What are black diamonds?
Famous for their metallic gloss, black diamonds are gaining popularity in the engagement ring market thanks to their off-beat beauty and affordability. Our clients often ask us what makes a black diamond black and whether these stones are, in fact real diamonds, so let’s set the record straight.
Black diamonds are crystallised carbon, so made from exactly the same stuff as white diamonds. Through high density of inclusions or slight variations in the temperature and radiation they experienced underground, these diamonds turned out to be black. Naturally found as irregular black masses known as carbonados, black diamonds polish up to the high gloss, opaque beauties that set up so nicely in white metal, especially when paired with white diamonds for a striking contrast.
Do inclusions make diamonds dull?
As any student of the four C’s will know, diamonds come in a variety of clarities ranging from internally flawless, to an eye clean spectrum and finally to a range of lower clarities where inclusions are visible to the unaided eye.
To be fair, all inclusions are not the same. From barely there feathers to slight irregularities within the crystal structure, some impurities can be very subtle – almost totally invisible. Some stones do however have black carbon inclusions that look a bit like dust flecks, or (in extreme cases) like a small insect trapped within your stone.
Although inclusions as a rule depreciate diamonds, they are a testament to the stone’s uniqueness and natural origin. Apart from severely included diamonds, inclusions have no effect on the stone’s brilliance (sparkle). This aspect is rather governed by a diamond’s cut quality.
What is cut quality?
According to the GIA system of assessing diamonds, especially round brilliant cuts, a diamond’s cut quality is broken up into cut, polish and symmetry with the first being the most important factor to buyers. This cut grade refers to the refractive angles, depths and proportions a diamond has been polished to. If the proportions are, for example, too deep or too shallow, the diamond will not have the optimal dispersion of light and will not appear as brilliant as a diamond cut to optimal proportions.
When shopping for a GIA certified diamond, look out for a stone awarded with an ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ cut grade. Even better, look for one that has been awarded a triple excellent (ex/ex/ex) grading. This means the cut, polish and symmetry are of the highest standard. These stones can be more expensive than a diamond with equivalent weight, colour and clarity, but a poor cut. The value becomes clear when you compare the stones though. Nothing shines with the fire of a well cut diamond, and you deserve the very best.
When it comes to choosing the perfect diamond, look no further than the Mark Solomon Jewellers showroom in Sea Point, Cape Town. We carry the largest selection of GIA certified, loose diamonds in Cape Town as well as an extensive selection of beautifully hand crafted designer engagement rings. Our master goldsmiths and team of highly qualified jewellery designers are at your service to create a custom made diamond engagement ring to suit your individual style.
Contact us today to find out more or to get a quote on the diamond engagement ring of your dreams.