Salt and pepper diamonds have become a popular choice in engagement rings due to their uniqueness and are natural diamonds that are heavily included. Each one has distinctive markings, some resembling a pattern of stars in the night sky – these are called galaxy diamonds. These black markings are carbon spots, pieces of the diamond that never crystallised properly. Salt and pepper diamond engagement rings vary greatly in design as well as the shape of the centre stone, and can be anything from classic to asymmetric and non-traditional.
They are available in a number of shapes from the more traditional round, oval, cushion, pear and emerald cut, to the unusual, such as kite, hexagon, lozenge and freeform. Rose cut stones (ones that have a flat back and a faceted top) don’t provide as much light return or sparkle as the brilliant cut ones (with a traditional crown and a full pavilion), which scintillate similarly to their colourless counterparts and are more highly valued.
Presented in a variety of colours from white, grey, black to yellow, brown, champagne, blush and pink.
Diamond is the hardest-known mineral, and salt and pepper diamonds are no exception. However, salt and pepper diamonds need to be carefully selected, as much of the material can be poorly cut and contain cracks and chips.
Salt and pepper diamonds are technically lower in quality, as dictated by the four Cs (cut, colour, clarity, carat) of diamond evaluation. But if you find their uniqueness attractive, the good news is they are much more affordable than colourless diamonds.
SOURCES OF DIAMONDS
Angola, Australia, Botswana, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, Zaire.
Major cutting centres of diamonds are in Antwerp, Bombay, New York, Tel Aviv.
Hardness: 10 Mohs
Specific Gravity: 3.417-3.55 (diamond)
Refractive Index: 2.417 -2.419
Crystal Form: Cubic. Diamond crystals occur well-shaped as octahedra, cubes, rhombic dodecahedral and macles. Diamond is found in igneous rock formations and alluvial deposits.
Special Care: None
Durability: Very good