Diamonds Blacklisted!

Every diamond has a story to tell. Some diamonds claim a paper trail spanning centuries through wars and royal romances. Other diamonds leave clues to their earlier whereabouts by inclusions found deep within through the scrutiny of high powered microscopes.
Black diamonds turned up in 19th century Brazilian mines and later in South Africa. Those early black diamond discoveries were relegated to industrial use if anything at all! First labeled as 'carbonado', the Portuguese word for burnt, these black beauties were later determined to harbor fascinating clues about their ancient formation.
While scientists long theorized about the formation of these unusual diamonds, modern technology had to catch up to unmask the story behind these sultry gems. In the late 20th century, scientists found a link between Brazilian and South African black diamonds, determining that their similar isotopes of carbon and nitrogen confirmed that they originated from the same source.
This startling new data suggests that while 'conventional' white diamonds resulted from volcanic activity interacting with carbon below the earth--black diamonds may have been produced from
stellar supernovae explosions that landed on earth. That accounts for the similar chemical makeup with black diamonds found on continents oceans apart from one another.
Black diamond guru De Grisogono makes stellar use of this gigantic black diamond cut in old Mogul fashion, and named Spirit of De Grisogono. It was found as a 587 carat black diamond in western Africa and cut in Switzerland to become 312.24 carats, making it the largest cut black diamond to date.


Black diamonds are truly a fascinating and intriguing gem. Although they were traditionally used for abrasives or the rare occasion of mourning jewelry, they have truly come into their own today for use in fashion jewelry. What few people may know is that the largest faceted diamond in the world is of this variety. It weighs 555.55 carats and was carefully fashioned to consist of exactly 55 facets. There are actually a variety of different “types” of black diamonds, each with their own character in terms of gemological features and even nuances of color. An article published in the Rapaport magazine written by AGL and GCAL discussed all the various types of black diamonds and provided a chart of the specific characteristics for each type of natural- and treated-color black diamond (Rapaport June 2009, Vol. 32, No. 6, pp. 122-130).

Christopher P. Smith, President
American Gemological Laboratories (AGL)

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