Diamonds come in many colors – colorless, blue, yellow, red, brown, chocolate, and black. Each of these colors can be found both naturally and in lab grown diamonds, or through special treatments.
Natural black diamonds are rare stones that are only found in a few places in the world. They’re prized for their color and their rarity – only one in 10,000 stones is naturally colored, and very few of these have a truly black hue.
To find out more about natural black diamonds – read on.
Table of Contents
What Are The Characteristics of Natural Black Diamonds?
– Natural black diamonds are also called Carbonados, primarily because of the alterations in carbon structure that result in the black color.
– They’re tougher than colorless diamonds because of the materials that make up the black color. In fact, they’re some of the toughest diamonds on the market.
– Large black diamonds are usually made of several smaller stones.
– Natural black diamonds have what is known as a polycrystalline structure.
– Higher density than colorless diamonds or other ‘fancy’ diamonds.
– High density texture due to sulfides.
– These stones rate a 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Natural Black Diamonds?
- Pro: the deep sheen and dark color hide flaws, such as internal inclusions.
- Con: Inclusions and flaws, or chips, can be hard to spot
- Con: Natural black diamonds are somewhat brittle due to the graphite and are sometimes prone to chipping.
- Con: heavy inclusions create more flaws that can result in weak points that may break
- Con: Polycrystalline structure makes for a slightly less stable internal structure.
- Pro: Natural black diamonds have a shine and luster that will never fade
- Pro: Natural black diamonds are high density stones.
- Pro: Affordable compared to other types and colors of fancy diamonds.
Read also >> Do Black Diamonds Exist? (All You Need to Know)
How Are Natural Black Diamonds Formed?
Natural black diamonds are characterized as carbon isotopes, with a structure that combines graphite carbon with amorphous carbon and high-density carbon.
The carbon is pressurized together into the polycrystalline structure, where the graphite carbon forms ‘inclusions’ as opposed to being compressed into the main body of the diamond.
The compression results in a diamond that is black, but still 100% carbon, and as durable as any other diamond.
Are Natural Black Diamonds Truly Black?
Natural black diamonds can have a low opacity that makes them look smoky or grayish.
The highest quality black diamonds, however, are a dark black that resembles jet or obsidian, with a greater luster.
Salt And Pepper Diamonds:
Salt and Pepper Diamonds are a special form of natural black diamonds.
They aren’t entirely black, though they have heavy inclusions of graphite carbon.
The result is a speckled diamond, with each one having a unique appearance.
Where Are Natural Black Diamonds Found?
Natural black diamonds are very rare and are found in only two places.
– Central Africa
– South America, specifically Brazil
Some geologists and gemologists believe they are pushed to the surface by volcanic eruptions and gradual pressure from the Earth’s core.
How Much Are Natural Black Diamonds Worth?
Natural black diamonds can sell for about $1500 to $3000 per carat. However, price determinations cover a variety of factors.
For stones of equal size, the value is determined by color and opacity.
The price can also be affected by whether the stone is GIA certified.
Here are some examples of pricing by diamond buying guides and online:
|1 carat (approx.)||AA||$150 – $208||Gem One Diamond|
|1 carat (approx.)||AAA||$200 – $278||Gem One Diamond|
|0.5 carat (approx.)||Unlisted||$1000||Naturally Colored Buying guide|
|3 carat (approx.)||Unlisted||$9000||Naturally Colored buying Guide|
|2.2 carat||Unlisted but GIA certified||$4950||Leibish (jewelry seller)|
**These are some examples of the prices you can find on professional sites.
**These are not the only prices you can find, only a small sampling.
The final price can also be influenced by the cut used for the stone. Round is the most common, but the most expensive overall is the Marquise cut.
– For AAA diamonds, the Rose cut is also fairly expensive.
How Is a Natural Black Diamond’s Value Assessed?
Most diamonds are assessed according to the 4 Cs: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight. Natural black diamonds are still assessed according to these characteristics, but the rules are slightly different.
Cut – Cut criteria are mostly the same, though black diamonds have a slightly wider cut to accommodate their higher density.
Clarity – Black diamonds gain value from the intensity of their hue, which is caused by the inclusions, so Clarity is more assessed on opacity and luster or lack thereof.
Color – Rather than being colorless, the deeper the hue, the better. So the intensity of the black color adds value.
Carat Weight – Natural black diamonds are higher density than colorless diamonds. So a carat weight does not refer to a diamond of the same size as a carat weight colorless diamond.
Gemologists often rate Natural Black Diamonds of similar sizes as one of three grades: A, AA, AAA
A: These are not entirely opaque, have visible nicks or inclusions, or appear more of a salt and pepper diamond in appearance.
AA: These are mostly opaque, not the highest luster, and have slightly visible inclusions.
AAA: These are highly opaque and have a high luster, an even cut, and a deep black hue.
What Are Natural Black Diamonds Used For?
The main use of natural black diamonds is as jewelry.
They can be used as centerpieces for fancy diamond jewelry, or as smaller stones used to emphasize and enhance the color of other stones.
They’ve been used in all types of jewelry: Necklaces, bracelets, rings, and even engagement and wedding bands have used black diamonds in recent years.
Differences Between Natural Black Diamonds and Treated Black Diamonds:
Natural black diamonds are a result of compressed graphite and high-pressure carbon condensed over millions of years in the Earth’s crust.
Treated diamonds are colorless diamonds that have been subjected to heat or radiation to achieve the same effect.
– This method is often used on heavily included diamonds because the flaws are less obvious in the black stone.
– Occasionally they are treated with a special coating, but it’s usually poor quality and prone to being removed in cleaning.
What’s The Easiest Way To Tell If A Black Diamond is Natural or Treated?
There are a few differences between natural and treated black diamonds, aside from the methods of their formation. Indications you can look for include:
– Natural black diamonds have a porous surface, where inclusions and fractures are packed with graphite to produce the color.
– Treated diamonds have a shinier, smoother look
– Black and opaque, with a luster that comes from polish.
– Shine where some light reflects and refracts due to the lack of complete opacity
Appearance Under Magnification:
– Inclusions give natural black diamonds a salt and pepper appearance under a microscope.
– Treated diamonds have a more uniform appearance under magnification.
– Natural black diamonds are highly durable, with the compaction of the graphite and carbon.
– Treated black diamonds have inclusions and fractures that are more prone to breaking under pressure.
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Natural black diamonds are rare and beautiful stones found only in a few places in the world. They are unique in their polycrystalline structure and the way their color is informed by the inclusion of two different types of carbon in their formation.
While treated stones can be fairly inexpensive, a high quality AAA stone can command up to $3000 per carat, though the pricing is rendered fluid by the higher density of natural black diamonds in comparison to their colorless counterparts.
A natural black diamond can provide a dynamic, relatively affordable, and beautiful addition to your wardrobe, no matter what size it is.
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