Black Diamonds – A Guide to Natural and Treated Black Diamond Rings

1 Carat pair of Black Diamonds

What are Black Diamonds? Are they real?

Black diamonds are real. Most people think of diamonds as white—rarely thinking of diamonds as black. Just a few famous black diamonds appear in history. For example, the 67.50 carat ‘Black Orloff’ – also called the Eye of Brahman – supposedly stolen from an idol in India early in the 1800’s.

Contrary to popular belief, black diamonds are not transparent. They are completely opaque. Furthermore, most have a metallic appearance similar to Hematite.

The rise in demand for Black Diamond jewellery design

Historically, little demand existed until fairly recently. Late in the 20th Century, jewellery designs began working with black diamonds. The combination of black and white pavé set diamonds created some striking results. As a result, contrasting black against white works very well in jewellery design.

In the movies, the rise of the black engagement ring surfaced as Mr. Big gave Carrie Fisher a five-carat diamond engagement ring in the movie Sex in the City 2. Further exposure came as Carmen Electra and tattoo artist Kat Von D paraded their engagement ring just a couple of years later.

Black diamond engagement rings?

There are a few reasons why I think such diamonds resonate with buyers. Firstly, they offer a unique variation on the popular white diamond engagement ring. Secondly, black diamonds are less expensive than white diamonds, making them an attractive alternative to the traditional diamond ring.

Treated 1 carat black diamond halo engagement ring surrounded by white diamonds.

1 carat black diamond engagement ring. White diamonds surround a Cushion shaped halo set with very white brilliant cut diamonds adding contrast to the ring. Set into Platinum. 

Natural Black Diamonds

Natural black diamonds are Carbonado. This is an impure form of polycrystalline diamond made up of  diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon. Natural black diamonds are more porous than white diamonds. As a result, it can be more difficult for diamond cutters to achieve a good polish. Think of a natural black coloured diamond as diamonds with an incredible amount of inclusions preventing light from passing into the diamond. Tiny mineral inclusions including graphite, pyrite or hematite dispersed throughout the stone give the material its distinctive black colour.

Treated Black Diamonds

Treated black diamonds start out as natural low clarity diamonds. White diamonds of very low clarity go through a treatment process to change the colour of the diamond.

In fact, many treated black diamonds start out as grey, heavily included or fractured diamonds. They are subjected to high-temperature/low-pressure treatments. This process graphitises the fractures, making them black. The artificial irradiation of some diamonds can also produce a green so dark the diamond appears to the naked eye as black.

Caring for Black Diamonds

Diamonds are very hard. Generally speaking, Black diamonds have the same natural hardness as white diamonds. However, owing to the stones having so many marks, they’re more prone to breakage.  In addition, they smear easily during daily wear. For example, grease and oils, show easily on a black gemstone. For this reason, it is important to keep your black diamond ring clean. Our Dry Wipes and DazzleStik work very well for this purpose.

How to wear black gems in jewellery

Black contrasts nicely with white diamonds. For example, Dress rings set small pavé black and white diamonds look amazing. As shown below, the contrast makes a striking statement. As can be seen, jewellers achieve contrast by setting black and white diamonds next to each other.

Black diamond eternity rings

A black diamond eternity ring makes an exciting change to many white or gemstone eternity rings. Again, try mixing white with black diamonds. Striped black and white eternity ring designs stand out on the finger. Furthermore, less jewellers feature such designs. As a result, they create the opportunity to be a little different.

 

Pavé set black and white diamond dress or eternity ring

Black and white diamond dress ring. The black diamonds lie within claws finished with Black Rhodium plating to complete the look. 

Black diamond pendants

Besides solitaire settings, black diamond pendants often feature white diamonds. By way of example, the necklace below shows a circular design. The whiteness of the Rhodium and white diamonds add a beautiful level of contrast to the pendant.

Black and white diamond circle necklace with contrasting black and white diamonds

Contrasting black and white diamonds within an elegant circular pendant design. 

Black diamond earrings

In the same fashion, black diamond earrings look amazing. Black stud earrings require a matching pair of black stones. This can be tricky. By comparison, black diamond cluster earrings feature tiny diamonds. As a result, they are easier to match cut into smaller sizes. Decide whether you want classic stud earring styles, or contrasting black and white diamond earrings.

Another suggestion, black diamond hoop earrings look incredible. To demonstrate, our example below feature a 2 tiered hoop design. Black pavé-set diamonds appear on the outside. In addition, inner diamonds give the look of earrings encrusted with diamonds. Each section includes Black Rhodium for an even, consistent look.

In reality, both black and white diamond earrings work with most outfits. In addition, both choices work for daytime or evening wear. Unlike rings, black earrings encounter little wear. As a result, there is less risk to damaging black diamonds.

Black diamond hoop earrings 18ct White Gold 1 carat

 

Get more help with Black gemstones and diamonds

If you’re looking for more help on black diamonds, contact us for additional guidance. From our designs featured in the blog to bespoke commissions or just help sourcing a black diamond. Our small and friendly team remain on hand to assist with any enquiry in our UK showroom in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website. Anyone interested can connect with Mark on Linkedin via the profile link.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website. Anyone interested can connect with Mark on Linkedin via the profile link.