It’s been ingrained in our brains that a sparkling (and sizable!) white diamond makes the ultimate engagement ring. But, as many modern brides will attest, a white diamond isn’t the be-all and end-all. If you lean toward an alternative aesthetic or you’re simply interested in an engagement ring that’s less expected, then a salt-and-pepper diamond is a fantastic choice.
What Is a Salt-and-Pepper Diamond?
A salt-and-pepper diamond is a diamond with inclusions that appear black and white. Some will have more inclusions than others, and no two diamonds are alike—some will be dark and moody, others come light and bright with just a few tiny blemishes, while still others can look almost gray.
Salt-and-pepper diamonds are still diamonds, which means they’re still incredibly rare and valuable. The difference is that they come with a smidge more character than a highly sought flawless white diamond and make for a distinctive engagement ring that veers slightly left of center without teetering too far into avant-garde territory.
While salt-and-pepper diamonds are inherently alternative, you can opt for the speckled stone in a timeless setting to prevent it from feeling overly modern—a solitaire stone will read super clean, especially in a classic cut like cushion, round, oval, or pear. Or, if you are feeling something especially unique, modern stone shapes and settings abound. You can even go for a raw or rough cut salt-and-pepper diamond or a rose-gold setting if you’re coveting an engagement ring with loads of character.
If you think a salt-and-pepper diamond is right for your engagement ring, ahead, scroll our edit of 19 options for every style and budget.
Anueva Jewelry Build Your Own Salt & Pepper Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Anueva Jewelry, $1,150
Après Jewelry The Salt + Pepper Kite Ring
SHOP NOW: Après Jewelry, $975
Ignite Metals Natural Salt and Pepper Rose Cut Diamond Ring With White Diamonds in 14k Rose Gold
SHOP NOW: Etsy, $1,800
byAngeline Fancy Cut Salt and Pepper Diamond Solitaire Engagement in 14k Rose Gold
SHOP NOW: byAngeline, $1,895
Michael Gabriels One of a Kind 1.16 Carat Salt and Pepper Diamond Bezel Engagement Ring Set in Matte White Gold
SHOP NOW: Etsy, $1,989
Rachel Boston 18k White Gold Salt and Pepper Grey Diamond Engagement Ring
SHOP NOW: 1stdibs, $2,470
Sofia Zakia Salt & Pepper Diamond Wandering Star Ring
SHOP NOW: Sofia Zakia, $2,495
Margaret Cross Salt and Pepper Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Love Adorned, $2,500
Jennie Kwon Salt and Pepper Balance Ring
SHOP NOW: Jennie Kwon, $2,500
Capucinne Fine Jewelry Diamond Ring Set Engagement Ring
SHOP NOW: Capucinne Fine Jewelry, $2,800
Franklin Gem 14k Rose Gold Salt and Pepper Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Etsy, $2,850
Pilar Agueci Salt and Pepper Oval Diamond Ring
ShOp NOW: Pilar Agueci, approximately $3,400
Digby & Iona Nico Ring
SHOP NOW: Catbird, $3,670
Sofia Kaman Simple Solitaire Marquise Salt and Pepper Diamond
SHOP NOW: Sofia Kaman, $3,950
Concierge Diamonds Rose Cut Salt and Pepper Diamond Engagement Ring With Side Trillions
SHOP NOW: 1stdibs, $4,000
Variance Salt and Pepper Rough 4 Carat Diamond Ring
SHOP NOW: Variance, $9,800
Michelle Oh Kate's Ring
SHOP NOW: Michelle Oh, price upon request