Unknown to many, diamonds do not only come colorless, yellow, and pink but all colors of the spectrum. More highly unknown is the existence of black diamonds. These precious stones, also known as carbonado, are found in Central African Republic and Brazil. Sadly, not much is written about black diamonds, nor what causes their color.
Early research describes the stones having no visible inclusions and being deeply colored throughout. In addition, it attributes the color to small changes in the crystal structure containing small graphite particles evenly dispersed. However, new research declares the color is caused by numerous black inclusions that line the cleavage and fractures in the stone. In other words, in the graphitization process, the cleavages and fractures become lined with graphite when the surface layer of the diamond breaks into converted graphite.
How is this possible?
Diamonds and graphite are conceived of the exact same element, carbon. The difference between the two in their atomic structure which makes graphite extremely soft and diamonds the hardest known substance to man. Not only are black diamonds extremely difficult to cut and polish, but they require the utmost care when setting. In fact, black diamonds have been known to cause damage to polishing laps. Gemologists contribute the high luster to the dark body color and lack of transparency. The facets are extremely sharp, which is uncommon for dark gemstones.
One of the most famous diamonds is The Black Star of Africa, an exquisite 202 carat diamond, being the largest known stone of this color. Another notable black diamond is the Black Orloff, a 67.50 carat cushion shaped stone.
How can you tell if a black diamond is fake?
Artificial black diamonds show a very dark green color at thin edges and are quite transparent under an intense tungsten-halogen light. In addition, 8 out of 9 types of simulants are very soft an do not rate a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness like diamond do.
Black diamonds are becoming increasingly popular in all types of jewelry. At the MTV Video Music awards, Fergie was spotted with a black diamond ring that features a 1/4 center stone with uniform stones around the white gold band.
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