and the same can be said for green diamonds. These exotic gems primarily come from specific regions like Brazil, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. It's not just happenstance; the geological conditions in these areas provide the unique circumstances needed for the diamonds to undergo their dramatic transformation.

Rarity Factors

Let's talk about the elephant in the room: rarity. Green diamonds are exceptionally rare, and that's not just marketing hype. They are genuinely hard to come by for a few reasons.

First, they're only formed under very specific geological conditions, limiting their geographical origins.

Second, these diamonds often possess what's known as a "natural skin," a layer of color on the diamond's surface that can be quite delicate. This makes the process of cutting and polishing incredibly challenging because removing too much of the surface could result in losing the coveted green hue. The skill required to maintain the stone's color while optimizing its brilliance is a testament to the artisan's craftsmanship. It's a captivating balance that I believe adds another layer of intrigue to these already mysterious gems.

Diamond Grading: The 4Cs

When evaluating green color diamonds or any diamonds for that matter, the 4Cs—Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Color—are essential. These universal metrics provide a structured way for both gemologists and buyers to assess a gem's quality. Moreover, certification from reputable authorities adds an extra layer of trust. Let's dissect these elements, especially in the context of green diamonds.

Certifying Authorities

Before we delve into the "Four Cs," it's crucial to mention the role of certifying institutions. Authorities like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the International Gemological Institute (IGI), and others offer grading reports that detail a diamond's properties, including the Four Cs. Trust me, when you're dealing with something as rare and valuable as a green diamond, certification is not just a nice-to-have—it's a must.


In the realm of green diamonds, size, or carat weight, has an exponential impact on value. Simply put, larger green diamonds are astronomically rare, elevating their value to greater heights. It's almost like each additional carat adds another chapter to the gem's already fascinating story.

Cut: The Balancing Act

The cut of a green diamond isn't just about aesthetics; it's a meticulous balancing act. A master cutter aims to maximize both brilliance and color, which is no small feat. When it comes to colored diamonds, even a slight mistake in the cut can lead to uneven color distribution or diminished brilliance. Understanding the cut of a green diamond is like appreciating a well-conducted orchestra—every aspect must be in perfect harmony for the entire composition to shine.

A poor cut can dull even the most vibrant of colors, while a perfect cut can elevate a stone of modest color quality. When I examine green diamonds, the cut always captures my attention because it can either highlight or undermine the gem's natural beauty. The importance of the cut in green diamonds cannot be overstated; it holds the key to the stone's full potential.


While clarity may take a back seat to color in colored diamonds, it remains an essential factor. A green diamond with minimal inclusions and blemishes will be more valuable, especially if it maintains a robust and consistent color. A high-clarity green diamond is a true rarity, capturing the best of both worlds.

Color: The Spectrum of Green

Ah, the color green in diamonds—a world rich in variety and complexity. Green diamonds can range from faint to intense, and within that range are different tiers:

  • Faint Green
  • Very Light Green
  • Light Green
  • Fancy Light Green
  • Fancy Green
  • Fancy Intense Green
  • Fancy Vivid Green
  • Fancy Dark Green
  • Fancy Deep Green
green diamond tones

In addition, secondary hues like yellow or blue can appear, further complicating the valuation process. For instance, a green diamond with secondary blue hues may be considered more valuable than one with yellow hues, depending on market preferences. Trust me when I say that the color of a green diamond can be as complex as a vintage wine, each hue and shade adding its own note to the overall experience.

Valuing Green Color Diamonds: Beyond the 4Cs

When it comes to green diamonds, their value isn't solely determined by the "Four Cs." While those metrics are essential, they form just part of the picture. So, what other factors come into play? To truly understand the worth of a green diamond, we must dig deeper into its provenance, market demand, and individual quirks that make each gem a one-of-a-kind treasure. Trust me, it's a fascinating journey that takes you well beyond mere carats and clarity grades.

Provenance: The Origin Story

One factor that can significantly influence the value of a green diamond is its provenance, or its place of origin. Whether unearthed from the Argyle mine in Australia or sourced from Africa, each origin brings its own set of characteristics and allure. It's a bit like the terroir in winemaking; the environment in which the diamond formed can add layers to its story and value.

Market Demand: Rarity Meets Desire

The scarcity of green diamonds makes them highly sought after, but it's the market demand that ultimately sets their price. When a particular shade or intensity of green becomes fashionable or desired by collectors, its value can skyrocket overnight. I've seen it happen, and it's always a thrill to witness a gem's ascent to stardom.

