What are black gems and how many types are there in the market?
Look no further. You will get this and many more questions answered.
This guide covers and answers the questions:
- What are black gemstones and why are they black?
- What are the various types of black gemstones in the market?
- A unique analysis of black gemstones
In this Guide
What Are Black Gemstones?
During the medieval period, any black gemstone was associated with bad energy, gothic, and mourning. Queen Victoria once adorned a crown with a black jet at the funeral of Prince Albert in the 19th century.
These days, black gemstones are worn as a modern fashion statement. They create a modern stylish and elegant look. In modern times, people are embracing black gems and combining them with other gold finishes and white metal unlike in the past.
With no rival color, black gemstones make a good accessory for any outfit. It can be worn by both males and females. Choosing a black gem is a big task as there are many available in the market.
The best place To Buy Black Gems?
Since its popularity has risen quite fast, many stores are now stocking a variety of black gems. Most people currently shop online. Even so, you will find beautiful pieces in the local jewelry shops like Tiffany & Co. they also have great deals
Black Gemstone Names and Pictures
There is a vast of options when it comes to black gemstones. Here is a list of the most trendy gemstones in the market:
- Black Sapphire
- Black Diamond
- Black Jet
- Black Tourmaline
- Black Garnet
- Black Zircon
- Black Spinel
- Black Onyx
- Black Pearl
1. Black Sapphire
Sapphire is a common gemstone and is in the family of corundum. It comes all the different colors even black. Black sapphire stones are not exactly black. It is the gemstone’s hue that is dark such as bluish, purplish, and other black-looking shades. So they normally appear as transparent or translucent in their clarity.
Black sapphires may not be as valuable and are seen as inferior. Hence they are not common in the market. Their hues are continuous but some stones have less significant variations when it comes to the depths and undertone. However, these stones reflect no light. If they are well faceted, then some specimens mirror light.
The black star sapphire is another popular type of sapphires. Its inclusions include rutile and hematite. They form a very unique pattern commonly referred to as asterism. This is a star-like effect. This sapphire is very strong with a Moh of 9 hence being very durable.
- Very strong
- Has asterism
- Shows asterism
- Transparent or translucent.
- About $20-$60
- Recommended for jewelry
- Very durable
2. Black Jet
You probably want to know where the term jet-black came from. It originated from the ancient Black Jet Stone. The phrase was coined to emphasize how black the stone already was. Jet is a well-known organic gemstone. It is made from fossilized wood and has properties that are similar to amber. At times it also goes by the name Black Amber.
During ancient times, the Black jet was used for mourning. In the 1920s its fame pulled out from the mourning perspective. It has a lustrous look and its opaque surface absorbs light.
Moh rates it at 2.5 to about 4 since it is very soft. For this reason, it is not suitable for daily jewelry as it easily breaks.
- Absorbs lots of light
- Organic gem
- Relatively soft
- About $4 – $20
- Easily breaks due to softness.
3. Black Diamond
Everyone wanted a sparkling diamond. This made black diamond unpopular back in the days. Now that it has gained popularity, its prices have greatly been affected as well.
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Just like the name suggests, black diamond stones are black. Similar to other diamonds, black diamonds are made of carbon. Most jewelry has its color formed during crystallization. For this case, the color seen on the diamond is a result of inclusions. The black shade is a result of minor inclusions saturated in the stone. The inclusions are mostly graphite.
This stone is very rare. Currently, they only come from the Central Africa Republic and brazil. It is additionally one of the hardest diamond varieties out there. It has a 10 on the Moh’s scale. Sadly, a few have cracks that in turn loosen the bonds.
It has less brilliance compared to its counterparts at it has no sparkle. It only comes in a single grade which is fancy. The value of black diamonds greatly depends on the inclusions and not the clarity. However, you’ll realize that the diamonds are not as expensive as buying other colored diamonds.
- Very tough
- Less brilliance
- Single grade- fancy
- Inclusions present
- Between $2,000 – $4,000
- Very exceptional
- Very costly
- Doesn’t glitter as other diamond stones do
4. Black Garnet
Since garnets are red, they are normally confused with rubies. there is a rare black garnet that stands out from the rest. They are identified as melanite and andradite. Between the two black melanite is more popular. You will easily find it in several jewelry stores.
To enhance its brilliance, melanite is cut to facets. Not only is the stone-hard, it also does not break easily. this makes it a great item for everyday jewelry. Additionally, it has a striking resemblance to black tourmaline. To differentiate them, check the luster. Black garnets have luster higher than tourmaline.
