Often mistaken for classical colorless diamonds – gray diamonds are a rare gift of nature that not so many know about.
Only in the last few years have gray diamonds gained a slight increase in popularity and are slowly becoming equally recognized as their other colored friends.
The spike in popularity occurred mostly due to celebrities and social media influencers showing off their jewelry crowned with gray fancy diamonds.
Gray diamonds are no more just the focus of collectors because more and more people are gaining interest in gray diamonds every day. However, their beauty still isn’t acknowledged and respected enough among diamond lovers.
Due to their gray color, which resembles the elegance of a dove’s feather coat, the hardness of a rock, and the calming beauty of a thundercloud before the storm, gray diamonds are equally popular among all genders.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about gray diamonds, from where they come from to what’s the best jewelry and setting for grey diamonds.
What Are Gray Diamonds?
Gray diamonds belong to the family of fancy-colored diamonds, and they got their color thanks to inclusions trapped inside them.
Unlike colorless diamonds, inclusions in fancy diamonds are a good thing because they’re what gives them their unique color. The inclusions become only a problem when experts determine they have an impact on the diamond’s durability.
During the creation of the diamond deep under the Earth’s crust, under high pressures and temperatures, inclusions of hydrogen or boron become trapped between the carbon atoms. The exact formation process of gray diamonds still isn’t quite clear to scientists.
The shade of gray and the modifying color in gray diamonds hugely depend on the hydrogen or boron levels present during the diamond formation – The more hydrogen or boron, the more intense the gray color.
Why Do Gray Diamonds Often Fly Under The Radar?
More often than not, gray diamonds are confused for colorless diamonds with impurities. The slight gray color of a diamond can, for the eye of a layman, look like it’s just a normal diamond that’s placed lower on the diamond color scale.
Experts can easily differentiate a gray diamond from a colorless one. However, the difference is obvious when looking at them side by side, and you don’t have to be an expert to tell them apart.
Many people don’t even know that gray diamonds exist because they are so hard to come across. They make up only a tiny percentage of all fancy diamonds. Moreover, gray isn’t the first color that comes to mind when choosing a diamond that will perfectly fit your jewelry.
Where Do Gray Diamonds Come From?
Although rare, gray diamonds are found in mines all over the world. Most gray diamonds are found in South Africa, India, Brazil, Russia, and Australia.
Unlike most other fancy diamonds, there is no yet known large deposit of gray diamonds worldwide. They’re mostly found together with other diamonds.
Because of the hydrogen and boron in gray diamonds, they can be found together with other diamonds containing these elements.
For example, blue diamonds contain inclusions of boron, while violet diamonds contain hydrogen. That’s why most gray diamonds are found together with blue and violet tones. For the same reason, violet and blue diamonds often have gray as their modifying color.
Interestingly enough, gray diamonds are also mostly found among colorless and pink diamonds. However, they can be present in any diamond mine. This is the reason why geologists are still uncertain of the exact formation of gray diamonds.
How Rare Are Gray Diamonds?
Gray diamonds are among the rarest fancy diamonds. They are rarer than blue, violet, and even pink diamonds! Only a few times a year, miners stumble upon gray diamonds in mines around the world. If not even less.
Their rarity is the main reason why most people haven’t even heard of them. Rarity is directly linked to popularity when it comes to diamonds.
Because they’re not as popular as their other colored diamonds, gray diamonds can be extremely hard to come by. This only adds to their mysteriousness and uniqueness.
Moreover, like all other fancy diamonds, gray diamonds have different intensity levels with different hues that modify their color even further. The more saturated with color the diamond is, the rarer it is.
Heavily saturated gray diamonds with violet and blue hues are extremely rare because all three colors are high up the diamond rarity list.
Are Gray Diamonds Expensive?
Considering their rarity, you might think that gray diamonds are extremely expensive, but that’s not exactly true.
Gray diamonds are expensive as all other diamonds. However, compared to other fancy and colorless diamonds, they can cost way less per carat than you might expect.
