Posted on May 29, 2014 by

The Shocking Truth About Black Diamonds

Black pear-shaped diamond

Fancy black diamonds are often overlooked in favor of the uber brilliant colorless diamond or mainstream color diamonds such as yellow and pink. Both in appearance and origin, black diamonds claim an alluring mystery all their own. The shocking truth about black diamonds is that they are absolutely unlike every other color diamond that exists. The dubious nature of their history should serve to only generate even more appreciation of the journey that black diamonds have taken to come into existence. While black diamonds may not have the semi-transparency, brilliance and scintillation that colorless and other color diamonds have, they offer something unique and different in their dark opaque faces and a composition that is truly one of a kind.

Black diamonds

Black diamonds, which are black or dark grey in their natural state, are the hardest of all natural diamonds. They are also the most porous diamond that exists. Natural black diamonds are alternately referred to as “carbonados,” a term, meaning “carbonized” or “burned,” assigned by the Portuguese of Brazil in the mid-18th century because of the diamonds’ porous charcoal resemblance. Unlike all other diamonds, black diamonds are polycrystalline, which means they are formed of untold small crystals joined as a unit. Traditional diamonds, on the other hand, are comprised of a single crystal that characteristically cleaves along its crystal plains. Again unlike other diamonds, black diamonds can be found only in the Central African Republic and Brazil, two regions where kimberlite, the volcanic rock in which diamonds are formed, is not typically found.


The age of these exceptionally rare stones is quite impressive – studies of their lead isotope put them at approximately 3 billion years old, just as ancient as the solar system! Much speculation regarding the origin of black diamonds has arisen but all ideas that have been proposed remain only theories at this point as none can be fully corroborated. Of all arguments, the most shocking – and, paradoxically, perhaps the most credible – hypothesis is the one that suggests carbonados are an extraterrestrial specimen. According to proponents of this theory, carbonados emerged from a supernova that took place 3.8 billion or more years ago. They eventually landed on earth in meteorite form about 2.3 billion years ago. Black diamonds have nitrogen and hydrogen in their chemical composition, hinting at a direct link to an outer space origin, according to geoscientist Stephen Haggerty of Florida International University. Another shocking fact about black diamonds was their sheer size when they arrived on the planet – they originally ran a kilometer or more in diameter, likening them to the proportions of an asteroid.

The porous nature of black diamonds had left scientists frustrated and baffled for years – after all, they knew diamonds to form deep within the earth, where gases could not endure due to such extreme distance from the atmosphere and the high pressure inside the earth’s crust. This fact led scientists to conclude that black diamonds did not come from the same place as traditional diamonds. That black diamonds originate only from the Central African Republic and Brazil makes sense under the belief that Africa and South America were originally one land mass that split into two.


Black pear-shaped diamond

Perhaps once again implicating the extraterrestrial nature of black diamonds, these opaque glittering gems can be found only in alluvial deposits – they do not occupy any kimberlite pipe. The realization that black diamonds might come from outer space could gradually stir up widespread interest from mass consumers. Indeed, the very possibility that they can claim extraterrestrial beginnings may be a boon to their image because no other diamond, colorless or colored, can make the same claim. Black diamonds are, literally, out of this world.


Learn even more about this remarkable diamond color by visiting our guide to fancy black diamonds.

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2 Responses to The Shocking Truth About Black Diamonds

  1. Maillot Equipe de France says:

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  2. […] gems are different from all other colored diamonds. These distinct colored diamonds hail from outer space and are so exclusive that they can be found in only two locations, the Central African Republic and […]