Using phosphorescence as a fingerprint for the Hope and other blue diamonds

Sally Eaton-Magaña, Jeffrey E. Post, Peter J. Heaney, Jaime Freitas, Paul Klein, Roy Walters, James E. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (SciVal)


Sixty-seven natural blue diamonds, including the two largest such gemstones known (the Hope and the Blue Heart), were probed by ultraviolet radiation, and their luminescence was analyzed using a novel spectrometer system. Prior to this study, the fiery red phosphorescence of the Hope Diamond was regarded as quite rare compared to greenish-blue phosphorescence. However, our results demonstrated that virtually all blue diamonds phosphoresce at 660 nm (orange-red) but that this emission often is obscured by a concomitant luminescence at 500 nm (green-blue). Although both bands were nearly always present, the relative intensities of these emissions and their decay kinetics varied dramatically. Consequently, phosphorescence analysis provides a method to discriminate among individual blue diamonds. Treated and synthetic blue diamonds showed behavior distinct from natural stones. Temperature-dependent phosphorescence revealed that the 660 nm emission has an activation energy of 0.4 eV, close to the 0.37 eV acceptor energy for boron, suggesting that the phosphorescence is caused by donor-acceptor pair recombination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Using phosphorescence as a fingerprint for the Hope and other blue diamonds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this