That’s mainly because of their demand. These diamonds are so rare and commonly mistaken for colorless diamonds that many people don’t even know these beauties exist.
Due to the supply-demand chain, they are on the lower price end when it comes to fancy diamonds. When compared to clear diamonds, gray diamonds can be less expensive depending on the cut of the colorless diamond.
With that said, gray diamonds can get pretty pricey. A one-carat grey diamond would cost as little as $1000. However, if the cut is especially attractive, the price can go up to $2500. The most expensive gray diamond ever sold cost a whopping $10000!
Predictions are that gray diamonds won’t be so unknown anymore. Celebrities and social media influencers are starting to wear gray diamonds, spreading awareness that steel diamonds exist and are valuable.
So, if you’re considering buying a gray diamond, this may be the best time to do it before they become equally recognized and valued as other fancy diamonds. Some gray diamonds have already reached certain popularity and these are the galaxy diamond and the salt & pepper diamond.
Salt & Pepper Diamond
The salt & pepper diamond has become one of the most sought-after gray diamonds. It doesn’t come as a surprise that they have become so popular since they possess extraordinary beauty.
So, what exactly are salt & pepper diamonds, and what makes them so unique among gray diamonds?
Salt & pepper diamonds are gray diamonds with tiny black and white inclusions. Thus the name “salt & pepper” diamonds.
Inclusions in colorless diamonds are always a bad thing, which results in a lower value. On the other hand, that’s not the case in fancy diamonds. This is especially true when talking about the salt & pepper diamonds.
The inclusions make these diamonds so special and give them their value. The only time the inclusions can become a problem is when they impact the durability of the diamond. This is determined by experts and will drastically lower their price.
These fascinating diamonds can vary quite in color. The color can range from an intense gray with tiny particles of black and white to a harsh contrast in color between the inclusions. Salt and pepper diamonds can also have yellow, blue, violet, and even green hues.
Because of the neutral color markings, there are no two exactly the same salt & pepper diamonds. Some have more black, some have more white inclusions with another modifying color, while others have interesting formations of the black and white particles.
This makes each of them one of a kind and a perfect choice for any kind of jewelry. Thanks to their uniqueness and imperfections, they’ve become a popular choice for engagement rings. A salt & pepper engagement ring says “I love you for who you are, with all the flaws that make you unique”.
The price of these unique and sophisticated beauties is usually only a fraction of what other fancy and colorless diamonds cost. You can find a salt & pepper diamond for a price of around $150-$1500 per carat.
Galaxy diamonds are a unique kind of gray diamond. In fact, they are a special kind of salt and pepper diamonds.
They have black and white inclusions. They can range in color from light to intense gray color, and they can also have modifying colors like salt & pepper diamonds.
However, when the inclusions are spread out to resemble the night sky or something you’d see in a documentary about space, it’s called a galaxy diamond.
Galaxy diamonds also usually appear more metallic thanks to their blue and gray hues.
Moreover, galaxy diamonds have more black inclusions. In contrast, the white ones are fewer and organized so that they give the diamond its unique celestial look.
Because galaxy diamonds are a subgroup of salt & pepper diamonds, they’re extremely rare and hard to come by. However, their rarity isn’t giving them an advantage when talking about the price.
Many people haven’t even heard of them, so their demand is very low, just like their price. You can find a beautiful galaxy diamond for just a fraction of what you would for another fancy diamond. Most of them cost even less than a high-grade colorless diamond.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the classical colorless wedding ring but still want something that’s sophisticated and unique, the galaxy diamond may be the ideal choice. This diamond will definitely catch some attention and make a great conversation piece for any occasion.
Galaxy diamonds cost around $150-$1500 per carat just like the salt & pepper diamonds.
In the last couple of years, galaxy diamonds have become widely available over all kinds of different internet marketplaces like Etsy and 1stdibs. The offers are really good. Sometimes even too good to be true.
So, when buying a galaxy diamond, we recommend always buying from a reputable source with a GIA certificate that’ll give you a guarantee for the diamond.
