Black Sapphire vs. Black Diamond – What’s the Difference?

While there are many options to choose from, two of the best black gemstones are black sapphire and black diamonds. Interestingly, not many people know that diamonds and sapphires can be found in black varieties.

If you’re looking for a black gemstone, these two offer the best options. But which should you choose – black sapphire or black diamond? Here’s a brief breakdown of the pros and cons of black sapphire vs. black diamond.

Black Diamond and Black Sapphire

Black Diamond Ring
Black diamond ring by Blue Nile. See it here.

Unlike their colorless and colored counterparts, both black diamonds and black sapphires have been considered inferior, low-grade gemstones and were not commonly used in jewelry. However, since the 1990s, black diamonds saw an unexpected surge in popularity, partly due to clever marketing tactics and expert designers who incorporated the gemstone into their work.

Black sapphires are not as prestigious as black diamonds. They are still considered second-rate gemstones and are not highly valued.

Black diamonds, also known as carbonado, contain graphite and amorphous carbon in their composition. They get their color from the presence of heavy amounts of graphite impurities within the stone. Natural black diamonds are very rare and mainly found in Central Africa and Brazil.

Black sapphires are made of corundum with inclusions causing the color of the stone. Unlike black diamonds, black sapphires are found in abundance, with most originating in Australia.

Black Diamond and Black Sapphire in Jewelry

Tungsten Black Sapphire Band
Black sapphire wedding band by James Allen. See it here.

Diamonds and sapphires are among the top gemstones for use in jewelry. This is because of their durability and appearance.

Black diamonds rank at 10 on the Mohs scale and are the toughest of all diamond varieties, due to their compact composition. The color of black diamonds is graded as Fancy Black and can range from faint gray to solid black. Evenly saturated black diamonds are the most sought-after. These stones are also quite lustrous and are often faceted for maximum effect. Black diamonds can be pricey depending on the quality of the stone, with some carats costing thousands of dollars.

black sapphire ring
Black sapphire engagement ring. See this here.

Black sapphires, on the other hand, are very affordable. They have very good durability (9 Mohs) and wearability. As black sapphires are not brittle, they are not prone to breakage. Black sapphires are commonly solid black in color and seem to absorb all light that touches them. It does not reflect light and is not a lustrous stone. They are often faceted or cut en cabochon.

Both these gemstones are ideal for daily wear and will last a long time with minimal maintenance. White metal settings give a cool contrast to black gemstones and have a modern touch to them. For a more vintage, softer feel, yellow or rose gold is perfect.

Synthetic and Treated Black Diamond and Black Sapphire

Rose Cut Black Diamond Necklace
Rose cut black diamond necklace. See it here.

Due to the high price tag of natural black diamonds, most black diamonds on the market are made by heat-treating low-quality colorless diamonds to turn them black. There are also synthetic black diamonds, which are man-made versions. These are exactly the same as natural stones.

Black sapphires may sometimes be heat treated to enhance their color. There are also synthetic versions of black star sapphires, which is a more expensive variety of black sapphires that contain asterism.

Should I Buy a Black Diamond or a Black Sapphire?

black diamond ring in yellow gold
Black diamond ring. See it here.

Both these gemstones have many advantages, making them very good choices for black gemstones. However, black sapphires are more affordable. Black diamonds, on the other hand, have more depth and brilliance and are also considered more prestigious.

If budget is your main concern, we recommend going with black sapphire. If, however, you’re looking for durability, then consider a black diamond.

Where Can I Buy Black Sapphires and Black Diamonds?

Finding black sapphire and diamond in brick-and-mortar stores will prove difficult, as these aren’t your typical mainstream gemstones. Black is not a typical color of jewelry and not many jewelers stock these designs.

However, by taking your search online, you’ll have endless options, competitive pricing, and the ease of choosing from home. We recommend searching on the following sites:

  • James AllenAn online giant in the diamond space, James Allen also offers a small but exclusive selection of loose black diamonds. The images and videos are unparalleled in quality and makes shopping online similar, if not better, to shopping in store.
  • Blue NileBlue Nile has an excellent selection of gemstone and birthstone jewelry. With competitive prices, after-sales policies, and good customer service, it’s a great place to take your search.
  • Etsy: Etsy has a large assortment of vendors that offer a variety of stunning gemstone jewelry, ranging from a few dollars to pieces that costs thousands of dollars.
  • Amazon: As it is one of the biggest online retailers worldwide, it’s not surprising that you can find all kinds of black sapphire and diamond jewelry here. The range is extensive and will take some time to go through, but it’s well worth it.

Wrapping Up

For those daring enough to try something different, black sapphire and diamond are appealing choices. Both these gemstones have their own pros and cons, and which you choose depend on your preferences and budget.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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