The Advanced Guide to Black Gemstones

Boucheron 26V long necklace and ring 1 min

In recent years, a trend of the retro style is represented by the sad and sentimental jewelry style prevailing in the Victorian era; therefore Black gemstones have become a new favorite in the jewelry industry. 

Back then Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, due to her widowed husband Albert, wore only black jewellery as an act to show her sorrow. As a consequence, black gems played a major role in the jewelry market in that period.

Today, black jewelry has evolved thanks to a variety of new materials and designs, such as black pearls and other precious black stones and more importantly, it is no longer sentimental and depressing but represents nobleness, mystery, darkness, solemnity and elegance.

Carbonado- commonly known as black diamond: expensive and rare

The Advanced Guide to Black Gemstones
Source: Cartier Résonances

The carbonado or black diamond has a black porous structure and is comparable in hardness to other diamonds. They are only found in Brazil and the Central African Republic.

This kind of gems is usually black, dark brown or dark gray with excellent hardness and toughness. Among diamonds of all colors, black diamonds are even more precious due to their scarcity.

Black garnet: great color, affordable prices, protection

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Garnet properties: hard, broad color variety, huge differences among categories

At the most basic level, the garnet stone is a hard silicate crystal that comes in many colors, although red is by far the most common. Based on chemical compositions, there are six species of garnets that are recognized, including Andradite, Grossularite, Spessarite, Pyrope, Uvarovite and Almandine. 

Pyrope including Rhodolite: red, rose pink.

Almandine: red-orange, brown-red and pure red.

Grossular: lemon yellow, mint green to green-yellow.

Uvarovite: green, most valuable, very rare.

Spessartine: yellow-orange, orange-red.

Andradite: yellow-green, emerald green, black.

Garnet meanings: protection, healing, love and prosperity

Today, Western society assigns birthstones by month, and the January birthstone still carries the warmth and well wishes of health, safety, and protection that garnets have carried throughout history.

A garnet birthstone is a way of wishing a long, safe, and healthy life for the new child.

Garnet also symbolizes love. Since garnet was a gift to the goddess of sunshine by the god of the underworld, people believe that it is a sign of the emotional connection. Therefore garnets become a symbol of love and is usually given to loved ones during dates or in wedding anniversaries.

Black jade: a rare and greasy luster

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Jade is an ornamental mineral known for its beautiful green hue. Jade can be formed from one of two minerals, nephrite and jadeite. Jade has been used for centuries in China, as it is thought to bring good fortune. Jade has a hardness of 6.0-7.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness while nephrite is slightly softer, ranging between 6.0-6.5.

Jade is most prized gem in its green variety, however, it can be also found in red, pink, black, white, brown, and violet. The gemstone has a luster that most would describe as “greasy,” which is not normally found in other gems.

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This gemstone is common in China, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and North America, normally speaking, in metamorphic rocks which are associated with subduction zones.

Although jade is used in a lot of jewelry, it is more commonly used in cultural and spiritual art pieces.

Jade is approximately worth over $3000.00 USD per ounce, making it far more valuable than gold.

Meanings of Jade

It has been long believed that jade provides its wearer with enhanced clarity, wisdom, and intuition. For this reason, jade pendants have long been worn as protective talismans.

Obsidian: new, sharpe like glass

Source: Carter High Jewellery watch18K white gold, diamonds and obsidian

Obsidian is a common black gem, a naturally occurring silicon dioxide. This gem has only been hyped up for nearly a decade and has no historical heritage.

Today, most obsidian jewellery is produced in Central and North America, i.e. the national stone of Mexico is obsidian.

Obsidian mining sites are mostly distributed in areas that have had volcanic activities, such as Hawaii in the United States, Japan, Java in Indonesia, and Iceland, Hungary, the Lipari Islands in Italy, the former Soviet Union, Mexico, Ecuador, and Guatemala.

In addition, since the obsidian has the characteristics of glasses, it can be very sharp after breaking.

Black onyx: bright and pure color, the most typical black gemstone

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Source: Buccella onyx earrings; Net-a-porter

Black onyx is a very common type of agate in nature with a bright and pure color. It has been used as an amulet ever since ancient times because this stone symbolizes perseverance.

