What’s a Black Diamond?

The black diamond, also known as carbonado, is a natural polycrystalline diamond found in Brazil and the Central African Republic. The stone is found is alluvial deposits, meaning sediment or soil deposited near running water, such as a river. The black diamond has a unique natural color that ranges from dark gray to black. Carbonados are also much more porous than other diamonds, which further sets them apart. In this post, we’ll discuss the unusual properties of the black diamond, theories on its origin, and one of the most famous black diamonds in the world.

Unique Properties

Carbonado diamonds are usually aggregates of many small, black crystals and tend to be pea-sized or bigger. To date, black diamonds have only been found in the Central African Republic and Brazil, unassociated with kimberlite, the origin of most other gem diamonds. Isotope analysis has documented the crystallization of black diamonds as far back as three billion years ago. Typically, carbonados are found in sedimentary rocks that are relatively young.

Origin Theories

The genesis of the black diamond is still somewhat of a mystery to geologists. Black diamonds have a baffling composition that is unlike any other diamond. For one, typical diamonds contain minerals from the Earth’s mantle, suggesting their origin in that area. However, carbonados do not contain mantle minerals and instead contain minerals that are more characteristic of the Earth’s crust. These facts have spawned several theories on the origin of the black diamond:

  1. Carbonados came about as a result of direct conversion of organic carbon in high-pressure conditions in the Earth’s interior.
  2. A meteor impact at the Earth’s surface induced shock metamorphism, which would explain the inclusion of certain minerals in the black diamond that are rare or absent in the Earth’s crust.
  3. Radiation induced the diamond’s formation through spontaneous fission of thorium and uranium.
  4. The black diamond originated in interstellar space.

The Gruosi Diamond

Swiss jeweler Fawaz Gruosi created the present enthusiasm for black diamond jewelry by designing stunning collections of watches and jewelry set with black diamonds in 1996. Currently, Gruosi is exhibiting the largest heart-shaped black diamond in the world, the Gruosi Diamond, which is arguably also the most famous black diamond in the world. The Gruosi diamond weighs 115.34 carats and is the centerpiece of a necklace consisting of 58.77 carats of smaller black diamonds and 378 white diamonds. Gruosi received the diamond rough from India in 1998, and it took three years to cut the stone into a heart shape. The difficulty of cutting black diamonds can be attributed to their porous fragility, which makes them very difficult to work with.

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