The Diamond Pro

What are Black Diamonds? Detailed Guide

By Michael Fried

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We highly recommend buying a black diamond, or any Fancy Color Diamond, from a vendor who provides high-quality photos, like Leibish & Co. or James Allen. You want to make sure you’re getting the best-looking black diamond for your budget. In our experience, Leibish & Co. offers the best prices and customer experience in the Fancy Color Diamond market. They also provide a high level of expertise when it comes to pairing the diamond with a jewelry setting.

Black Diamonds 101

Colored diamonds come in a variety of types. Thanks to their bold, powerful appearance, black diamonds have become one of several popular alternatives to conventional colorless diamonds and other center stones for engagement rings and other jewelry.

Until fairly recently, black diamonds weren’t regarded as high-end gemstones. Diamonds of this type started gaining popularity in the late 20th century, when black diamond engagement rings and other jewelry started to appear.

Today, it’s easy to find black diamond engagement rings, earrings, bracelets and other high-end jewelry. Thanks to their dark color, black diamonds have an extremely distinct, unique look that sets them apart from other gemstones.

Black diamonds are often paired with metals such as 14k white gold and platinum, which helps to emphasize the color of the diamond. They’re also often placed next to colorless diamonds as a way to create visual contrast.

Currently, the largest online retailers of black diamond jewelry are Leibish & Co., who specialize in fancy color diamonds, and James Allen, who specialize in engagement rings, loose diamonds and other diamond jewelry.

Black diamonds come in two main types: natural black diamonds and diamonds that have been treated to become black. Like with almost all gemstones, the first type — diamonds that have a natural black appearance — are significantly more valuable and desirable.

Origin of Black Diamond’s Color

The color of black diamonds is believed to be caused by graphite. Black diamonds have a huge number of inclusions — small blemishes that affect a gemstone’s appearance. This large number of inclusions is enough to change the color of black diamonds used in jewelry.

A black diamond is essentially so full of inclusions that it paints the entire stone black—enough to cause quite a gem-like appearance.

Among all gemstones, diamonds are recognized for their durability, scoring a 10 (the highest possible) on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. A diamond’s structure is composed of solid crystal with identifiable natural lines.

Black diamonds are slightly different, as they consist of many small crystals all stuck together in random formation.

Although they’re still graded as a 10 on the Mohs scale, black diamonds are known to be even harder than the majority of colorless diamonds. Before black diamonds were used as gems for jewelry, they were used for a variety of different functions because of their durability.

Black Diamond’s Intensity Levels

In contrast to most other colored diamonds, which can be found in a wide range of colors, black diamonds are found in only one color intensity: fancy black.

Other diamonds such as fancy white and fancy red have a single intensity grade, but most other colors can be found with up to nine, from faint to deep.

Just like other diamonds, the 4Cs (cut, clarity, color and carat) should all be considered if you’re purchasing a black diamond engagement ring, loose black diamond or other jewelry. All of these factors play a major role in determining the quality and desirability of a black diamond.

Even though fancy black diamonds do not receive regular color and clarity grades, it’s important to verify that the color is fully saturated. It’s also important to check that there aren’t any obvious imperfections when looking at the stone with the naked eye.

In choosing a black diamond, you’ll also want to consider the shape, which is primarily based on personal preference. Like with other diamonds, black diamonds come in a range of shapes that each offer a unique appearance.

It’s also important to consider the metal you choose for black diamond jewelry. Thanks to its bold, powerful color, black diamond can look fantastic with 14k white gold, platinum and other white metals.

Black Diamond’s Rarity and Prices

When it comes to black diamonds, it’s critical to differentiate between natural stones and stones treated to become black. The former is far rarer and more valuable than the latter.

Unfortunately, the practice of treating diamonds is somewhat widespread. This means that it’s often difficult to tell the difference between a natural black diamond and a diamond that’s been treated to change its color.

Because of this, if you’re considering buying a black diamond engagement ring, loose diamond or other jewelry, we suggest buying from a reputable retailer. Leibish & Co., which specializes in black diamonds, offers a great selection of natural black diamond jewelry and loose stones.

