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Everything you need to know about Salt and Pepper diamonds

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What are Salt and Pepper diamond?

A few weeks ago our client was looking for a black diamond ring and I asked if he considered salt and pepper diamond and he asked me back “Are they even real diamonds?”. Turns out there is lots of misinformation out there and I thought it would be great to clarify everything and put it in one place.


If you feel like you better watch the video here it is 🙂


Here at NinaVova we love working with unique designs and stones and salt and pepper diamond are one of our favorites. 

We all know about white diamonds, and some of us hear about the main characteristic of the diamonds, 4cs which represent carat, clarity, color, and cut. That they are a girl’s best friends and that you have to spend 3 salaries on them. But what are Salt and Pepper diamonds? Are salt and pepper diamonds even real? What are these spots and lines inside? Is it a good buy and if so how to choose one. In this article, I’m going to answer all of these important questions.

Are salt and pepper diamonds real diamonds?

Yes, they are real diamonds. Less than 3% of the diamonds are white or would be scientifically correct to say colorless. Most of the mined diamonds have imperfections, inclusions of some sort. Salt and pepper diamonds are the one who have a rear, perfect mixture of black and white inclusions that remind us of a mix of salt and pepper. They are real diamonds in every way.

  • GIA proves that they are real diamonds,  
  • the jeweler would classify it as real diamonds, 
  • diamond testers would test it as a diamond, 
  • they are as durable as colorless diamonds (10 on Mohs scale).

Like I mentioned previously diamonds classified with 4cs where one of them is clarity. In salt and pepper diamond inclusions are much more visible than in colorless diamonds which makes the look of it absolutely unique in comparison to traditional diamonds and it makes them unique among themself as well. 

What are these inclusions?

Most diamonds formed 1-3 billion years ago and brought to the surface of the earth through volcanic eruptions. Inclusions reflect the time, temperature, and pressure, the overall history of creation.

Black inclusions are sulfides or ilmenite,

White inclusions are diamonds in a diamond,

Red inclusions are Garnet,

Green inclusions are olivine or diopsid.

There are very little fake salt and pepper diamonds out there BUT…

There is a big problem with the colourless diamond market – lots of the stones are fake.

Some sellers are trying to pass cubic zirconia or moissanite as real diamonds, especially the one that is smaller than 0,5ct. Similar things happen when buyers try to pass their moissanite rings like diamond rings and with salt and pepper diamonds, it’s almost impossible to do. The process would be similar to Lab Diamonds (HPHT diamond and CVT diamonds) and you also would have to take care of inclusions, so the overall cost of production would exceed the cost of the real salt and pepper diamond.

But some sellers on marketplaces might try to sell rutilated quartz as a salt and pepper diamond and they are much more affordable. You can suspect quartz just by looking at it, it’s much foggier than the diamond, also the lines of inclusions much longer, and the other thing it’s the usual price like “too good to be true”. The safest way, of course, is to look for salt and pepper diamonds at trusted sellers as you would do for colourless diamonds.

What other kinds of diamonds with inclusions are out there.

There are other types of diamonds with inclusions out there that have aesthetic value for us. These types of diamonds are absolutely unique and different from one another and fall into the 3 most common categories.

Icy diamonds

diamond full of white inclusions. Usually diamond in a diamond, visually they look like pieces of icy or like milk added to water.

Salt and Pepper diamonds

One of the most popular types. That’s a diamond where you can spot white and black inclusions at the same time that makes it look like salt and pepper. Usually cut in a way to expose as much surface as possible.

Autumn diamonds or Rustic diamonds

Are diamonds that look like autumn leaves. They can be different colors from yellow to brown and have much different inclusion black as well as white.

Why we believe it’s a great choice

Depth and shine.

White diamonds and salt and pepper diamonds have different moods. White diamond sparks and reflects the light toward your eye, bringing all attention to the surface of the stone or to the light it reflects. Salt and pepper diamonds reflect less light towards you and invite you more into its complex world. Think of it like an extroverted and introverted character. 

