Our team is forever fascinated by unique, original pieces of jewelry. A large part of our stock is in alternative engagement rings featuring salt and pepper diamonds. We refer to these pieces as “alternative” because they are alternatives to the traditional, clear diamond rings.
We accept and embrace gemstones that other jewelers might overlook. To us, characteristics such as inclusions make gemstones exponentially more unique and visually appealing.
Traditionally, diamonds are valued and priced based on the 4 C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. From the Color and Clarity standpoint, the “whiter” (closer to colorless) and “cleaner” (less inclusions) the diamond is, the more valuable it is. A diamond with visible color, whether it be gray, black, brown, or with many inclusions is valued less and priced lower.
Salt and pepper diamonds are diamonds with naturally occurring inclusions. Each salt and pepper diamond has a unique mix of inclusions that form together to create amazing patterns and shapes within each stone. These inclusions often give the diamond its color and the inclusions also make the diamond less transparent.
Salt and pepper diamonds can range from completely opaque (unable to see through it), to translucent (you can see some light through the diamond), to semi-transparent (you can almost see through the diamond, but not as much as a clear diamond).
The 4 C’s do still apply to salt and pepper diamonds. Salt and pepper diamonds would generally rate low on GIA’s color scale for diamonds and score a low clarity rating (I3 or less). Because of this, salt and pepper diamonds generally have more friendly pricing than clear diamonds.
Even so, a diamond is a diamond! Salt and pepper diamonds have many of the same traits as a clear diamond and they are a great way to flaunt your unique personality. Some of these diamonds are more black, some are more gray, and some are a milky white color. Others contain minerals and carry a reddish-orange tint, while some are fairly clear besides their little black speckles. The possibilities are endless, and you can be sure that no two are exactly the same.
Yes, salt and pepper diamonds have value! It's a simple rule of supply and demand. Anything that cannot be reproduced endlessly will have value. While these diamonds are inherently less expensive due to their inclusions, they are natural diamonds mined from the ground. They are the hardest gemstone on earth, highly durable, and are great to be used in an engagement ring.
One of the reasons we love these unique gemstones is because they do come at a lower price point than traditional diamonds. For example, you could purchase a loose, 2ct salt and pepper diamond anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. For the same carat weight, a SI/GH quality clear diamond will run you well above $10,000. Putting it that way, clear diamonds are easily 10x the price of salt and pepper diamonds!
We have been asked why our salt and pepper diamond rings are so “expensive” and it boils down to this: material, labor, and operating costs. Salt and pepper diamonds are natural gemstones and mined from the ground. The rough is expertly sorted, designed, formed and faceted into beautiful gemstones. Most salt and pepper diamonds are faceted in India, however you mustn't overlook the level of skill and experience required to facet a salt and pepper diamond. These gemstone roughs come in such wide variety of shape, shade, and quality, with all different kinds of inclusions in them, it is no easy task to design and facet these pebbles into pleasing and artistic-looking gemstones. All of our engagement rings are made in solid gold or platinum. Gold price has risen 20% in the last two years! We are a US-based company and we pay a respectable salary for our employees. We do need to maintain a level of profit in order to operate our business.
Despite the costs that go into each jewelry piece that we make, we do our best to bring our customers the most reasonable prices that we can without sacrificing the quality of our work. If you are a bride looking for something non-traditional, salt and pepper diamonds will be a great alternative to consider. They come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and modern cuts that offer great options in comparison to traditional diamonds!