These days, black gemstones are a bold and sophisticated fashion statement. They look both timeless and modern, which allows you to style them in many different ways. Here is our list of the most popular black gemstones that immediately add an air of elegance to any look.
Types of Black Gemstones
People have embraced the versatility of black gemstones and wear them like any other jewel. Black gemstones set in gold and white metal are eye-catching and make a striking fashion statement. They are an excellent accent piece for both men and women.
1. Black Diamond
In the past, people considered black diamonds worthless, but they have since evolved into an elegant, eye-catching fashion statement. Since they are more opaque than colorless diamonds, black diamonds reflect light in a subtler way.
They are one of the toughest varieties of diamond, with minuscule graphite impurities that give them their black color. Black diamonds are also very strong, measuring at a 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
Black diamonds are very expensive and only found in a few places in the world, such as Brazil and Central Africa. Synthetic black diamonds can be made by treating colorless diamonds with intense heat, but diamonds made using this method are less valuable.
2. Black Diopside
Black diopside is extremely rare and usually only an item for serious collectors. This stone exhibits chatoyancy, or cat’s eye effect, which means that it reflects a narrow band of light across it. This is a rare phenomenon that only occurs in a few varieties of gemstones.
3. Black Garnet
Garnets are typically red, so black garnets are quite rare. Black garnets come in different varieties, the most common of which is black melanite. A very tough stone, black garnet doesn’t break easily and is well suited for everyday wear. It is versatile in wearability and very bright when faceted.
4. Black Jade
Jade is often associated with China and Japan and has a long history in the East. The amount of iron in the stone determines how dark it is, and with enough iron, a jade stone can be almost completely black.
Because it is softer, measuring around a 6 on the Mohs scale, jade is easier to carve than other stones. It is possible to facet a jade stone, but jade is more commonly carved with intricate designs. Because jade is a compact stone, it is tough despite its softness.
5. Black Jet
Black jet, also known as black amber, is made of fossilized wood. It is a type of coal and is highly flammable. The stone is exceptionally black in color, and people often use the phrase “jet black” to describe something of notable darkness. Jet is solid in color and does not reflect much light. It seems to absorb the light instead.
Used as mourning jewelry in the Victorian Era, black jet was famously worn by Queen Victoria at her husband Albert’s funeral. With a Mohs rating of 2.5 to 4, jet breaks easily and is usually only worn for special occasions.
6. Black Onyx
Black onyx is a relatively common gemstone, though in ancient times, it was quite rare. It was used in past centuries as a healing stone.
Black onyx is a smooth and lustrous stone with a matte finish. The black varieties of onyx are often dyed to enhance the color. These treated stones are less valuable, making them a more affordable option for black gemstone jewelry.
7. Black Opal
Black opals are not technically black, but they share the dark tones of black gemstones and are often equated with them. Opals are quite expensive despite being relatively common stones.
8. Black Pearl
The most valuable black pearls, Tahitian pearls, come in a variety of shades from light gray to pure black. The pearl is an organic gemstone created over millennia inside of an oyster. It has an iridescent glow with hints of rainbow colors.
If you plan to buy pearls, keep in mind that they are very delicate and break and scratch easily. They are not for everyday wear and should be well maintained and handled carefully.
9. Black Quartz
Black quartz can vary in color from gray to perfect black. Its shade varies depending on how much aluminum is present in its makeup; this also helps to determine its pricing. It is one of the rarer colors of quartz.
10. Black Sapphire
Sapphires come in a variety of colors, including black. Black sapphires vary in darkness and hue, even appearing blue or purple in some instances. They are incredibly rare but are still considered lesser gemstones, which makes them relatively affordable.
11. Black Scapolite
Black scapolite is a durable, lesser known gemstone that comes in black, brown, and purple tints. Due to its rarity, black scapolite is highly sought after by collectors.
12. Black Spinel
Black spinel is an opaque black gemstone most commonly found in Southeast Asia. It is a tough stone (an 8 on the Mohs scale) and can be cut into many popular facets like oval and pear. Even though it isn’t a very well-known stone, black spinel is well-suited for most kinds of jewelry.
13. Black Tourmaline
Black tourmaline is the most abundant of all the colors of tourmaline. It is highly affordable, easy to acquire, and extremely durable, making it ideal for jewelry. Black tourmaline is smooth and glassy in appearance.
14. Black Zircon
Black zircon gets its color from the inclusion of iron oxide in its composition. Zircon is very brittle and breaks easily. Since this is a lesser known gemstone, getting your hands on a piece of black zircon jewelry can be quite difficult.
Obsidian is natural glass that forms when lava hardens rapidly. For this reason obsidian is also known as volcanic glass. In ancient times, people used obsidian to make basic tools like arrowheads and blades. It has a lustrous, shiny surface. One downside to obsidian is that it easily gets scratched or broken, but black obsidian is a great choice for jewelry if it is well cared for.
Fashion and Black Gemstones
The color black is versatile in fashion, pairing well with just about any other color. There is a timeless elegance to wearing black gems with a white outfit. If you are looking to create a cohesive, high-fashion look, black gemstone jewelry is an excellent option.
It has become more common for men to wear jewelry, and some designers consider their pieces to be unisex. While there are men out there who go straight for the clear diamonds, some may favor the more subdued route of wearing black, brown, and cognac stones. A piece of jewelry, even a simple one, takes a casual look to the next level.
Styling Your Black Gemstone Jewelry
The darkness of a black gemstone should stand out from your ensemble. Opt for lighter-colored clothes and choose monochrome outfits when possible. Contrast is key.
When pairing black gemstones with metal accents, contrast is key once again. A black stone in a white or gold fitting brings out the color of the stone even further. Because of their opacity, black gemstones tend to work better with leather or wooden beads, where lighter colored stones might clash.
How to Buy Black Gemstone Jewelry
Discuss your options with a jeweler. Consider what kind of jewelry piece you want and how you plan to style the piece. Depending on the shape or size of the gems, they may be better suited to different kinds of jewelry.
Think about what properties you are looking for in a gemstone. Do you want a shiny, sparkly gemstone, or do you prefer a more opaque matte finish? Consider the number of gems, also. Do you want something elaborate, or do you prefer the minimalist route? Both are possible with these versatile stones.
The Bottom Line
When deciding to buy a black gemstone jewelry piece, you should carefully weigh a number of factors. Think about brilliance and sparkle. Do you want your jewelry to reflect light or absorb it? This will influence what kind of black gemstone you choose. Also, consider durability and permanence. Will this gem be for everyday wear or for special occasions only?
Finally, you have to consider your budget. There are several varieties of black gemstones, all at varying price points, so it is important to consider that when choosing which stone you want. Regardless of price, black gemstone jewelry adds to any ensemble and creates a high-fashion look.