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What Is a Black Diamond?

For long, black diamonds had an unsavory reputation. Unlike colorless diamonds, they received a “black sealing wax” stigma and were believed to have no value. Other superstitious people simply linked their color with misfortune and witchcraft.

Luckily, we’re living in the 21st century, and the days of witch trials and burning are over. People become more attracted to the dramatic and fatal beauty of black diamonds. Thus, it’s time to dispel myths and explain why it’s worth considering these jewels in engagement rings.

black diamond ring

What is a black diamond?

In the world of diamonds, the story of a black diamond resembles the plots of ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and ‘Cinderella.’ That’s because nobody considered this stone valuable and beautiful for long.

Indeed, black diamonds gave numerous reasons for stigmatization. They are a lot different from colorless diamonds:

  1. Black diamonds usually appear in alluvial deposits, not Kimberlite pipes (as all the other diamonds do).
  2. They have a unique chemical composition: not an enormous single black crystal but several tiny rocks agglomerated together.
  3. A black diamond usually contains gas bubbles.
  4. The surface of a black diamond is porous.
  5. This jewel is heavier and doesn’t have the cleavage planes typical for other diamonds.

Thus, the black diamond is known for extreme hardness — even in a diamond world. Though ugly, it was still widely used for industrial purposes because of that.

People disliked but used black diamonds, keeping them away from the high-end diamond jewelry world.

Black diamonds consist of numerous tiny crystals agglomerated together. In contrast, colorless diamonds are a single block of carbon

This difference leads to the extreme durability of black diamonds

Why are black diamonds more durable than colorless diamonds?

To understand the reason behind the better durability of a black diamond, recall the famous “divide and conquer” maxim:

  • If you want to save an empire, create several sovereign states and control their rulers,
  • If you want to empower the local market, distribute competition between several key players and let them rival for your good,
  • If you want to create the strongest stone in the world, compose it from several tiny crystals of extreme hardness.
  • The “divide and conquer” rule applies to everything — either you’re an emperor or a diamond, the hardest substance on the Earth. You can destroy a black diamond with one thing only: a direct, sharp blow.

    In other words, if you have an intentional desire to break the stone, you will break it. That’s how people believed to break the curse of this jewel before.

    Are black diamonds real?

    At some point, people started questioning the “realness” of a black diamond.

    But that's nonsense: the color doesn't make a black diamond less of a diamond. It’s also made of carbon. It’s hard, sparkling, and beautiful in the same manner. It just has more inclusions than colorless diamonds! And these inclusions are needed because they give black diamonds their color.

    Black diamonds are not only real — they have 3 types of “realness:”

    1. Natural: graphite inclusions are intensive enough to give black diamonds their color. These jewels suit engagement rings and other diamond jewelry,
    2. Treated: cheap category with artificially intensified inclusions. They are used for industrial needs only,
    3. Synthetic: the diamonds that are raised as natural black diamonds, but in a laboratory.

    Even synthetic black diamonds are real diamonds! They have the same chemical composition and appearance, or the diamond essence and image. Just like any clones, they have the heart and soul of their prototypes.

    black diamond

    What makes a black diamond black?

    In nature, there are several shades of black diamonds. Their color varies from natural black to olive green. The exact intensity depends on the number of inclusions and quantity of graphite, pyrite, and hematite in the structure. Because of that, a black diamond may have a colorless or near-brown tone but remarkable cleavages of black graphitization.

    The “classic” black diamond is a rare stone with an opaque dark gray tint and a metallic shine. In practice, most jewels experience high-temperature and low-pressure treatment or artificial irradiation to achieve this appearance. These methods help inclusions intensify their color and make greenish and brownish jewels black.

    Black diamonds: Quality grades

    Normally, the quality of a diamond depends on its 4C’s. They are color, clarity, cut, and carat grades prescribed by GIA, the most reputable diamond grading institute. And a black diamond has the most untypical grading for its color.

