Diamonds are traditionally thought of as being super-sparkly and technically transparent, with the facets cut in them by master jewelers transforming light into a glittering, dazzling display.
You may also be aware of the existence of diamonds of different colors, which can be beautiful on their own or even more impactful when combined with other precious gems.
But what about the elusive, seemingly impossible black diamond? This mysterious stone sounds like a contradiction in terms, but is actually a gorgeous and personality-packed alternative to white diamonds.
Here is a deeper dive into the secrets of the black diamond, so you can expand your horizons on your next jewelry buying spree.
All about the inclusions
Surprisingly enough, black diamonds are found in nature, so while they can be made in a lab, the highest quality and most expensive examples available for decorative purposes will be mined in much the same way as other precious minerals.
The thing which makes them look black is the prevalence of graphite inclusions. Almost all gemstones have inclusions; those little flaws which can be seen if you look closely that were left there as the mineral deposit was formed. But while in most cases these are undesirable, they are entirely necessary to give black diamonds their signature look.
The trapped graphite within black diamond stud earrings and all other jewelry made with this gem gathers together to create the dark tone that is so desirable to certain customers.
Naturally occurring diamonds that are packed with enough inclusions to appear inky-black as soon as they are pulled from the ground are relatively rare, and thus the most valuable example of this type of precious stone.
In order to meet demand, and also make black diamonds more affordable as an option, leading jewelers will take advantage of treatment techniques to transform white diamonds into black equivalents.
This might sound like trickery, but it is entirely standard practice in the industry; so long as this treatment is disclosed to customers, it is all above-board.
In fact, treating diamonds to turn them black through irradiation and other methods is actually a means of minimizing waste, because the only white diamonds which are subjected to this are those that have too many natural inclusions to make them saleable on their own, but not enough to be truly black without a little bit of help.
Aesthetic appeal & versatility
The humble black diamond has exploded in popularity in recent years, as a new generation of customers has arisen, seeking out alternatives to established jewelry styles and trends that are still easy on the eye.
From engagement rings to necklaces and beyond, black diamonds have an edgier aesthetic to them, and still give you that much needed bling and shimmer when the light catches them.
Because they are fundamentally identical to white diamonds, they can also be cut in whatever shape suits the tastes of the buyer; from round and pear-shaped stones to hearts, cushion-cuts and everything in between, it is easy to see why black diamond jewelry is gaining traction at the moment.