Black, mysterious and opaque. Adding an element of reflection makes these gems more beautiful.
Recently we have used black spinels in several pieces and have also had several customers request black diamond jewelry which has raised an interesting question in the studio.
When black is called for, which is better, black spinel or black diamond?
Diamonds are classic, if they really are forever this is the stone to have…but is it? Black spinel has become more plentiful in the last few years in standard sizes. It has not been well known as spinel always seems to find its way to second place. Its most popular colors, red and blue can be found in strikingly saturated colors but they will never be as well known as ruby and sapphire. Black spinel seems to suffer the same fate.
Spinel is a durable gemstone even though it is only 8 on the MOHS scale, it has the advantage of lack of cleavage which makes it difficult to chip and scratch. It is also one gemstone that does not need enhancement to get its jet black color, the color is all natural. Having few inclusions adds to its durability.
Black spinel is highly reflective, and it lacks the metallic overtone that other black gemstones possess. Although I have to say that I find the metallic reflection from the black diamonds intriguing. Large flashes of metallic gray seem to radiate from them which adds a brilliance that is lacking in spinel.
Diamond is the hardest gemstone being a 10 on the MOHS scale, it takes diamond to polish diamond. Although out of all diamonds, black diamonds have a few traits that make them less than perfect. Black diamonds are created in the earth by inclusions, the same inclusions that make a white diamond less desirable create the opaque black diamond. Black diamonds are almost universally color enhanced to achieve the even darkness throughout. These inclusions make this hardest gemstone weaker. They create more cleavage planes and may lend themselves to chipping or breaking over time. Although their vulnerabilities are less than other gems though because they are diamond.
Both of these jewels are valuable in their darkness, no other black gemstones can come close to their reflective qualities or their durability. Black diamonds are a classic choice with their metallic brilliance and their cache of being the most precious gem. Black spinels are an intriguing newcomer to modern jewelry, reflecting jet that nature made.