The black diamond is a special gem due to its rarity and, of course, its untraditional diamond color. It's both exotic and unique when compared to other diamonds, and it can be absolutely stunning when worn in a strand as a tennis bracelet or necklace or even as a solitaire ring mounted in white gold. It's not unusual to find celebs daring-to-be-different adorned by this ebony stone. Since this exotic beauty is so scarce and unknown to many, we thought we'd shed some light on it here.
You may ask: Is the black diamond a real diamond? The answer is absolutely. Black diamonds, found mainly in Brazil and Africa, are also known as carbonado. They are comprised of the same carbon element as the white diamond and likewise evolve under high heat and pressure within the earth over many years. In the process of formation, minerals and crytsals called inclusions are trapped within the stone. The crystalline structure of the gem, along with these inclusions, which due not allow for reflection of light, give the gem its black appearance. The blackness of the gem contrasts beautifully with white metals - white gold, silver and platinum. Black diamonds also display elegantly in a necklace strand, like the one below, which by the way is our own Black Ice brand.
Fake or "treated" black diamonds are not uncommon, where black coloring is applied typically to a low-grade white diamond and conditioned by heat treatment. So buyer beware! Some buyers are not concerned about the real/fake factor as long as the jewelry piece looks good to them. And there are those who would opt for the black onyx in lieu of the black diamond, except onyx is nowhere near as durable, nor is any other gem stone for that matter. Yet others want only the real deal. The good news is a professional jeweler can quickly tell whether a black diamond is real or fake, and most reputable jewelry dealers will indicate somewhere in their product spec if the gem is authentic. Also, GIA certificates are availble to validate the black diamond's authenticity.
As supply and demand determine the prices of just about everything, the same applies to black diamonds. The supply (abundance) of these gems, as stated, is low, but so isn't the demand. This may be due to the fact that many consumers are simply unaware of them or, for those who are, they prefer the traditional white diamond, or these gems are just hard to find. In any case, the fact is black diamond prices are much lower than those of white diamonds.
There are a number of larger-than-life black diamonds that have gained notoriety over the years. One such gem is the Black Olav (below), also known as the Eye of Brahma Diamond, a 67.5 carat beauty which, according to legend, caused its various owners to commit suicide. Legend aside, this gem is exquisite (See below). Another black diamond, which is actually the world's largest cut black diamond and 5th largest diamond known, is the Spirit of Grisogono, which weighs in at 312 carats. This beauty sits in a white gold setting with 702 white diamonds surrounding it.
Top Image: The Amsterdam, Christie's
Bottom Image: Black Olav, London Museum of Natural History