Having a clear diamond is a prized possession – there is no doubt about that. However, black diamonds offer an alternative look that provides that same level of luxury but still looks different from the rest.
That is why the demand for black diamonds is rising every day!
It’s common knowledge that diamonds are very hard – and therefore, resilient to scratches. But is that the case with black diamonds, as well?
Do black diamonds scratch easily or not? Continue scrolling for the full scoop on black diamonds!
What Are Black Diamonds?
Black diamonds, also called carbonados, were used for industrial purposes for a long time now. However, they gained quite a bit of popularity due to their growing use in alternative and “edgy” engagement rings. Everything we know about black diamonds today comes from relatively recent research.
For example, now we know that natural black diamonds get their color from large amounts of mineral inclusions. Those mineral inclusions are commonly hematite, graphite, or pyrite present in the stone, giving it a beautiful black color.
The inclusions are tiny fractures that have been stained black by the graphitization. So, if there are many small fractures, the diamond will appear blacker than some other stones. Because of that, the color actually ranges from almost colorless to brown and true black.
The natural black diamond is opaque, with a great shine, giving it a mirror-like appearance. The sheer number of inclusions that are characteristic of black diamonds make the cutting and polishing a rather delicate process, so they have to be treated very carefully.
Black diamonds aren’t exactly very expensive – but they offer a distinctive look on jewelry. So, if you are looking for something different, this can be a great choice.
Since not every black diamond is genuinely black, some of them have to be treated to give them a darker color: Many diamonds are grayish at first. So, they are treated with high heat or low pressure to induce graphitization of the inclusions. The same results can be achieved with artificial radiation, too.
Do Black Diamonds Scratch Easily?
Usually, when picking out an engagement ring, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal – well, hopefully. So, it should be something that looks good today – and will continue to look great despite changing trends.
On that note, black or salt and pepper diamonds can make an excellent stone for a unique engagement ring. What is so great about them is that they look great with platinum, rose gold, or white gold – you name it.
However, do they scratch easily?
Luckily, no, black diamonds don’t scratch easily. Black diamonds are very hard, and therefore cannot be scratched with day-to-day use. The only way the black diamond can be damaged is if it becomes fractured.
Despite the exquisite hardness, black diamonds are generally pretty brittle due to their unique structure, with larger black stones being more at risk of fracturing than smaller ones.
If you are set on having a black stone in the engagement ring, consider having a different center stone with smaller black diamonds on the sides of the band. Black diamonds look amazing paired with colorless diamonds as well as rubies, sapphires, or emeralds.
Variations Of The Black Diamond
In essence, there are two types of a black diamond – the natural black diamond and the treated or enhanced black diamond.
The natural black diamond is very rare – as in, it can only be found in Central Africa and certain areas in Brazil. They get their natural black color from the graphite inclusions.
On the other hand, the treated diamonds are, in essence, colorless diamonds, but they become black when treated with heat or radiation. To create these diamonds, the manufacturer will pick out colorless diamonds with many inclusions.
The inclusions cannot be seen once the diamond is treated and becomes black, though.
Moreover, there are so-called “salt and pepper” diamonds – which are just another variation of the black diamond.
These diamonds have many inclusions, but they aren’t opaque; they are somewhat translucent. Each salt and pepper diamond contains a unique mix of black and white speckles.
Rating The Quality Of Black Diamonds
Black diamonds are unique in their look, as well as the quality rating – since the process is a bit different when checking their quality compared to colorless diamonds.
The first thing to do is check the certificate to determine whether the diamond is naturally black or heat-treated to induce the color.
The 4Cs – clarity, color, cut, and carat weight – along with the GIA Diamond Grading System are the international standards for grading colorless or close to colorless diamonds. And because of that, the process of grading black diamonds is different – since they are colored.
So, the standards used for grading the black diamonds fall into GIA’s color grading system for the colored diamonds. Black diamonds are colored, and on top of that, opaque and with lots of inclusions.
As you can imagine, they cannot be graded on the clarity scale. There is only one grading term used for the black diamonds – fancy black.
This term was picked out because, unlike other colored diamonds, these stones don’t have a variation in color or saturation. GIA grading system doesn’t issue grading reports for the black diamonds for this exact reason.
However, they do issue a Colored Diamond ID and Origin Report. The report describes the black diamonds as “fancy black,” and the report states the color as natural or heat-treated.
Type Of Cut
The thing you need to consider is the type of cut of the black diamond. As we have previously mentioned, black diamonds are difficult to cut because of their brittle structure.
That delicate process makes high-quality cuts quite expensive, and that could make the black diamond ring go way over your budget.
Do keep in mind that black diamonds reflect less light than colorless diamonds because they are opaque. What gives them a shine is a good quality cut – and that is even more true for salt and pepper diamonds.
