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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 color. Rather, it represents confidence, independence, fearlessness, and nonconformity.
If you, too, are interested in a black engagement ring, there is a range of options available to you. While black diamonds are the best known, there are many options to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the best types of black engagement rings.
1. Black Diamond Engagement Rings
Black diamonds used to be the outsiders in the diamond world, considered inferior industry-grade materials. Today, this has changed, and many people choose these unique stones.
No one really knows where black diamonds come from, and their origins are still a mystery. 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.
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 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
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 is 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.
So, if black pearls are so beautiful and unique, does that make them suitable for engagement rings? The answer is yes and no. Pearls are very soft organic gemstone, ranking at 2.5 on the Mohs scale. They can easily get scratched and abraded and are very delicate.
So, we wouldn’t really recommend them as an everyday gemstone. While it’s true that with reasonable care, you can make them last a long time, it’s more practical to have a ring that is hardy and durable.
Having said that, 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.
4. Black Opal Engagement Rings
Black opal is the most valuable and well-known type of opal. But unlike other black gemstones, black opals aren’t solid black in color. Such an would have no value, because it’s the flashes of color that make an opal stand out. No, black opals have a dark body tone, which can vary in hue from black to gray.
What makes a black opal valuable and special is how its dark body tone emphasizes the opal’s flashes of color. This creates a beautiful contrast and one that makes the colors come alive in your opal. However, as with black pearls, black opals too are quite soft. 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.
If you’re willing to put in the maintenance, they’re well worth the effort. Black opals pair beautifully with white metals and accent diamonds. For a quirky, vintage look, you can choose a yellow gold setting.
5. Black Cubic Zirconia Engagement Rings
Cubic zirconia is the most popular diamond simulant on the market as well as the most affordable. It’s 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.
It’s the same for black cubic zirconia, a lab-created black diamond simulant. It’s a hard gemstone that resists scratches and damage, 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. But if you want to add value to a black cubic zirconia ring, you can do that by choosing a quality setting. This will ensure that even though you may need to replace the stone, the setting will last through the changes.
6. Black Moissanite Engagement Rings
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.
Moissanite is unlike any other gemstone. Natural moissanite is thought to have entered earth from outer space, making it truly stardust! 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.
7. 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 it 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! There’s a range of black metal options on the market, including black gold, black titanium, black ceramic, and black tungsten that make stylish man-gagement rings. You can also choose to have carbon fiber or black enamel inlays in a white metal ring.
But if you’re looking for a ring with stones for texture and glamor, there are many options now where smaller black stones are laid into the metal to create a sparkling effect. The thing with men’s black engagement rings is that they tend to look very similar to wedding rings. But that’s because the trend of male engagement rings is quite recent and options are still limited. What’s more, most men prefer to wear smaller gemstones than a single large one.
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, just ensure that this is indeed a style you believe you will love decades down the line. And if not, it’s always ok to change your mind and upgrade your ring to something different later on.