Uniqueness: The Individual Flair

Every green diamond has unique features that set it apart—features that go beyond the standard grading metrics. Whether it's an unusual pattern of inclusions that adds character, or a particular play of light that makes the color "pop," these singular traits can add significant value. It's these idiosyncrasies that often capture my imagination and make me appreciate the marvel that is a green diamond.

Investment Potential: The Long Game

Increasingly, green color diamonds are being recognized not just as objects of beauty, but as viable investment opportunities. Given their rarity and the rising demand, they have shown a consistent appreciation in value over the years. In this respect, a green diamond isn't just a jewel; it's a tangible asset that holds promise for the future.

Famous Green Diamonds

When it comes to green diamonds, a few names stand out in the annals of history for their unmatched beauty, size, and mystery. These diamonds aren't just spectacular gemstones; they're historical artifacts that have traveled through time and across continents. And let me tell you, each has a story worth telling.

The Aurora Green Diamond

The most famous green diamond is probably the Aurora Green Diamond. It was sold at an auction for $168 million. It is the most expensive green diamond in the world. It's a 5.03 carat fancy vivid green diamond. It's the largest natural fancy green diamond ever graded by the GIA.

It's the blend of carat weight, color intensity, and nearly flawless structure that makes this diamond a true masterpiece. Often you'll find larger diamonds with lower color grades or smaller diamonds that can't match its intensity. The Aurora Green strikes a delicate balance, making it a once-in-a-lifetime find.

The Dresden Green Diamond

The Dresden Green diamond could also be considered the most famous green diamond. It is a 40.7 carat fancy green diamond with VS1 clarity. The color is the even throughout the large pear cut diamond and has the potential to be internally flawless if recut by jewelers.

It was found in 1722, in Kollur mine in India. At the time, it was the most famous natural green diamond until the Aurora Green Diamond came along in 2016. The Dresden Green was presented to King George I who had high compliments toward the Indian merchant and his 41-carat fancy green diamond.

It passed through more royalty, including King Augustus and his successor, Augustus II. It also was placed in a new setting, near the Dresden white diamond. It was reset yet again and remains in the Dresden Castle for public viewing today.

dresden green

Image via The MET

It was found in 1722, in Kollur mine in India. At the time, it was the most famous green diamond until the Aurora Green Diamond came along in 2016. The Dresden Green was presented to King George I who had high compliments toward the Indian merchant and his 41 carat fancy green diamond.

It passed through more royalty, including King Augustus and his successor, Augustus II. It also was placed in a new setting, near the Dresden white diamond. It was reset yet again and remains in the Dresden Castle for public viewing today.

The Ocean Dream

The Ocean Dream stands in a league of its own, not just for its size but for its unique color. Weighing 5.5 carats, what sets this diamond apart is its rare blue-green coloration. Certified by the GIA, the Ocean Dream is a Fancy Deep Blue-Green diamond, a hue that's as uncommon as it is breathtaking. This gem makes me think about the mysterious depths of the ocean, giving a whole new meaning to the concept of "rare beauty."

ocean green diamond

Image via Christie's

The Ocean Dream is reported to have originated from Central Africa, although its precise location is shrouded in mystery. The area is known for yielding diamonds of unique colors, but even among these, the Ocean Dream stands out.

Settings for Green Diamonds

Choosing the right setting for a green diamond isn't just a design choice; it's an intricate dance of aesthetics and functionality. The setting not only enhances the diamond's beauty but also serves as its protective shell. When you're dealing with something as rare and valuable as a green diamond, you'll want the setting to do justice to the gemstone.

Metals for Green Diamond Engagement Rings

Many people debate choosing the metal color for their engagement rings. Some people go with their preferred metal, while others may want what complements the color of their diamond or gemstone.

But first off, let's get something straight. There's no wrong colored metal for your green diamond engagement ring. Now let's get technical.

Fancy Green Diamonds in White Gold or Platinum

The color green is a cool toned color. Cool toned colors are said to look best with other cool tones. In a green diamond engagement ring, experts say it looks best in either white gold or platinum. Both are silvery white metals. Fancy light green diamonds, fancy bluish green color diamonds, and fancy dark green color diamonds will all look great in cool toned metal.

