When most people think of diamonds, the colorless and sparkling ones usually come to mind because these are the ones that wealthy people popularly parade. Diamonds come in many sizes and colors, from blue to yellow to pink. The black diamond was not as popular in the past, making it cheaper than the popular pink or colorless diamonds. Still, in recent years it has been sought after by many persons, especially those looking for a different or dramatic look in their adornment or engagement rings.
In recent times, the black diamond has become famous in the jewelry business, and the demand for it keeps increasing because of its unique and sophisticated aesthetic. However, there are many simulated and lab-created gemstones on the market. If you’re not familiar with the properties of a diamond, you could easily purchase them instead of a real black diamond.
To avoid this scenario, it is important to know the differences between the real and fake so you’ll be able to avoid getting a gemstone that may not be durable as the real diamond; this article is going to provide you with the essential information you’ll need to know about the black diamond for you to make the right purchase each time.
What Is A Black Diamond?
Black diamonds are also known as carbonados which are some of the toughest types of natural diamonds commonly found in alluvial deposits created by water or another source of running water; these alluvial deposits can be found in the mid-elevation equatorial regions such as the Central African Republic and Brazil. These areas are where an enormous majority of carbonado diamonds have been discovered.
Black diamonds are impure, micro-porous, and high-density polycrystalline diamond, which comprises graphite, and amorphous carbon, with little crystalline precipitates filling pores and sometimes reduced metal inclusion. Inclusions are sometimes found in smaller amounts in other diamonds. In clear ones, it would appear as tiny dark spots, but in the case of black diamonds, the graphite inclusions are high, which leads to the dark color throughout the diamond; natural black diamonds are tremendously unique because they are rare and hard to come by and are more porous than other diamonds.
Diamonds are formed deep within the earth, and during their formation, different minerals and elements are present, which often affect the color and composition of the diamond; the blue diamond is gotten when boron is present in the composition of the diamond, the presence of nitrogen in a diamond’s composition also results in the yellow color of a diamond and as for the black diamonds is it the black mineral inclusions that produces it’s black color whether it’s graphite, pyrite, or hematite. The concentration of the mineral inclusions in a black diamond would determine its final color, which could either be black, brown, dark green, or grey.
However, a thing to note about the black diamond is its sparkling effect, which is slightly different from the white or clear diamond’s sparkling effect. Its sparkle effect is different because black diamonds are not see-through like clear diamonds; when lights reflect on a black diamond, it glitters with a metallic sparkle, unlike the refractive firework sparkle.
Black diamonds are indeed special, and the demand for them keeps increasing since many people use them for their unique beauty while others use them for what it is believed to symbolize; black diamonds symbolize love, power, fidelity, and purity, eternity. In some cases, it could also symbolize passion and certainty. These diamonds are interpreted differently by many cultures; some may see them as a curse, like the ancient Indians who believed the black diamond resembles the color of a snake’s or spider’s eye, while others may see it as a blessing like the ancient Italians who believed that touching a back diamond would bring great fortunes and prosperity to your marriage.
Types Of Black Diamond
The classification of diamonds is very vast. They are grouped under different categories. For the back diamond, I’ll focus on the three primary category grouping: Natural black diamonds, Lab-grown black diamonds, and color-enhanced or colored black diamonds.
1. Natural Black Diamonds
The natural back diamonds consist of earth-mined diamonds that are naturally black and have not been treated. These kinds of diamonds have the same carbon composition as other kinds of diamonds, but the difference is the high amounts of graphite inclusions present in the stone; natural black diamonds are rare, meaning that they are incredibly hard to come by and in areas where a real one could be found, would be either Central Africa and Brazil.
Over the years, some notable natural large diamonds also famous include the Black Amsterdam Diamond, The “Spirit of the Grisogono,” The Rembrandt, The Black Orlov, and The Sergio.
2. Lab-grown Black Diamonds
These are black diamonds that have been manufactured with the aid of advanced technology; natural diamonds are mined from the ground, but these lab-grown ones are produced in a laboratory, and they are also beautiful and almost identical to the real stone.
They are cheaper than natural diamonds and are widely available in the market.
3. Color Enhanced Black Diamonds
Color Enhanced Black Diamonds are natural diamonds that have some chemical treatment carried out on them to get a uniform back color; enhanced colored back diamonds are extremely beautiful and rich, especially when they are placed with contrasting colored diamonds like white, yellow, or pink diamonds.
These treated diamonds are popularly carried out in two ways, the two major kinds of artificial Colored Black diamonds in the market.
4. Irradiated Black Diamonds
These diamonds have obtained the black color due to the radiation treatment carried out on them; the diamonds are fired with high-energy electron or neutron particles which rearrange the carbon atoms in the crystal lattice of the diamond resulting in the change of color. These irradiated Black Diamonds are not jet back as they would appear under normal lighting, they are dark green, and this could be seen when the diamonds are placed near fiber-optic lighting. To properly observe this color, place just a thin edge of the diamond, either the culet or griddle, near a fiber-optic light source; once you do this, the light will illuminate some of the inner sections of the diamond and allow you to see the dark green color.
