NFL running back Mark Ingram Jr. made headlines this weekend with his purchase of a black diamond chain set which included a bracelet, chain and ring valued at US$120,000.
Some of the chatter in social media circles was about the fact that many people are unaware of the fascinating story behind the creation of black diamonds.
In 2007, a Florida International University research group theorized that black diamonds actually originated in outer space. Their theory was that the diamonds came from the unprocessed stone of some meteorites that landed in Brazil and the Central African Republic. Researchers found that black diamonds and the unprocessed stone they are found in contain minute traces of hydrogen, similar to the diamond dust found in hydrogen-rich environments of space.
If true, black diamonds are completely unlike white or colour diamonds that are formed beneath the earth’s surface and then reach the surface due to volcanic activity over the last 500 million years or so.
The other major difference unique to black diamonds is that they are not made up of one single crystal, but rather millions of tiny crystals bonded together with microscopic deposits of sulphites between their bonds.
In some scientists’ professional opinions, these factors combine to form the conclusion that a Black diamond is not actually one diamond, but several microscopic diamonds formed together. With such a chemical composition, light cannot bounce within these stones like their white and colour counterparts, so these diamonds lack scintillation, or in laymen’s terms, sparkle.
Black diamonds, while named “black,” aren’t completely so. Many will have shades of grey in the colouring, which is based on the amount of imperfections in the stone and the amount of deposits of sulphites. Most importantly, any consumer thinking to acquire a black diamond should check to make sure that the stone is not simply another colour that has been altered, or a white diamond that has been radiated to appear black. If black diamonds are of interest to you, as with all types of diamonds, be sure to do your homework.