Black Diamond Clarity
Black diamonds, also known as carbonados, are becoming an increasingly popular choice for all kinds of jewelry. Black diamond wedding rings and black diamond engagement rings are beautiful, unique options to consider when purchasing jewelry. The dark hue of these black gems makes them gorgeous options that provide great aesthetic contrast in women’s rings. Especially when paired with colorless diamonds, platinum, or silver. It’s essential to understand the different varieties of carbonados and the way they are graded in order to help you make the best choice.
How do black diamonds get their color?
There are several different kinds of black diamonds on the market, both natural and lab-treated. Some get their black color from an abundance of naturally formed inclusions. More commonly, others get their color from lab heat treatments. Both options are natural, authentic diamonds.
Most black diamonds on the market have been heat treated, as those that are not are extremely rare and much more expensive. When purchasing and evaluating both natural and heat treated black diamonds it's very important to understand the way they are assessed, valued, and graded.
Black diamonds are opaque, meaning their clarity is not measured by the same scale as colorless to near-colorless diamonds. Unlike other traditional white diamonds, carbonados don’t refract and reflect light in the same way, and their inclusions are actually what give the gems their rich beauty. There are several different kinds of inclusions in these dark gems, but remember: some inclusions are what make these dark gems unique and beautiful.
Most Common Black Diamond Inclusions:
Pinpoint inclusions are tiny black dots inside that can either be alone or in clusters, and they contribute to the dark color of the gems. These are the most common kinds of inclusion.
Natural inclusions are found on the corner girdles. They are left behind after a diamond is cut. These inclusions are sometimes purposely left on the stone to show that the diamond cutter did not take too much from the original black gemstone.
3. Indented Natural
An indented natural inclusion is a small chip on the inside. These are very common and found in most gemstones.
A chip is an imperfection found on the surface, and is usually the result of external damage and wearing. Unlike internal inclusions, chips can usually be fixed by re-polishing or re-cutting the black diamond.
Feathers are small cracks that run inside the structure. Since they are internal they can compromise the structure of a stone, especially in black diamonds which are already more brittle than colorless diamonds (due to its high inclusion count that makes up its signature color).
Cavities are inclusions that make colorless diamonds unsellable for most jewelry purposes. They are small holes within black diamonds.
7. Etch Channel
Though etch channels can look like the product of a man-made laser beam, they are actually the natural result of the black diamond being exposed to high heat.
Though the conventional GIA grading scale cannot be used for black diamonds, the black diamond grading scale separates black diamonds into four categories:
AAAA is the highest rating, but is extremely rare, especially if it is a natural and untreated gemstone. It makes up less than 1% of what’s available on market.
AAA is the next highest rating and guarantees a high-quality, beautiful stone that’s perfect for any kind of jewelry. Gemstones with lower gradings are less lustrous and can be dull or uneven in color. Using the black diamond scale to choose AAA-rated pieces ensures your diamond will be richly hued with even opacity. AAA rated black diamonds offer mirror-like surfaces that are opaque and evenly colored throughout the stone.
AA and A grade stones are ideal for those looking for a nice stone with the that's more budget-friendly.
Carbonados are extremely difficult to cut and polish because of the high number of inclusions contained in the gems. The irregular growth patterns found within the stones makes them more challenging to properly cut, and pits within the stone make them prone to chipping and breaking. Along with their added brittleness, these dark gems are also just as hard as other diamonds, making cutting them quite a challenge.
Since the cut impacts the way light hits and reflects off of the stone, the cut impacts the clarity of these dark gems. Craftsmanship and expertise in black diamond cutting and polishing are essential to creating finished gems with high clarity and a good rating on the black diamond scale.
Treated Black Diamonds
Standard heat treatment is a great way to enhance the color and clarity grade. Black diamonds are treated with heat to achieve a beautiful finished product that shines. Heat treatment is permanent. Other colored diamonds and gemstones can achieve a higher color and clarity grade when they have undergone heat treatment, and the vast majority of gemstones used in jewelry today are heat treated.
Carbonados of a AAAA or AAA grade that are not heat treated are difficult to find, very expensive. Heat treated black diamonds work perfectly in wedding rings, engagement rings, and many other pieces of timeless jewelry.