Bling it in black

Last Updated 18 April 2014, 14:32 IST

Love diamonds, but hate the fact that it is becoming so common? Try black diamond jewellery and add an element of mystery and charm to your wardrobe, urges  Gaurav Issar.

Say ‘diamonds’ and the very first image that comes to your mind is, perhaps, that of a colourless sparkly diamond ring. Now what if I were to say that black diamonds are the new trend? Surprised? Well, yes, there are black diamonds, and they are creating quite a wave among celebrities, elite and fashionistas.

One most popular reference to black diamond is, perhaps, when, in the movie Sex And The City, Big proposes to Carrie with a black diamond ring. That’s been an iconic proposal ring for quite some time now.

And recently as well, a few stars were seen sporting black diamond jewellery sets at red carpet events: the German model Heidi Klum flaunted her black diamond neckpiece and earrings at the Golden Globes, and actress Olivia Wilde showed off her ring of black and white diamonds at the Oscars. Victoria Beckham and Sarah Jessica Parker, too, have been photographed flaunting black diamond jewellery.

Black diamonds are, technically, real diamonds filled with dark inclusions (mostly graphite). They appear opaque because of their “polycrystalline” structure, which prevents them from reflecting light.

Black diamonds are scientifically referred to as carbonados. Carbonados are more porous than white diamonds and other fancy diamonds. Their porous structure is filled with bubbles, which arise from the presence of gas during the formation of the diamond. Conventional diamonds are formed deep within the earth, where high pressure precludes the presence of gases. This mystery makes black diamonds even more enchanting. These look more like obsidian (smooth black) or pumice (gray, porous) due to their volcanic source.

Black diamonds that transpire naturally are rare and therefore, will be expensive. However, the price of black diamonds is less than that of white diamonds. People have been interested in black diamonds, especially for centre stones in rings.
It’s not just the classic good old colourless diamonds that have a wide variety of designs to choose from. Black diamonds, too, are luxurious and come in fancy designs: you can get them in oval cut, princess cut, round cut, with plenty of detail if you like.

The new esteem of black diamonds is not just a trend. For ages, black diamonds have been incorporated in jewellery, and since the 1990s, there has been steady movement in the jewellery industry to recognise black diamonds for the
precious gemstones that they are. Just like white diamonds, black diamonds are easy to wear everyday. They look great with all colours and can really make a unique style statement.

Black diamonds are also available in variable shades of grey. Grey diamonds are exceedingly stylish and pair well with a variety of contemporary outfits. The very best and most pleasing rings, pendants, chandelier earrings, bracelets unite both white diamonds and black diamonds in stunning patterns.

Luxurious black and white diamond jewellery is sure to add a unique sort of elegance to your wardrobe, whether you prefer cocktail rings, eternity bands, bracelets, drop earrings or even animal-inspired pendants.

If you are planning to buy a real black diamond for yourself or a loved one, it is important that you learn the difference between real and fake diamonds. The popular test of scratching the stone across glass or metal isn't very reliable, and might just give you a damaged gem! Instead, looking at the way the stone reflects light or if it fogs up when breathed on can give you a better indication of whether or not it's a real diamond.

Sure, it does take certified gemologists specialising in jewellery to authenticate a diamond, but there are several ways common people can examine gemstones to verify whether or not they are real diamonds:

Use a diamond tester. Every type of diamond, except moissanite stone, can be analysed electronically by tracking the loss of heat from a metallic probe.

Use the transparency test. Get a diamond, turn it upside down, and hold it over newsprint. If the diamond is fake (or genuine, but of a low-cut variety), the newsprint will be readable.

Run a weight test. If your stone weighs just about 50 percent more than a similar size stone, then you have a fake.

Caring for a black diamond is nearly the same as caring for any other type of colourless diamond:

Polish your black diamond jewellery with a soft cloth after you are done wearing it.

Wash it gently in lukewarm water and mild soap if it begins to look grimy. Dry as much as possible with a towel.

Wash the diamond in hot soapy water, using a toothbrush to clean up the dirt, if any. Do not use bleach or abrasives to clean diamonds.

Never use sharp objects to clean the cracks in the stone.

(The writer is the founder and MD of Gemology Laboratory)

(Published 18 April 2014, 14:32 IST)

Follow us on