Complete Guide To Black Diamonds


Black diamond rings are becoming increasingly popular for brides to show off their individuality and break from tradition. Black diamonds are edgy and enigmatic, give off a rock ‘n’ roll vibe, and are just plain awesome all at once. They’re also an excellent deal. 

In this article, Afshin Shaddaie will explain everything you need to know about black diamonds and whether you should consider them over traditional white diamonds. 

What Is a Black Diamond? 

The black diamond, also known as a carbonado diamond, is a carbon-based natural gemstone with opaque black inclusions. Unlike the more famous clear diamonds, black diamonds are deep black or very dark grey in color. They are mined in Brazil and Central Africa.

Although it falls under the umbrella of natural fancy-colored diamonds, because of its different crystalline structure and opaqueness, it is usually placed within its own category. The GIA, however, labels it as a fancy color on its certificates. See below.

In recent years, the black diamond has grown in popularity and is now considered a very desirable option for those wanting to propose for marriage with an engagement ring with character.

How Much do Black Diamonds Cost? 

A natural untreated black diamond verified by the GIA will sell for approximately $2,500 to $4,500 for a one-carat gemstone. Of course, this will depend on the quality of the stone. It will cost significantly more to purchase a high-grade black diamond.

It is important to note that a 1-carat black diamond will cost around half that of a natural regular diamond.

In the chart below, I compare the prices of a high-quality round black diamond with a GIA certificate against a high-quality G color, VVS1 clarity, round diamond. These numbers are estimates based on the high-quality diamonds available.

Black Diamond White Diamond
1ct Round Natural Diamond $3,500 $6,000
2ct Round Natural Diamond $5,000 $27,000
3ct Round Natural Diamond $7,000 $65,000
4ct Round Natural Diamond $9,000 $95,000
5ct Round Natural Diamond $12,000 $200,000
6ct Round Natural Diamond $16,000 $450,000

Important Note: Most black diamonds on the market are heat-treated, making them incredibly affordable at $100 to $200 per carat. For this reason, if you want a natural untreated black diamond, you will want to ensure you get a GIA certificate.

Pros and Cons of Black Diamonds

Benjamin Khordipour in Estate Diamond Jewelry Showroom showing different rings

The market is polarized when it comes to black diamonds. Some love them, and some hate them. Here are the most common talking points when discussing the pros and cons of black diamonds.

Pros: Uniqueness, costs far less, styles nicely with all types of jewelry, and you don’t have to worry about clarity and color.

Cons: It cracks easier than regular diamonds, it has no brilliance due to its opaquness, requires due diligance to ensure that you’re getting a non-treated gemstone, and it can look a little messy at times.

Black Diamonds vs. White Diamonds 

Black diamonds and white diamonds are entirely different in so many ways. Here’s a breakdown of the primary differences and what you need to know when purchasing them.

Black Diamond White Diamond
Pricing $$ Moderate $$$ Expensive
Transparency Opaque Clear
Colors Black and Greys White (with yellows)
Brittleness Moderate Very Hard
Gemstone Sparkle Poor Very Briliant
Rarity Moderate Rare
Reseller Market Strong Strong
Popularity 8/10 9/10

As you can see, although the black diamond is under the umbrella of a diamond, many differences separate them.

Is the Black Diamond Considered a Fancy Diamond?

Black Diamond with Blue Green Red Purple Yellow Diamonds

Yes. The GIA recognizes the black diamond as part of the colored diamond category. In fact, they mark black diamonds as “fancy black” in their color grade section. Most retail stores will also put their black diamonds in the section of their store reserved for colored diamonds.

That being said, there are four critical differences between the black diamond and the other fancy diamonds, and for these reasons, most gemologists don’t consider black diamonds to be colored diamonds:

  1. Opaqueness. All the other high-grade colored diamonds are clear (or they will be marked with a poor clarity grade), while the black diamond is naturally opaque. This difference will also impact their brilliance and sparkle. See the photo above.
  2. Strength. Colored diamonds have the same brittleness and strength as regular white diamonds. Due to its many inclusions, the black diamond will have a structural weakness and can be broken upon moderate impact.
  3. Levels of Fancy Colors. Colored diamonds come in 6 grades: Light fancy, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep, and Fancy Dark. The black diamond just has 1 grade: Fancy.
  4. Source of color. All other colored diamonds get their color due to chemical impurities like nitrogen, which provides yellow tints, and boron, which causes blue colors. Black diamonds, however, don’t have these chemical impurities in their crystalline structure; rather, their black color comes from their many inclusions, which can be seen in their monochrome surface. 

