There are chances you might’ve heard about popular colours of diamonds such as the traditional white, red, green, blue, yellow. But, have you ever seen an aesthetic and bold black diamond?
Yes, uniquely charismatic, valuable, and rarer than its colourless or coloured counterparts, black diamonds are making a real style statement nowadays and becoming a growing choice of the masses.
From being disregarded for its colour to getting staring glances in the 21st century, black diamonds have come a long way!
When paired with gold or platinum in rings and pendants, black diamonds exhibit an unmatchable aura.
But, many people have doubts regarding black diamonds whether they are naturally black or artificially coloured, or even whether they make for a good investment option?
From peculiar features of black diamonds to their types and more, this blog offers a comprehensive guide on black diamonds.
What are Black Diamonds?
Black diamonds (a.k.a Carbonados or Dark Diamonds) are one of the toughest natural diamonds. They are a microporous form of polycrystalline diamonds comprising a fair amount of diamond, amorphous carbon, and graphite.
Dark diamonds are characterized by a very high number of inclusions- small blemishes on a gemstone, thus making the diamond completely black.
But, are they similar to other fancy coloured diamonds? Carbonados are naturally black (however, there are lab-treated black diamonds too) while fancy coloured diamonds are formed by the chemical impurities present during the diamond’s composition.
Black diamonds are comparatively harder and more durable than their white or fancy coloured counterparts.
One can pair black diamonds with any metal such as gold or platinum as its bold and sparkling shine adds radiance to jewels. Thus, it’s a perfect choice for those who want to try something different from the traditional white-coloured diamonds for their jewels.
History of Black Diamond
Did you know, black diamonds were first discovered around 1840 in Brazil?
Dark diamonds are exclusively found in Brazil and the Central African Republic. Also, only three metric tons of black diamonds have been mined to date.
Rarer than their white counterparts, black diamonds date back to 2.6 to 3.8 billion years. Some say, during that era, present-day Brazil and the Western Coast of Africa may have synergized to form a “supercontinent” and that a diamond meteorite struck the area resulting in the current distribution of carbonados.
Carbonados have a history of being disregarded among jewellers as they were difficult to cut and polish. They were considered ill-suited for jewellery. However, in the 20th century, the uniqueness of this diamond started getting attention, and soon it started gaining popularity.
One of the most famous black diamonds is the Black Orlov diamond. As the legend goes, this massive 195 carats’ black diamond was situated in an idol near present-day Pondicherry, India. However, it was said to be stolen by a monk and since then it’s not been found! Another legend says, it belonged to the Russian Princess Nadia Orlov, and she fled away after taking the diamond.
The opinions differ on the significance of black diamonds while some consider them as the symbol of passion, action, and energy and others as flawlessness, eternity, and unchanging love.
In ancient times, different cultures across the globe held differing views regarding black diamonds. For instance in India, dark diamonds were considered cursed gemstones as they resembled the eyes of snakes and spiders. On the other hand, in Italy, touching the black diamond marked the reconciliation between the spouses on the verge of parting ways.
Types of Black Diamonds
There are two major types of black diamonds: natural black and lab-treated black diamonds.
Natural Black Diamonds
Natural black diamonds are comparatively expensive as they are rare, valuable, and have organic compositions. Also, this type of black diamond is naturally black i.e. they get their bold black colour in the creation process without any external interference. Similar to their lab-treated counterparts, black diamonds have a lot of inclusions. However, their inclusions form graphite clusters which give them a bold black appearance.
Lab Treated Black Diamonds
Lab-treated black diamonds are originally white diamonds with a high number of inclusions and a dull grey appearance. However, once they’re subject to heat, pressure, and irradiation treatments, they develop an appearance similar to the original black diamonds.
Moreover, this type of black diamond is comparatively less expensive than its natural counterparts, as they have low demand among customers.
Check out our blog on diamond shapes to know more about different types of diamond cuts.
Are Black Diamonds Real?
