Colored diamonds are a rare and exciting variation of the world’s most precious gemstone and there are many different names for all of the different kinds that you can find.
Dark colorations are perhaps the most mysterious and complex shades of them all, but what is a black diamond called?
Black diamonds are often referred to as “carbonados”, but there are some factors that affect the type of language that is used when talking about these particularly unusual stones.
Read ahead to find out more about black diamonds, including the names they go by and what they actually are.
What Kind Of Diamonds Are Black?
You might have seen pictures of these dark and intriguing gemstones and wondered exactly what sort of diamonds they really are.
Although they might look like imposters or fake alternatives, they are actually considered to be genuine diamonds that are part of a subcategory known as “fancy color diamonds”.
These colored stones are just the same in almost every regard as the colorless variety that is more generally well-known, but they do have some slight difference that causes them to display a strong and noticeable coloration.
Black is not the only interesting and diverse color that you will see, either. Fancy color diamonds come in blue, pink, yellow, green, orange, brown, gray, red, white, and all manner of hues and tones besides.
Read also >> Natural Black Diamonds (Buying Guide + More)
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What Names Are Black Diamonds Known By?
Although “black diamonds” is a common term used to refer to this version of colored diamonds, they also go by the name “carbonados”.
There are not very many fancy color diamonds that have a specific alternative naming like this, and it is partly due to their unique properties and appearance, which we will explain in more detail in a moment.
The terminology that is used to talk about black diamonds tends to depend on the community that is talking about the stone. You will generally see the name “carbonado” when discussing their industrial or practical usage, whereas “black diamond” is usually the preferred name in gemology and jewelry circles.
So, if you’re looking to buy a carbonado that has been cut and shaped as a precious gemstone, you are probably better off searching for “black diamond” instead.
How Are Black Diamonds Formed?
So why do black diamonds get their own geological name where other colored diamonds do not? First, it is to do with how they are actually formed and where they get their color from.
Most fancy color diamonds are very similar in their makeup to traditional colorless stones, just with a slight variation.
That might be a trace amount of boron that gives a blue color, a specific kind of shear pressure that adjusts the molecular structure causing a pink color to appear, or exposure to radiation turning them green.
Black diamonds, on the other hand, get their color because they are an impure version of a diamond, with a high number of inclusions.
They are microporous, polycrystalline diamonds (as opposed to the monocrystalline diamonds that are more typically used in jewelcraft).
This means that the structure of the particles can actually be seen under a microscope.
Additionally, these diamonds have a relatively large amount of additional elements within their structure, typically graphite and amorphous carbon, and some even contain a small amount of metal.
These inclusions are the main reason behind the distinct black color that is present throughout the crystal.
This means that they have a distinctly different appearance in their rough form to traditional diamonds, which is one of the reasons why they have their own alternative name.
What Properties Do Black Diamonds Have?
The other most significant reason why black diamonds are given their own terminology is the properties that they have.
Not only do they have a unique look in comparison to traditional diamonds, but they have some particular and interesting characteristics as well.
In comparison to monocrystalline diamonds, carbonados are:
- Tougher. Monocrystalline diamonds and polycrystalline diamonds have the same hardness, but black diamonds are much tougher.
- More Abrasive. Black diamonds are known to be more effective at grinding and cutting due to their high abrasiveness.
- More Durable. Granules of black diamond will last much longer when used on cutting tools than traditional diamonds, making them more useful for industrial machinery and drilling.
- Less Prone To Breaking. The structure of the crystal in black diamonds is interlocking, which means that they are less likely to split apart under stress.
All of these characteristics combined mean that tools made using black diamonds won’t need as much maintenance, they will last for longer before breaking, and they are more effective for cutting, drilling, and grinding.
Are Black Diamonds Valuable?
While the unique appearance and special properties of black diamonds might give the impression that they should be highly valuable, their value is a little different than that of similar precious stones.
They are exceedingly rare to find naturally, and their superior durability and abrasiveness do make them a desirable mineral for use in many tools, but these two factors actually counteract each other for any practical application.
Because they are so hard to come by and expensive, it is simply not viable or economical to use them in most industries.
On the other hand, they are also so different from traditional diamonds that they are not particularly sought-after for jewelry and generally fetch a much lower price than equivalent colorless diamonds.
So, despite their rarity, their distinctive beauty, and their remarkable properties, black diamonds are actually among the least valuable of all the fancy color varieties.
Natural Black Diamonds vs Lab-Grown Black Diamonds
There is one notable factor that greatly affects how much you can expect to pay for a black diamond, and that is where it comes from.
Although black diamond gemstones are not exceedingly valuable compared to other kinds of diamonds, they are still worth quite a bit of money.
However, naturally-occurring examples are incredibly rare, so they fetch a much higher price.
The majority of the black diamonds that you see on the market today are actually lab-created, through specific treatments that are designed to bring out a strong black color.
These lab-grown stones are worth up to 70% less than naturally mined black diamonds, so it is important that you look at the origin of any diamond that you are thinking of buying.
Black Diamonds Price
With all of that information in mind, how much do black diamonds (or carbonados) actually tend to cost? Though they are not worth as much as most colorless diamonds, they can certainly set you back quite a bit.
|Colorless||$600 – $4,000||$2,000 – $15,000||$5,000 – $50,000|
|Black Diamond||$200 – $800||$1,000 – $3,000||$3,000 – $4,500|
The reason why prices can vary so much is down to the individual qualities of each diamond. The main features that they are judged on are known as the Four Cs: color, carat weight, cut, and clarity.
Unlike other colored diamonds, black diamonds only come in one color intensity, which is known as Fancy Black. This means that their comparative value is determined by their other characteristics instead.
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Although black diamonds are typically referred to as “black diamonds” when they are being sold as gemstones or in jewelry, they do have another official name as well.
They are also known as “carbonados”, which is a term that is generally used in industrial and practical settings where the unique properties of these particular diamonds make them highly valuable for cutting, grinding, and drilling tools.
Although they might not cost as much as other color variations, black diamonds are truly remarkable and unique in many ways.
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