Rare, glamorous but also a little unusual; black diamonds are now regularly sought after when choosing the perfect engagement or eternity ring. Perhaps we should thank fashionista Carrie Bradshaw - Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in hit TV show Sex and the City - for the resurgence in popularity for black diamonds, after Mr. Big presented her with a stunning engagement ring featuring a five carat black diamond.
These unique stones are a true talking point for any piece of jewellery and the kind of embellishment that makes an impression. They also complement any choice of gold colour, whether you opt for an on trend rose shade or classic white.
Are black diamonds naturally formed?
Black diamonds can be found naturally but are very rare, therefore the more affordable options on the market are a product of enhancement via irradiation – a treatment that uses radiation to change the colour of a diamond. This treatment forces the stone’s colour to darken and to the naked eye it appears to be black.
A natural black diamond is simply a white diamond that gets its colour from the vast amount of inclusions that are spread throughout the stone. These are the imperfections most people purchasing diamonds attempt to avoid!
There is speculation around the origin of black diamonds and how they are created, with some geologists suggesting they are actually from meteorites hitting the Earth. Others confirm they derive from a similar process to regular diamonds, created from high pressure conditions within the Earth. Natural black diamonds are usually found in South America, Brazil, Australia and Central Africa.
What to look for in a black diamond
A reflective, mirror-like quality is important when considering a black diamond, with no chips or imperfections on the surface of the stone. A black diamond should also be polished and its colour evenly distributed throughout the stone. However, because they are so heavily included (featuring lots of flaws) they can be difficult to cut and when placing them in settings jewellers must be very careful.
Due to their limited availability, natural black diamonds are usually more expensive than their original white counterparts, which is why enhanced black diamonds are generally featured more in jewellery. An enhanced black diamond may appear to be a very dark grey in certain lighting and some can even appear dark green. However, they still look just as incredible and are much more affordable, perfect for everything from a ring to a necklace pendant.
Bear in mind that a one carat black diamond will usually be smaller than a one carat white diamond.
How to care for a black diamond
Due to the amount of fractures and flaws within a black diamond they are actually more vulnerable to cracking and damage. Therefore, you should never place a piece of jewellery featuring black diamonds in an ultrasonic cleaner or a steamer to clean it. Instead, a soft clean toothbrush and warm water is best to get dirt and grime out from under the diamond and the prongs it is set in.