- Its brilliance is medium
- Pronounced hardness
- Between $30 – $80
- Relatively affordable
- Andradite is rarely found
5. Black Tourmaline
This is a common stone among the tourmaline stones family. They are in abundance all over the world. It is very smooth and features a clear glass-like luster. It is relatively hard with a score of 7-7.5 on the Moh scale. You can wear it with different types of jewelry.
When mining tourmalines, they come in different sizes and shapes. The mined stones are then cut to form faceted cuts of the cabochons. At times small needles of this tourmaline invade some quartz. This forms the popular tourmaline quartz.
- Clear glassy luster
- Found in plenty
- From $300-$500
- Perfect for different jewelry
- Not popular
6. Black Spinel
The famous substitute for rubies is the popular spinel. However, there is a unique black spinel. It is noticeably opaque. This black gemstone is commonly found in Thailand. It has a clear luster making it elegant. It is also very had. It has been scored an 8 on the Moh. This stone can be shaped into different faceted shapes such as cushion, pear, oval and other shapes.
There are times that black spinel shows asterism. A stone with this trait can always be shaped in cabochon which brings out a star-like pattern. This stone is relatively cheap. Its excellent levels of clarity make it a wonderful option for any jewelry.
- Normally, hard
- Displays asterism
- Somewhere between $200-$500
- Rationally affordable
- Perfect for most jewelry
- Not very popular
7. Black Zircon
The perfect alternative for a diamond is the Zircon. Similar to diamonds, zircon comes in a wide variety of colors including the black zircon. Even though it is a great gem, it comes at a very affordable price.
The black hue in this zircon comes from the inclusions present. These inclusions are oxide formed during crystallization. Its color slowly varies from shades of dark brown to a solid black shade.
It is moderately brittle and scores 6-7.5 on the Moh scale. Exposing it to rough and tough conditions is a great risk for breakage or a fracture. This is not the daily gemstone for you. It is further hard to get it in the market.
On the upside, the black zircon has an impressive brilliance. This improves when it is faceted into different shapes.
- Fragile gem
- Excellent brilliance
- Between $100-$250
- Very Affordable
- Difficult to get
Obsidian has a black glittery surface even though it is not crystalline. It falls on the list of the oldest stones discovered during ancient times. It was used to make jewelry, cutting materials, and simple tools during the medieval period. This stoned occurred as a result of different materials that were once subjected to volcanic activities.
A common practice is to cut the obsidian in cabochon. However, some faceted pieces look very brilliant even after the cut. As much as it looks tough, this stone is soft with only a 5.5 score on the Moh scale. When exposed to rough wear or blows, it then scratches easily. It adds a stylish look to your wardrobe and can be worn with almost anything.
- Aggregate of volcanic activity
- Moderately soft
- Around $3-$50
- Exceptional gem
- Really cheap
- Effortlessly cracks
9. Black Onyx
Onyx is one of the forms of agate. It has white and black alternating bands. Onyx is the black stone while chalcedony describes white stone.
There are instances where there may be red bands on the onyx stone. The red onyx is called sard This stone is called sardonyx.
A completely black onyx possesses a glassy luster. It is however not shiny. It is rare to find a black onyx in the market. you will mostly find the dyed specimens instead. Dying enhances the color.
It is moderately durable. It scores a 7 on the Moh hardness. Even so, it is not suitable for rough handling. It was an expensive stone in the past. These days it is valued as a minor gem and hen is very affordable.
Black onyx lasts long and stands at 7-Mohs hardness. However, rough handling is not recommended. A long time ago, this stone was a little expensive but today it’s one of the minor gemstones, hence its low price.
- Glassy luster
- Average durability
- Stripy streaks
- Ranges from $2-$20
- Dyed varieties of the black
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10. Black Pearl
When we look at any gemstone guide, one of the hardest types of pearls you will see listed is the black pearl. This is because they require unique conditions during the formation process. The highly valuable black pearl is the Tahitian pearls. They range from a soft grey color to a beautiful midnight deep ink shade.
They have a noticeable iridescent glow. Just like other organic gemstones, black pearls are cultured for millions of years. These stones are very soft with a score of 2.5 on the Moh scale. When used in any jewelry they can easily break hence extra care is needed.
- Extremely rare
- Rather soft
- Real Organic gemstones
- From $300-$30,000
- Each piece is very unique
- Breaks easily
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