Black Diamonds: How Cut, Intensity and Shape Affect Price

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About Black Diamonds

Among all gemstones, diamonds are recognized for their high score of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. The structure of a diamond is broken down to solid crystal with identifiable natural lines.

However, black diamonds are somewhat different as they consists of many small crystals all stuck together in random formation. Although they are still graded as 10, these stones are known to be even harder than the majority of diamonds as a result of these differences in their structure.

Before these goods were used as gems for jewelry, they were used for a variety of different functions because they were so hard. It was first documented in Brazil as an excellent tool used to polish wood, and in the early 1900s the stones were used for rock drilling in the Panama Canal.

Black Diamond Deposits

According to Wikipedia:

Supporters of an extraterrestrial origin of carbonados, such as Stephen Haggerty, a geoscientist from Florida International University, propose that their material source was a supernova which occurred at least 3.8 billion years ago. After coalescing and drifting through outer space for about one and a half billion years, a large mass fell to earth as a meteorite approximately 2.3 billion years ago. It possibly fragmented during entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and impacted in a region which would much later split into Brazil and the Central African Republic, the only two known locations of carbonado deposits.

Cause of Black Color

The presence of graphite in the crystalline structure during formation is believed to be the cause behind the black color. Interestingly enough, the diamond is essentially so full of inclusions that it paints the entire stone black – enough, in fact, to cause quite a gem-like appearance.


Unlike colorless diamonds, black diamonds do not exude brilliance. Their unique appearance, however, is what makes them desirable.  This 5.46ct radiant cut diamond is a fine example. Since the color is a result of inclusions within the crystal structure, it is therefore almost always completely opaque. Transparent black diamonds do exist, but they are rarely ever seen in the market.

Natural Fancy Black Diamonds

Especially when it comes to black diamonds, it is 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 is somewhat widespread.

Therefore, if you come across a black diamond with a seemingly low price, it is very probable that it is a treated stone. A report of a “natural diamond” does not mean it’s a natural fancy black diamond – it could refer to a natural diamond that has been color treated.

Black Diamond Intensity Levels

In contrast to most other diamond colors, black diamonds are only found in one color intensity: Fancy Black. There are others, such as Fancy White and Fancy Red that only have one single intensity grade, but most colors can be found with up to nine, from faint to deep.

Shapes for Black Diamonds

Although black diamonds are more difficult to cut than colorless or fancy color diamonds, they are still cut into all shapes including round, pear, heart, marquise, princess, cushion, radiant, and emerald.

Famous Black Diamonds

Black diamonds are found in much greater abundance than most other color diamonds. That is why there are quite a few famous black diamonds reported throughout history.

These include but are not exclusive to: the Cursed Black Orlov, the Gruosi, and the Black Star of Africa. The first diamond is a very large cushion-cut diamond, at 67.50 carats. It is set in a diamond brooch surrounded by 108 colorless diamonds. The second stone is a heart-shaped 115.34-carat diamond that took three years to be cut and polished. Lastly, the Black Star of Africa takes the cake at 202 carats. It was last seen in Tokyo in 1971.

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