Many ancient legends have mentioned the black onyx, saying that it can bring happiness, confidence and beautiful dreams to the wearer. Some scholars regard the black onyx as the “third eye” in gemstones because it symbolizes friendliness, love, and hope.

In addition, the black onyx is also called “the stone of longevity” as it has the effect of promoting happiness and prosperity in our lives, as well as helping relieve stress.

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Black opal: unique, rare and expensive


Opal- the “palette” of all gemstones

Opal is the birthstone of October. In fact, throughout most of human history, opal has been considered the luckiest and most amazing gemstone thanks to its excellent capability to present all of colors on it own.

Experts have classified high quality opals into five categories, namely: white opal, black opal, fire opal, boulder opal and crystal opal.

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The background color of black opal is translucent to opaque black or dark gray. It is the most expensive and rarest species. Many people have misunderstood the concept, thinking that the black opal is black. In fact, black opal just looks darker than the other lighter ones.

Black pearl: precious, originate from Tahiti

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Source: Buccellati Ghianda Set

Black pearl is a bronze-colored pearl, which is very precious kind of gemstones. It symbolizes the crystallization of hardship, regarded as the painful tear after suffering that is rare and noble.

There are only two main natural production sites of black pearls: the first one is Tahiti in the Polynesian Islands, which produces 95% of black pearls in the world; the other is Penn and Majuki islands in the Cook Islands, 4%.

Less than one percent was produced by other Pacific islands. These two main areas are located in the central and southern Pacific Ocean; therefore black pearls are also called black South Sea pearls.

Black sapphire: dark and opaque and relatively cheaper

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Source: Boucheron Cypris Black Sapphire Ring

Sapphire is a general name for corundum gemstones other than red rubies, mainly composed of alumina. Black sapphire is dark and opaque and relatively cheaper than sapphires of other colors.

Just like other sapphires, the main component of black sapphire is alumina, which has obvious dichroism. Its hardness is 9, second only to diamonds.

Schorl- Black Tourmaline: dark and deep, affordable prices

SRP1852 czech moldavite black tourmaline crystal pendant
Czech Moldavite & Black Tourmaline Crystal Pendant; Source: Arkadiancollection

Meanings of black tourmalines: Physical health, concentration and self confidence

Black tourmalines look dark and deep. They are said to help effectively eliminate stress, fatigue, turbidity and improve physical health and luck.

For those who are easily frightened and have nightmares during sleep at night, placing a black tourmaline aids to stabilize the space energy field and to dispel evil. Patients wearing black tourmalines can avoid external interference, concentrate on healing, and increase the speed of recovery.

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Black spinel: pure and shining, strong resistance

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Source: Tiffany

Black spinel is one of the most common black gemstones. It is in pure black that does not fade and is characterized by strong resistance to high temperature.

Black spinel, although pure and shining, looks very low-key. Fortunately, a large number of international jewelers and designers have discovered its unique charm and variability and used this gemstone in jewelry. Whether it is a protagonist or a matching stone to set off other elements like gold or silver, it can always show the beauty of the pieces.

Black zircon: brilliant luster, affordable prices

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You may feel unlimited choices as you browse Zircons. These gems come in black, white, blue, red, green, yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple, gray or colorless.

Whatever the color, you will give a gem that’s an impressive 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale (10 is hardest). Colorless zircons can look just like diamonds, but the price tag will probably give the secret away.

Giving off brilliant luster, the Zircon makes a great first impression, but depending upon the color you choose, this stone may darken over time if it’s exposed to too much prolonged sunlight.

That stated, you can find inexpensive stones running as little as $35 per carat up to $400 per carat for the highest quality stones in hard-to-find colors. This price range is great news for budget-constrained gift givers.

Conclusion on black gemstones

Thank you for reading this article on black gemstones, feel to share your thoughts below or check other articles on gemstones that we have published: Gemstones by color: A complete list is all that you have ever needed.

Featured image source: Boucheron.

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