Lab Grown Black Diamonds

Lab-grown black diamonds are much more affordable than their natural counterparts, but as we explore in our article about lab-grown diamonds, buying them is a massive mistake. In fact, we believe that it is better to buy a natural black diamond that has been treated than to buy a lab-grown diamond.

The price of lab-grown black diamonds usually hovers around $200 – $300 per carat, and the quality of lab-grown diamonds will usually be higher as there is far more control in a laboratory than naturally in the ground.

Tips and Hacks for Buying a Black Diamond 

Black Diamond Halo Engagement Ring at Estate Diamond Jewelry

Here are our top tips to know before buying a black diamond.

Check the Surface Carefully. As mentioned before, real black diamonds will be filled with inclusions. When you’re ready to buy a stone, check the surface carefully. If you see too many inclusions touching the surface, don’t buy it. Surface inclusions are the riskiest types and are most prone to breakage.

Set the Stone in a Bezel. If you’re setting your black diamond in a piece of jewelry that you intend to wear regularly (for example, an engagement ring), ensure that you set it with a bezel setting instead of a prong setting. Learn more here.

Meaning Behind Black Diamond. You might encounter cultural differences if you want to gift a black diamond. Even though the stone is seen as elegant and fancy in Western cultures, others wouldn’t agree. The black color is typically connected with death and bad luck in Asian culture. Black diamond jewelry isn’t exactly popular in this region of the world. Hence, think twice before gifting a black diamond. 

Always Ask for a GIA Report. There are so many types of black diamonds in the industry. If you’re buying a natural untreated gemstone, do not buy it unless it comes with a GIA certificate. The GIA Identification and Origin report will guarantee that the black diamond you purchase is a genuine, natural stone. 

Only Buy from Trustworthy Jewelers. Since there are many options for inferior black diamonds, you want to ensure that you only use a jeweler with a reputation for honesty. If you can’t find a jeweler among your friends and family, do a lot of online research to ensure that whoever you use has enough positive 5-star reviews and a solid online reputation.

Caring and Cleaning Black Diamonds

Cleaning Black Diamond Earrings with Toothbrush

Cleaning black diamonds requires extreme care as the gemstone is both fragile and brittle.

If force, hot temperature, or strong acids are used on the black diamonds, they risk breakage or structural damage. Avoid using ultrasonic or steamer cleaning methods on your diamonds.

To clean your black diamond jewelry, use room-temperature water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. When finished, air-dry the jewelry instead of using a heating mechanism or tough cloth.

Additionally, it’s best to keep your black diamond engagement ring off your finger if you’re gardening, moving furniture, or performing construction work, as this might damage the stone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a carbonado diamond?

A carbonado diamond is just another name for a black diamond.

Do Black Diamonds Come from Outer Space?

There are those who suggest that because black diamonds are found in alluvial, sedimentary deposits close to or on the Earth’s surface, they may have extraterrestrial origins. Although this sounds really cool, this claim is far from substantiated, and more scientific research is needed to confirm if this is correct.

What’s the Largest Black Diamond?

Sotheby’s auctioned the largest black diamond in history during their 2022 auction. The natural black diamond, named Enigma, had 55 facets and weighed 555.55 carats.

Do Black Diamonds have the 4C’s?

Black diamonds cannot be graded for all 4Cs (color, cut, carat, and clarity) because of their unique characteristics. 1) Color grading applies to yellowness, and of course, that doesn’t apply. 2) Cut grading can be given (although most GIA certificates won’t have it). 3) Carat grading is critical and should be expected to be found in the GIA certificate. 4) Clarity grading will, obviously, not be relevant as the diamond is already opaque.

What is a Treated Black Diamond?

A treated black diamond is a gemstone that underwent heat treatment to appear black. The treatment is usually implemented if the diamond’s inclusions are naturally gray or white. After the high-temperature treatment, the gemstone will appear dark black.

If a diamond undergoes treatment, the GIA will catch it and report it in their certificate, and the gemstone’s value will drop by over 90%.

Buying jewelry, especially black diamond jewelry, can be a very daunting task. Consult our diamond specialists, and we can walk you through the process.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We will respond within one business hour.

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