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Opulent, desirable and surrounded by an air of chic mystery, black diamonds are less known about than their clear and colorless cousins. Absorbing light to give a deeply intense look, they are prized by both collectors and those who want to wear jewelry with an unusual design.
Black diamonds are the same as clear ones except for the way they have been formed. The mesmorizing color is created by the random clustering of graphite inclusions and they are not transparent in the same way other diamonds are.
In generations of the past, some people believed they were originally meteorites which had fallen to the ground and were subsequently encased in rock for millions of years, but the reality is that they form in the same way as colorless diamonds; through high pressure on the carbon in the earth which produces crystal containing repeated geometric patterns.
Black diamonds which include gray or colorless inclusions are particularly sought after and black diamonds of any kind are not found in many places around the world. The most likely locations to mine black diamonds are parts of South Africa and Brazil.
Black diamonds are very rare and because they have color are classed as fancy colored diamonds. The fact they are so rare means that there is a value to them but the fact there is not as much demand as colorless diamonds means they are often not as expensive. The only black diamonds with true value are those which are incredibly large or have an unusual feature to them.
One of the main grading elements to a diamond is the intensity of color but because black diamonds are opaque and only appear in one level of black – known as fancy black – this isn’t possible so it also diminishes the market value.
Enhanced black diamonds cost less than naturally occurring black diamonds but there’s still a price to pay. Those with this feature are in fact low quality colorless diamonds which have been burnt whilst still rough to turn them black. They look as good as the ‘real thing’ but because they have been artificially colored they are not recognized by the GIA and will never be certified.
The most well-known black diamond is the Black Orlov. It’s an incredible 67.50 carats in weight and was originally 195 carats before being cut. Cushion cut and now set in a necklace which is surrounded by 108 colorless diamonds, there is a legend that accompanies the discovery of it.
Tales tell of the uncut gem being originally set into the eye of a statue of the Hindu god Brahma in a temple in India and it was taken out and then sold, but there is nothing to substantiate this claim.
Whilst it is not a diamond which is in high demand, this is set to change in the very near future. Hollywood A-listers including Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett own jewelry which includes sizeable black diamonds so it won’t be long before this sensual and mystical gem becomes the next ‘must-have’ diamond in every jewelry lovers collection.