For decades, colorless diamonds have been the go to stone for engagement rings. But an increasing number of couples are looking for more unique and individual ways to express their style.
For some, this means going the opposite way of tradition, opting for black engagement rings.
A black engagement ring makes a striking statement. Black is not a demure or feminine color. Rather, it represents confidence, independence, fearlessness and non-conformity.
If you, too, are interested in a black engagement ring, there are a range of options available to you. From diamonds to cubic zirconia, keep reading for a list of your best black engagement ring options.
Black diamond engagement rings
Black diamonds used to be the outsiders in the diamond world, considered as inferior industry-grade materials. However, due to clever jewelry designing and marketing campaigns, they have become one of the hottest trends on the market.
Black diamonds are an enigmatic stone and no one really knows where this variety of diamond comes from. There are numerous theories as to its origins, and this has added to the mystery of the stone.
What we do know is that a black diamond gains its color from the presence of high levels of graphite or sulphide inclusions within the stone. When these inclusions are evenly distributed, the stone is evenly colored. An evenly saturated diamond is always more desirable. As impurities are a fundamental part of these stones, the clarity levels of black diamonds are not graded. Instead, the clarity grade is noted as being omitted.
Even though black diamonds are commonly opaque, with little light coming through, they have a very good sparkle and shine. When expertly faceted, these stones have a luster similar to that of colorless diamonds.
In terms of durability, black diamonds are the toughest of all the diamond varieties and are excellent for daily wear. However, as with any gemstone, it is important to take basic precautions to prolong the life of your diamond.
Black diamonds pair well with colorless diamonds and can be used as accent stones for a more neutral touch. For a vintage style, you can pair the stone with yellow or rose gold metals but for a more modern, trendy vibe, choose white metals.
Black onyx engagement rings
Onyx is a variety of chalcedony that is found in solid black or banded black and white varieties. The solid black variety of onyx has traditionally been the most popular black gemstone. This gemstone has been used since ancient times in jewelry, especially in engraving and cameo designs. In the past, it used to be highly valued, but today is considered a minor gemstone.
Black onyx is often treated to gain its saturated black color, which is a widely accepted industry standard. While it looks similar to black diamonds it is not as durable nor as shiny. It has more of a vitreous luster Onyx gemstones are typically eye-clean and have high clarity levels.
Onyx has a hardness rating of 7, which is relatively soft for an engagement ring gemstone. It is not a very durable gemstone, but can be worn daily with reasonable care. You may need to replace the stone if it gets damaged, but as it is very affordable, doing this will not very costly.
Onyx set in yellow gold takes on a vintage, eye-catching appearance. The contrast is quite strong and very beautiful.
Black pearl engagement rings
The word pearl is synonymous with the color white, so the term black pearl comes across as a contradiction in terms! While most other gemstones are made of minerals, pearls are organic gemstones, produced by a living organism (oysters) and can be farmed and harvested.
So, what makes a pearl black?
Black pearls are extremely rare in nature, and require very specific conditions. Not every oyster can make a black pearl. This is why black pearls are among the most expensive pearl varieties.
There are a range of black pearls to choose from, including Black Akoya, Tahitian and Black Freshwater. These can be found ranging in hues from solid black to degrees of gray. Black pearls possess an iridescence and ethereal glow, making them instantly noticeable.
Now the question is:
Are black pearls suitable for engagement rings? The answer is yes and no. Pearls are very soft gemstones, ranking at 2.5 on the Mohs scale. They can easily get scratched and abraded and are very delicate.
For an everyday gemstone, pearls are not the best choice. However, with reasonable care and maintenance they can last a long time. If you are not attached to the pearl on your ring, then you will not have an issue replacing the pearl every so often as it wears out or gets damaged. Part of the allure of pearls is how delicate and soft they are. And a black pearl with its beautiful glow is well worth the trouble of maintenance.
Black opal engagement rings
A black opal is the most valuable and well-known type of opal. Unlike other black gemstones, a black opal does not exhibit a solid black color. In fact, a solid black opal would have no value. Rather, it has a dark body tone, which can vary in hue from black to gray.
