Black diamonds are an unconventional, yet highly fashion forward choice for setting into jewellery. Their outstanding lustre makes for a bold and dramatic diamond engagement ring, pair of earrings, necklace, or other piece of jewellery. Black diamonds are also a highly popular choice for both women and men’s jewellery, making them a highly versatile and stylish gemstone.
Black diamonds are also known as ‘carbonado,’ and they gain their colour from the presence of inclusions such as hematite, iron, sulphides and graphite within their crystal structures. These minerals make the diamonds appear opaque and black as light is blocked from travelling through the stone. The diamonds may also feature cleavage or fractures that are stained black due to graphitization. Many of the black diamonds on the market are heat treated and irradiated to achieve their colour, although this practice is commonplace and not as frowned upon as the treatment of colourless diamonds. Natural black diamonds are most commonly sourced from Brazil and Africa.
The most notorious black diamond is the 67.5 carat ‘Black Orlov’ diamond. It is also known as the ‘Eye of Brahma Diamond.’ Reputedly, the stone was cut from a rough crystal weighing 195 carats, and was stolen in the 19th century from a Hindu temple where it was set as one of the eyes of Brahma in a shrine. Ever since the diamond was stolen, it was said to have ‘cursed’ its owners, with the subsequent three owners of the stone each taking their own lives. The stone was re-cut in the 1960s and has been displayed in museums ever since, with many confident and relieved that the ‘curse’ has been broken.
Black diamonds shot to popularity in the late 20th century, and have been a highly popular choice for celebrities ever since. One of the more famous instances of a black diamond in Hollywood was in the 2010 movie ‘Sex and the City.’ In this film, Mr. Big proposes to Carrie Bradshaw with a 5ct black diamond halo engagement ring. When Carrie asks why her fiancé has chosen a black diamond, he replies with the assertion that she is “not like anyone else.”
Black diamonds can also provide a solution to the confusion surrounding the 4Cs of colourless to yellow diamonds, and the grading of fancy coloured diamonds. As black diamonds are opaque, clarity grading cannot distinguish one from another. Furthermore, the GIA will only grade a black diamond as ‘fancy black,’ although they do report whether the colour is natural or treated. This simplifies the buying process, with the remaining two Cs, cut and carat weight, the only factors to consider.
If you are after a fashionable, enigmatic, highly lustrous gemstone, look no further than the black diamond. These stones are highly versatile, looking spectacular in both men and women’s jewellery, and complementing most metal colours and accompanying gemstones.