Certain diamonds have the ability to change color, like a chameleon. As this type of lizard can also change color, these are referred to as “chameleon diamonds”. The shade of these diamonds is somewhere between gray and murky yellow-green. However, once heated up to 302 degrees Fahrenheit (150°C) or exposed to the light following a prolonged period of time in darkness, the shade of these diamonds temporarily turns into a dark orange-green or an intense orange-yellow. The effect could just last for a maximum of one hour, with the color change fading into a glow that is subtle before the gem returns to its actual color.
This magical stone first became prominent in 1866, owing to a diamond merchant who went by the name of Georges Halphen. Although very rare, specimens popped up at different intervals over the subsequent decades, and by the year 1943 the term ‘chameleon’ was coined to refer to these diamonds. Little historical pieces of information are known about chameleon diamonds aside from that.
In spite of its ability to change the shade, chameleon diamonds are relatively unknown even today. In fact, as per the Gemological Institute of America, a customer in the 1970’s bought what he felt was a diamond with a light yellow green shade. When that customer opened his ring box, he found a dark green diamond, and he returned the item for a refund from the store under the impression that what he got was different from what he ordered. This is all down to the exceptional ability of diamonds; if you ever face this kind of situation, just stay calm, expose it to the natural light and wait for the color to change. Do not do anything silly.
Now, why does this color change happen? The mystery about chameleon diamonds is that no one knows why its color changes temporarily. These diamonds are rare and very few samples of these have been found, so researchers have not yet got a real chance to study these. Both light and heat cause the change in color, so chances are there is more than a single factor at play. Some diamond experts attribute the color change to higher-than-normal levels of nickel, nitrogen and hydrogen.
It is virtually not possible to find these diamonds, but there have been some famous specimens over the years. Even the ones available are auctioned off, so you would have to be very rich or win a lottery to get your hands on one of these.