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Are Black Diamonds Just Coal?

Are Black Diamonds Just Coal?

You have probably been wondering what diamonds are made of for a long time now and whether they have anything to do with natural resources. Well, while some diamonds are a product of nature, others are entirely lab-grown.

You all know about the transparent ones. But what is the deal with black diamonds? What are they made of – and how? If you were wondering are black diamonds just coal, you clicked on the best possible article. 

The short answer would be no – but there’s a lot more to be said here. So, keep scrolling if you wish to know more about where black diamonds come from, their value, and their popularity!

How Are Black Diamonds Made?

Most people are known to rely too much on other people’s opinions and unverified sources. That applies to everything from simple daily routines to the creation of diamonds.

We’re here to take down the false claims related to the formation of black diamonds. And the one we are most interested in today is whether a black diamond contains ONLY coal.

And that one is 100% false.

Black diamonds are not just coal. Even more so, this component has almost nothing to do with the formation of diamonds – black or otherwise. 

We talked about this particular topic in more detail. If you’d care to read about it, you can check out the article below: Does Coal Become Diamond?

Now, let’s get back to uncovering the truth. If black diamonds aren’t just coal, what are they?

Well, black diamonds are not extracted from coal; that much is sure. They are formed like any other transparent diamond. Their creation begins with carbon in high-pressure environments below the Earth’s surface. 

You could’ve probably guessed that – but where did the black color come from, then?

Graphite inclusions and clustering, which constantly occur below the Earth’s surface, are responsible for the black color of these unusual diamonds.

When it comes to shades of black, it’s crucial to note that not all black diamonds are the same color. Their shades can vary from solid black to grayish.

The Value Of Black Diamonds

Their rarity makes them even more expensive, so if you want to buy a black diamond, we’d advise you to save some money first! To bring you closer to the possible prices on the market, here’s a table showing how much treated and natural black diamonds differ in price, per carat, and per diamond.

Per carat0.5 carats1.0 carat2.0 carats3.0 carats
Treated$200$300$400$500
Natural$2,000$3,000$3,000$3,000
Per diamond0.5 carats1.0 carat2.0 carats3.0 carats
Treated$100$300$800$1,500
Natural$1,000$3,000$6,000$9,000

Learn More: Black Diamond Vs. White Diamond: Comparison Guide

Carbonado Diamond – The Rarest Form

Black diamonds are not only beautiful to see, but they are also extremely rare. The rarest form of black diamond is the carbonado diamond.

So, let’s say a few words about it.

Carbonado diamonds are black in color, mostly dark, and strangely shaped. It’s virtually impossible to find two identical carbonado gemstones. 

So, how do they form?

Unfortunately, scientists are not exactly sure, either. However, many hypotheses point to the possible ways in which these beautiful natural gemstones originated. 

Some of them are:

  • Metamorphism at asteroid sites
  • Extremely high temperatures in the Earth’s mantle
  • The conversion of carbon in subduction zones
  • Radiation in the Earth’s mantle
  • Formation in space

Even if there’s no sure claim suggesting how this diamond came to be, it’s interesting to look at and consider all the possibilities.

While we’re at it, here are the places where carbonado diamonds can be found:

  • Tombodor conglomerate
  • The state of Bahia (East Brazil)
  • Bangui Region (Central African Republic)

This diamond, like all others, has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of the carbonado diamond is that it is rated as nearly a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale; hardness is one of its biggest strengths.  

In the past, sometime around the 1800s, the cutting power of this diamond was much appreciated.

However, the main drawback is that it’s very rare. The areas we just mentioned are known for these diamonds, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find them in large quantities. 

On the contrary, explorers will have to go above and beyond to come across one carbonado diamond.

Enhanced Black Diamonds?

Given the rarity of this diamond, scientists have worked on finding a way to make something like this out of a “regular” diamond. The result of these efforts was the so-called enhanced black diamond.

Experts artificially enhanced low-quality diamonds by burning them at high temperatures until they took on black color. Still, this is a very complex endeavor and requires tremendous heat and concentration.

Now, to be clear, enhanced black diamonds are much cheaper and easier to find than natural ones. Also, if you take a closer look, you’ll come across many blemishes that arose during the process.

Oh, and these enhanced diamonds are not recognized by the GIA, in case you were wondering.

Learn More: What Is The Difference Between Diamonds And Coal?

Best Alternative: Black Moissanite

First of all, moissanite is a genuine gemstone and is as rare as a black diamond. It’s actually a valuable gem made from 100% carbon. For a long time, moissanite was mistaken for black diamonds. And you can probably guess why. 

Lately, black diamonds have become an increasingly popular gem choice in rings – and moissanite can serve as a good alternative. 

What are the benefits of opting for black moissanite in your jewelry?

One of the most common benefits is price. Potential buyers pay the most attention to how much their budget will “suffer” when buying any jewelry. Moissanites, unlike diamond rings, can cost you less and save you several hundred dollars.

