We are all aware of white diamonds, but did you know that there are also genuine, naturally occurring black diamonds?
Rough, natural black diamonds, also called “carbonado,” are much more rare than clear diamonds because they can only be found in very few locations, including Brazil and Central America. They have the same chemical composition as white diamonds but their crystal structure is different and they have many inclusions, which causes their difference in color.
According to the Cape Town Diamond Museum, “black diamonds, like normal colorless diamonds, are formed by high pressure on the element carbon under the surface of the earth that produces a repetitive geometric pattern in the crystal lattice. The exceptional color formation in black diamonds is caused by graphite inclusions and random clustering throughout and it is even believed that some black diamonds fell to the earth as meteorites.”
Treated black diamonds
Lab-made black diamonds are created by treating white diamonds with heat or radiation that artificially change the stone’s color to black. They are more common than naturally occurring black diamonds.
The color of natural black diamonds is not only due to their inclusions but also due to their unique structure, which affects how they reflect light, most of which is absorbed by the stone. Because of that, black diamonds are not transparent and do not display light in the same way that colorless and other colored diamonds do.
Should you buy one?
It all comes down to a matter of taste, but don’t have high expectations for this stone. For example, don’t expect it to display any brilliance or sparkle similar to that of white diamonds.
Many people simply buy black diamond jewelry because it is interesting, exotic and different. Black diamonds are also usually cheaper than their white counterparts, because they are less in demand, and can be a good choice if you want to add something black to your jewelry collection. While an onyx or similar stone can also help with that, a black diamond has better durability.
Black diamonds rings are usually paired with white settings — such as platinum, white gold, and silver — to help the stones stand out. Some opt for a strong statement piece and contrast black diamonds with white ones.