The beauty of life lies in its imperfections. True beauty comes from having flaws. This is as true for people as it is for gemstones.
Diamonds are considered one of the most flawless and beautiful things on Earth because of their exceptionally clear and shimmering appearance. But an emerging trend is showing couples rapidly turning away from the traditional pristine diamond for something more unique.
In a survey by top wedding website The Knot, out of 5,000 respondents, 86% of brides prefer diamonds as a center stone, while the other 14% opt for non-traditional and unique stones. Enter the salt and pepper diamonds.
Salt and pepper diamonds are some of the most unique types of stones, but just what makes them truly extraordinary? In this guide, we’ll explore all of the wonderful attributes of salt and pepper diamonds.
Once you discover all of the details, you’ll want to add salt and pepper diamonds to your jewelry collection. Keep reading below for more information.
What Exactly Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds?
If you’re not familiar with salt and pepper diamonds, we’ll explain them to you here. Salt and pepper diamonds are a variation of real diamonds. They still rate at a 10 on the MOHS hardness scale.
The difference between traditional diamonds and their salt and pepper diamond counterparts is in their flaws. Traditional diamonds rely on their flawless and pristine reputation. Salt and pepper diamonds flaunt their flaws for all the world to see.
Take a look at a salt and pepper diamond and you’ll be transported to a realm of glittering black sparkles. That’s because salt and pepper diamonds are made to showcase their inclusions. Each salt and pepper diamond is a kaleidoscope of black and white inclusions across the diamond’s surface.
You’ll be amazed at what you see as the light and dark flecks interact with one another inside and outside of the diamond. But what makes these diamonds truly unique is that the inclusions of each diamond are all distinct markings. You’ll never find two salt and pepper diamonds with the exact same markings and patterns.
Therefore, salt and pepper diamonds give you a one-of-a-kind look that is perfect for the non-conventional person. Whether you’re a bride who’s bucking the norms of the traditional wedding customs or you just want a unique style for your everyday jewelry collection, salt and pepper diamonds are the way to go for an exceptional look.
The Appearance of Salt and Pepper Diamonds
Salt and pepper diamonds may appear as though they are dirty or unkempt, but this is far from the case. A salt and pepper diamond appears as it would in its natural state, growing far below the surface of the earth in underground diamond mines. They are untreated forms of natural diamonds.
While a diamond is forming, other minerals in the area around the diamond seep into its structure. They can appear as black-and-white inclusions within the diamond itself. These imperfections were once regarded as flaws, making the diamond undesirable and unusable.
But salt and pepper diamonds celebrate the differences in the diamond’s appearance. They also remind us that as humans, our differences are what make us special, not that we’re all the same. These diamonds make any piece of jewelry an instantly eye-catching and unique statement piece for highlighting and enhancing self-expression.
Smokey and milky tones and textures play with the light and exude their own style of brilliance. Rather than just one color, you can view tones of black, white, grey, and even yellow and green. What you get in return is a diamond that rivals even the fanciest of expensive colored diamonds.
There are also variations of salt and pepper diamonds known as Galaxy Diamonds. They are called this because they resemble a dappled, star-filled night sky with thousands of twinkling white and gray dots against a pitch-black void, emulating the vastness of outer space. Galaxy Diamonds are an even rarer form of salt and pepper diamonds.
The cost of Galaxy Diamonds is relatively low compared to the more traditional diamonds. These types of stones are considerably less well-known forms of diamonds, so there is less demand for them. Due to their inherently flawed nature, they are also not as prized in terms of cost.
As an engagement ring stone, Galaxy salt and pepper diamonds are the perfect way to remind your loved one that they are your whole universe. They are also symbolic in representing the fact that the two of you have found one another among countless others.
Types of Inclusions in Salt and Pepper Diamonds
The decorative patterns of black speckles and white flecks from inclusions give salt and pepper diamonds their character. Black inclusions occur as a result of carbon or graphite deposits that permeate into a diamond and make it appear darker in some areas. The whiter areas of inclusions happen because of impurities like nitrogen that will make the diamond look cloudy, milky, or hazy.
The aim of most diamond miners used to be to find the most pristine diamonds available. But the truth is, just 30% of all diamonds mined are actually considered to be gem quality for jewelry. The rest would be wasted or used in industrial machinery.
All diamonds are flawed in some way. Some are merely harder to see than others. When rating a diamond as Flawless or Internally Flawless, it doesn’t mean that it has no flaws at all. Flawless and Internally Flawless diamonds have blemishes and flaws but they cannot be seen unless they are viewed under 10x or higher magnification.
The more heavily included a diamond is, the more salt and peppery its appearance will be. Blemishes and inclusions like crystal and mineral deposits are favored for creating distinctive patterns and designs. Salt and pepper diamonds do not fall under the traditional diamond grading scale of color, cut, clarity, and carat weight and do not come with their own certifications.
But not all inclusions are ideal for salt and pepper diamonds. There are other types of diamond inclusions to avoid. Any chips, cracks, cavities, or long fractures (also called feathers) should be avoided as they can cause damage to the structural integrity of the diamond itself.
