We all know that diamonds come in all shapes and sizes. We also know diamonds come in many color varieties, from pink and red to blue and gold. But are black diamonds real? They are, and they have a pretty fascinating history.
If you want something unique for your engagement ring or just a piece of statement jewelry, black diamonds could be just the thing.
History of Black Diamonds
Called carbonados by the Brazilians who discovered them in 1840, black diamonds have had a colorful history. These deep, raven-hued stones are only found in Brazil in South America and the Central African Republic, a landlocked country in the middle of the massive continent.
Black diamonds are extremely rare and have been coveted by royalty and celebrities over the last century and a half. Though no evidence exists, King Louis XVIII boasted about his collection of these rare coal colored stones.
Are black diamonds real? They are, but they are extremely rare. They’re often lumped into the same color category as chocolate diamonds, but a true black diamond will be nearly opaque in their onyx-like color.
Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat
Diamonds are generally measured by cut, color, clarity, and carat. The same is true for any colored stone, including black diamonds, with a few exceptions.
Diamond cut relates to the quality of the angles cut into the stone. The term cut is used to describe both the shape and the style in which the gem is shaped. When certifying a diamond, cut refers to the proportions, symmetry and reflective qualities of the stone. Diamond cuts range between excellent to poor, according to the GIA. The cut, along with the other criteria, may contribute to the rare and valuable nature of the black diamond.
Clear diamonds are rated on a color scale of D to Z. D is colorless and considered the most ideal standard for these diamonds. Black diamonds, on the other hand, are not rated by these criteria since the color will be judged independently.
The flawlessness of your diamond is its clarity. Inclusions or blemishes will be visible with professional inspection on a flawed diamond. The clarity impacts the value of the diamond, and that remains true for black diamonds. Most importantly, when it comes to determining if black diamonds are real is to ensure the color is uniform throughout the stone.
Many people think carat refers to the size of the diamond, but it is actually the weight. It’s interesting to note that since black diamonds are denser than clear or colored diamonds, a 1 carat black diamond will appear smaller than a 1 carat white diamond.
How to Tell if Your Black Diamond is Real
There are a lot of other black gemstones, so how do you know if your black diamonds are real? The single best way to tell is to take your diamond to a professional. A diamond expert, or gemologist, will be able to use their specialized tools to determine if the black diamond is real or just a great imposter.
Black diamonds can be easily confused with:
- Black cubic zirconia
- Black spinel
- Pyrite or Marcasite
- French jet
- Black tourmaline
Marcasite, for example, was used in a lot of heirloom jewelry, often as accent stones to set off a colored stone. You’ll find it a lot in white gold or silver settings in antique jewelry pieces.
Famous Black Diamonds
Television fans will remember that Mr. Big gave Carrie Bradshaw a black diamond engagement ring on Sex and the City. Famous black diamonds aren’t always fictional. There have been many examples throughout the last century and beyond.
The most legendary is the Korloff Noir, an 88-carat black diamond. It is a stunning example of what a real black diamond can look like. It’s hard to catch a glimpse, but the stone regularly travels the world.
Other famous black diamonds include the Gruosi diamond and the Spirit of de Grisogono.
The Gruosi diamond is a gargantuan heart shaped stone weighing more than 115 carats. It’s part of a necklace made up of multiple smaller black diamonds.
The world’s largest cut black diamond, however, is the Spirit of de Grisogono. It is over 312 carats and sits in a lavash white gold ring set with 702 smaller white diamonds. The ring is inspiring to behold.
Creating a Statement Setting
You certainly don’t have to buy a 300-carat black diamond set with 700 white diamonds to make a statement piece for your beloved. If you think a black diamond engagement ring is exactly right for you, there are plenty of ways to find something in your budget. There are also plenty of options of black diamond wedding rings for men!
Don’t think that a real black diamond is out of your reach. To save money, consider a gray or chocolate diamond, which can be a little easier to source. You can buy loose diamonds and have them set in a custom made setting that matches your beloved’s taste and personality.
Showing off Your Black Diamond
Due to their nature, a black diamond may be a little more difficult to clean than your average white or colored diamond. Since white diamonds should appear clear, it can be easy to notice dirt and other particles that are causing the diamond to appear dull.
Black diamonds, on the other hand, are opaque so dirt won’t be as noticeable. To care for your diamond, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Avoid touching it, the oils from your fingers can be difficult to clean.
- Soak in soap and water.
- Clean with a new soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Dry with a polishing cloth.
- Use a cleaning solution specifically for diamonds.
If you have a black diamond, don’t be afraid to show it off. It’s a rare gem that is worth your admiration.