Black Diamonds (Carbonados) – Pros, Cons and Buying Tips

Bride trying black diamond engagement ring on

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Black diamonds (also known as carbonados) are one of the most unique diamond colors. They’re not for everyone – jewelry made from black diamonds is eye-catching and impressive, ideal for the modern woman who wants to make a statement.

If you’re a Sex and the City fan, you’ll remember that Mr. Big proposed to Carrie with a black diamond, and when she asked why black, his reply was: Because you’re not like anyone else. That’s because a black diamond is unique. It’s an unusual choice.

If you think a black diamond is for you, here’s what you need to know to buy a quality black diamond. 

Are Black Diamonds in Style?

As most black items in the fashion world, black diamonds are always in style and they always work well with any clothing color and design.

And just like with any other diamond color, the “in style” status of black diamonds can fluctuate a bit depending on whether any Hollywood star or European royalty has been spotted with a black diamond recently.

However, even when that’s not the case you can be sure that your black diamond will continue to be stylish and captivating, especially if it’s put in a well-designed and attention-grabbing ring or another jewelry piece.

What Are Black Diamonds and How Do They Get Their Color?

Round shape diamond for engagement ring

See more black diamonds here

How does a diamond turn from colorless to completely opaque? While all colored diamonds get their color from impurities and trace elements present during their formation, what makes a diamond become completely black?

The answer to this question is graphite. Where most other colored diamonds contain hydrogen, nitrogen, boron or other such impurities, black diamonds have such a stunning color and appearance due to graphite inclusions and clustering inside the diamond – it’s as simple as that! Of course, simple doesn’t equal common and the graphite inclusions necessary for an opaque black diamond to form are incredibly rare.

The Different Intensity Levels of Black Diamond Color

Black diamonds are unique compared to even other colored diamonds in a lot of ways, including when it comes to their intensity levels. Or, rather – to the lack of different intensity levels.

Where most other colored diamonds can come in any of the following 9 intensity color grades – Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Deep – natural fancy black diamonds can be found only in the Fancy intensity level.

This makes grading black diamonds much easier because there’s no need to compare color intensity or other color hues – black diamonds are always completely black. However, the important factor is to find a stone that has consistent saturation.

Black Diamonds and Cut, Color and Clarity

One of the more fascinating aspects of black and other colored diamonds is how the meaning and value of the 4Cs change compared to colorless diamonds. Where with colorless diamonds cut, clarity and carat weight are all more important than color, with colored stones the color is king. Yes, the carat weight is still important for the overall value and price of the stone but the clarity and cut are much less significant for black and other colored diamonds.

In fact, because black diamonds are opaque, clarity is completely meaningless with them and isn’t considered when grading the diamond. It’s the lack of clarity that makes a black diamond black.

In terms of cut, black diamonds have little brilliance but when faceted they can exhibit good sparkle. They can be cut into all the common gemstone shapes, but because black diamonds are quite brittle, care must be taken when cutting and polishing these stones to prevent them from breaking.

Black Diamond Rarity and Value

High-quality black diamonds are extremely rare, and yet these stones are affordable. For an example, compare the price of this 2.20-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond with this 5.81-carat cushion cut black diamond. Even though the black diamond is much bigger than the yellow diamond, it’s still less expensive.

The reason for this is not only in the rarity of the different colored diamond types but also in the market demand for them. Black diamonds aren’t for everybody. If you do like these unique stones, however, that should be good news for you because you can get a huge and gorgeous black diamond for a ring at a much more affordable price than with most other colors.

Best Ring Designs for Black Diamonds

Because black diamonds are opaque you really don’t need any particular ring setting or design to maximize their brilliance, color, or other such characteristics typical for other diamonds. Instead, the focus should be on the best design and setting that looks good to you.

Most people would typically use white or silvery metals and side stones to contrast with the black diamond’s color and to add sparkle of the ring. However, yellow and rose gold make for a beautiful contrast and add a vintage touch to the design.

Here are some of our favorite black diamond ring designs:

  • Solitaire Black Diamond Ring – A black diamond solitaire ring brings the black color of the stone into central focus. It’s a bold and confident design that’s sure to garner a lot of comments and attention. Set with diamond pave or side stones for added sparkle and detail.
Black diamond engagement ring with yellow gold

Black diamond ring pave setting by Sophinia Co. Check Price Here.

