15 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Black Diamonds
Hello folks, as per our new series of #ASKRRPDIAMOND, here is the top 15 most frequently asked questions about black diamonds that people are searching on web.
Are black diamonds real?
In a word – yes, like colorless and white diamonds, black diamonds are also real. However, whether the color of the diamond is real or not depends on the type of black diamond.
Natural black diamonds, also known as black fancy diamonds, or carbonados are different than others colored diamonds which are also known as natural fancy colored diamonds. The main difference between these two categories is that black diamonds get their color due to the high levels of graphite in them. Essentially, natural black carbonados diamonds are formed from a form of poly crystalline diamonds and amorphous carbon.
Due to the high amount of graphite and other mineral inclusions like pyrite and hematite, the natural black diamonds do not reflect any light like white diamond . Often, carbonados also have many fractures and cleavages. Over time, these fractures become stained black due to deposition of graphite in them. All these internal features and the actual concentration of them gives the diamond its color.
On the other hand, treated black diamonds are made by irradiation and heat. Colorless white diamonds that have a high amount of inclusions in them are subjected to this kind of radiation and heat which transforms these colorless diamond’s inclusions into black colored diamonds.
However, irrespective of the way the color of the diamond has been incorporated in it, both natural fancy black diamond and treated black diamonds are real diamonds. Another type of the black diamond is the man-made ones which are created in the lab. All these types of black diamonds are real, although there is a huge difference between them and their properties.
What are black diamonds?
Depending on who you ask, the answer to the question what are black diamonds will get different answers.
All in all, there are three types of black diamonds:
- Natural fancy black diamonds or carbonado:
Fancy black diamonds are quite different from colored diamonds. They are essentially made from poly crystalline diamonds and they have a large amount of graphite and amorphous carbon inclusions.
Other types of naturally colored diamonds usually get their colors from impurities that are integrated in them during their formation. But natural black diamonds are quite similar to white diamonds in that they tend to have a higher amount of inclusions. This is what gives them their characteristic black color.
The graphitization of cleavages and fractures or clusters of graphite and other minerals inside natural fancy black diamond (carbonado) is what differentiates them from other types of color diamonds.
- Treated black diamonds
Treated black diamonds are formed by subjecting regular white diamonds to radiation and heat. White diamonds that are of extremely low value because of the high number of inclusions in them are usually used for creating treated black diamonds. Due to these inclusions, these white diamonds are not suitable for use in jewelry and the only possible way to utilize them is as industry grade diamonds.
But with the help of some heat treatment and radiation, they can be turned into black diamonds. Because of the high number of inclusions, they are also the least expensive of all types of black diamonds.
- Man-made black diamonds
They have been named so, because these are synthetic diamonds and they are created in a lab. Although lab-created diamonds are more popular in other colors like pink and blue because of the high cost of naturally occurring diamonds in these colors, you may still find some lab created black diamonds in the market.
Are black diamonds expensive?
The answer to this question is not simple.
Treated black diamonds or enhanced black diamonds are relatively cheap because the demand for these types of black diamonds is quite low. Most people prefer a natural fancy black diamond if they are thinking of incorporating it in the jewelry or ring.
Natural fancy black diamonds are more expensive than treated black diamonds, but they are still quite affordable compared to diamonds that are colorless or white . The price of a natural fancy black diamond depends on the size and the quality. Black diamonds are extremely porous because of the large number of inclusions in them, that is why they are harder to polish. This can also result in small cracks or blemishes on the surface of the diamond when they are polished and cut.
When buying a black diamond, it is important to check that diamond is properly polished and there is no porosity. Natural black diamonds that have been certified by GIA can cost anywhere between $1500 to $3,000 per carat. Although this is not cheap, it is nothing compared to the price of a white or colorless diamond of similar size.
And therefore black diamonds are less expensive compared to traditional white diamonds.
How are black diamonds made?
Unlike other colored diamonds that get their colors from inclusions or impurities during their formation process, black diamonds get their color from clusters of graphite and other minerals throughout their entire body. Most colored diamonds have inclusions in the form of Boron, Hydrogen, Nitrogen at cetera. On the other hand, black diamonds are polycrystalline diamonds with a large amount of graphite and amorphous carbon in them, which is what gives them their color.
