Why Black Diamonds Have a Mysterious Aura All Entries
Like other gemstones, diamonds of any color are billions of years old. Black diamonds stand out because of how they differ so much from other colored or colorless diamonds. Even though colorless diamonds are the most valuable, in 2022 a 555.55 carat black diamond called "Enigma" sold for $4.3 million at an auction. Here are interesting facts to know about black diamonds.
Black Diamond Characteristics
The opaque mineral known today as a black diamond is also often called carbonado. It's made of diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon. Graphite is what accounts for the dark color. Heat treatment, though, can also turn the gemstone color to black, which lowers its value.
Black diamonds found on earth originate mainly from Central African Republic and Brazil, although some scientists believe they come from outer space, such as when a meteorite or asteroid crashes on earth. Outside of these areas, carbonado is very rare.
The pores are filled with tiny black crystals. The color ranges from dark grey to black, falling under the umbrella of "fancy colored diamonds," which include other colors such as pink, blue and yellow. "Fancy black" is the specific name for naturally-occurring black diamonds that have not been treated. Sometimes the stones can change color due to exposure to certain minerals.
While carbonado has the same hardness as other diamonds, it has a tougher surface, making it more durable. By the 1800s it became used for crafting tough cutting and grinding tools. Diamond miner DeBeers used carbonado for diamond drilling in its South Africa diamond mines.
Most black diamonds are covered with inclusions, which is why the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) does not grade their clarity. Otherwise, black diamonds follow the same grading scales as colored diamonds. Instead of issuing grading reports for black diamonds, GIA issues a "Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report." The report identifies natural diamonds as "fancy black."
Part of what makes black diamonds look unique is their luster and metallic appearance. Due to graphite inclusions that make the stones brittle, they are difficult to cut. Even a skilled jewelry designer may take up to a year to complete a marketable fancy black diamond cut. Common shapes for black diamonds are round, cushion, heart and pear.
Mystique of Black Diamonds
People are still mystified by black diamonds, which have long been linked to mysterious beauty. Their uniqueness makes them special for engagement rings and other various types of fine jewelry.
At the same time, some cultures consider the gem blessed while others consider it cursed. Italy's folklore, for example, treats black diamonds as good luck, while India's classic literature has linked them with the "God of death." Since some people believe black diamonds have cosmic origins, this mystique helps drive up its value.
How to Tell Treated from Authentic Black Diamonds
The demand for authentic black diamonds is high. Natural fancy black diamonds can range in price from $3,000 to $5,000 per carat, whereas treated versions are much cheaper due to low demand. If you plan to purchase one of these gems, be sure to ask for a GIA report, which grades the stone's color, origin, carat weight and diamond dimensions. It's the most reliable way to know if the gem is natural or treated.
Normally colorless diamonds with minimal inclusions have the highest honor among diamond enthusiasts. But sometimes black diamonds with countless inclusions can be very valuable as well due to just how unique and intriguing they are. Contact us at Ralph Mueller & Associates for more information about black diamonds and other beautiful jewels.