Black Diamond Buying Guide (Cuts, Cost & More)

Have you been searching for the perfect, nonconventional diamond ring? It can be frustrating to sift through engagement rings that all look identical! But with the black diamond, you can transform your setting from conventional to show stopping.

Black diamonds are usually naturally occurring stones that are either naturally black or treated to look black. For a naturally occurring black stone, you can expect to pay around $3,000 per carat. For a real white diamond that has been pressure treated to look black, you will pay a much lower price at only $300 per carat.

For a stunning and unconventional diamond, the black diamond is the perfect choice. Plus, they are available in a wide range of hues, cuts, and settings, which means you can find the perfect black diamond for any style. You should know that while the naturally occurring black diamond is quite rare and expensive, you can easily purchase a treated black diamond for much less.

Everything You Need to Know About Black Diamonds

What is a Black Diamond?

A black diamond generally is a reference to one of three types of black stones: (1) natural black diamonds, (2) man made black diamonds, (3) treated black diamonds.

Natural Black Diamonds

Natural black diamonds are exactly as they sound: they have been naturally formed in the earth.

Due to impurities that arise during the formation process, materials such as graphite and amorphous carbon become responsible for the blackened look of these stones.

The most expensive of the black diamonds due to its rarity, the natural black diamond can be purchased at prices that begin in the $3,000 range.

Treated Black Diamonds

Treated black diamonds are some of the most common black diamonds. When someone references a black diamond, they likely mean these stones.

Treated black diamonds are white diamonds that have been treated to look black through a process of high heat and/or radiation.

Often, white diamonds with high amounts of inclusions are selected for this process because they are otherwise worth very little.

Less expensive in price than the rare natural black diamond, a 1 carat treated black diamond starts at around $300.

Made Made Black Diamonds

Man made black diamonds are lab grown, synthetic diamonds. The cheapest of the three black diamond types, a 1 carat synthetic black diamond ring can purchased for as little as $100

What is the Difference Between Natural Black Diamonds and Regular Diamonds?

Natural black diamonds are essentially regular diamonds that possess inclusions which give them a black appearance.

Most often, these blemishes and imperfections involve carbon and other materials that give off a darker hue.

These diamonds are extremely rare as the only natural black diamonds in existence are located in Central Africa and Brazil. When looking for a black diamond, you will have the most luck purchasing a treated or synthetic black diamond.

Are Black Diamonds Low Quality?

Natural black diamonds will be just as durable as white diamonds as they are technically the same stone. The primary difference in quality and appearance occurs due to the graphite inclusions within the black diamonds.

For treated diamonds, the technical answer is: yes, treated black diamonds are of a lower quality than high quality white diamonds. This is because the diamonds selected for the treatment process are usually those white diamonds which possess the highest count of inclusions and blemishes.

The process of turning a white diamond into a black diamond requires high heat and radiation, which effectively destroys the beauty of the white diamond. That is why low quality white diamonds are selected to undergo this process since they are already worth very little.

If you select a synthetic black diamond, the quality of your piece will depend entirely upon the material used to produce the stone. For a durable material, you may want to select black Moissanite.

Moissanite is an excellent diamond look-a-like that features quite a bit of durability for a low price point. For a 1 carat black moissanite stone, you will only pay around $150.

1 Carat Black Moissanite

What is the Average Price of a Black Diamond?

The average price of a natural black diamond is $3,000 per carat. This is because black diamonds are extremely rare and can only be found in two locations in the entire world.

However, if this price is out of the question, you should know that you can purchase a treated black diamond, which is a real white diamond that has been made to look black, for as little as $300 per carat.

For an even lower price point with a similar durability, you can purchase a black moissanite stone for $150. 

Pros and Cons of Black Diamonds

Pro: Durable

Just like other diamonds, black diamonds are extremely resilient to scratching and surface level damage.

When you select a natural black diamond, you can be sure you are getting a high quality stone.

Pro: Treated Black Stones Are Affordable

Treated black diamonds are extremely affordable. Starting at only $300 per carat, these stunning pieces are easy purchases and look lovely on any engagement set.

Con: Natural Black Stones Are Rare and Expensive

If you are looking for a natural black stone, you will have to shell out quite a bit of money. Due to their rarity in nature, these stones are hard to come by.

Beginning prices start at $3,000 per carat, making these diamonds extremely expensive.

Con: Can Be Brittle

Natural black diamonds are formed due to carbon inclusions.

While these inclusions give the gems a beautiful and unusual appearance, they also are responsible for making the stones more brittle than white diamonds and more susceptible to breaking.

What Should You Look for When Buying a Black Diamond?

As with all diamonds, the Black Diamond is graded based on the 4cs: color, cut, clarity, and carat; however, black diamonds are valued under different clarity and color rules as compared to white diamonds.

You should know that while white diamonds are given higher marks when they are as close to colorless as possible, black diamonds do not follow the same rules.


Black diamonds are rated based on the ideal color “fancy black.” When purchasing one of these natural stones, this is the color you will receive.

