Estimating Black Diamonds' Value

Last updated: January 20, 2020

The popularity of black diamonds has grown in recent years and they are now regularly used in modern pieces of jewelry. In fact, black diamonds have become one of the most popular types of colored diamonds.
While the price of black diamonds was fairly low in years past, they are now seen as more valuable and their prices are comparable to white diamonds. As with any diamond or gemstone, value can fluctuate, making it especially important to learn how a black diamond's value is determined before you purchase a black diamond or black diamond jewelry.

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Appraisal of Black Diamonds

Whether you are looking to purchase or sell a black diamond or black diamond jewelry, you should learn about black diamonds value. One way to determine a black diamond’s value is by having it appraised by a professional appraiser. A very important thing to have in mind is that an appraisal won’t reflect the absolute value of a black diamond. Appraisals assign a dollar-value to the stone, and are carried out for specific purposes, like tax or insurance. That means that the value stated in the appraisal is only valid in that context.

When looking to buy or sell black diamonds, it’s always better to get the item graded first. A diamond grading is the thorough evaluation of the jewel’s stone and its attributes: carat, cut, color and clarity. Certified experts use special tools and instruments to examine the black diamond and/or the jewelry. This allows them to find any defects that may be present which will affect the value. The evaluators will also determine if the black diamond is natural or treated. This way, you have a good idea of how much the diamond is worth - making it easier to sell and protecting your interests. 
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Creation of Black Diamonds

In order to understand the value of black diamonds, it is important to learn about how they are created. Just like standard white diamonds, black diamonds are crystalized carbon. The black color can occur if there are dark inclusions or if a white diamond is treated with radiation or high temperatures. Natural black diamonds, ones that are not created with radiation or high temperature, are rare and usually very expensive. Natural black diamonds are typically formed by irregular black masses known as carbonados. However, most of the black diamonds that are on the market today are man-made. Man-made black diamonds go through a treatment process to give it its black color as well as its uniformity. These diamonds are much more affordable than natural black diamonds and they provide the same unique black color.

Features of Black Diamonds

Rich color and a smooth surface are both great features to have in black diamonds. Even if the diamond is treated, it is still a real diamond and its value will be based on the 4 Cs – carat, clarity, cut and color. It is preferable for black diamonds to have a simple cut of 16 facets and it is best if the surface is smooth. The black color should be uniform throughout the diamond.  The clarity measures the number of flaws or inclusions present in the diamond and the grades (from worst to best) are I1, A, AA AA+ and AAA.  The clarity of a black diamond is not as important because these diamonds do not refract light as well as white diamonds.  The surface of a black diamond should be sparkling and glossy. Black diamonds are denser than white diamonds so a 1 carat diamond will look smaller than a 1 carat white diamond. 
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Types of Black Diamonds

As mentioned previously, there are natural black diamonds and man-made black diamonds. However, those types of diamonds can be broken down even further to include cultured, enhanced and natural diamonds. When you want to purchase a black diamond, you can get an enhanced or cultured diamond for a much better price. These diamonds tend to have a better quality than natural diamonds as the impurities and inclusions in natural black diamonds makes them weaker and less brilliant.

Natural Diamonds

Natural black diamonds are primarily mined in Brazil but some are found in the Central African Republic. These diamonds are called Carbondo diamonds and they are naturally occurring but have a poly crystalline structure. This means that rather than one large crystal like white diamonds, black diamonds are made of many small crystals. These diamonds can be used in jewelry but are very rare and most black diamonds are man-made rather than natural diamonds.  In fact, some scientists argue that natural black diamonds may have been brought to Earth by a meteor. A good quality Carbondo diamond is incredibly expensive.  

While natural black diamonds are created with the same material as other diamonds there are generally more graphite inclusions. These inclusions make it hard to cut a natural black diamond without fracturing it. However, there are a few examples of the successful cutting of large black diamonds. The fifth largest diamond in the world known as the Spirit of de Grisogono, is a black diamond that was cut in Switzerland.  Before it was cut it weighed 587 carats and after it was cut the weight was 312 carats.  
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Cultured and Enhanced Black Diamonds

Most black diamonds that are available are cultured diamonds which were created using high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) or by another technique known as chemical vapor deposition (CVD). These diamonds are not synthetic as they are made from carbon like all natural diamonds but they are simply treated to give them a black appearance. Without special equipment it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between these diamonds and untreated diamonds.  An enhanced black diamond is a natural black diamond that has had its color enhanced. Specific types of radiation can change the color of diamonds and this is what is used to create enhanced black diamonds. Generally these diamonds are of better quality than Carbonado diamonds as they do not have inclusions.

Where Can I Find Out my Black Diamonds Value?

There are a few reputable gemological labs out there that will provide a grading report of your black diamond for a fee. These include GIA, AGS and IGI. If you are looking to appraise your black diamond for the purposes of an ultimate sale, it is recommended that you do it through a renown institution like the ones mentioned, since diamond buyers are willing to pay more for it. 

At Worthy, our expert evaluations, descriptions, and photography set the standard for reselling diamonds and jewelry. We have partnered with GIA and IGI, the world's leading diamond grading labs, in order to provide grading reports by experts with years of experience evaluating these valuable stones. On our innovative live online auction platform, our network of thousands of professional buyers around the world compete to buy your diamonds and jewelry at the highest price. Because we receive a small percentage of the sales price, we are on your side: we profit only when you do too, unlike jewelry buyers who try to acquire your item for the lowest possible price so they can profit more. Although Worthy is not currently selling black diamonds, you can subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when we begin selling black diamonds online.
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