Natural black diamonds are extremely rare and are only found in two places in the world, Brazil and the Central African Republic. As such, most black diamonds used for jewelry are heat-treated low-grade colorless diamonds.
The color of natural black diamonds is either black or dark grey and is caused by graphite inclusions in the stone. Black diamonds are the toughest natural diamonds and they are usually denser than colorless diamonds. Natural black diamonds are porous and are made up of millions of small crystals stuck together. Due to its composition, it is a lot more difficult to cut into different shapes compared to other diamonds.
Unlike colorless diamonds and other fancy color diamonds, black diamonds absorb light instead of reflecting it. Due to the unique appearance of the stone, more and more people are choosing to buy black diamond rings over traditional colorless diamond rings.
Costs of Black Diamond Rings
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the formation of black diamonds; some theories state that black diamonds or carbonados come from outer space as a result of a supernova whereas others believe that black diamonds were formed by meteoritic impact on the surface of the earth. The most common theory, however, is that black diamonds are formed in the earth’s interior under extreme high-pressure and heat.
Regardless of the actual formation of natural black diamonds, these theories have a hand in increasing the price of black diamonds in the market. Due to large interest in the mysteries surrounding the black diamond, there has also been an increase in the demand for natural black diamonds in the market.
Lab-treated black diamonds (those that are heat-treated through irradiation to change the color to black) are generally cheaper than colorless diamonds because they are usually made from low-grade colorless diamonds. The prices of lab-treated black diamond rings typically start at $1400 if the quality of the stone is relatively decent.
Natural black diamonds, known as fancy black diamonds, are generally very expensive because they are extremely rare. Price is determined by the intensity of the color, the absence of white inclusions in the stone, and the stone shape. The price for the average fancy black diamond typically starts at $2000 to $2500 per carat. Due to the difficulty of the cutting process, larger black diamond rings are a lot more expensive than smaller stones. For instance, a 3-carat fancy black diamond can cost over $8000 whereas a 9-carat stone can cost over $27000 without the ring setting.
Natural black diamonds typically have dark brown edges when viewed under a fiber optic light whereas black diamonds treated through irradiation appear dark green under the same light. It’s a quick way to determine whether a black diamond is natural or treated.
Styles of Black Diamond Rings
Black diamond rings come in a wide-range of styles. The unique, dark color of the stone makes it suitable for experimenting with different settings.
For instance, a growing trend in the jewelry market is setting a black diamond (whether natural or irradiated) in a tungsten ring band. Since both are black, they complement each other quite nicely. For a bit of contrast, small white diamonds are added as accent stones or a white gold or platinum stone setting is used to create contrast against the tungsten band.
It’s also fairly common to set a round black diamond in a halo and pave setting with small white diamonds as accent stones. Since black goes better with white, the most common material used for black diamond rings are silver, white gold, and platinum.
Rose gold and yellow gold are also used but they are relatively rare because the color of the stone clashes with the color of the metal.
Style is, of course, subjective so it’s up to you to decide which metal is suitable for a black diamond ring. While there is certainly a lot of interesting black diamond rings in the market, custom rings are always an option if you can’t find one that suits your taste.
Black diamond rings come in standard ring sizes. In the US and Canada, the standard ring sizes come in sizes 5 to 13. In the UK and in other countries, different sizing values are used so it’s best to measure your ring size in inches or centimeters so you can easily convert to its equivalent size in the country where you are purchasing the ring.
You can obtain the size of your ring finger either by using a standard ring size chart or by wrapping your ring finger in a piece of paper or string and manually measuring the length with a ruler.
If you are buying for someone else, it’s best to just discreetly borrow a ring from that person so you can use it for sizing when you buy the black diamond ring. Don’t worry if you don’t get the size right, as most jewelers offer resizing services for free if you purchase the ring from them.