Paint It Black

A number of firms sell treated black diamonds, including Chromagem, Lotus, and Israel's First Diamond Group Ltd. Treated blacks are easier to find, cut, and match, and they take a better polish because the stones are not highly knotted or too heavily included. Prices for natural and treated blacks are comparable in melee sizes. At present, there are three treatments: Neutron irradiation. It's apparently banned in the United States, but neutron-irradiated diamonds do enter the country, and while the chance that they're radioactive is remote, all black diamonds should be tested for residual radioactivity. Dror Yehuda of New York's Yehuda Diamond Co. cites a way to detect irradiation. He says irradiated diamonds appear very, very dark green, and that if you look through a small transparent area with a strong fiber-optic light, you should see a green tint. Natural black diamonds look c

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