We all know that diamonds are mostly colorless, even if some of them have slight yellowish tints. However, black diamonds look completely different from their white counterparts. But how exactly do black diamonds differ from white ones, and what are these differences due to?
What Are Black Diamonds?
Black diamonds, also called “carbonado”, are made of carbon, and because of their unique crystal structure, they absorb light and are not transparent. There are different explanations for how black diamonds formed. One hypothesis states that they originated in the earth, just like white diamonds. Some scientists have an alternative explanation, though: They think that black diamonds actually came from space on an asteroid millions of years ago.
Are Black Diamonds as Genuine as White Diamonds?
Some people think that black diamonds are not real diamonds. However, that is incorrect. Black diamonds are genuine diamonds and are just as real as their white counterparts. Although they have a different color, black diamonds have the same chemical composition as white ones.
How Are Black Diamonds Different from White Diamonds?
Here are some of the most important characteristics on which black and white diamonds differ:
Although black diamonds are identical to white ones from a chemical standpoint, the crystal structure of black diamonds is different. This difference causes them to absorb most of the light that falls onto their surface, causing them to appear opaque. Black diamonds are also more porous than white ones.
The difference in color between black and white diamonds is obvious, but it is worth noting that black stones are not simply diamonds of low-quality color. Since the black is a result of these stones’ unique crystal structure, the conventional grading standards used for white diamonds are not applicable to black ones.
Contrary to what some people think, black diamonds are not regular diamonds of very low clarity. Diamond clarity refers to the number, size, and visibility of internal and external flaws, whereas the color in black diamonds is not due to defects. Although a black diamond’s clarity can be graded with the lowest possible grade, the truth is that the usual clarity grades assigned to white diamonds are not really useful for grading black ones.
Black diamonds are usually cheaper than white ones. This is partly because many of the black diamonds on the market are actually created in a lab. Natural black diamonds are relatively rare.
Are All Black Diamonds Naturally Colored?
Naturally occurring black diamonds are in short supply, and they can be mined only in Brazil and Africa. This is why many vendors take real diamonds of another color and turn them black through artificial treatment. Very often, the original stones used are actually white diamonds of low-grade color and clarity. In fact, most of the black diamonds sold are not genuine “carbonado” stones but have been colored artificially.For more information on diamonds: Read our Diamond Cut Quality Guide.