The Jewelry Insider

October 25, 2010

Coco Chanel gave us the little black dress and Carrie Bradshaw gave us the (not so) little black diamond. With Halloween right around the corner, now is the perfect time to get in touch with your diamond dark side.

The Allure:

Black diamonds are as beautiful and elegant as the traditional white gem – they just have a dark side. And like the versatile ‘little black dress’, black diamonds add sparkle to any occasion (see Sex And The City’s famous black diamond offering for more).

Dress them up with a cocktail dress or down with jeans and your favorite ruffle shirt. Think of them as the Audrey Hepburn of the diamond world – sophisticated, urbane, mysterious, elegant – and always in style.

The Sparkle:

The dark color of a black diamond adds to its unique luster and brilliance. Luster is the light or sparkle reflected from the surface of a stone and can be enhanced by the play of light within the stone’s inner surfaces or facets. Because less light can penetrate a black diamond, prismatic play is at a minimum resulting in a unique, metallic brilliance that is unmatched in any other stone.

The Science:

Most black diamonds are actually white or colorless diamonds that become black after exposure to a widely used and extremely safe radiation treatment. These ‘enhanced’ diamonds quickly become inert after treatment and are then heated to effect an overall coloration. The dark color fully penetrates the stone and will not fade over time. This treatment process not only results in a black diamond but is also used to create every color of the diamond rainbow – from red to green, purple to even brown.

Natural black diamonds are extremely rare and are not often seen in the jewelry world. Their black color results from the presence of numerous graphite inclusions. Due to the dense concentrations of these dark inclusions, natural black diamonds are generally opaque and difficult to cut – making them a rare source for usable jewelry. Some notable black diamonds are the Black Star of Africa at 202.00 cts. and the Black Orfloff, at 67.50 cts.


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