Once looked upon with disdain, black gemstones were not the most popular. Today, they are more popular in jewelry pieces. Most people associate the color black with gloom, negativity, and gothic culture, so it was not often desired.
With a rainbow of translucent gemstones and colored diamonds to choose from, black gemstones have been tossed to the side. Most black gemstones are of a solid pigment, so you don’t get the same opaque look as you would with clear or other colored gemstones.
But this was the old way of thinking. Black is now the favorite color of everyone. Black goes with everything, looks great with other colors (except for navy blue), and is regarded as sophisticated and professional.
We’re starting this list with the most popular black gemstone found in fine jewelry, a black diamond. Black diamonds are a sort of conundrum.
For years and years, it has been engrained in our brains that diamonds should have a rainbow brilliance and no visible inclusions. Yet, these black diamonds are just solid, almost a matte color.
The black diamond goes against everything we’ve been taught about diamonds, yet it is very popular. You’ll most often see black diamonds paired with white diamonds for a lovely contrast of colors.
Black diamonds are said to have gotten their dark pigment due to graphite. When you look at a well-cut black diamond, you are not going to see any inclusions like you would looking at a white diamond.
Does that mean they don’t have any? Actually, it’s just the opposite. Black diamonds are riddled with inclusions!
In fact, there are so many inclusions, the whole stone is black with them. These stones are also a 10 on the Mohs scale (hardness and durability scale for minerals) and are even though to be more durable than white diamonds.
The black opal is one of the rarest opals. Opal is a gemstone that is most often seen as an opaque white with flashes of the entire rainbow throughout.
There are numerous opal colors that replace the milky white such as blue opal, pink opal, fire opal, and our star today, black opal.
Opal is the birthstone for October. It is made up of water, so you need to handle opals with care. They have a hardness of 6 on the Mohs scale, making it easy to damage.
Opals should not be one by someone who is hard on their hands, at least if you’re wearing it in a ring.
Opals are unique gemstones, both in appearance and how they’re formed. The formation of opals happened at least around 65 million years ago when the center of Australia was made up of sea.
The waves kept receding and extending over time. This created silica deposits on the shorelines. Over the next 35 million years, the silica deposits would be changed further into soluble silica.
The silica flows through cracks in the ground and begins to form the opals we see today. The process for opals to develop is a long one. It’s estimated to take about 5 million years to see an opal deposit form.
You’ve probably heard of a sapphire, but we’re betting it’s not this one. Most people don’t even know that black sapphires exist. Sapphires are most often known for the blue variety, but pink, yellow, and white are also popular.
Black sapphires often are mistaken for the stone onyx, but the two are very different. They have a similar hue of black in their stones, almost completely opaque. ‘
Very little light flows through them and they seem to absorb every bit of light that touches them (a tad depressing, right?). But don’t count them out yet.
Sometimes black sapphires can look like a very deep blue or deep gray. However, black sapphires are significantly more durable than onyx stones, rating a 9 on the Mohs scale, making them second to the hardness of a diamond.
Black sapphires have their own metaphysical characteristics as a healing crystal. They possess the ability to keep one calm in the midst of chaos. It allows you to trust your own intuition as well. Black sapphires can ward of bullying and provides protection from rage and intimidation.
Sapphire is formed when aluminum oxide minerals form crystals known as corundum. Corundum comes in a variety of different colors are they are all known as sapphires, with one exception. Red corundum is known as ruby.
Black sapphires can be translucent or opaque and sometimes also look brown or black. They mostly come from Australia and are a very common stone, so they are in abundance.
Onyx is probably one of the most common black gemstones you’ve heard of, but we’re doubting you know much about it. Onyx isn’t really used in fine jewelry, but more so in cocktail pieces or bohemian jewelry.
Did you know that onyx actually comes in different colors, not just black? In fact, onyx can be red, brown, and orange. Usually, these shades are accompanied by bands of white throughout the stone.
Onyx is a softer stone, so it’s not too durable for hand jewelry. It rates between a 6 and 7 on the Mohs scale.
Onyx was used in the Renaissance period to make cameo brooches rather than in gemstone jewelry. It also is used in the realm of healing crystals.
The stone is said to have protective powers, shielding you from outside negativities. In the psychic realm, it has been known to connect to the spirit world.
Onyx is a variety of the oxide mineral chalcedony. It is confused a lot with agate, as both of these have bands that run throughout the stone. Black onyx may be completely black or black with bands of white.
You can find onyx deposits in Argentina, Australia, Mexico, Madagascar, and Botwana, among others. It is considered to be a cryptocrystalline that contains both quartz and moganite to create silica mineral deposits.
Black tourmaline is more thought of as a healing crystal, rather than a gemstone. You will see it in protection jewelry, costume jewelry, but not as much within fine jewelry.
As a protection stone, black tourmaline wards against negative energies and defends against psychic attacks, and be good for those who have sensory issues or OCD.
Keeping black tourmaline in your pocket is said to increase your self-confidence, remove fear, and overthinking. We’re starting to think that maybe we should get some of this!
Physically, black tourmaline is helpful with illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and other immune system diseases.
Black tourmaline registers a 7-7.5 hardness on the Mohs scale, making it not the ideal stone for durability. Most jewelry containing black tourmaline is found in pendants, as many of the healing crystals are placed.
Tourmaline, like some others on our black gemstones list, comes in a variety of colors as well. Tourmaline has over 30 different kinds of itself, but most of what we deal with today is split into three categories:
Elbaite- This is the gem quality tourmaline, which comes in bright, translucent colors. These tourmalines are used in fine jewelry.
Dravite- brown tourmaline
Schorl- dark, opaque tourmalines
You can probably guess that black tourmaline is in the Schorl category. Tourmalines are formed deep underground by an extremely hot liquid full of various minerals. The liquid starts to cool and those minerals are crystallized into tourmaline. Tourmaline is usually found in granite, but also can be found in marble as well.
And no, we’re not talking about Captain Jack Sparrow’s ship in Pirates of the Caribbean. This black pearl refers the June birthstone and the only gemstone formulated by a living creature. Pearls are wondrous in their origin and formation.
There are two kinds of black pearls. One is the Tahitian black pearl and the other is a pearl that was originally white and has been colored to be black. As you can probably guess, Tahitian black pearls are rarer and completely natural.
The black pearls are not a true opaque black like many on our black gemstones list. A black pearl looks like a dark gray color with overtones of various colors. The iridescence on a black pearl is what makes them so desirable. In the light, you can catch pink, purples, greens, blues, and other colors shimmering on the dark gray surface.
While black pearls are indeed beautiful, they are not suited for everyday wear. Because they are formed under the sea, opals carry a high density, which causes them to be soft. They have a rating of 5.5 on the Mohs scale and are the softest gemstones.