The 4Cs Of Gray Diamonds
Like all diamonds, the value of the gray diamonds is measured with the help of the 4Cs that are cut, clarity, color, and carat. However, gray diamonds are fancy diamonds, so not the exact same pricing rules are applied as with colorless diamonds.
Color is the most important of all 4Cs in fancy diamonds. The color is what makes them so rare and plays a huge part in determining their value.
Unlike colorless diamonds, whose color is measured on a D-Z scale, the color in fancy diamonds is measured by their intensity. Diamonds with intense gray color are extremely rare, while those with a light gray are somewhat easier to come by.
The color intensity in gray diamonds can be:
- Faint Gray
- Light Gray
- Fancy Gray
- Dark Gray
Gray diamonds don’t have to be totally gray. Instead, they can have black and white inclusions like salt & pepper and galaxy diamonds. Moreover, gray diamonds can have modifying colors that can make them appear bluer, violet, yellow, and even green.
The color variations in gray diamonds are unique and can be quite interesting. The unique formations of the inclusions combined with hues of other colors will provide character to any kind of jewelry.
Carat weight is just as important as color. More carat means more value. This rule applies only when talking about the carat weight of gray diamonds and not when comparing them to other fancy diamonds.
That’s because the supply-demand level isn’t the same for all fancy diamonds. Some are much more popular than others, meaning they’ll also have more value. For example, pink and gray diamonds have almost the same rarity, but the demand for pink diamonds is much greater.
Gray diamonds haven’t yet reached a peak in popularity, so their price per carat is way less than other fancy diamonds and colorless diamonds.
The price per carat hugely depends on the color intensity as well as the cut, but a rough estimation for loose-cut gray diamonds is around $2000-$4000 for 1ct regardless of cut and clarity.
The cut in gray diamonds is also immensely important, but not exactly in the way you might imagine.
In colorless diamonds, the cut is important because it has an impact on its brilliance. The same applies to gray diamonds, but not always. In some gray diamonds, the cut shouldn’t bring out the brilliance, but rather further enhance its beautiful natural color.
Like in all diamonds, the cut can make or break the value of a gray diamond. However, the rules are not so strict as in colorless diamonds, and in the end, it’s down to your personal preferences.
A custom cut is also a vise choice because that way the diamond can be the perfect fit for your jewelry. Moreover, it can preserve and even enhance the beauty the diamond already has.
The least important of the 4Cs in gray diamonds is their clarity. The tiny inclusions trapped inside the diamond are what actually make the diamond stand out among the others. So, measuring the clarity like it’s measured on a colorless diamond doesn’t make much sense.
The clarity requirement for gray diamonds is much lower than for clear diamonds. Depending on the cut and color intensity level, clarity can have an impact on the brilliance of the diamonds. That’s usually when looking at a diamond with a faint gray color.
However, when talking about salt & pepper diamonds, galaxy diamonds, and dark gray diamonds, the clarity becomes less important. The focus is shifted more to enhancing and capturing the color the diamond already has.
Do Gray Diamonds Have The Bling?
Gray diamonds are still diamonds meaning they possess the bling that makes them so attractive. Under the light, a gray diamond will shine, sparkle, and definitely catch some positive attention.
However, suppose you’re looking for a diamond with high brilliance. In that case, a gray diamond may not be the best option because they have moderate brilliance. In that case, you may want to opt for a colorless diamond with a round cut.
A gray diamond is a fantastic choice for all those who want to be a bit more mysterious. A ring crowned with a gray diamond may not catch as much attention as a colorless diamond with high brilliance. But, when it does, it will definitely intrigue anyone looking at it.
The beauty of the galaxy and salt & pepper diamond will leave everyone stunned and speechless even when it has just a bit of brilliance. On the other hand, the sophisticated and sober look of a deep gray-colored diamond with no sparkle will definitely get some admiration.
