A diamond in any hue is fascinating, but there’s something truly enigmatic about its black version. Even though it’s a stark contrast to the forever popular colorless/white diamond, the mysterious aura it exudes has made this gem immensely popular in recent times.
The color of an enhanced black diamond is achieved with the help of one or more treatments, usually irradiation. Such methods do not harm the gem’s physical or chemical structure and typically result in permanent color change.
The enhanced version of a black diamond is more affordable than the real one. This makes it a wonderful option for those who wish to flaunt jewelry adorned with this captivating gem.
It’s a known fact that white/colorless diamonds were formed deep within the earth’s crust. They were brought to the surface due to volcanic eruptions approximately 100 million years ago. However, several studies suggest that carbonados or natural black diamonds are even more ancient, approximately 3.8 billion years old.
The Portuguese people of Brazil are believed to have given natural black diamonds the name “carbonado” in the mid 1700s. This name translated to carbonized or burnt and was derived due to the gem’s physical similarity to porous charcoal.
This led scientists to believe that eons ago a star’s explosion, known as a supernova, led to the birth of natural black diamonds. They fell on the earth in the form of an enormous diamond-rich asteroid. It is not surprising that today this gem is associated with power and invincibility. Black diamonds are also steadily becoming a popular choice of center stone for engagement rings due to their distinct and mysterious appeal.
Hardness & Strength
Enhanced black diamonds are natural diamonds that have undergone color enhancement treatment. This does not change their structure, which means they score a 10 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Enhanced black diamonds are perfect for daily wear.
The color enhancement treatments done today are safe and effective. Below are the two most common industry practices used to alter the hue of this precious stone.
In this process, a diamond is subjected to high-energy particles (usually no bigger than electrons), which results in misplacement of carbon atoms. This eventually causes a change in the gem’s color as the treatment alters the physical properties of the stone. In order to allow the altered atoms to rearrange themselves and develop the desired hue, the diamond is then heated in a method called annealing. Irradiation is a safe process and is typically conducted in a laboratory. The change in color achieved through this treatment is permanent.
High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT)
Though this treatment takes place in a laboratory, it seamlessly replicates the natural process in which a diamond is created below the earth’s crust. This technique involves exposing the diamond to extreme heat and pressure, which ultimately causes it to change color. The stone is then re-polished and buffed. This process takes only a few hours and makes it possible to achieve a variety of colors in a diamond.
Quality & Grading
Synthetic methods are utilized to transform a colorless or yellowish diamond into a black diamond. However, in reality, it is a very dark green hue that looks just like black. The color of an enhanced black diamond remains standard, and it is not available in varying shades. Due to this, color intensity and saturation are irrelevant with regards to valuation.
To the unaided eye, an enhanced black diamond will appear the same as its natural version. They both have the same chemical and physical properties. The main difference is simply the cause of their color.
A high-quality enhanced black diamond typically has a clean surface and lacks visible inclusions. This is primarily because of the color enhancement treatment it is subjected to. These gems look completely dark and opaque as they absorb light almost completely.
In comparison to a colorless or fancy colored diamond, an enhanced black diamond is more difficult to cut. However, they are available in almost all popular shapes, including round, pear, heart, marquise, princess, cushion, radiant and emerald.
An enhanced black diamond is denser than a colorless diamond. A one-carat black diamond will look smaller than a one-carat white diamond. As a result, the carat size will influence the price. Bigger the stone, the more it will weigh, and this will simultaneously increase the cost of the gem.
Based on its various properties, an enhanced black diamond can be further distinguished into the following categories of quality:
Top 25% of enhanced black diamonds belong to this category. They are opaque and have a clean surface.
This category comprises of the top 50% of enhanced black diamonds. They are low on brilliance and are opaque. These gems also have visible cracks on the surface.
Black diamonds are extremely durable. However, this gem needs to be cared for in the exact same way you would for any diamond.
If not stored properly, enhanced black diamonds may cause damage to other gemstone jewelry pieces. For this reason, store all your diamond jewelry in individual soft cloth pouches.
As a golden rule, remove your diamond jewelry while performing household chores or strenuous physical activities.
For cleaning, use warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush. Rinse off well with plain water.
The color of an enhanced black diamond is achieved through various methods that usually give permanent results. In order to maintain the luster it is important to refrain from using bleach and abrasive chemicals when cleaning the jewelry.
It is recommended to get your black diamond jewelry professionally cleaned and inspected once in every six months.
It is not advisable to expose it to high temperatures as this might alter the diamond’s color.
Do not use steam or ultrasonic cleaners, which can cause damage to this stone.
The dramatic charm radiated by a black diamond has gradually made it one of the most desirable gems available today. Its popularity as a non-conventional center stone for engagement rings is testimony to the same. With an enhanced black diamond, you get to make the most of this beauty at a more affordable price.