Where do natural black diamonds come from?
Natural black diamonds are sourced from mainly two locations in the world. They can be found only in the beds of rivers and streams in Brazil and Central Africa.
Are black diamonds rare?
Natural fancy black diamonds are definitely less common then colorless or white diamonds. Fancy black diamonds that get their color during their formation under the surface of Earth are extremely rare. On the other hand, treated black diamonds that are made from colorless white diamonds by subjecting them to radiation and heat are not that rare.
What are treated black diamonds?
Natural black diamonds are not that common. That is why, to meet the demands of a growing market, jewelry brands have come up with the concept of turning white or colorless diamonds into black diamonds.
This is done by subjecting these colorless or white diamonds to heat and irradiation while they are still in their rough and unpolished state. This results in the burning off of the diamonds, and it gives them a rich, opaque, black color. Since this entire process would bring down the selling price of a white diamond, it is only done for those white diamonds which have a lot of inclusions and minerals in them. Such stones are only usable as industry grade diamonds. Thus, diamond sellers tend to turn them into black diamonds with heat and radiation.
How is the quality of a black diamond determined?
When buying a black diamond or any kind of diamond for that matter, it is recommended to buy one that has a GIA certificate. This kind of a certificate is the only thing that will tell you whether the stone is a natural fancy black diamond, or whether it has been treated to give it the color.
Like all diamonds, the quality of a black diamond is determined by its carat, color, and cut. However, since they are opaque, they cannot be graded for clarity, and that is why, they do not come with a clarity scale. A black diamond will also not have the mention of its make in its certificate, because it is an opaque stone.
For a black diamond, the GIA issues a Coloured Diamond Identification and Origin Report for them. This report will tell you if the black diamond is Fancy Black. This report will include a color grade, carat weight, measurements of the diamond, and the origin of the color. All these parameters decide the price of the diamond, and whether its colour is naturally formed, or treated.
What is the difference between black diamonds and colorless or white diamonds?
Black and white colored diamonds are more similar to each other than people realize. Both types of diamonds have been formed due to carbon being subjected to high temperature and pressure under the surface of the earth. This results in formation of a crystalline lattice structure that is geometrically symmetrical. In fact, black diamonds have more in common with white diamonds than other types of colored diamonds.
The only difference between these two types of diamonds is that the black diamonds do not have a pristine and perfect structure like white diamonds. They get the color black due to high number of inclusions of graphite in their crystal structure during their formation stage. Before the kimberlite deposits of a black diamond reach the surface of earth, they incorporate graphite and other minerals in them.
Black diamonds also have several cleavages and fractures in them. These imperfections then get graphitized, adding to the black color of these stones. Therefore, black and white diamonds have similar similarities in their structure and formation process, but the final structure of the two types of stones have some major differences.
What is the difference between black diamonds and black sapphires?
Black diamonds ate rare stones, and they are formed by inclusions of graphite in their crystalline structure. This happens during the formation of the stone under the surface of the earth. Since this is an uncommon process, black diamonds are also not found that commonly.
On the other hand, black sapphires are made when there is an inclusion of corundum inside the stone, giving the stone its characteristic black color. This is a very common process, and that is why, black sapphire are available quite easily.
What are some famous black diamonds?
Besides the world-renowned Black Orlov, other famous black diamonds include the Black Star diamond in Africa, the Spirit of de Grisogono, the Table of Islam, the Korloff Noir, and the Gruosi diamond. Here are some facts about the most popular black diamonds:
- The most popular black diamond is the Black Orlov. It is a cushion cut diamond with a weight of 67.50 carats and set in a diamond brooch. The black diamond is set in a brooch and it is encircled by 108 colourless diamonds. It is suspended from a necklace that has 124 diamonds embedded in it.
The Black Orlov is often referred to as the Eye of Brahma. Legend has it that the uncut form of the diamond, which was 195 carats in total, was taken from the statue of the Hindi God Brahma, from a sacred temple located in South India.
- The biggest black diamond in the world is the black Spirit of de Grisogono. This stone is cut in a Moghul style, and weighs nearly 313 carats. It was mined from the Central African Republic.