If opting for a treated or synthetic version of the black diamond, the color will almost perfectly resemble the “fancy black” of the natural pieces.

For a more interesting look, you may want to consider what is known as a “salt and pepper” diamond. One that features both colorless and fancy black colors. The value in these diamonds is entirely subjective and up to the viewer.


You may be familiar with carats as measuring the weight of white diamonds; however, you should know that carats have a slightly different meaning when it comes to black diamonds.

This is because black diamonds are heavier than white diamonds due to their infusion of carbon.

What this will mean when purchasing a black diamond is that your 1 carat black stone will be smaller than a white 1 carat piece.


There are far fewer natural black diamonds than there are white diamonds. Further, the brittle nature of the diamonds can make cutting these stones a challenge!

For this reason, the stones are featured in fewer shapes and you are unlikely to see them displayed through fancier cuts.


Clarity matters far less for the natural black diamond than it does for its white counterpart. For one thing, the natural black diamond is already filled with inclusions (and in this case, these inclusions are desirable).

For another, the treated black diamond is formed through radiating low quality white diamonds.

No matter which black diamond you select, the technical clarity will be quite poor. But that will not matter to the overall value of the diamond.

Natural vs Treated?

Natural black diamonds are of a much higher value than treated black diamonds, but they are also quite a bit rarer and much more expensive.

A 1 carat natural black diamond will cost at least $3,000, while a 1 carat treated black diamond will only set you back $300.

Because natural black diamonds and treated black diamonds are both genuine stones, it may not matter too much which stone you select.

Further, they are both exclusively available in fancy black, which means you will have the same color stone no matter which diamond you purchase.

Because black diamonds are filled with carbon, they are generally too brittle for some of the fancier cuts. So what shapes can you expect for a black diamond?

Black Diamond Shapes

Rose Cut

Designed to mimic the swirling patterns of a rose, the rose cut features stunning triangular facets across its top that serve to double the apparent size of the stone.

The rose is one of the more popular black diamond cuts as carat sizes traditionally translate to smaller black diamonds due to the heavier nature of carbon.

Black diamond rose cut

Princess Cut

For a geometrically square cut that maximizes the sparkle of the stone, the princess cut is the perfect shape. Select this one to show off the natural gleam of your black diamond.

Emerald Cut

Resembling an octagon in shape, the emerald cut is a lovely way to highlight the color of your diamond through elongated edges and contemporary design.

Oval Cut

Oval cuts offer a brilliant appearance for any gem while offering a unique shape. Fashionable and trendy, these cuts are also known for enhancing the size of the carat, which is perfect for the smaller stone size of the natural black diamond.

Now that you know the kinds of shapes you can expect for these stunning gems, you should learn about the different types of treatment options so you can make sure you are purchasing the right black diamond for your needs.

Black Diamond Treatment

Radiation treatment

Through irradiation, natural white diamonds can be caused to produce a darkened color, which resembles the fancy black of black diamonds.

This darkened color is then distributed throughout the diamond during a high heating process to give the stone a more even tone.

High temperature, high pressure (HTHP)

This process takes a naturally occurring white diamond and subjects it to the same conditions that a stone would experience in nature:  high heat and high pressure until the stone forms black inclusions.

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD)

Chemical vapor deposition is the process by which man made diamonds are formed. This process is responsible for creating synthetic diamonds.

While the method can be extremely complicated, it helps bypass the billions of years it would otherwise take to form a natural stone and the appearance is remarkably similar to a naturally occurring gem.

Now that you know the process through which these black diamonds can be formed, you might be wondering if there are any downsides to owning one of these pieces over the traditional white stones.

Wearing Black Diamonds

Wearing a black diamond is simple, elegant, and fun! Select the band that best suits your style (we recommend a 14k yellow gold or platinum band to complement the appearance of these unique stones).

You should know that while black diamonds are as durable as their white counterparts, the carbon does make them more susceptible to cracking.

For this reason, you should take care when wearing your black diamond to not drop it or place it in conditions where it might shatter. You can also help to prevent black diamonds from breaking by selecting smaller pieces over larger ones.

If you’re ready to wear a black diamond, you may be wondering about the best places to buy.

Best Online Retailers for Black Diamonds?

Because the quality of diamonds can vary quite a bit, you should make sure you are only purchasing your stone from a reputable retailer.

Consider James Allen, Leibish, or With Clarity for a large selection of high quality stones.

Visit a Professional

If you are purchasing a black diamond from an online retailer, you may first want to visit an in person store or a professional to see what shape and style is best for you.

Plus, professionals can help ensure you are making the perfect choice when it comes time to selecting the right design for you.

Final Thoughts

Black diamonds offer an unusually striking appearance to offset the traditional engagement ring style.

While natural black diamonds do exist, they are quite rare and expensive and may not be worth the price tag since treated black diamonds are identical in appearance for far less money.

For a treated black diamond, expect to pay only $300 per carat instead of the $3,000 that a naturally occurring black stone would require.

Finally, remember that the purchasing of an engagement ring is extremely personal and you should select the stone, cut, and color that best suits your individual needs.