GEMSTONE GUIDES

Salt and Pepper Diamond Guide

Salt and pepper diamonds have been the new kid on the block for the last few years, and here at Jessica Flinn, we know a winner when we see one. They've become our signature stone, and we are so excited to walk you through these truly special stones!

GEMSTONE GUIDES

Salt and Pepper Diamond Guide

Salt and pepper diamonds have been the new kid on the block for the last few years, and here at Jessica Flinn, we know a winner when we see one. They've become our signature stone, and we are so excited to walk you through these truly special stones!


Glossary

Synthetic, laboratory grown, laboratory created, man-made, or cultured salt and pepper diamond: Lab grown salt and pepper diamond


Galaxy diamond, rustic diamond: These are just other names for salt and pepper diamonds 


MOHS Scale:  This tells us the Hardness (or strength) of a gemstone. Diamonds are the Hardest!


Heat Treating: The act of applying heat to a stone, bringing it to near-melting point to improve colour or clarity. 


Inclusions: An inclusion is a cavity or crystal cluster within a gemstone. These can cause problems if they form too close to the surface, and their presence will often decide the value of a stone.

What is a Salt and Pepper Diamond?

Salt and Pepper diamonds are exactly what they sound like: diamonds with a beautiful speckled interior, ranging from a dark galaxy to a light speckled effect. This stunning internal firework is caused by inclusions that form within the gemstone. Salt and pepper diamonds are still exactly that, diamonds, and have all the benefits that come with being on the gemstone top-spot. 

Salt and Pepper Diamond Meaning

Diamonds have been used to represent many things since they were discovered in India, over two thousand years ago. Today, as well as being the birthstone of April and the gift for the 60th and 75th wedding anniversary, diamonds are most commonly said to symbolise strength, health, purity and perseverance.  


But each colour of diamond has its own special meaning! Blue diamonds are commonly associated with royalty, whereas pink diamonds are said to symbolise sweetness and grace.


As salt and pepper diamonds are diamonds, they share in all of these symbols. And they are lucky enough to get their own special meanings on top! Many couples choose salt and pepper stones for their wedding jewellery as a romantic expression of their individuality and their relationships. 


Salt and Pepper Diamond Value

If you're looking for a statement stone on a budget, salt and pepper diamonds may just be the ticket to your success! As they cannot be graded in the same way as traditional white diamonds, they also often come with a smaller price tag. The average price for salt and pepper diamonds per carat will vary, and we will talk you through why!


There are different features in every gemstone that will lower or raise their price, so when you're searching for the perfect salt and pepper diamond it is key to consider what is most important to you! Do you want a large stone, or have you got your heart set on an unusual colour? 


Some variations of salt and pepper diamonds will cost more than others. A lightly dusted pale salt and pepper will usually be more expensive than a dark galaxy stone, because a stone with fewer inclusions is more similar to a standard diamond. A coloured salt and pepper, like a goldfish salt and pepper, will cost more because they are much rarer!

Salt and Pepper Diamond Rarity

Salt and Pepper diamonds as a whole are more common than standard diamonds. This has always been the case! However, before they were welcomed into the jewellery world, these gemstones would have been discarded, or ground down into dust to be used in manufacturing processes. 


Any diamond is still relatively rare, although, as 28 tonnes of diamond is mined each year, it is one of the more common precious gemstones.  

Salt and Pepper Diamond Hardness

Salt and pepper diamonds share the top-spot on the MOHS Scale with their white diamond sibling, scoring a fantastic 10/10. However, due to the inclusions that make them so unique, this does mean that salt and pepper diamonds can break! 


Like emeralds, these stones can be brittle, so while they are unlikely to be scratched by anything other than another diamond, a hard knock can shatter or crack your stone.


The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a scale used to measure the scratch resistance of various minerals. It assigns a relative hardness value to minerals based on their ability to scratch or be scratched by other minerals. With 10 being the hardest (diamond).


How are Salt and Pepper Diamonds Formed?

Salt and pepper diamonds are natural diamonds, and natural diamonds are formed like every other gemstone: at scarily high temperatures and pressures, deep below the surface of the earth! This magical process brings us all sorts of sparkly delights, with diamond ruling supreme for the last hundred years. 


Diamond is a gemstone made of the mineral carbon, which accounts for its hardness of 10! When other minerals sneak into the mixture, you get different colours. Some colours like grey and brown used to be used solely for industrial purposes, until the recent trend for cognac and champagne diamonds. 