What makes the black opal so special is that the dark body tone allows the flash of colors of the opal to be prominent. This emphasizes the colors, creating a beautiful contrast. It is this feature that makes black opal so valuable.
Opals are relatively soft stones, ranking at 5.5 on the Mohs scale. Like pearls, they require proper care and maintenance, especially when doing rough work or being exposed to chemicals.
Having said that, you cannot deny the beauty of an opal engagement ring. It is a unique choice and adds that extra touch of color to your every day look. No two opals look alike, so you know that the stone you’re getting is uniquely yours.
Black opals pair beautifully with white metals and accent diamonds. For a quirky, vintage look, you can choose a yellow gold setting.
Black cubic zirconia engagement rings
Cubic zirconia is the most popular diamond simulant on the market as well as the most affordable. Cubic zirconia is not valuable but you could argue that it is a rational choice. Did you know that many celebrities often leave their real diamonds in the safe, instead opting to wear cubic zirconia look-alikes? These stones are so similar to diamonds that often even experts find it difficult to tell them apart.
Black cubic zirconia is a man-made diamond simulant. It is a hard gemstone at 8 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale. This makes it a great choice for daily wear, and because it costs next to nothing to replace a damaged stone, there’s little worry about protecting the stone.
A black cubic zirconia will look near identical to a diamond and will perform in much the same way. One suggestion would be to choose a high-quality setting for your cubic zirconia. This will add value to your ring and ensure that even though you may need to replace the stone, the setting will last through the changes.
Black moissanite engagement ring
Another popular diamond simulant, black moissanite is an excellent choice if you want the diamond look but not the cost nor the ethical concerns. Moissanite is more expensive than cubic zirconia but is still a fraction of the cost of a diamond.
Natural moissanite is thought to have entered earth from outer space, making it truly star dust! Natural moissanite is extremely rare and its supply is too limited for use in jewelry, which is why all moissanite on the market is lab-created.
This ‘space diamond’ has a hardness rating of 9.25, the second hardest gemstone used in jewelry after diamonds! Black moissanite looks identical to diamonds but may sometimes contain a rainbow effect when viewed under natural light.
The infographic below gives a concise comparison between black moissanite and black diamonds.
Black gold engagement rings
For a long time, when people said black gold, they were referring to oil. Now, however, there really is such a thing as black gold in the jewelry industry.
Black gold is very popular at the moment, as it is unique, trendy and edgy. It is created through a plating process, whereby the ring, made of actual yellow or white gold, is dipped in black rhodium. This is an industry standard and the rhodium gives the stone a shiny, polished surface.
Black gold can be paired with any gemstone for a modern engagement ring. For a solid black look, you can pair with a black gemstone. Colorless diamonds give a beautiful contrast to black gold. For a stronger contrast and a pop of color, choose a colored gemstone such as amethyst, sapphire or ruby.
A black gold engagement ring is unique and very rare so regardless of the gemstone you choose, it is guaranteed to be eye-catching.
Black engagement rings for men
In an article about black engagement rings, it would be remiss of us if we did not address the trend of black engagement rings for men! After all, why should women have all the fun? An engagement is a significant moment in a relationship with a commitment between two parties. So why shouldn’t both parties symbolize that commitment with engagement rings?
A black engagement ring for men will not be very different from a wedding band. This is why a man who chooses to wear an engagement ring will have some explaining to do to his friends and family, who may think he has already got married!
Be that as it may, for a man who wants to display his commitment to his fiancé with a black engagement ring, there are a range of black metal options on the market, including black gold, black titanium, black ceramic and black tungsten. You can also choose to have carbon fiber or black enamel inlays in a white metal ring.
So to wrap up, there are many ways you can choose to sport the black engagement ring trend. This non-traditional engagement ring style is truly glamorous and edgy and very unique!
Before you buy it though, just ensure that this is indeed a style you believe you will love decades down the line. An engagement ring is a lifetime decision, so make sure it suits you perfectly.