Fancy Deep Brownish Greenish Yellow Oval Diamond Side-stone Diamond Ring

Fancy Green Diamonds in Yellow Gold or Rose Gold

That being said, it's not uncommon to find green gemstones set in yellow gold or rose gold. Both of them are warm toned metals. You're more likely to see gemstones with a dark green color in these kinds of metals, like emerald jewelry. Fancy light green diamonds tend to get drowned out by yellow gold or rose gold. The colors of the metal can detract from the light green color of a stone.

green diamond in yellow gold bezel ring
green diamond in rose gold bezel ring setting

But once again, the engagement ring setting for your green diamond is completely up to your personal preference. Get what you like, not what the experts say. The color of the metal has no bearing on the quality of your green diamond engagement ring.

Style Considerations: Classic to Contemporary

From classic solitaire settings to more modern bezel options, the style of setting you choose can have a huge impact on how your green diamond is perceived. While some settings are designed to let the diamond take center stage, others add their own flair to the ensemble. I've seen green diamonds nestled in vintage settings that made me feel like I was peering into history. Each style brings its own energy to the table.

1.05 ct fancy light green asscher cut VS1 in platinum

Functionality: Everyday Wear vs Special Occasion

Will this green diamond be a regular feature on your finger, or is it reserved for special occasions? The answer can influence your choice of setting. More intricate settings may be better suited for occasional wear, whereas simpler, more robust settings may be more appropriate for daily use. The setting should not only be beautiful but also practical for its intended purpose.

1.15 ct fancy yellowish green diamond

via Estate Diamond Jewelry

Expert Consultation: A Tailored Experience

Given the rarity and complexity of green diamonds, consulting with a skilled jeweler or gemologist is often advisable. Their expertise can guide you in choosing a setting that complements your gem's unique features. I always recommend a one-on-one consultation; it transforms the selection process from mere shopping into a journey of discovery.

Best Places to Buy Fancy Green Diamonds

If you're looking for a large pool of green diamonds to choose from, look no further than James Allen. You'll notice these guys hover at the top of many of our lists, but they really have the widest selection of a lot of jewelry elements.

james allen fancy green diamonds

They carry both natural green diamonds and lab-created fancy green diamonds. Each diamond comes with an interactive 360˚ view of the diamond. Currently, they carry just over 40 natural green diamonds in their inventory. The majority of their natural green diamonds are light green. There's even a couple with secondary hues of yellow, giving it almost a neon effect. All of the natural green diamonds are GIA certified, so you can be assured they're the best.

On the lab-grown side, James Allen carries around 80 created fancy green diamonds. Many of them have light bluish green hues, but there's quite a few forest green diamonds in the inventory. One of my favorites is the seafoam light green diamond hues, shown below.

James Allen offers a wide selection of ring settings to create stunning green diamond engagement rings. Accompanied with your purchase is a free lifetime warranty that covers any routine maintenance your engagement ring will need over the years.

Blue Nile Banner

At Blue Nile, you're only given the option to choose a natural green diamond for your engagement ring. They have a collection of around 60 fancy green diamonds to choose from, but the majority of them don't have 360˚ video. Many of them have stock photos that may mislead diamond buyers who don't know otherwise.

green diamonds blue nile

Only around 20 of them currently have interactive 360˚ video, but they offer a key of different green diamond hues to match their description. That's pretty helpful of them. And just because they show stock photos, doesn't mean you can't inquire within and obtain photos of what it really looks like. All of the fancy color diamonds you can buy at Blue Nile are GIA certified.

Customers that have shopped with Blue Nile over other diamond retailers often say it's because of the service. They were the first online diamond retailer to offer loose diamonds in 1999. Since then, they've built a solid customer base. Even if Blue Nile's price isn't always the highest, many will still select them for their engagement rings due to their service.

One of the things we've been saying Blue Nile has been severely lacking is a good maintenance plan. They offer a manufacturer's warranty, but that's for design flaws and defects. Rhodium plating white gold, retipping prongs to keep your green diamond safe and secure--they'll do that for you for a cost.

You may have to see a local jeweler to keep up with routine maintenance and pay out of pocket. Keep in mind that will also void a manufacturer's warranty with Blue Nile.

If you're shopping at Leibish and Co. for a natural green diamond, you've got a lot of cash in the bank. And don't worry, you'll need it. This company has the entire rainbow of fancy color diamonds. They also carry less talked about fancy colors like a fancy white diamond, fancy grey diamond, and even the rarest of them all-the fancy red diamond.

