This is the season of award shows, and with it comes the latest hem lines and flashy accessories. Some celebrities may be adorned with jewellery incorporating coloured diamonds. Have you ever wondered how these coloured diamonds came to be?

Naturally coloured diamonds are extremely rare. One source states that there exist 10,000 colourless diamonds for every coloured one.

Naturally coloured diamonds are extremely rare. One source states that there exist 10,000 colourless diamonds for every coloured one.

In the long process of diamond formation, colour will result during formation if trace elements interact with carbon atoms, if there is exposure to varying amounts of radiation and pressure, or a combination of both factors. For example, the element nitrogen can result in a yellow or orange diamond, boron can result in blue, and hydrogen, violet. High pressure results in red, pink, purple and brown diamonds. Natural radiation exposure can result in a green hue.

In addition to naturally coloured diamonds, some celebrities walking the red carpet may be wearing synthetically coloured diamonds. How are they made?  

On February 8, 2011, Canadian Patent No. 2495840 was issued to British company Element Six Limited, a subsidiary of De Beers. The patent claims a method of altering the colour of a single crystal chemical vapour deposition (CVD) diamond resulting in colours in the pink-green range by heat treating a nitrogen-containing diamond to a temperature range of 1200-2500°C under diamond stabilizing pressure. One wonders if the average person would be able to differentiate between a naturally coloured diamond versus a synthetically coloured one…

Perhaps it is the style and look of the jewellery that appeals to the eye, and manufacturers should be aware of the associated intellectual property rights. Last year, De Beers sued Brilliant Jewellers/MJJ Inc. and ten other parties for infringement of their United States Design Patent Nos. D602799 and D601913 for their Bangle Bracelet and Knot Ring designs. A figure from each design patent is provided below:

Click here to view the image.

Next time you look into your jewellery box, consider also the intellectual property value of the items contained therein.

Pictured above left: U.S. Design Patent No. D602799 for De Beers’ Bangle Bracelet Pictured above right: U.S. Design Patent No. D601913 for De Beers’ Knot Ring