What Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

It has to be the introduction of something majorly new and exciting to really rock the foundations of the world of regular diamonds and make a huge impact in jewelers stores all over the world.

You might assume that at this point in the history of diamonds, we have pretty much been there and seen it all. after all, alongside natural diamonds there are colored diamonds, lab-grown diamonds and diamond substitutes. Amazing things can be done with diamonds in many applications from fine jewelry to heavy industry, so when something new appears, it makes a seriously big splash.

The latest innovation sweeping the diamond world is gemstones known as salt and pepper diamonds.

Offering a unique look yet similar versatility, these marvelously attractive stones are being used in pieces of jewelry from earrings to engagement rings and they offer a wonderful alternative to traditional white diamonds.

Here is everything that you need to know about salt and pepper diamonds.

What Are Salt And Pepper Diamonds?

Salt and pepper is the given name to a rough diamond that has a high number of inclusions. These can be black inclusions and white inclusions - hence the salt and pepper moniker. The flecks, blemishes and speckles give the stone a silky gray, almost marbled effect that you cannot find in things like brilliant cut traditional diamonds.

Just in case you are unfamiliar, inclusion is the name for small imperfections in a diamond. Inclusions are part of the natural formation process, arising as the carbon undergoes immense heat and pressure to create a diamond.

Inclusions can be the different shapes of pinpoint, feather or cavity, of varying sizes and can be white, black and other colors.

The level of inclusions can affect a diamond’s value and also carat weight because a cutter may need to cut away parts of a rough diamond that are too heavily included.

Flawless diamonds are rare. It is a true fact that nearly all colorless diamonds have some level of inclusions, but for the highest graded stones, these are often too small to notice with the naked eye.

With a salt and pepper diamond, the inclusions are so large and visible on the stone that it actually alters the overall appearance but in a very beautiful and unique way. The effects of the salt and pepper inclusions have led some to regard the stones as galaxy diamonds.

the bottom line is that a salt and pepper diamond is no less a diamond than any other. It is as equally hard on the Mohs scale, it can be used in multiple jewelry applications and is valued in the same way as all other diamonds.

Style And Appearance

Salt and pepper diamonds are known for having a simplistic, but wild and mysterious appearance. They have a smokey, modern, mystic look that has become really popular among jewelry lovers who want something a little bit different - a unique diamond, different from the classic solitaire diamond.

Some examples of the stones will have more inclusions than others, which makes them more unique from stone to stone compared to something more uniform like sapphires. Depending on the number of inclusions, the stone will either be very dark and moody, or maybe a lighter version with smaller, sparser flecks. Other salt and pepper diamonds can look almost completely gray to the naked eye.

Something to note about salt and pepper diamonds is that although they are eye-catching and beautiful in their own way, they definitely don’t sparkle as much as you would get with a regular diamond. This is simply down to the fact that less light is able to pass through them. When placed under a light, however, a salt and pepper diamond will certainly reveal hidden depths and a stunning shine. The overall look is something to consider if you choose a salt and pepper diamond for your center stone in an engagement ring, for example.

Size And Shape

Salt and pepper diamonds are just the same as traditional diamonds in the sense that they can come in just about any shape and size that you can think of. A salt and pepper diamond starts off as a natural rough diamond that is then subjected to the cutter’s craft.

A salt and pepper stone can be cut into any of the regular diamond shapes but the most common and popular of the fancy cuts is the rose cut.

The rose cut diamond is a shape that is seen as being truly timeless, dating back to the 1500s. It features a large surface area that is ideal for revealing some of the finer details of the inclusions. For a salt and pepper stone, the larger the area the better because it helps to show off the brilliance.

The great thing about this stone is that you really can find one that perfectly fits the vision you have. There are plenty of jewelers that do custom work with salt and pepper diamonds, which means that there is lots of flexibility and versatility that can be enjoyed in the design process.

Key Characteristics

There is a number of characteristics that a gemstone needs to have in order for it to be classed as a salt and pepper diamond.

The first and most important is obviously the black and white inclusions to produce the desired visual effect, but it is also about the emotions that the stone evokes when you look at it. You want these kind of key words to pop into your mind when searching for the perfect salt and pepper diamond.

  • Mysterious
  • Raw and wild
  • Versatile
  • Silky
  • Smokey
  • Speckled
  • Simple but sophisticated

Are Salt And Pepper Diamonds As Valuable As Traditional Diamonds?

The value of a regular diamond is always determined by where it stacks up against the 4 Cs. These 4 Cs are:

  • Cut
  • Clarity
  • Color
  • Carat

When it comes to salt and pepper diamonds, however, determining value is a little bit different.

There is no argument that salt and pepper stones ARE real diamonds, but the appeal of this special style is the roughness and rawness of the diamond, and this means that the classic grading scale is not so relevant.

Not fitting into the 4 Cs does not mean that a salt and pepper stone isn’t valuable, in fact, it can be the exact opposite. They are diamonds after all, and diamonds are still rare whichever way you want to look at it.

If you have fallen in love with these particular gemstones, then the good news is that they are less expensive than traditional diamonds. Because the most valuable diamonds are the ones that have fewer inclusions, a salt and pepper diamond is always going to be lower down the scale when it comes to clarity and color, making it more affordable in comparison to other stones.

Ultimately, this quirky, creative type of diamond offers the same levels of durability as a regular diamond, whilst appealing to those of us who like a darker style, or have a tighter budget!

Are They More Eco-Friendly?

Another fantastic thing that salt and pepper diamonds have going for them is that they are more eco-friendly than other types of diamonds.

Salt and pepper diamonds require far fewer resources and man time to mine, which makes them far less taxing on the environment than the colorless diamonds that form the backbone of the diamond industry.

A lab-grown diamond is always going to be the most environmentally friendly option, but compared to the more ‘perfect’ traditional stones, choosing a salt and pepper stone can give you slightly more peace of mind that you have made a responsible choice.

Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds Suitable for an Engagement Ring?

The engagement ring is still the world’s most popular piece of diamond jewelry. There is absolutely no reason why a salt and pepper diamond engagement ring should be considered less beautiful than a traditional engagement ring.

A salt and pepper ring may need a little more consideration than a regular diamond engagement ring. Although a diamond, its attractive qualities are not the traditional brilliance and shine of fancy cut diamonds.

The process of choosing a salt and pepper diamond ring is no different from any other. You still need to consider the diamond shape, setting and the precious metal of the band.

You might need to think a little more about the precious metal because of the varying grades of salt and pepper. Will a darker grey look better with white gold or rose gold than with yellow gold, for example, and you will probably want a bezel setting rather than a channel setting to enable the most to be made of the salt and pepper coloring.

As salt and pepper stones increase in popularity, there will be more options but the most important thing about choosing a salt and pepper diamond engagement ring is that you love it and are proud to wear it every day.

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