Leibish specializes in fancy color diamonds and colored gemstones. Currently, they have over 170 green diamonds in their inventory. Not all of them have video, but a lot of them do.

The green diamonds at Leibish are going to have the best intensities and tones online. They'll also have the highest prices too. They carry the cream of the crop when it comes to fancy color diamonds. I'd advise staying away from their engagement rings settings because they're highly expensive. You're better off just purchasing a fancy green diamond from Leibish and getting your setting someplace else.

For fancy vivid green diamonds, the prices aren't all listed on the site for you to see. Some of them require you to contact within. While it's a bummer you can't see the price, I imagine it's only for serious buyers.

Leibish is an excellent company to buy a green diamond from, if you can afford it. Unfortunately, many of us can't. They don't carry lab created fancy color diamonds, so there's really no saving money here. Thankfully, there's other options on our list instead.

brilliant earth banner

On the other hand, Brilliant Earth only carries lab grown green diamonds. They carry natural fancy color diamonds, but only as blue, yellow, and pink diamonds.

Their lab-grown fancy green diamonds come in a variety of hues and intensities. They don't give you too much information about them individually, like their clarity and other specifics. Instead, you're able to look at the grading certificate and see the specs in more detail.

brilliant earth lab created green diamond

Brilliant Earth honestly has some of my favorite ring settings for engagement rings. There are so many beautiful ring designs, it's hard to choose. They allow you to see it in 360˚ video as well as superimposing the ring on your own hand using their mobile site on your phone. 

Brilliant Earth also offers their Brilliant Benefits plan which will cover the routine maintenance your fancy green diamond engagement ring may need over the year. Unlike some of the others, this is a purchase rather than a free benefit offered.

Green Diamonds FAQs

Not a lot of people know about green diamonds. There's not too many jewelers that offer them either. Traditionally, the most sought-after colors are pink diamonds, blue diamonds, and yellow diamonds. Here's the most asked questions about green diamonds.

Are green diamonds expensive?

Most fancy color diamonds are highly expensive. Even yellow diamonds categorized as "canary yellow" cost more than light yellow diamonds.

Are green diamonds rare?

A natural green diamond is one of the rarest fancy color diamonds in the market. Yellow diamonds, brown diamonds and black diamonds are more common. Pink diamonds, orange diamonds and blue diamonds are more rare, but well-known. Green diamonds, purple diamonds, and fancy white diamonds are lesser known.

Are green diamonds a good investment?

Green diamonds have shown consistent value appreciation over the years, largely due to their rarity and demand. But as with any investment, it's advisable to consult with experts in the field. A certified gemologist can provide insights tailored to your specific situation.

Can a natural colorless diamond be artificially treated to make it a green diamond?

Yes, it's possible to artificially treat a natural colorless diamond to make it green. Methods like irradiation or High-Temperature Annealing can be used to alter a diamond's color. However, it's crucial to note that these treatments significantly reduce the diamond's value compared to a naturally occurring green diamond.

Certified gemological labs can identify whether a green diamond has been treated or is naturally occurring. If you're after the real deal — and trust me, there's nothing like it — make sure to look for this information in the diamond's certification.

What is the difference between a natural diamond that is green color treated and a lab-created green diamond?

Natural diamonds that have been artificially treated to appear green and lab-created green diamonds both diverge from natural green diamonds but in distinct ways. A treated natural green diamond starts its life as a natural diamond but undergoes processes like irradiation to mimic the coloration that would naturally take years to achieve. This may sound tempting, but keep in mind that these treatments can significantly affect the diamond's overall value and durability.

On the other hand, lab-created green diamonds are made from scratch in a controlled environment, mimicking the conditions under which diamonds naturally form. While they may look and feel just like natural diamonds, their origin is entirely artificial. Consequently, their resale value is often lower than that of natural diamonds.

Timeless Allure and Future Potential

Whether you're considering a green diamond for its geological history or its extraordinary beauty, you're embracing a gem that resonates on both scientific and aesthetic levels. Each green diamond tells a complex story—a confluence of natural phenomena and, at times, human ingenuity.

As you journey through the world of green diamonds, remember that you're not just making a purchase; you're becoming a part of a legacy that stretches back millions of years and will continue to evolve long into the future.

So, trust your instincts, be well-informed, and above all, enjoy the process. After all, acquiring a green diamond isn't just a transaction; it's a lifelong adventure.

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