Even more so, moissanite rings can be cut into various shapes and sizes, much like genuine black diamonds. You can see a black moissanite ring in the following shapes:

Both of these gemstones can last a long time, but moissanite has a slighter advantage here. This natural carbon gem, in most cases, can “outlive” the diamond.

Also, when it comes to sparking, the shine of moissanite is virtually unmatched, even compared to the sparkle of a diamond. Some people will think this is a feature of a fake diamond – however, this is very much the real deal.

If you’re interested in learning about the sparkle of this gemstone, read What Sparkles More Than A Diamond!

Read Also: Can I Pass Off My Moissanite As A Diamond?

Legends Surrounding Black Diamonds

As with any other type of gemstone, there are various stories from the past related to the origin and “power” of the black diamond. We’ll now mention the most popular ones.

According to legends, people from India were the first to come across – but also notice the power of – the black diamond. According to folk tales, the black glow of the diamond resembled the lifeless eyes of a snake.

In addition to being a dangerous diamond to possess, it was associated with the Gods. 

One stunningly large black diamond of 195 carats was set in the statue of Brahma. Most worshipers considered it cursed. 

Around the 1800s, a monk stole the diamond from the statue and fled the country. After a few years, this remarkable gemstone was found by a New York dealer who committed suicide after selling it.

The same thing happened in Russia after two Princess sisters died after wearing this diamond around their necks.

There was also an attempt to “take the curse off this diamond” by cutting it into three parts. That was a black diamond with an ugly past – but in Italy, there’s one that brings good luck. 

According to stories from Italy, the Korloff Noir diamond brings happiness to anyone who touches it. That attracted many couples in love who were going through relationship problems. 

The diamond was supposed to absorb the problems and make them happy again.

Another interesting fact related to black diamonds takes us to King Louis XVIII of France, known for his love for jewelry.

What made him special was that he loved colored diamonds and thus got the nickname “Diamond Duke.” According to some stories, he even owned the cursed black diamond we mentioned earlier; his collection consisted of dozens of valuable gemstones, after all.

Various symbolism has been associated with this diamond for years, too, some of the most common ones being: 

  • Love and desire
  • Abundant potential
  • Charisma
  • Effectiveness
  • Safety from being hurt

Read Also: Do Black Diamonds Reflect Light And Sparkle?

How To Tell If Your Black Diamond Is Real?

During your search for a diamond, you may come across some fake ones. To avoid a situation where someone tries to sell you a fake diamond, you should learn the following few tips.

Fog Test

You’ve probably heard about this and maybe even used it by now. All you have to do is take the diamond in your hands and fog it up with your breath – just like you would with ordinary glass.

If the diamond remains blurred after more than 45 seconds have passed, it’s a fake. If the fog starts disappearing right away, you’ve got the real deal.

Water Test

Another simple test of your diamond’s “realness” will involve a glass of water. It doesn’t matter what the shape of the cup is; you just need to fill it up.

Put the diamond in the water and watch what happens. If a diamond sinks, it’s real. And if it keeps floating in the water – well, you can probably guess. It’s fake.

Inspection With A Magnifying Glass

If you have a magnifying glass, and you know a few things about diamonds, it’s time to use that knowledge now. Grab that magnifying glass and take a good look at what the diamond looks like when enlarged.

If you can’t find any imperfection or blemishes, then it’s probably a fake. Even the most valuable diamonds have at least a few imperfections – and no, this shouldn’t worry you.

Newspaper Test

Take any newspaper and put your diamond on the surface. Bring your eye close to the diamond and try to read what’s written in the newspaper. 

If you can read the text, or at least recognize the letters – it’s a fake. Genuine diamonds are characterized by the complexity that prevents you from seeing through them.

Using A Diamond Tester

A professional and easy way to check if a diamond is real or fake is to use a diamond tester. It’s a device you can buy yourself.

Testing your diamond with this device does not focus on scratching or dipping your diamond in water; it has to do with thermal connectivity. Be careful when buying diamond testers; not all are 100% accurate. 

Read also:

In addition to these, you can always ask for a certificate that proves that your diamond is real or go straight to a professional in a jewelry store.

Final Thoughts

It’s time to conclude this topic and say a few words about black diamonds. Are black diamonds just coal?  

Absolutely not! That was just a common misconception that got out of hand. Black diamonds are diamonds, just like the transparent ones – and they’re pretty rare, too.

According to history, the first traces of black diamonds were found in India. 

The fact that a natural black diamond is not easy to find makes it even more valuable. The price of natural black diamonds can be as high as $9,000.

Many folk stories are connected to the creation of these diamonds. While some black gems were considered “cursed,” others could supposedly save desperate love.

If your budget can’t take a natural black diamond, the best alternative is black moissanite. These are both eco-friendly and affordable alternatives.

If you’re worried about whether your black diamond is fake, there are a couple of ways to check it out without leaving the comfort of your home. All you need is newspapers, water and maybe a magnifying glass.

Learn More: How To Test Black Diamonds?