Although I am by nature a purist and gravitate toward natural-color fancies in diamonds, I cannot help but be intrigued by the advancements made by companies who are doing a particularly impressive job with the HPHT process in lieu of irradiation.
The HPHT process is essentially a high pressure, high temperature process by which either brown diamonds of Type IIa (low nitrogen content) are enhanced and turned into white diamonds in the E-F color range, or by which "Cape" (yellowish or grey) or brown diamonds of Type I (higher nitrogen or boron content) are enhanced and turned into fancy, vivid or intense permanently colored diamonds.
Either which way, many, many diamonds which would otherwise have previously been considered "disposable" and undesirable are now being used in jewelry. Jewelers have access to a broad spectrum of fancy colors and can very easily match for color large quantities at a fairly reasonable cost. This price is passed along to the consumer. What was once virtually inaccessible is now quite readily available.
One company that caught my interest is Sundance Diamonds.
I've seen their advertisements for ages, but finally took the bait and followed the link and was seriously impressed.
Perhaps this might impress you, too?
They created the world's largest fancy pink enhanced diamond, called the Provo Rose, which was unveiled at this year's JCK show. The Provo Rose is 10.09 carats, and is a classic round brilliant with 58 facets and VS clarity.
According to the JCK Group, at the time of the show, the Provo Rose would likely retail for $20,000 a carat. Keep in mind that a natural fancy pink would fetch between $80,000-$100,000 per carat.
Until this time, the largest fancy pink ever created was done so with irradiation, and was half the size, weighing in at five carats. Other fancy pinks created in the past were generally 25 pointers or smaller.
Encouraging sign, right? Recycle, reuse, reduce... Good stuff!