Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Since finding out about black diamonds as a young jeweller, I have been fascinated. “Is there really such a thing as a “black diamond”?” I asked my master goldsmith. Yes, he repiled, they use them for making sandpaper and diamond tip tools.”You mean they crush them up?” I asked. I was surprised. The thought of this black gem showing the properties of a diamond with a black hue had captured my imagination. They were not available as a cut gemstone and it was many years before I was to see one.
Now days they are pretty common. They are not as good as I had imagined. They do not have the sparkle of a white diamond. This is because what we see as black is carbon in it’s dirty form. When a white gem is graded any flaws and inclusions count against it as they spoil the sparkle and refraction of the diamond. In a black diamond it is one big flaw – in fact the better the black diamond the blacker and more solid the flaw.
None the less, set into titanium rings or platinum wedding bands they have a very good look. They retain all the other properties of a good diamond, namely hardness and durability. This makes the perfect for jewellery – especially mens rings and bangles. Set in pave they create a unique look and contrast with the metals.
Titanium and diamonds have always been a special combination – both very hard, both difficult to come by – the diamond titanium combination is a forever item. Gold and silver are wonderful for jewelry but le’ts face it – they are soft and wear with time. Tiatnium and diamonds make for great engagement rings
Silver oxidises (changes colour) and unless you are using 9ct gold (which is hardly gold, only 37.5% pure gold) it will bend and scratch. Even 9ct gold scratches and gouges badly The 18ct golds and 14ct golds are worse as they are softer – Titanium and platinum on the other hand are hard and durable. They will both scratch if treated badly enough – but titanium being 5 times harder than stainless steel, will last a lot better.
This is particularly true with men’s jewelry. Men are rough and take less care of their rings and bangles. From my own experience I like to put a pieces of jewellery on (in fact the same is with clothes and cars) and forget about it. If I need to climb a mountain or change a wheel – I do not want to remove my wedding band first. I do not even think of it – I just dive in and do what I need to do.
Titanium wedding rings and platinum rings are perfect for a man’s ring. Add black diamonds to it and you have a classy piece of jewellery that will last a life time – no matter how much abuse the wedding band or titanium cuff links take.
There are other options for gem stones for men’s jewelry. Any of the hard semi precious stones will work in a men’s ring. In the red colours you have garnet, Ruby, or rubalite (fancy name for red tourmaline). Green colored gems stones are tourmaline, peridot, emerald (brittle). Purple gems come in Amethyst. Blue one can use sapphire or indicolite (blue Tourmaline) – but forget about tanzanite rings – tanzanite and titanium are a terrible combo.
Tanzanite is not a stone I would rate as jeweller. It has the hardness of glass, and even a woman’s rings will suffer. Tanzanite gems will scratch, chip or crack pretty soon in a tanzanite ring. If you are lucky enough that it doesn’t – with time you can expect it too lose it’s facets and round off. Tanzanite engagement rings are about the worst idea anyone ever came up with.
Another great gem is Citrene. It comes in the yellows and oranges and is not too expensive. It’s pretty hard – Of course Cubic Zirconias are another gem that I rate very highly. The modern cubic comes in a huge range of colours, they are cheap and they are harder than most of the semi precious stones. They have a refractive index that is higher than that of diamonds (they sparkle more) and they are easily available. Against them is the fact that they are inexpensive and easily available.
Against black diamonds and white diamonds all of the other gems fail in terms of hardness and wearability. What they lack in hardness though they gain in beauty. The colors of semi precious gems are fantastic. No two are alike and why they call them semi precious I have no idea – for me they are all precious. They are supposed to be more common than diamonds – but diamonds are common – there are huge reserves of diamonds on the earth – some good spin from the diamond mining companies makes diamonds and black stones rare.
If titanium is not your style - have a look at some of our African wedding and engagement rings