This dark green color differentiates the Natural Black Diamonds from the Irradiated Black Diamonds.
5. Heated Black diamonds
This category of color Enhanced Back Diamonds is more popular in the market than the former because the results are permanent and they are considered natural. White, grey, and brown diamonds are mostly used for this treatment since they have many inclusions.
The diamonds are exposed to very high temperatures that almost burn them to get the black color; the treatment works with some diamonds because not all of them can be transformed to have a jet back color. Only the professionals would know what diamonds to use ones not to. The process of heating the diamonds to get the jet back color involves placing the diamonds in an HTHP chamber together with black carbon and processing it at High Pressure – High Temperature.
The 4c’s Of A Black Diamond
Like all diamonds, there are important aspects that are taken into consideration before the price is determined; these important factors are regarded as the 4C’s, including the cut, clarity, color, and carat.
However, because of the unique appearance of the black diamonds, the 4c’s cannot be graded the same way as the 4c’s grading of colorless diamonds. They can be graded based on cuts and carats, but they cannot be graded based on color or clarity since they would come out as highly included.
The cut of a diamond is one of the important aspects of a diamond; it is the cut that determines the sparkle effect of the colorless diamond. For the black diamond, it is entirely different since black diamonds are opaque.
However, three kinds of cuts are popularly affiliated with black diamonds with several different shapes. Each of these cuts and shapes accents gives a black diamond unique characteristics; these three cuts include a step cut, brilliant cut, or a combination of both.
-Step Cut; the step cut stones appear longer and are shaped rectangularly. The two most famous step-cut black diamonds are the Emerald cut black gemstones, and Asscher cut black gemstones. The Emerald cut gemstones usually have a flashy mirror effect; both the Emerald cut black gemstones and Asscher cut black gemstones have excellent flashy mirror effects in colorless diamonds but in the case of Black cut gemstones, this flashy mirror effect is a subtle reflective glow.
The only difference between the Emerald and Asscher cuts is the shape; Emerald cuts are rectangular with cut-out corners, while Asscher cuts are square versions of Emerald cuts with truncated corners.
– Brilliant Cut; the brilliant cut is used to give diamonds or any other kind of gemstone an exceptional brilliance, the gemstones are cut in a particular way with several facets which resemble a cone, and in the case of a colorless diamond, this cut would give the stone an illusion of dazzling beautiful lights dancing around the top and for black diamonds it would a hypnotizing soft glow.
– Mixed Cut; these kinds of cuts combine the best qualities of the previously mentioned cuts in one; it maximizes the beauty of a diamond by hiding any visible inclusions. The Princess cut black diamonds, and cushion cut black diamonds are two common examples of mixed cut black diamonds.
The clarity of a black diamond cannot be graded on the colorless diamond clarity scale because they contain a high amount of inclusions. These inclusions are part of the composition of the diamond that makes it unique.
However, some unwanted inclusions present in a black diamond can reduce its value and structure, such as Chip, Indented Natural, Natural inclusions, feather, Pinpoint, Cavity, Etch Channel, etc.
Like with clarity, the back diamonds cannot be graded on colorlessness like the colorless diamonds are graded. They may come out with color grading reports that note things like its color being a Fancy Black which usually includes grading such as NATURAL AAAA, NATURAL AAA, NATURAL AA, NATURAL A, and NATURAL B, with the NATURAL AAA grading representing the highest quality gem which is rare and expensive. They are also graded on the authenticity of the diamond, whether they are real or fake.
This report is called a Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
The carat invokes the diamond’s overall weight, which is determined by how well the other 3 C’s are balanced.
How To Identify A Black Diamond
White understanding the 4C’s could help in guiding you when purchasing a diamond. You should note some things that would help you identify a real diamond easily, especially the black ones since their 4c grading is slightly different from the colorless diamonds.
The first thing to note is that natural diamonds have some scratches on the surface, so if you’re trying to identify a real back diamond, you should properly observe the surface to see if there are a few nicks here and there; if there aren’t then it’s probably not a real diamond because a real one would not have a flawless surface.
To get an accurate result, use a 10x loupe magnifying glass that jewelers and watchmakers often use; this loupe can be found in both online and offline stores.
The second thing you could do is to use a carbide scriber blade for scratching the diamond’s surface, and this is a risky test because if the diamond is fake, the scratches will show. Still, if it’s not, there would be no scratches, and this is because a natural diamond is extremely hard. If this test is carried out on a real diamond, it will damage the carbide scriber blade.
Black Diamonds are speedily gaining popularity for good reasons because they have a unique, sophisticated, and beautiful appearance. If you’re unsure of the diamond you have in your hands and want to check its authenticity; you could easily carry out the simple tests explained above. If you’re also trying to make a purchase, try to observe the diamonds and always buy from a reputable jewelry store.