You may not have heard of salt and pepper diamond before, but they are precious and unique gemstones that are easily identifiable. They have a unique, speckled appearance that comes from abnormalities in the mineral content of the stone.
Unlike clear or coloured diamonds, a salt and pepper diamond contains a mixture of black and white inclusions that give it its name and aesthetic.
What is a Salt and Pepper Diamond?
A salt and pepper diamond is made of carbon, just like a regular diamond. However, they possess black and white inclusions that give them their own unique appearance. No two salt and pepper diamonds are alike because each one has a different pattern of inclusions contained within the stone. This variety of diamond can appear mostly white, black, or grey depending on the frequency of dark and light inclusions throughout the stone.
What Does Salt and Pepper Diamond Symbolise?
Salt and pepper diamond engagement rings have become more popular over the years because they symbolise uniqueness. Brides and grooms appreciate the snowflake-like composition of salt and pepper diamonds, in that no two are the same. Wouldn’t you want a salt and pepper diamond ring that was completely unique to you?
Is Salt and Pepper Diamond Real?
If someone has tried to sell you a salt and pepper diamond ring, you may have thought they were trying to swindle you. However, salt and pepper diamonds are very real. They are different to clear or coloured diamonds in that the clarity of the stone is not as important, because the imperfections are what makes them special.
Salt and pepper diamonds are indeed genuine diamonds, they just have tell-tale aesthetic markers that set them apart from others.
What to Look for In a Salt and Pepper Diamond
While salt and pepper diamonds are unique and beautiful, their inclusions can present complications for buyers. Inclusions are essentially imperfections, which can affect the durability of the stone.
A skilled jeweller will be able to plan how to cut a salt and pepper diamonds in a way that accentuates the inclusions and promotes durability.
If you are unsure about the cut of a salt and pepper diamond, take it to an experienced jeweller to be assessed. They will be able to give you an honest evaluation of the gem’s quality.
Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds Shiny?
Any diamond you buy will have a certain degree of lustre to it, but salt and pepper diamonds are not as shiny as their clear counterparts. The sparkle that comes from a clear diamond is due to light refracting through the stone. Diamonds with more impurities or inclusions do not refract light as well, so they appear less lustrous.
How to Care for a Salt and Pepper Diamond
Fragility is the main concern with salt and pepper diamonds, so take plenty of care while handling them. Dropping or knocking them against a hard surface could cause irreparable damage. Clean the stone and the setting at least once a month using warm soapy water or a shop-bought cleaning solution.
Regular cleanings will prevent the build up of debris in the setting and keep the surface of the stone free of marks and scuffs. Also, remember to remove your jewelry before showering or washing dishes. Daily contact with water and chemical cleaning agents is not good for the stone or the setting.
Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds Expensive?
Fortunately, salt and pepper diamonds are much more budget-friendly than clear or coloured diamonds. They are technically considered to be low-quality due to their numerous imperfections. Of course, the imperfections are what make them special, but as far as the diamond market is concerned, salt and pepper diamonds are much less valuable.
The usual criteria for valuing a diamond do not easily apply to a salt and pepper diamond, as colour and clarity is compromised by the black and white inclusions. However, carat and cut still play an important role.
How Ethical are Salt and Pepper Diamonds?
There is much concern over the origins of diamonds nowadays. Since the public was made aware of the inhumane conditions under which diamonds are mined, buyers have become more selective about who they support. The environmental impact of diamond mining is an additional concern. Some jewellers claim that salt and pepper diamonds are less environmentally taxing because they require less Earth displacement. It is still good practice to check the source of the gem before buying it to make sure it is conflict free.
Why do People Like Salt and Pepper Diamonds?
The surge in popularity of salt and pepper diamonds came as a mystery to many jewellers, as they are much less valuable. However, the appeal for buyers is in the romance and symbolism of the gem. Every salt and pepper diamond is unique, which holds meaningful connotations for engaged or married couples. They are also flawed, but still precious, which for some may represent the mercurial and beautiful nature of human relationships.
What are the Best Engagement Ring Settings for a Salt and Pepper Diamond?
Unlike clear diamonds, salt and pepper diamonds engagement rings do not focus on light refraction and prominent display. Light and lustre do not affect salt and pepper diamonds as much as others.
Instead, diamond settings for these gems emphasise security and durability due to their structural imperfections.
- Bezel setting: This ring setting is characterised by a metal rim that surrounds the gem, encasing the smallest portion of its topside. Bezel settings have a sleek and modern look and are considered the most secure of all ring settings.
- Flush setting: There are a few varieties of flush setting. The main principle behind all of them is keeping the gem aligned with the surface of the ring. Flush settings are recommended for those who are regularly active as they keep the gem securely tucked into the ring.
- Six-pronged setting: If you still wish to display your salt and pepper diamond as prominently as possible, consider a six-pronged setting. Pronged settings are less secure than bezel and flush but offer a better view of the gem. Six-pronged settings are the most secure.
Where to Buy Salt and Pepper Diamonds
There are several online suppliers of salt and pepper diamonds, as well as brick-and-mortar shops that carry them. Always buy from a certified gem dealer, or at the very least, take the gem to be appraised by a qualified jeweller before buying it.
It might be tempting to buy the first salt and pepper diamond you see, but take the time to shop around, do your research, and find the one you really love for the best price.