Moreover, if you go for a faint gray diamond, others may not even notice they’re looking at a gray diamond. The inclusions in gray diamonds can be almost invisible, so others will need to get a second look at your precious stone to capture its full beauty.
What Do Gray Diamonds Represent?
Many people don’t like the color gray because they associate it with dullness, impartiality, and even sadness. However, that way of thinking is a bit superficial because gray has much more to it than just being the color between black and white.
Representing complexity, gray is, in fact, the most interesting of all colors. Gray also symbolizes balance and anything that falls between the two absolutes that are black and white. This color is easily overlooked because of its neutrality. Still, it will intrigue anyone who starts thinking about it a little deeper.
In diamonds, gray represents mysticism, individuality, and sobriety. They can also symbolize class and sophistication.
Is A Gray Diamond The Best Choice?
A gray diamond is an ideal choice for anyone with class, sophistication, and coolness. If you consider yourself to be someone who can keep their composure at any time and if your style has mostly sober and neutral colors in it, a gray diamond is a perfect gemstone for you.
A gray diamond would also be the ideal gift for someone who likes to transcend the conventional way of thinking, thinks outside the box, is unique, and doesn’t dread new things.
Gray diamonds send a strong message. However, how it will be interpreted comes down to the person you’ll give the diamond to. If your other half is a cheerful, loud, and extroverted person who likes to dress up in intensive pastel colors, a gray diamond as an engagement ring could send the wrong message.
Metallic and dove gray diamonds are more popular among the male community. So, if you’re looking for the ideal gift for your husband, brother, father, or friend, a gray diamond with a blue is an exquisite choice.
Best Cut, Jewelry Type & Setting For Gray Diamonds
Gray diamonds can be breathtaking and leave a strong impression that can be even further enhanced with the cut, setting, and the jewelry it crowns.
So, without further ado, let’s find out what compliments gray diamonds.
Best Cut For Gray Diamonds
A fantastic thing about gray diamonds is that the price usually stays the same regardless of the cut. So, when buying engagement rings, you’ll have the opportunity to get the color and cut you want for less than you would spend on traditional colorless rings.
Best Jewelry Type For Gray Diamonds
Gray diamonds can look fantastic in any kind of jewelry. Currently, they’re mostly bought for rings.
Gray diamonds are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to classical wedding rings. Combined with a setting and cut that brings out the most of the gray diamond, it will make a much better engagement ring than a yellow or colorless one.
A larger gray diamond with a geometrical shape looks astonishing regardless of the color intensity or cut. Moreover, such rings are extremely rare, and the price is extremely good. A salt & pepper diamond can be bought for around $2500 per carat.
Although it’s a less popular option, gray diamonds can be used to crown earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. A jewelry set with gray diamonds will look sophisticated and be more subtle than a colorless one.
Best Setting For Gray Diamonds
The setting can enhance the diamond’s color just like the cut does. By combining the cut and setting to favor the diamond, it will appear grayer even if it only has a slightly gray color.
A good choice is to combine the gray diamonds with white or colorless ones. This will create contrast and bring the best out of the gray. Colorless and faint gray diamonds may look similar at first, but when they stand one beside the other, the difference becomes apparent.
The best setting for a ring would be a halo or a three-stone ring where the gray diamond sits in the center. A halo setting is also great for earrings because the gray diamond will look fantastic with and without other diamonds surrounding it.
Gray diamonds are the perfect balance between two extremes. They’re extremely rare, timeless, and will look sophisticated no matter the jewelry type, cut, and setting.
A gray diamond can make a fantastic gift as well as be the perfect choice for custom-made wedding rings. These gems are much more affordable than other fancy colored diamonds and even some colorless ones which makes them even more attractive.
Gray diamonds are slowly becoming popular and the supply-demand level is still relatively low, meaning now may be the best time to invest in a gray diamond.
From the celestial look of the galaxy diamond to the cool of an opaque deep gray diamond – anyone can find a gray diamond that suits their personality and character.
We hope this guide was helpful and that it has provided you with everything you need to know about gray diamonds.