The sparkliest cuts for black diamonds would have to be the rose cut or the cut with significant crown facets – since these can maximize the light reflection.
Keep in mind that the fancy styles will be more difficult to find because the black diamonds are rarely cut in those styles. If you are looking for the regular cushion, round, or a pear cut, that will be easy-peasy to find, though.
When it comes to the weight, it’s a little different as well as everything else.
A black diamond is denser than other colorless diamonds. So, the 1-carat black diamond will be smaller than a 1-carat colorless diamond. Because of that, we recommend that you focus on the appearance and the type of cut rather than the diamond’s weight.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Black Diamonds
Of course, picking out an engagement ring is not easy – and you will be faced with many questions and dilemmas during that time.
If you are thinking of a black diamond for the engagement ring, i’s truly principal to think of all the advantages and disadvantages of this particular stone, which is why we’re glad to say this:
You will be pleased to know that black diamonds don’t have many disadvantages.
But let’s get into the details, shall we?
The most important advantage is that the black diamonds are very, very hard – so much that people believe diamonds to be bulletproof. That makes the diamonds resilient to pretty much anything. So, the diamond won’t scratch easily!
Other black rocks like the onyx or black sapphire aren’t as resilient and might lose their glossy appearance over time. The black diamond has a shine just like a colorless diamond, and it will stay that way for a long, long time.
Related Read: Difference Between Black Diamond and Onyx
Another great thing about black diamonds is that they can be relatively affordable compared to other options. The treated black diamond is incredibly affordable since it costs around $300 for one carat, while the natural black diamond can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3000 for one carat.
However, the black diamonds aren’t perfect; they may be hard, but they can be somewhat brittle and fracture to pieces. That is the characteristic of both treated and natural black diamonds – as they are both heavily included.
The inclusions we have talked about earlier are, in essence, tiny fractures in the diamond, which consequently weaken the diamond’s structure. And since black diamonds are heavily included, they can break into pieces when they are hit in the wrong spot.
There is another disadvantage when it comes to black diamonds and it’s their unique structure. That structure makes the diamonds somewhat susceptible to damage: The black diamonds are different from all the other diamonds because they’re a microcrystalline aggregate. In other words, the black diamonds are made out of tiny crystals tied together in the most random orientation.
This structure makes the black diamond somewhat unstable, just like the inclusions.
How To Care For Your Black Diamonds?
The best thing about black diamonds is that they virtually cannot be scratched, but they are still very brittle. The natural state of a black diamond means they have many tiny fractures, so they can break into pieces if hit on the wrong spot.
In essence, caring for black diamonds is the same as caring for any other type of delicate stone or diamond. The thing you should always avoid is using an ultrasonic cleaner or steam to clean it.
That could cause irreparable damage and even breakage, meaning your ring or another piece of jewelry is ruined for good.
We recommend that you always take your jewelry to a professional cleaner, rather than cleaning it yourself at home. Also, consider getting insurance for your jewelry to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises.
Read Also: Can You Insure A Lab-grown Diamond?
Black Diamond’s Rarity & Pricing
There are two types of black diamonds – naturally black gemstones and treated stones. Natural stones are rarer, and therefore, more expensive.
The practice of treating diamonds with heat or radiation is relatively widespread, so it can be a bit difficult to tell the exact difference between a natural and a treated stone.
However, a certificate stating the natural state of the gemstone ought to clear that right up.
To avoid spending thousands of dollars on a treated stone when you are looking for a natural black diamond engagement ring, you will need to find a reliable diamond dealer.
Some companies specialize in selling black diamonds, with a selection of natural black diamond rings and other jewelry, as well as loose gemstones.
If you browse the web, you will find that the online prices for black diamonds are far lower than physical dealers. What’s better, you can look for setting options like white gold, rose gold, yellow – classic gold, as well as platinum.
Generally speaking, black diamonds have a lower price than other colored stones. Our official advice is to be wary of exceptionally low prices for a particular black diamond: If the black diamond is very cheap, it’s almost sure that the diamond has been treated to induce the color, rather than it being a natural stone.
Even if the diamond has a report that states that it’s a “natural diamond,” that doesn’t make it a fancy black diamond. Instead, that report as a “natural diamond” could mean that the stone has been color-treated to appear more black, rather than it being black naturally.
Read More: How To Test Black Diamonds?
When it comes to the question, “Do black diamonds scratch easily?” we can conclude that no, black diamonds don’t scratch easily – or ever, for that matter.
Black diamonds are very hard – harder than colorless diamonds.
That makes them a great option for an engagement ring, but be wary of the color-treated stones if you are looking for a natural, fancy black stone. It will be pretty easy to spot them because treated black diamonds have a relatively low price compared to natural stones.
All in all, black diamonds are very resilient and can make a great stone in the engagement ring, especially if you are looking for something unique and different from the rest!