James Allen is another reliable jewelry retailer that offers a large range of natural black diamond jewelry. Both of these vendors are trusted to provide high quality black diamonds, all with pricing that’s significantly better than physical retailers.

Both of these retailers offer a range of setting options for black diamond engagement rings and other jewelry, including 14k white gold, yellow gold, rose gold and platinum.  Overall, pricing for black diamonds tends to be lower than other, rarer colored stones.

When you search for black diamonds, watch for any stones that have a seemingly low price. It’s very likely that a black diamond marked at a considerably lower price than other gemstones has been color treated.

Even a report noting a “natural diamond” doesn’t mean that it’s a natural fancy black diamond. A diamond reported as a “natural diamond” could refer to a natural diamond that’s been treated to take on a black color.

Review black diamonds on vendor sites like Leibish & Co. and James Allen to get a good idea of the current average price per carat—though this will range based on the diamond’s overall quality. If you’re not confident, reach out to our experts. We’re happy to help in your search.

Black Diamond Engagement Ring Settings

Because black diamonds are so unique, any black diamond engagement ring is bound to garner lots of attention. Pair your stone with a beautiful, suitable setting for an engagement ring that will be cherished for years to come.

In addition, it’s important to choose a diamond shape that matches the style and personality of the wearer.

Style 1: Halo setting

Create a stunning ring by surrounding your black diamond with small colorless diamonds.

Halo setting example: Rose Gold Natural Black Diamond Engagement Ring

Style 2: Side stone setting

Highlight your black diamond by flanking it with two colorless diamonds on either side.

Side stone setting example: Black & White Diamond Engagement & Wedding Ring Set

Style 3: Solitaire setting

Keep your black diamond as the main focus with a solitaire setting. Consider white gold or platinum to contrast the stone’s color.

Solitare setting example: Round Black Diamond Solitaire Ring

Popular Jewelry Settings for Black Diamonds

Thanks to their bold, powerful appearance, black diamonds look great when paired with metals such as 14k white gold and platinum. These combinations can look fantastic, both for diamond engagement rings and other jewelry.

Black diamonds can also look great with rose gold, yellow gold and other metals. Check out the earrings, pendants and necklaces listed below for inspiration:

Black diamond pendant inspiration: Black Radiant Diamond Pendant

Black diamond earrings inspiration: Fancy Black Radiant Diamond Drop Earrings

Black diamond necklace inspiration: Round Black Diamond Solitaire Pendant

To get the most stunning stone for the price, select a black diamond from either Leibish & Co. or James Allen. If you have questions or concerns about purchasing a black diamond, contact our diamond experts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Black Diamonds

Are Black Diamonds Real Diamonds?

Black diamonds are real diamonds, with the same chemical composition as traditional colorless diamonds. The main difference between colorless diamonds and black diamonds is the number of inclusions, which are responsible for giving black diamonds their color.

What Do Black Diamonds Symbolize?

Just like colorless diamonds, black diamonds symbolize eternal, flawless, and unchanging love, making them perfect for a diamond engagement ring. Black diamonds are also associated with passion, action and energy.

Are Black Diamonds More Expensive Than White?

Although black diamonds are rarer than white, colorless diamonds, they generally cost less to purchase. The main reason for this is lower demand. While colorless diamonds are widely used in diamond engagement rings and other jewelry, black diamonds are more of a niche gemstone.

How Much is a 1-Carat Black Diamond Worth?

As with other gemstones, the price of a black diamond can vary depending on market conditions and the quality of the diamond. On average, a one carat black diamond is less expensive than a white diamond, with loose, GIA certified diamonds from Leibish & Co. priced from about $2,400.

Where is the Best Place to Buy Black Diamonds?

Black diamonds are fairly rare, making them harder to purchase from physical diamond retailers than other jewelry. You can buy loose black diamonds and black diamond engagement rings at competitive prices from trusted online retailers such as Leibish & Co. and James Allen.

Both of these vendors specialize in diamond jewelry, with Leibish & Co. specializing in black and other fancy color diamonds.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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