Untreated, raw beauty.

Lot’s of traditional diamonds are heat treated to help to remove inclusions and imperfections. Salt and pepper diamonds on the other side are known for these inclusions and do not require heat treatment. All we do after mining them is cutting them to the best suitable shape.

Earth Friendly

We love salt and pepper diamonds not because of their purity and clearance but because of their story.

To get salt and pepper diamond you need to process significantly less soil. Salt and pepper diamonds take far less time and resources to mine them. Therefore we don’t have to throw away so many other diamonds.

There are no identical salt and pepper diamonds

There is absolutely no way to find identical salt and pepper diamonds. There is always a different amount of inclusions, propositions of white and black inclusions are also different. And you have to look at them closely to find the difference. It’s very visible. They are unique as to who buys them. Each diamond reflects the time it was formed. It’s a sort of time map of the earth.

How to choose your salt and pepper diamond and what to look for?

It’s a very fun process of choosing your perfect imperfections. We are all different and prefer different things. Some people would be into Galaxie like stone and some enjoy fairy tales about the snowy beauty and want to have an unmelted piece of ice. Salt and pepper diamonds are too unique to try and classify them with 4c or any other way. You just have to look through them until you find the one.

One thing has to be kept in mind when you choose salt and pepper diamonds. While some inclusions make your diamond look great the other might make it unstable and not durable. Buy them from a trusted source where jewelers preselect them.

Let’s talk about a very important question. The price.

Are diamonds with black spots cheaper?

I would say it’s significantly more affordable. Is it cheap? No, it’s not, it’s still a diamond. On average salt and pepper diamonds are 4 times more affordable than colourless.

Are salt and pepper diamonds valuable?

Yes, they are valuable and prices are growing much faster than on colorless diamonds. I believe there is still room to grow.

How much are salt and pepper diamonds worth?

It depends on where you buy them, from who and when. As with the colorless (white) diamond you can look up to 30%-50% difference between prices at the retailer store somewhere in New York or Los Angeles and online stores. On average salt and pepper diamond can cost anywhere from $800 to $1300 per carat online.
To make it easier we created a sheet with our approximate prices for


Please keep in mind that this is approximate prices.

Should I buy one? Is it a good investment? Do they hold their value?

Salt and pepper diamond are great alternatives to mass-produced standardized styles. They are unique and affordable. Salt and pepper diamonds naturally stand out without hurting the environment. They truly show the uniqueness of your character and that you look beyond standard opinion.

At the end of the day, it’s your choice. If you always wanted a perfectly colourless diamond in your engagement ring then you should go for it. If you are fascinated by the starry sky and galaxies on it and want one of these galaxies to be on your finger, then salt and diamond of pepper are a perfect choice.

I personally love them because of 2 things.
First, it reminds me of the philosophy of Kintsugi – art or repairing objects. Where precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum are added to the glue so you can see marks of repair much clearer. Philosophie behind is totreat breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.The relationship is not always perfect and if you look through the flaws you’ll focus on your love.
Second – I love the night sky. And every time I’m outside of LA I’m looking at it for hours, looking at all the beautiful galaxies out there and when I’m not there I love to think that there is a whole galaxy on my finger. Undiscovered worlds.

So where do I start with my salt and pepper engagement ring?

Here at NinaVova, we specialize in custom engagement rings. All of them are unique and have very different stories of creation. It’s very important to establish a connection with the client so you can match his expectation perfectly. We always start with consultation trying to determine what is that you specifically looking for. 


It’s important for all custom engagement ring projects that your setting perfectly matches the stone. We usually look for the perfect stone according to specifications and the budget and sketching your beauty at the same time. This way when you’ll find your perfect stone, “the one and only” we can make a perfect setting for it.

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Sergey Green

Sergey Green

I went from being an entrepreneur in my early 20s to being a wedding photographer, and now back to an entrepreneur. It's always about passion and true feelings and emotions for me. I'm creating a family legacy, pieces of history. Not just a ring.

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