There is a lot of talk around colourless, pink, blue and yellow diamonds…but what about the mysterious black diamond.
How is it formed? What causes it to become black? Does it occur in nature as well as being created in a lab?
In nature black diamonds are very rare and difficult to work with once mined. They have been discovered in Central Africa, Brazil and a few other places around the world.
The colour of black diamonds are caused by geological impurities like hydrogen, boron and nitrogen. A raw black diamond gets its colour from graphite.
Black diamonds were first discovered in Brazil during the 1840s. They formed 2,6 to 3,8million years ago. Being discovered in Brazil is what gave them their name “carbonados”.
Fancy Black Diamonds (also known as Fancy Carbonados) are very scarce compared to the colourless variety.
Black diamonds range from dark grey to black.
Natural black diamonds are very difficult to cut and polish as they chip easily and break during the process. This is because in nature they are made up of tiny individual diamond crystals (they are polycrystalline)
A colourless diamond is a solid gem while a black diamond found in nature is a “cluster”of little gems that can break apart easily when handled incorrectly.
The finished natural gem is softer than colourless diamonds and over time they are more likely to damage.
Lab Created Black Diamonds
Lab grown diamonds and natural colourless diamonds can be treated to turn them black!
Turning a colourless diamond black involves exposure to intense heat or radiation using gamma rays in a nuclear reactor.
Because they were once colourless diamonds they are not polycrystalline and this then makes them perfect for cutting and shaping and much stronger than natural black diamonds.
A lab grown black diamond can start as a natural earth made colourless diamond or as a lab created colourless diamond. They will both undergo the same treatments in order to turn them black.
The rarest black diamond is called The Enigma. A 555,55 carat black diamond that was unveiled at Sotheby’s auction house in Dubai. This diamond is actually believed to come from outer space! Created during a meteoric impact or broken from a diamond-bearing asteroid that collided with our Earth!
This mystery of space and earth has created a hype around black diamonds causing celebrities to choose them as statement pieces!