  • Black Diamond Eternity Band – Black diamond melees in an eternity band is an avant-garde take on the classic diamond eternity ring.
Black diamond eternity ring

Black diamond eternity band in yellow gold. Check Price Here.

  • Rough Black Diamond Ring – This takes the black diamond ring to a whole new level. A black diamond in the rough mounted on a black setting makes for a stunning, bold look.
Rough black diamond engagement ring

Rough black diamond ring by Crafts Garden of Zen. Check Price Here.

  • Vintage Black Diamond Ring – Black diamonds when set in vintage designs creates unique contrast. The modernity of the black diamond against the vintage setting is beautiful and attention getting.
Vintage black diamond engagement ring

Vintage black diamond ring by Envero Jewelry. Check Price Here.

  • Black Diamond with Side Stones – Black diamonds in a white setting with sparkling colorless diamonds is a classic style. The neutral colors of black and white are timeless and elegant.
Black diamond ring with round side stones

Black diamond in white gold setting by Sophinia Co. Check Price Here.

Best Alternatives for Black Diamonds

While natural fancy black diamonds may be cheaper relative to some other colored diamonds, they’re still pricey relative to most people’s budgets. That’s why there are also some alternatives you might want to consider if you are interested in the deep and opaque beauty of these stones.

Synthetic Black Diamonds

As with any other colored or colorless diamond, there are synthetic alternatives to black diamonds as well. These come in two main varieties –

1) lab-grown black diamonds that are virtually identical to their natural counterparts but are just grown much quicker and in a controlled laboratory setting

2) low-quality colorless diamonds that are treated with irradiation and/or intense heat until they get a black opaque color that’s almost identical to that of natural black diamonds.

Both of these alternatives offer a much more budget-friendly option for black diamond enthusiasts and are almost identical to the naked eye anyway.

Gemstones that Look Like Black Diamonds

If you don’t want a lab-grown diamond, there are also some other black gemstone alternatives you might want to consider.

Black sapphire engagement ring closeup isolated

Black Sapphire Solitaire Ring by Gemstone King. Check Price Here.

Black spinel engagement ring

Spinel Ring by HA Crafts Box. Check Price Here.

The more effective ones include black garnet, black sapphire, black jet, black zircon, black jade, black onyx, black tourmaline or black spinel. None of these have the hardness of black diamonds of course, and only a few of them have its surface shine, however, most of them are pretty great jewelry gemstones in their own right. 

Meaning and Symbolism of Black Diamonds

Black is one of the most meaningful and even mystical colors in human history and mythology. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the rare and captivating black diamonds are also ascribed a lot of fascinating meanings and symbolism. Especially when used as the centerpiece of an engagement ring, black diamonds can be very effective at conveying any of the following notions:

  • Burning love and desire.
  • An everlasting love.
  • A strong and reliable companionship.
  • An advantageous relationship.
  • Abundant potential.
  • Effectiveness and results.
  • Charisma.
  • Safety from being hurt.
  • Individuality and uniqueness.

Where to Buy Black Diamonds

It can be hard to find black diamonds at your local shop, as this is not as mainstream as colorless diamonds. Taking your search online will give you the best options and the most competitive prices.

Choose a highly reputable vendor with a solid track record. Look for good after sales policies and excellent customer care. Based on our experience, we recommend the following retailers:

James Allen

With one of the largest online diamond inventories, James Allen is known for their high-quality products and excellent customer service. Their Diamond Display Technology makes it easy to view each diamond carefully and cherry pick the best of the bunch. With an extensive black diamond inventory, James Allen is an excellent place to take your search for a loose black diamond.

Blue Nile 

Blue Nile offers a small and exclusive selection of black diamond jewelry. They have very competitive prices and good service. You can carefully check their black diamond jewelry via their HD images and videos.


Amazon is an excellent option for black diamonds, synthetic diamonds and imitation stones. In other words, you can find everything on Amazon. However, it’s important to have a clear idea of the type of black diamond jewelry you are after to help you pick out the best. Make sure that you check the after sales policies of the vendor you buy from and do your due diligence as each Amazon retailer has their own standards and policies.


For artisan, hand-made and vintage black diamond jewelry, Etsy is the place to go. Etsy, like Amazon, is simply a platform and each retailer has their own rules, policies and standards so do your due diligence to avoid getting ripped off.