There are several different types of diamonds. This is because diamonds have varying levels of chemical impurities that can give them different characteristics.
In this article, we’ll cover all the different types of diamonds. From type to color to cut—we have you covered!
We know that all this diamond talk can get confusing. This might be why the diamond simulant cubic zirconia is so popular! If you’re interested in cubic zirconia, why not check out our gorgeous collection of rings here at Blush & Bar?
Joyce Layered Stack Ring
Charisse Vintage Ring
Midi Knuckle 2-Ring Set
Types of diamonds
Diamond type refers to the kind of impurities that make up the diamond crystal lattice. Diamond type is separated into five categories: Type Ia, Type Ib, Type IaB, Type IIa, and Type IIb. Most natural diamonds are made up of a combination of types. The majority of diamonds are made up of a mix of Type Ia and Type Ib.
Ia diamonds make up around 95% of mined diamonds. A type Ia diamond has nitrogen as its main impurity at about 0.3%. Most of these are very pale yellow or colorless.
Type Ib diamond
Out of every natural diamond, only 0.1% are type Ib. These have only 0.05% nitrogen impurities, but they are more spread out, causing the diamond to absorb more green and blue light, making them appear more yellowish.
A type IaA diamond has pairs of nitrogen atoms, while a type IaB diamond has large nitrogen groups—making them much more yellow or brown.
Type IIa diamond
A type IIa diamond has almost no nitrogen impurities. Type IIa is formed under extreme pressure for very long periods. Type IIa makes up around 1–2% of all diamonds and is usually relatively large.
Type IIa is usually very colorless with no impurities. Most CVD diamonds (covered later) are also type IIa.
Type IIb diamond
A type IIb diamond has little to no nitrogen impurities but has many boron impurities—making the diamond a blue-gray color. These diamonds make up around 0.1% of all mined diamonds.
Mined diamonds versus lab-grown diamonds
A natural diamond is a diamond that has formed underground and has been mined by humans.
A lab-grown diamond (also known as synthetic diamond) is created inside a laboratory. But a lab-grown diamond is identical to a natural diamond.
A synthetic diamond can be grown via a process called chemical vapor deposition. These are called CVD diamonds. As mentioned above, most CVD diamonds are type IIa.
There are many different diamond shapes that a diamond can be cut into. The diamond cut affects its price, brilliance, and overall appearance. The cut can also affect what kind of diamond setting you’re going to want to go with. Here’s a brief description of some common cuts:
Brilliant cut - A cone-shaped cut that has many facets to increase the brilliance of the diamond.
Round cut - The most common and popular cut. A round cut is a kind of brilliant cut that has 58 facets.
Princess cut - A princess cut diamond is a popular choice for an engagement ring. It is a square or rectangular shape with four beveled sides.
Emerald cut - The emerald cut is a traditional rectangular step cut. These are also an excellent choice for an engagement ring.
Asscher cut - The Asscher cut is known as the “hall of mirrors” and is a square diamond with large step facets.
Cushion cut - A cushion cut diamond has a square shape with rounded corners (resembling a cushion).
Radiant cut - The radiant cut is a symmetrical and nontraditional style that is fiery and versatile.
What’s the type for you?
There you have it—all the different types of diamonds. Because diamonds can vary so much, there are many different ways they can be compared.
Diamond type most often refers to the proportion of chemical impurities within the crystal structure, but the type can also refer to the diamond color or diamond shape.
Like all things diamond, it’s really up to personal preference what you will select. Though, most people like a colorless diamond—which means type IIa may be your best choice!