    Generally, GIA reviews colorless diamonds on the scale from D (completely colorless) to Z (a diamond that contains a visible yellow or brown tint). For fancy-colored diamonds (meaning pink, yellow, and blue hints), the gemologists measure the color intensity by prescribing labels like “Faint,” “Very Light,” “Fancy,” “Fancy Dark,” and “Fancy Vivid.”

    However, black diamonds don’t fit any of these grading categories. There’s only one saturation option available for them: Fancy black.

    There’s one only color option for a black diamond: Fancy black

    Is it hard to find a high-quality black diamond?

    The quality of a diamond comes from its internal characteristics. And the intensively included structure of a black diamond requires outstanding professionalism and care from its diamond cutter. The good news is these stones are unpopular — and so, many good options are still available.

    If you want a high-quality black diamond as a center stone in your engagement ring, feel free to contact our expert! Diamond Registry assists diamond buyers in getting the diamonds of their dreams since 1961. We will help you too!

    What’s the value-for-money difference between 4 ct colorless diamond and 4 ct black diamond?

    When you’re comparing diamonds in a jewelry store, here are 3 things to expect from a 4 ct black diamond:

    1. A 4 ct black diamond is likely to be cheaper than a white diamond in the same carat category (provided that all other diamond characteristics are the same),
    2. It will be hard to find pre-made jewelry featuring a 4 ct black diamond. It’s still used in niche engagement rings only.
    3. Don’t expect to find a good loose 4 ct black diamond for less than $8,500. Nevertheless, be ready that the price range for the same colorless diamond starts from a much more expensive point.

    It’s not easy to find a great black diamond — but the price for it is pretty affordable.

    The Eye of Brahman (Black Orlov), or The Most Famous Black Diamond

    The Eye of Brahman is the most popular black diamond ever made. Its story represents all the myths and chills that prevented this stone from becoming a fully-fledged member of high-end diamond jewelry.

    A legend says this diamond was safely stored in a Brahma temple in Pondicherry, South India, for a long time. In the 1800s, it had a 195-carat weight and was an eye in a Lord Brahma statue. That’s how it received its name, the Eye of Brahman. The second name, Black Orlov, came after the Russian Princess Nadia Vyegin-Orlov, one of its last owners.

    In the nineteenth century, a traveling Jesuit monk stole and smuggled the Eye of Brahman abroad. This misdeed activated the wicked power of the stone, leading its temporary owners to death.

    The first victim was J.W. Paris. In 1932, this famous jeweler and diamond dealer was found dead at the bottom of a fire-escape near his office, right after he bought and brought Black Orlov to the USA. Later on, two Russian princesses owned this diamond, but this situation didn’t last long. Both Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky and Nadia Vyegin-Orlov committed suicide by also jumping from the building.

    black diamond 1

    This death chain finally raised some concern, and the new owner, a jeweler Charles S. Winson, decided to cut the stone in 3 parts. Since then, The Eye of Brahman is a 67.5-carat black diamond set in the brooch surrounded by white diamonds from Cartier. In this piece of jewelry, it started traveling around museums: the jewel appeared in the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1951, the Wonderful World of Fine Jewelry and Gifts in 1964, and the Diamond Pavillion in Johannesburg in 1967. Finally, Dennis Petimezas, the diamond dealer from Pennsylvania, bought this piece of jewelry in 2004.

    Do black diamonds look good in engagement rings?

    Due to their color, black diamonds have depth and very remarkable nature. That’s why they fit the mindset of outstanding people perfectly. To like it, you should be pragmatic enough not to fear possible witchcraft. And, of course, you should value the unclassic gothic mood of these “fancy blacks.”

    If you’re ready to include a black diamond in your engagement ring, note its perfect metal march is any white option: platinum, 14k white gold, or silver.

    Where to order engagement rings with black diamonds?

    Diamond Registry offers a great variety of diamonds for wholesale prices. If you fancy an idea to gift an engagement ring with an unusual yet magnetic stone, feel free to contact us!

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