Blue diamonds are certainly the stuff of myth and legend. It would be hard to argue against the fact that the Hope Diamond is the most famous diamond of any category in the world. With a carat weight of 45.52 carats, the Hope Diamond is a spectacular specimen of a deep blue diamond. Its history has taken it from its origin in India to the court of King Louis XIV of France to its present home in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
The largest blue diamond ever found in nature was the Regent Diamond. This 410-carat stone was unearthed by a slave working in a mine in 1698. The stone was purchased by Thomas Pitt, the grandfather of the founder of the state of Pennsylvania, William Pitt. The Regent Diamond then became known at the Pitt Diamond. Pitt had the stone styled in England, with the end result being a 140-carat, cushion-shaped, brilliant-cut diamond. Today, the diamond is the property of the French Royal Treasury in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
Another popular blue diamond, with a much more contemporary legend attached to it, is the infamous “Le Coeur de la Mer” (Heart of the Ocean) made famous in the blockbuster movie “Titanic.” Used as a symbol of undying love, this priceless blue diamond found its way to the bottom of the ocean, unlikely to be seen again.
Colored diamonds are generally the rarest and most expensive of the precious stones, with the blue diamond being the most desirable. They are so rare that most jewelers have never actually held a natural one in their hands and have no hope of ever owning one.
Recent advances in the jewelry industry have resulted in some sophisticated methods of developing colored diamonds. The process produces results similar to the conditions which existed for millions of years to create the naturally colored stones. A small number of suitable diamond specimens are irradiated, producing color changes. The stones are then heated to set the color. The color changes can be unpredictable, so the outcome is always open to speculation. This mystery is part of what makes owning such a stone so desirable.
Most, if not all, of the blue diamonds available on the market today are the enhanced stones that have been exposed to the irradiation treatment. In comparing a colored, enhanced diamond to a natural, colorless diamond of the same carat weight, clarity and cut, the colored stone will be more expensive. This is due largely to the processing costs to create the colored stone.