What Types of Shapes and Cuts Work Best?
Because salt and pepper diamonds are non-traditional types of stones, they are also ideal for more unconventional types of shapes and cuts. Classic diamonds generally follow a round-cut design. Around 57% of all diamonds sold in the U.S. are traditional round-cut diamonds.
If you’re one to think outside of the proverbial jewelry box, then salt and pepper diamonds will also satisfy your need to go beyond the norms of style and shape. You don’t need to be afraid to go bold with more whimsical diamond cuts.
For example, a cut not normally used for more traditional diamonds is the kite cut. This symmetrical and decorative shape has two short edges and two long edges converging into a kite-shaped diamond. It also mixes step-cut with brilliant-cut styles to give you a shimmering display of reflective mirrors and checkerboard facets.
Kite cuts rely on creating larger facets on the side of the diamond. This leaves the natural splendor of the salt and pepper black and white inclusions to shine through. It also offers a modern design to appeal to more contemporary tastes.
Another way to style salt and pepper diamonds is through rose cuts. Rose cuts have a flat base with a domed top covered by triangular facets. These facets resemble the blooming petals of a rosebud when viewed from the top.
Rose cuts date back to between the 14th and 15th centuries. The rose cut performed well to show a diamond’s brilliance under low light conditions like candlelight during the Victorian and Georgian eras. They are not used as much in modern diamond cuts because the focus has shifted to creating more dazzle and brilliance.
A rose cut works better for salt and pepper diamonds because it provides more surface area at the top. This lets you see more of the black-and-white inclusions in the diamond’s appearance that you wouldn’t see with a brilliant cut.
Hexagon cuts are fancy-cut diamonds that you don’t see too often with traditional flawless diamonds. The hexagon cut offers 6 sides of step-cut facets. Like kite cuts, they use wider facets to allow for a spectacular viewing experience.
Fancy cuts are ideal for salt and pepper diamonds because they have a wider center for light in the center that draws the light in. In traditional diamonds, this means there’s not as much light for brilliance. For salt and pepper diamonds, this lets you see the dazzling black speckles and white flecks inside of the diamond better.
Pros and Cons of Salt and Pepper Diamonds
Salt and pepper diamonds are beautiful in their own way. But as with all types of stones, there are advantages and drawbacks associated with them. Here are some of the pros and cons of choosing salt and pepper diamonds.
One of the biggest advantages of salt and pepper diamonds is their cost difference. Because they contain more inclusions, the cost isn’t as high as it would be for a Flawless or Internally Flawless graded diamond. You can get a much larger salt and pepper diamond for your money.
Salt and pepper diamonds are all unique with their inclusion patterns and diamond embellishments. Unlike a round, brilliant-cut diamond, it is highly implausible that two wearers will ever find one with the same similar pattern to theirs. Unconventional brides and jewelry wearers will have a piece of jewelry that is as individual as they are.
Because of their unusual coloring, salt and pepper diamonds can look good with almost any color and type of metal. They can be modern types of stones in silver-colored platinum and white gold. Or they can be coordinated with yellow and rose gold for a more vintage look.
Salt and pepper diamonds are more eco-friendly choices because they are not as difficult to mine as more pure diamonds. There is also less waste associated with salt and pepper diamonds because they aren’t being discarded as frequently.
Salt and pepper diamonds are strong natural diamonds, however, you will need to make sure that you avoid bumping them into walls or doing strenuous activities while wearing your ring or other jewelry. Some inclusions within the diamond can make it more fragile. You’ll want to have a setting for your salt and pepper diamond that gives it the most security and protection like a six-pronged or bezel setting.
You should also refrain from using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean jewelry with salt and pepper diamonds. Any internal flaws of the diamond can become weakened by the intense high-frequency waves. The vibrations may cause your salt and pepper diamond to break or fracture.
The style of salt and pepper diamonds may not appeal to everyone’s taste preferences, especially as an everyday engagement ring stone. But salt and pepper diamonds can make a beautiful stone for statement jewelry or a side accent stone piece.
Caring for Your Salt and Pepper Diamonds
It may be harder to see dirt and debris build up on the surface of your salt and pepper diamonds due to their muted brilliance. But dirt can dull the surface over time. You should clean them regularly with a mild jewelry cleanser or gentle dish soap and pat them dry with a soft cloth.
With proper care, your salt and pepper diamonds will stay beautiful and last for decades. You’ll have a distinctive one-of-a-kind stone you’ll want to show off to everyone you meet.
Find Salt and Pepper Diamonds and More Gorgeous designs at Finer Custom Jewelry
No matter what cut or metal type you choose to coordinate your salt and pepper diamonds with, they are sure to look phenomenal. Salt and pepper diamonds offer versatility and flair for engagement rings and other jewelry pieces. After all, it’s your jewelry, shouldn’t you be able to customize it how you want it?
Finer Custom Jewelry has a wide variety of beautiful and unique salt and pepper diamonds to choose from. You’ll also find traditional natural diamonds, as well as lab-grown diamonds. Custom design engagement rings and more with us.
Contact us for a free custom jewelry consultation today.