- Another very popular black diamond is the Black Star of Africa, which weighs over 200 carats. This diamond is a fancy black type. However, the stone was last seen in Tokyo in 1971. No one now knows where it is.
- The Gruosi diamond weighed 115 carats, was heart shaped, and it was first found in India in 1998. It was cut by one of the most famous diamond specialists in the world, de Grisogono.
- A fancy black emerald coloured diamond that is square cut is the Table of Island. The diamond weighs nearly 160 carats. There is not a lot of information known about this special gemstone.
- The Korloff Noir diamond, weighing at 88 carats, is currently in the possession of the famous Korloff jewellers of France, and is reputed as a good luck charm, bringing good fortune to whoever posses it.
Are black diamonds a good investment?
If you want to buy a diamond as an investment, it would be prudent to consider red, pink or blue diamonds. This is because an investment should increase in value with time, and as the demand for these colored stones increases while their supply diminishes, their market value will also increase. Black diamonds are not a good option for investment because even though they are rare when they are naturally occurring, most black diamonds sold in the market are treated ones. The value of these diamonds will likely not increase in the future. A black diamond is a good investment only if it has a large carat value, or a distinctive characteristic that makes it stand out in the market.
How do I care for my black diamonds?
Black diamonds are quite durable, but as it is with all types of diamonds and gemstones, they need proper care so that they do not get scratched, abraded, or wear out.
In order to clean your black diamond, it is best if you take it to a professional jeweller for cleaning. They will use a power steam device for removing all the dirt and gunk from your jewellery. If you want to clean your black diamonds at home, you can use a soft rag or a toothbrush with soft bristled, along with lukewarm water and dish washing liquid soap for cleaning your diamond. it should be noted that too much pressure and toothbrushes with hard bristles may leave some scratch marks on the diamond. therefore, you should be extra gentle while cleaning the diamond.
Additionally, you should never use any harsh chemicals for cleaning the diamond, or steam it. Black diamonds also have a lot of cleavages and fractures in their structure, so they are more brittle than other kinds of diamonds. That is why, you should not bump them against anything.
How can I tell if a black diamond is real?
When you are buying a black diamond, make sure you ask for a GIA certificate from your jeweller. Not only will it help you determine what the characteristics of the diamond are and whether it is real or not, it will go a step further and also tell you whether it is a fancy black, or naturally black diamond, or if it is treated.
But if you already have a piece of jewellery at home and you do not have a GIA certificate, you can take it to a professional jewellery store to get it evaluated. Or, you can also check at home whether the diamond is naturally black, or heat treated and enhanced in the lab.
For this, you will need a strong source of light and a magnification glass. Place the diamond against the source of light and look at it through the magnification glass. If you find that the diamond has hints of green or blue light, or if you see a hint of green or blue when you look at the stone from various angles, you can rest assured that it is an enhanced diamond. That is, it has been treated in the lab to give it the black color.
On the other hand, if you see a salt and pepper effect, with different areas featuring black and white color alternatively, you can conclude that the diamond is naturally black. A truly black diamond will have no hints of green, blue, or any other color.
The general rule you should follow is that a black diamond that is naturally black should only be purchased from a reputable diamond seller, and it should come with a certificate stating that it is indeed a fancy black diamond. if a diamond does not come with a certificate like that, it is bound to be either a color enhanced diamond, or some other type of gemstone altogether.
Is getting a black diamond engagement ring a good idea?
Yes – it is.
More and more people are now embracing black diamonds as the centerpiece of their engagement rings. With support from famous celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow, Kat Von Dee, and Carmen Elektra preferring black diamonds in their jewellery, it is no surprise that the interest in these alluring stones has piqued.
Although white diamonds are beautiful in their own right, there is nothing quite like the allure and mystery that a black diamond can add to your engagement ring. Not only does a black diamond look stunning, it has a smooth finish that is very attractive and lustrous. It symbolizes amazing qualities that the modern woman is embracing – like confidence, ambition, and success.
For the couple that is truly different from others, and wants to reflect that same in their jewellery, a black diamond engagement ring is perhaps the best way to showcase their love and commitment.