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In Sex and the City 2, Mr. Big finally got a ring on Carrie's finger—a five-carat black diamond Itay Malkin ring set in 18-karat white gold to be exact. With the words, "because you're not like anyone else," Big gave all Carrie Bradshaw worshippers the green light to think outside the diamond box when it came to their engagement rings. And we couldn't help but wonder...does a black diamond engagement ring measure up to a classic white diamond? Absolutely!
What Is a Black Diamond?
A black diamond is a super-included diamond; it has so many inclusions that it appears as a black gemstone. While colorless diamonds with fewer inclusions are considered rarer and more valuable, a black diamond is prized for the higher number of inclusions it has.
Brides are always looking for a bold way to show their style, and if breaking with tradition is your thing, you may want to consider an edgy black diamond ring. Black diamonds are chic, a bit mysterious, a little bit rock 'n' roll, and impossibly cool. They're also a good value.
“Black diamonds are traditionally much less expensive than a colorless diamond,” says diamond expert Ann Jay. Whether it's in a classic solitaire, surrounded by a white diamond halo, set in trendy rose gold, or sprinkled along a simple band to lend some cool factor to your wedding-day bling, we're totally crushing on black diamond rings.
Meet the Expert
Anna Jay is the owner of Anna P. Jay, a jewelry company in Nantucket. She has a graduate degree in diamonds from the Gemological Institute of America.
Learn more about the history of black diamond rings and what you need to know when selecting one.
Pros and Cons of Black Diamond Rings
A pro of a black diamond is that the price per carat is significantly less than that of a colorless or fancy colored diamond. However, they’re much more susceptible to damage than their colorless counterparts. “This is because black diamonds are actually made up of hundreds of tiny fractures, which give them their color,” says Jay.
You should bear this in mind when considering a black diamond for an engagement ring (or consider a treated black diamond instead). A treated black diamond is a grayer stone that receives a high temperature and pressure treatment to turn it black. They have a similar look to natural black diamonds but are less costly.
What to Look for in a Black Diamond Ring
• How can shoppers tell if a black diamond is high quality? “I would encourage the buyer to ask for a Colored Diamond Report from the Gemology Institute of America (GIA). When making a large jewelry purchase (like an engagement ring), I always advise my clients to ask for GIA reports for their center stones (or any diamond larger than .5ct) to verify its characteristics and ensure its quality," Jay says. While some black diamonds are naturally black, many are often gray and treated to change the stone to a dark black color. "A GIA report will explain whether the diamond has been treated to enhance the color (lowering the value) or is natural (increasing the value).”
• How much should a customer expect to pay for a black diamond? “Treated black diamonds are less expensive than natural black diamonds and more common—half-price or even less," Jay says. "If a colorless diamond is $8,000 per carat, then you can expect a black diamond to be $4000 per carat … or less."
• What are some suggested settings for a black diamond? “You can set your black diamond in any manner you like," says Jay. "Before you think about setting, you should consider what your budget is for your ring. This number will dictate both your carat size and setting.”
• What metals pair well with a black diamond? “I love black diamonds set in white gold or platinum—the contrast of the colors really makes them pop,” Jay says.
How to Care for a Black Diamond Ring
“Black diamonds do not require as much cleaning as colorless or fancy colored diamonds,” Jay says. Their color is “naturally metallic in nature so they will continue to sparkle even with wear.”
Avoid typical diamond cleaning techniques, such as ultrasonic or steamer. “These machines can actually damage or break your black diamond,” says Jay. The best tool you can use to clean black diamonds is a “soft-bristled toothbrush and warm, mild soapy water. Think dish detergent—it cuts through grease and oils from your skin just as well as it does on dishes."
Like other diamonds and fine jewelry, avoid wearing your black diamond engagement ring if you're involved in hands-on activities, such as working in the yard, moving furniture, or doing construction. Black diamonds are more susceptible to fracture than regular diamonds. Dry with a soft cloth and store in a fabric-lined jewelry box.
Get ready to lust after these 20 black diamond engagement rings.
Anna Sheffield Astarte Ring
This princess-cut black diamond ring is set in a platinum band and has two smaller side stones (also in black diamond). To top it all off, all three stones are encrusted in white pavé diamonds.
Mandrel Studio Black Diamond Halo Solitaire Ring
This one-of-a-kind, rose-cut oval black diamond ring is set in 18k white gold and surrounded by a diamond pavé halo. Whether you let the sparkly diamond band shine all on its own or pair it alongside an accompanying band, ring selfies will be in order.
Rare Earth Jewelry Black Diamond Engagement Ring
Emerald cuts are forever trending, thanks to their celebrity-loved status. This vintage-inspired emerald-cut black diamond engagement ring set in 14k yellow gold is sure to be a winner. The two sparkling trillions aren't too shabby either.
Blanca Monrós Gómez Black Diamond Aura Ring
A standing ovation is in order. This rose-cut solitaire black diamond is encircled by 22 pavé white diamonds and can be set in 14k white, rose, or yellow gold.
Catbird Wedding Odile Ring
Named after the black swan herself, Catbird's dainty Odile black diamond engagement ring is part of the retailer's debut engagement ring collection (aptly named the Swans). With a rose-cut black diamond center and two brilliant-cut white diamond accents, it has the appearance of an heirloom-inspired piece.
La Kaiser 14K Rose Gold Black Diamond Ring
This stunner would be best reserved for a wedding under the stars or the trendsetting bride. We love this ring's dainty aesthetic. With a solid rose gold band, a crescent moon, and two petite black diamonds, it would be the perfect addition to your daily stack.
Capucinne Engagement Ring With Princess-Cut Black Diamond
Modernity reigns supreme where this princess-cut black diamond engagement ring is concerned. The geometric pyramid design is made complete by a 14k or 18k gold band and white diamond side stones.
Artemer Black Diamond Mandala Engagement Ring
Be prepared to fall in love with this hauntingly gorgeous black diamond mandala engagement ring that's unique in style and captivating at every angle. The inclusion of rose-cut black diamonds, oval-cut black diamonds, and princess-cut gray diamonds lends an air of sophistication.
Jared 14k White Gold Black and White Diamond Engagement Ring
Though minimal in design, this 14k white gold engagement ring is no less exquisite in appearance. A cushion-cut black diamond is flanked by clusters of small round diamonds for a contemporary look.