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A Guide to Black Color Diamonds

What are black diamonds and how to get the best one for your jewelry

By Mike Fried,

Black diamonds are a unique and enigmatic variant of natural diamonds, known for their opaque, dark hue that absorbs light rather than reflecting it. These gems are either naturally black due to the presence of graphite, pyrite, or hematite inclusions, or they are treated to achieve their dark color. When buying a black diamond, it’s crucial to ensure that it’s certified from a reputable gemological laboratory, as the gem’s quality can vary significantly. You’ll also want to pay close attention to surface treatments or enhancements, as these can impact the diamond’s durability and value.

Black diamonds are generally more affordable than their colorless counterparts, with prices starting at around $300 per carat for treated versions and increasing for naturally occurring stones. They are commonly used in engagement rings, earrings, and necklaces for those seeking a contemporary, unconventional aesthetic. Their striking appearance and relatively lower cost make black diamonds an intriguing option for anyone looking to make a bold statement.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

What is a black diamond?
What are the types of black diamonds?
Where does the black color originate?
What are the color intensity levels of black diamonds?
How much does a black diamond cost?
What setting is the best for a black diamond?
What other jewelry you can put a black diamond in?
FAQs about black diamonds
Where is the best place to buy a black diamond?

Bottom Line Recommendation:

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.

What is a Black Diamond?

Black diamonds are diamonds with a very high number of inclusions. While inclusions on a regular white or colorless diamond may show up as tiny dark specks, at extremely high levels, the diamond appears completely black. Thus, you have a black diamond. GIA’s ‘hero of modern gemology’ Robert Kammerling explains this further: “Their color is due to inclusions and not lattice defects.”

This makes it a very unique and rare kind of colored diamond. Black diamonds differ from other fancy colored diamonds, as these colored diamonds are usually formed by chemical impurities present during the diamond’s composition. Black diamonds, however, are more similar to white diamonds than yellow or blue diamonds, for example.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

Black Diamonds as a Unique Alternative for Engagement Rings

Black diamonds are an unconventional choice for engagement rings, but if you pull it off you can show a unique fashion sense meshed with elegance. Take Myleen Klass’ enormous black diamond ring. Hello Magazine’s Rachel Avery reported on Myleen Klass and Simon Motson’s stunner of an engagement ring. 

The 7.6ct emerald-cut black diamond from Hong Kong was set in an understated halo setting. This was a utterly unique creation. As Myleen said: “This is the only one of its kind in the world!”

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Types of Black Diamonds

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.

Treated black diamonds are less valuable than their natural counterparts. These are white diamonds with a high number of inclusions and fractures, and often a dull grey appearance. In their initial state, these diamonds are nearly worthless, and only used for industrial purposes.

Once subjected to heat, pressure and irradiation treatments, it’s possible to induce a black hue, resulting in a black diamond. 

In comparison, natural black diamonds get their color during the creation process, with no external interference. These too have a lot of inclusions present, however their inclusions form graphite clusters, which gives the stone a black, metallic appearance.

The organic way in which natural black diamonds are created means they are extremely rare, and thus quite valuable – much more so than artificially treated black diamonds.

Black Diamond
3.91ct Black Cushion Cut Diamond

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 diamond 4 Cs (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 from Leibish & Co.

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 from Leibish & Co.

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 from Leibish & Co.

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 from Leibish & Co.

Black diamond earrings inspiration: Fancy Black Radiant Diamond Drop Earrings from Leibish & Co.

Black diamond necklace inspiration: Round Black Diamond Solitaire Pendant from Leibish & Co.

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.

FAQs 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.

Leibish & Co Leibish & Co is the industry leader in the world of Fancy Color Diamonds. Their inventory size and prices are the best in the business, and their expertise in this highly specialized field will ensure that your diamond is set in a way to maximize its color.
What we love about them:
  • Largest and best inventory of fancy color diamonds
  • Best prices for fancy color diamonds
  • Industry leading expertise will ensure the color of your diamond is maximized in its setting
  • Leading bidders in the annual Argyle auction
  • Highest quality jewelry available online
  • Free shipping
  • Free resizing within first 2 years of purchase
  • Items comes with professional appraisal for insurance
  • 30 day no questions asked free return policy
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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