Posted on November 26, 2013 by

What Are Black Diamonds?

Black diamonds are the least understood of all classes of colored diamonds. As mysterious as their physical appearance is, their origin and background are even more so. Black diamonds, or carbonados, bear little resemblance, chemically and physically, to other colored diamonds. The large amount of hydrogen in their chemical composition hints at otherworldly beginnings. Carbonados are the most ancient and hardest of all diamonds and are few and far between.


This 3.28 carat Fancy Black princess cut diamond is 100 percent natural.


The Portuguese of Brazil named black diamonds “carbonado,” meaning carbonized or burnt, in the mid-1700s due to its physical similarity to porous charcoal. Because of their hardness, carbonados can be cut only with another carbonado. They owe their tough build to their makeup, which consists of millions of crystals cohering as a unit. Conversely, traditional diamonds are cut from one crystal that readily splits upon a common axis. Before they found their modern use as glittering mystical gems, carbonados were initially employed in polishing hardwood in Brazil. In the early 20th century, they were repurposed to drill rocks in the building of the Panama Canal.


While traditional diamonds were conceived hundreds of miles within the earth and emerged via a pair of volcanic eruptions between a billion and 100 million years ago, carbonados have been identified as being older than 3.8 billion years. This leads scientists to believe that carbonados did not get the same start as their traditional counterparts. Although the bulk of diamonds practically covers the whole planet, carbonados, on the other hand, have roots only in Brazil and the Central African Republic.


Diamond Envy’s natural black diamonds, including this 3.33 carat Natural Fancy Black cushion cut, are from Brazil.


Black diamonds are believed to hail from outer space, the result of a star’s explosion, known as a supernova, which occurred ages ago. They reached earth as part of an enormous diamond-rich asteroid that fell onto our planet as stellar fragments besieged both earth and moon billions of years ago.


To learn even more about these fascinating gems, read our guide to natural fancy black diamonds.


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2 Responses to What Are Black Diamonds?

  1. Arlene F. says:

    Black diamonds must be what aliens propose with! I can’t get over how interesting and cool this is! Thank you!

  2. […] Natural black diamonds are extremely rare since most on the market are color enhanced.  Our black diamonds are naturally beautiful and we want to celebrate their sparkle by offering them at prices even lower on November 29. Eleven stones are currently available with normal retail prices starting under $3,000.  The Black Friday discount means that Diamond Envy will be selling natural black diamonds of all shapes and sizes starting at just over $2,000. […]