Black diamonds are organic and real diamonds comprising compositions similar to their colourless or coloured alternatives. The major difference between white diamonds and black diamonds is the number of inclusions which gives it a different colour and appearance.
Moreover, black diamonds are also extracted through the mining process and they’re organically present in the environment. Thus, they’re as real as a colourless diamond.
How Do Black Diamonds Get Their Color?
The organic colour of a natural black diamond ranges from brown to “olive-green”. Research reveals that natural black diamonds get their colour from the presence of innumerous mineral inclusions of graphite, pyrite, or hematite. Also, carbonados have many cleavages or fractures that are naturally deep black or have become black because of graphitization. All these factors contribute to the colouring of a natural black diamond.
Almost all the black diamonds used in jewels are treated to induce the bold black colour. Often they begin as grey stones, highly fractured and included, then after high/low-pressure treatment, they gain an alluring bold black colour.
How is A Black Diamond Graded?
A diamonds’ graded quality is determined by the 4C’s – color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
However, black diamonds fall outside this colour range. Thus, they’re evaluated based on a colour grading system for coloured diamonds. Further, because of its high level of inclusion and opaqueness, it cannot be graded on the clarity scale. Similarly, there are no variations in the tone and saturation of a black diamond thus, there’s only one term used for them, “Fancy black”.
You can get the diamond grading done from a reputed diamond certification company to know more about the specific black diamond in consideration.
famous black diamond
1. Black Amsterdam Diamond
The rectangular-shaped gemstone was mined in South Africa, in 1972. The rough diamond weighed 55.85 carats, and after being professionally cut down, it totaled 33.74 carats. The stone received its name from the city where it got cut “Amsterdam”. The diamond is now a beautiful pear shape fancy black diamond. This gem is currently showcased on a pendant containing 15 brilliant white diamonds to create extra contrast and distinguish this stunning find from all the rest.
2. The “Spirit of the Grisogono”
This 587-carat black diamond is the fifth-largest diamond in the world and it is also the world’s largest cut black diamond. It was originally found in Central Africa and it allowed craftsmen, such as those from Coster Diamonds, to compete for the privilege of cutting it. The honor finally went to the renowned Swiss jeweler: “Grisogono”. They used techniques that were just as legendary as those from Coster Diamonds. Then they put it in a white gold ring with 702 smaller white diamonds to a total of 36.69 carats. Now that's a statement ring!
3. The Rembrandt
Another famous black diamond in Amsterdam is the 42.27-carat black diamond that was named by Gerry Schwartz at the Rijksmuseum. The diamond was found at 125 carats and took three years to polish. It is now a stunningly beautiful collier next to a row of white diamonds. The diamond is on display at the Diamond Museum Amsterdam.
4. The Black Orlov
The Black Orlov’s nickname is the Eye of Brahma. It was found in India in the early 19th century in a statue of the Hindu god Brahma. It weighs 67.5 carats and was originally 195 carats. It’s called the Eye of Brahma because it's black and reminds the eye of the Hindu god of creation. The diamond stayed there until it was stolen. According to legend, a holy monk stole the diamond and it became cursed. This curse showed its powers for the first time in 1932 when J.W. Paris committed suicide by jumping from a skyscraper in New York after he brought the cursed stone to America. Subsequent owners included two Russian princesses, who also committed suicide by jumping from buildings.
5. The Sergio
A black carbonado diamond named the Sergio was discovered in Brazil in 1895. The 3167-carat diamond is rare and is the largest carbonado ever found. It also happens to be the largest rough diamond ever found. Experts believe that this diamond came from outer space as part of a meteor.
Fun Facts about Black Diamonds
These rare gemstones are found only in two continents which are Brazil and Central Africa.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Similar to other gemstones, the prices of black diamonds differ based on several situations such as market conditions, quality, and more. However, black diamonds are comparatively less expensive than their white counterparts. The reason behind this is the low consumer demand.