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Black diamonds, also known as carbonados and fancy black diamonds, are an impure form of polycrystalline diamond consisting of diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon.
Natural black diamonds are a carbon isotope. This means that it possesses the same chemical elements as white diamonds, but has a different atomic weight. Moreover carbonados physical properties differ from white diamonds, which includes the number of inclusions and clusters of graphite. It is speculated that this is the reason why black diamonds are more difficult to cut than other colors.
Natural carbonados get their color due to an abundant amount of dark inclusions. They are usually microscopic concentrations of graphite, magnetite, hematite or native iron. These dark gems have a body color that may range from near-colorless to brown to olive green. Moreover, it is the concentration of cleavages and internal fractures stained black by graphitization that are responsible for the color.
Carbonados in nature are very rare. That sentiment goes for any other fancy colored diamond. Moreover, these dark gems are considered geological oddities, and are found in just a few locations in the world.
There are three locations where most natural black diamonds are found: Brazil, the Central African Republic, and Kamchatka, Russia. While there are many diamonds mined in big pits, most black diamonds are actually found in volcanoes, riverbeds, and other alluvial deposits.
During the lab formation process, diamonds are subjected to high-pressure, high-temperature. This process is meant to darken the lighter parts of the diamond. For carbonados, there are other methods used to darken the stone such as dyeing or irradiation.
Unlike their natural counterparts, color-enhanced black gems are often heated with low pressure, or exposed to radiation. This is because natural carbonados are difficult to cut and polish. Therefore, labs often irradiate industrial grade diamonds. This changes their color to appear black. Whereas, some other diamonds are heated to high temperatures while some are exposed to gamma rays in a nuclear reactor. When white diamonds are heat treated in a lab, their color can change to a dark green that appears black.
If you are wondering if black diamonds are real diamonds, the answer is yes and no. Technically, yes they are because chemically they are the same composition of the white diamonds we know and love. But alternately, no. This is because the color is often not naturally achieved.
For the process of heat treatment scientists essentially “create” graphite inclusions. No matter which treatment method is used, a carbonado ring is a beautiful alternative to the traditional white diamonds. Remember, you can confidently say black diamonds are real diamonds, even if it’s a heat-treated stone.
Due to their dark color, black diamonds cannot be graded for color the same way a white diamond would. Whether it is natural or simulated in a lab, it is important to do your research on the origin of the stone and how it was colored.
If it is natural, ask about a Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report. If it is created in the lab, be sure to ask how the diamond got its color from your jeweler. Poor quality black diamonds can be painted black, whereas a higher quality stone will be treated with irradiation and heat.
With Clarity only offers AAA quality gemstones. Some of which are treated through standard heat. Gemstones are heat-treated to achieve a color and finish that will truly shine and last. Heat treatment is permanent. Moreover, heat-treatment lets gems achieve a higher color and clarity grade. That goes on to say, most gemstones used in jewelry are heat treated. If you’re curious about dark gems, With Clarity offers certified black diamond engagement rings.
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