We’re all familiar with the classic diamond. Twinkling, clear and colourless, diamonds have been one of the most popular and sought-after gemstones for many years. If you’re in the market for something slightly more unusual, however, why not consider black diamonds? Black diamonds have a luxurious appeal and a dark and mysterious history.


What are black diamonds?


Black diamonds, otherwise known as ‘carbonados’ are an extremely tough form of natural diamond. They are usually found in alluvial deposits in mid-elevation equatorial regions such as the Central African Republic and Brazil. Famed for their dark and mysterious colour, black diamonds can be found in deep black, dark grey, and even olive green and they tend to be more porous than other forms of diamond. These gemstones get their unique appearance from a mixture of mineral inclusions, such as graphite, pyrite, hematite, and amorphous carbon. Alternatively, some black diamonds have been stained back due to graphitisation.


black diamond
Trishtha, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Typically, black diamonds are opaque and have an almost metallic appearance thanks to their high lustre. Polishing or cutting these unusual stones can prove difficult due to the high number of inclusions normally found in the stones.


Are black diamonds more expensive?


Although black diamonds are rarer than their colourless counterparts, they are usually less valuable. Unlike some other fancy colour diamonds that can fetch an extremely high price due to their rarity and vividness, black diamonds tend to be more affordable. One reason for this is the lack of mass demand. While colourless diamonds are extremely popular (largely due to their widespread use in engagement rings), black diamonds are much more niche and therefore their prices haven’t been driven up by a competitive market.


How to tell if black diamonds are real


Another thing to consider when assessing the value of black diamonds is whether or not they’ve been treated. Like most gemstones, black diamonds that have been chemically treated are less valuable and desired than gems that have a natural black appearance.


A professional inspection will be needed in order to tell if a black diamond is real, or if it has been chemically treated. One key thing that experts will judge this by, is whether or not the colour of the diamond is uniform throughout the stone.


Meaning of black diamonds


Black diamonds have come to have a number of symbolic meanings, including power, authority and charisma. The uniqueness and originality of these gemstones make them desirable to anyone who likes to stand out from the crowd and express their personality through their diamond jewellery.


Some believe that black diamonds can boost your confidence and give you the power to create your own future. The superior hardness of this gem adds to its connotations with power and resilience. The hardness of the gem is also thought to symbolise eternal and unchanging love, making black diamonds a fabulous option for engagement rings.


History of black diamonds


Throughout history, black diamonds have had varying reputations. At one point, they were held in low regard, but their popularity has grown over recent years. In the 1928 book Diamond: A Descriptive Treatise, author J.R Sutton wrote: “Ordinary black diamond is not greatly unlike black sealing wax. Opinions differ as to its virtues as a gemstone.”


Despite this gemstone’s humble origins, however, their popularity has flourished. This mysterious and dark gem has appeared more and more in popular culture over recent years, and black diamond rings have become a covered engagement ring style for couples who are looking for something with a twist on tradition. Carrie Bradshaw’s engagement ring in Sex and the City featured a stunning five-carat black diamond, for example. It was presented to her along with the line “because you are not like anyone else.” This perfectly illustrates the allure of black diamonds – they’re unusual, unique, and deeply romantic.


In addition to black diamonds in modern culture, we’ve seen exquisite examples of this gemstone that have become legendary throughout history. One high profile example is the 67.50ct Black Orloff diamond, otherwise known as the Eye of Brahman. This gemstone has a notorious past and was once believed to hold a dark curse that caused several of its owners to commit suicide. Later the diamond was re-cut into three pieces in order to break the curse. The pieces have since been displayed in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Natural History Museum in London.


These beautiful gemstones certainly have an abundance of mystery and allure and they have become much more covered in recent years. Would you consider swapping out a classic colourless diamond for a darker and more gothic option?


Written by

Delilah Kealy-Roberts

Delilah joined the AC Silver team as a Sales & Digital Assistant in 2017 after completing her degree in English Literature at Leeds University. Delilah possesses a passion for jewellery and antiquities combined with an interest in blogging and social media.