"At Jessica Flinn, we specialize in salt and pepper diamonds for a reason – their distinct beauty is truly cherished by us. Each one is wonderfully unique, with every piece radiating its own exquisite charm, just as enchanting as the last."

JESSICA FLINN-ALLEN, CEO

Lab Grown Salt and Pepper Diamonds

Due to the nature of a salt and pepper diamond, they do not tend to be lab grown. The very thing that makes them so beautiful is regarded as an imperfection in a standard diamond, and so everything in the growing process for synthetic diamonds is designed to remove inclusions. 


A salt and pepper diamond is still a more sustainable choice than purchasing a plain mined diamond, as they are technically waste products of traditional mining! 

Where Do Salt and Pepper Diamonds Come From?

Everywhere you find diamonds, you will find salt and pepper diamonds. Australia, South Africa and China are all major producers of natural diamonds. India is the biggest source of ‘fancy’ diamonds, so most of the salt and pepper diamonds with that extra little pop of colour are likely to be found there!

Salt and Pepper Diamond Ring Inspiration

Salt and Pepper Diamond Colours

This is truly where the magic is in salt and pepper diamonds. Diamonds themselves come in a whole variety of colours, with blue and white diamonds being the most sought after. All other colours come under the umbrella of ‘fancy’ diamonds.


Of course, this superb rainbow also applies to salt and pepper diamonds, meaning that there is a huge variety for anyone seeking something special!


One of the most popular salt and pepper varieties is the goldfish salt and pepper diamond. With rustic strands of orange and peach inclusions, and a creamy white stone, it's a delicate sister to the gothic galaxy diamonds we know and love. 


Less well known are the ocean blue salt and pepper diamonds. Dark and stormy, they're the perfect choice for anyone with a love for the sea, or who just likes something a bit dramatic. 

There is so much choice within these stormy greys, you’ll be sure to find the perfect gem for you. Even if salt and peppers aren't usually your thing. From elegant icy white to dusty grey, there's something to grace every finger!

Caring for Your Salt and Pepper Diamond

Don’t wear your salt and pepper jewellery during sports: This should be a no-go with any jewellery, as it can be dangerous for both you and your gemstone. You should avoid any kind of overly physical activity to avoid potential knocks, claws catching or breaking, dents and stone losses! This includes swimming as chlorine and salt water can be especially harsh for your gemstone!


Don’t put your salt and pepper diamond in an ultrasonic cleaner: Salt and pepper stones get their distinctive look from the presence of inclusions. If stones with inclusions like this go into an ultrasonic or steam cleaner this can lead to the stone shattering!


Do clean your salt and pepper jewellery gently, by hand: You can use a damp cloth and warm soapy water to gently clean your salt and pepper diamond. Pat it dry with a lint-free cloth, and you’re done!


If you think your jewellery needs a refresh by a professional, book in for our repair and refresh service!

Salt and Pepper Diamonds FAQs

Are salt and pepper diamonds ethical?

Salt and pepper diamonds can be an ethical stone, but it is important that your supplier can trace where they were mined! That way you can ensure all measures are being followed. They are also a more sustainable choice than a plain white diamond, as they are technically a waste product of the mining process. 

Are salt and pepper diamonds cheaper?

Yes, salt and pepper diamonds do tend to be cheaper than a natural white diamond of the same size and cut. 

Can salt and pepper diamonds be lab grown?

Yes, they can be, but it is unlikely you will find any manufacturer doing so. The salt and pepper effect is caused by inclusions, which are regarded as imperfections in this process.

Do salt and pepper diamonds break easily?

Unless you are knocking your gem on everything, your salt and pepper diamond will not break easily! Diamonds are incredibly hard so are unlikely to scratch, but as salt and pepper diamonds can be brittle, a hard impact can cause your stone to break.

What causes salt and pepper diamonds?

‘Salt and pepper’ is the name for a natural diamond with many inclusions. These occur naturally in the growth process, and can produce beautiful effects.

Are salt and pepper diamonds real?

 Yes, Salt and pepper diamonds are 100% natural in the same way as any mined stone. They are real diamonds, just with a bit of extra flavour!

Are salt and pepper diamonds good for engagement rings?

Salt and pepper diamonds are a great choice for an engagement ring! They are hard enough to stand every day wear, and are a perfect way to symbolise your individual relationship!