While many people know about white diamonds, and some are even familiar with fancy colored diamonds, few are knowledgeable about black diamonds. Since diamonds are still among the most desireable stone for engagement rings and custom fine jewelry on the market, there is a powerful draw to the exclusivity of naturally colored versions of the gem. Read on to learn more about black diamonds and how they get their color.
All diamonds start the same; a complex process superheats and pressurizes carbon molecules near the Earth’s core to create a super hard material known as diamonds. The only difference between a regular colorless diamond and those with a hint of yellow, pink, blue, purple, green, or black is foreign particles that are introduced during different points of the diamonds’ creation.
Blue diamonds are created when boron bonds with the carbon in diamonds, yellow diamonds are created due to a unique assembly of nitrogen molecules within the diamonds, and black diamonds owe their color to clusters of graphite in the stone.
Where are Black Diamonds Found?
Black diamonds are generally found in the Central African Republic and Brazil. Unlike other diamonds, they’re not found in the typical Kimberlite rock which normally contains white or fancy colored diamonds; instead they’re only found in younger sedimentary rock.
Types of Black Diamonds
Black diamonds are incredibly rare and are often made in labs for people who are willing to compromise on the authenticity of their stone to get a huge reduction in price. There are several types of man-made black diamonds including cubic zirconia, spinel, and superheated white diamonds.
The most desirable of the fakes is cubic zirconia; it can be identified only with a thermal conductivity tester or observed through high-powered magnification.
Spinel is another option, but it is not as hard as a genuine black diamond. You can see red, orange, or pinkish fluoresce under ultraviolet light, whereas in a real black diamond you will not see any additional colors. Thermal testing is one of the most common methods used to determine whether a stone is a genuine black diamond or spinel.
Superheated White Diamonds
One of the most common methods used to manufacture look alike black diamonds is treating low-grade white diamonds with irradiation or heat to turn them black. These are the cheapest black diamond you can buy.
Treated or enhanced black diamonds are extremely cheap, costing just a few hundred dollars. Unfortunately, these stones aren’t GIA certified. The cost for natural black diamonds that are GIA certified is significantly higher and can range between $1,500 and $3,000 per carat.
Since black diamonds are often harder to polish, which affects the cut and shape of the stone, they are difficult to work with and provide limited options for a jeweler. Sometimes, these difficulties can drive up the price of the stone once it is included in a ring, necklace, or bracelet.
Getting One of Your Own
Black diamonds gained a lot of popularity over the last few years due to their appearance on celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence. They’re also slightly less expensive than traditional white diamonds and much rarer. If you’re looking to add a black diamond to your jewelry collection, explore custom jewelry boutiques to find authentic, certified specimens.