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The Unique Salt & Pepper Diamond!

by Kat Morrow

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God created many beautiful things in nature…including humankind…and none of them could be considered flawless. Blemishes and imperfections are what make each person, animal, diamond, plant species, etc., unique. That uniqueness can be annoying to some…and beautiful to others. “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder,” we’ve learned.

Hence, the “brilliance” in creating a market for those diamonds is not considered high gem quality…but contains many eye-visible natural inclusions. These diamonds, without a doubt, contain visible identifying characteristics, and until recently, there was little market for these types of diamonds for jewelry. But AHA!  Some creative marketers turned what most would have viewed as a negative and turned it into a desirable positive. The Salt & Pepper diamond brand was born!

So, if you’re looking for a unique diamond and can embrace these natural beauty marks, then a Salt & Pepper diamond may be for you. Let’s explore what they are.

What are Salt & Pepper diamonds?

Salt and Pepper diamonds are naturally flawed diamonds with various black, white, or metallic inclusions you can see with the naked eye. Those inclusions were formed under intense high pressure and exposed to other minerals, such as hematite, graphite, and pyrite, which were embedded into the diamond crystal. These gemstones have a speckled look and have been considered undesirable for many years. Diamond cutters are used to toss these diamonds to the side for more industrial use…not for jewelry.

Natural Salt and Pepper diamonds are sourced from many of the same mines and geographic areas the more flawless diamonds come from. However, lab-grown Salt and Pepper diamond variants are also available, which can be 20-30% less expensive than their natural counterparts. 

Salt and Pepper diamonds are gaining in popularity for 3 reasons: they’re unique and beautiful, less expensive than flawless diamonds, and considered eco-friendly.

Many people seek out crystal clear diamonds with little to no inclusions visible to the naked eye; however, if you’re looking for something a little different, these beautiful Salt and Pepper diamonds are worth checking into. The inclusions give each stone identifying characteristics—no two are alike. Because each is unique, you can always identify your own personal diamond among many.  

Are Salt & Pepper diamonds evaluated like other diamonds?

These unusual Salt and Pepper diamonds range in color from dark and moody to light gray, winter white, silver, or black. The rarest and most unusual Salt and Pepper diamonds are black with speckles of white. These so-called Galaxy Diamonds resemble the celestial sky and look like stars shimmering along the shiny surface. Their smokey modern look is a bit mysterious and is certainly eye-catching. 

Salt and Pepper diamonds are not considered perfect gemstones because of the inclusions, so they’re about 60% less expensive than diamonds with no visible inclusions. Yet these Salt and Pepper diamonds are still valuable! They are, after all – Diamonds!   

Just like flawless diamonds, the cost of a salt and pepper diamond is based on the gemstone’s size and translucency. The more translucent areas where you can see through the diamond, the higher the price. The more opaque stones cost less.

The traditional four Cs of diamond evaluation—cut, clarity, color, carat weight—do not all apply to Salt and Pepper diamonds due to the number and desirability of inclusions. They are in their own unique category, and the price is more subjective.  

Salt and pepper diamonds refract and reflect less light and don’t sparkle as more flawless diamonds do. The appeal of these diamonds is the rough-cut, wild, and raw style.

Diamond cutters usually highlight the inclusions with fancy cuts like the timeless rose cut or geometric shapes like triangles, hexagons, and kites. In other words, they fashion the finished diamond based on the shape of the rough diamond and orient their cutting to emphasize those unique inclusions. You can find Salt and Pepper diamonds in various shapes and sizes, and their inclusions will range from minimal to prominent. 

And, for those who are eco-conscious, these diamonds use fewer resources to mine than regular diamonds, thus leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Salt and Pepper diamonds are also widely available, making them more sustainable than traditional whiter and less flawed diamonds.

Because some of the inclusions can be fairly large and may affect the durability and strength of the diamond, it’s a good idea to get expert advice from a Graduate Gemologist on the diamond you are considering. Working with someone like me who is a Private Gemologist with the unique qualifications to evaluate these diamonds or who can procure the right one for your purchase is the smarter way to buy.  

Salt and Pepper diamonds are worth considering if you’re looking for the jewelry with a unique flair. These gorgeous, speckled diamonds will undoubtedly spice up your collection.

Contact Kat, your personal diamond and jewelry expert, for jewelry designs and services you’ll be wild about.

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