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An Overview of Black Diamonds

You read about colourless diamonds and even fancy coloured diamonds, now is the time to read about black diamonds. Yes, they exist, and in the recent few years, their popularity has rocketed to a new high owning to people’s search for unusual jewellery items and precious stones. Today, black diamonds are famously studded found in engagement rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants, and other high-end jewellery items. Due to their sporadic appearance, black diamonds have earned a unique position among the consumers. However, the acclaim that black diamonds have gathered is still clouded by misinformation around their structure, pricing, origin, and more.

In this guide, we attempt to clear your confusion about black diamond jewellery and bring you the most reliable information in one place to help you make an informed decision around buying diamond jewellery. So, let’s begin.

What are Black Diamonds?

Simply put, black diamonds are the precious stones found under the Earth’s surface with black being their primary shade. Similar to how coloured diamond stones get their hue, black diamonds get their colour from large quantities of inclusions or clouds of fine minerals such as graphite, pyrite, or hematite. When these minerals extend throughout the stone, we get a black diamond. 

Usually, these diamonds have numerous fractures that are black stained or have become black due to graphitization. The concentrations of these inclusions are responsible for the colouration of the diamond stone, giving a pitch-black shade. However, the actual hue of a natural black diamond often varies from near-colourless to brown or olive green. Additionally, black diamond stones are opaque in nature, with a high lustre in their appearance that gives them a metallic look. Due to their heavy inclusions, cutting and polishing these diamond for jewellery making is a huge risk for all the jewellers.

As the interest around black diamonds, especially engagement rings, continue to grow, the necessity to learn about these beautiful precious stones also increases. While black diamonds are similar to fancy coloured diamonds, they have marked their own spot in the market, thanks to their stunning dark black shade. 

Although natural black diamond stones are the most beautiful in appearance, there are human-made or lab-treated black diamonds available as well. Let’s take an in-depth look into their structure.

Are Black Diamonds Real?

Yes, black diamonds are as real as any other diamond (coloured or colourless) found in the market. They carry the same chemical composition and physicals structure as a conventional colourless diamond. The only difference between a black diamond and a colourless diamond is the number of inclusions, which gives the black diamond its signature shade.

While black diamond stones are real, they may vary based on their origin. For instance, a natural black diamond is found in nature as it is, whereas a human-made black diamond might be created in a lab and given the black shade. Although both of these diamonds are real, their origin often impacts the market value and consumer behaviour. Additionally, even diamonds that are found naturally but lack the black shade are treated in the lab to enhance their dark hue. Hence, there are three types of real black diamonds available in the market: natural, human-made, and lab-treated.

Types of Black Diamonds

Natural Black Diamond Stones

A diamond found in its natural habitat and has a dark black shade (the hue may vary as well) is called a natural black diamond. Similar to how coloured diamonds get their shade due to trapped impurities, black diamond receives its hue to internal irregularities. A high amount of inclusions, such as graphite, trapped in the stone during its formation gives it the dark colour. 

Human-Made Black Diamond Stones

If you know about lab-grown diamonds, then you would know about human-made diamonds as well. Such diamonds are created in a lab by replicating the pressure and temperature of the Earth’s surface. Similar to how a colourless and fancy coloured diamond is designed in a lab by scientists, black diamonds could be formed in the lab by introducing graphite as inclusions. However, lab-grown black diamonds are still a myth as there is zero to negligible market value and consumer base for human-made black diamonds. But the possibility is still there.

Lab-Treated Black Diamond Stones

Same as its name, a lab-treated diamond is a natural white diamond of extremely low value due to high amount of inclusions. The only use such white diamonds is as industry-grade diamonds. Often these colourless stones are also treated in the lab to develop black shade, giving them the name, lab-treated black diamond stones. Subsequently, jewellery of these diamond stones is less priced compared to other diamond jewellery as they’re regarded ‘useless’ if not treated.

Grading of Black Diamonds

All of us know that diamonds are graded based on four factors – cut, clarity, colour, and carat. Known as 4Cs of diamonds, these four aspects determine the shape, anatomy, price, brilliance, and popularity of the diamond stones among consumers. However, the same grading methods are not used for black diamonds.

As black diamond stones fall outside the colour range specified in the 4Cs of the grading scale, they are graded based on GIA’s colour grading system for coloured stones. In terms of clarity, black diamond has several inclusions that give an opaque appearance to the stones. Hence, they cannot be graded on GIA’s clarity scale. Instead, they are graded in the single term, Fancy black. 

In short, GIA does not issue grading reports for these diamonds. Instead, GIA releases a Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report, which describes the stones as Fancy black and their colour is noted as either natural or treated.

Tips on Caring for Black Diamonds

As black diamonds are scarce, they also require special care. Here we list a few tips for you to care for your black diamond jewellery:

  • Black diamonds are more fragile and delicate than colourless and fancy diamonds owing to their multiple inclusions and fractures. Do not put much pressure on the diamond ring or any other jewellery.
  • Refrain from using steam or ultrasonic cleaners on the diamond to clean it.
  • Keep the jewellery tucked in its original box.
  • Clean the diamond using a soft cloth and mild soap solution.
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