Diamonds are natural occurrences, formed under intense heat and pressure over billions of years, approximately 100 miles beneath the earth's surface. Each little miracle is one of a kind. Inevitably, most diamonds are marked in some way. Granted, some stones are more blemished than others; but very few are deemed FL (flawless).
Inclusions are small ‘birthmarks’ that develop throughout the process of diamond formation. Some inclusions are foreign matter that has worked its way into the diamond's fabric during the formation process; others are structural discrepancies caused by heat and pressure.
Though inclusions are usually black or white, they can occur in several different colours, as well as infinite shapes and sizes. A salt and pepper diamond is a diamond that boasts a particularly high volume of black and white inclusions in the form of spots, feathers, cracks, clouds or chips.
Unlike high-grade gemstones that are carefully treated and machine-cut, salt and pepper diamonds - much like champagne diamonds - possess a character that can’t be emulated. No two gems are the same, so a ring set with a salt and pepper diamond is a ring with unique personality.
When compared to the rarity of colourless stones, the abundance of salt and pepper diamonds goes hand in hand with their high volume of ‘imperfections’ to make them a much cheaper option. This affordability kicks open the doors of possibility when it comes to stone size and cut, making a salt and pepper diamond fun for the cost-conscious couple to work with – without sacrificing the diamond guarantee of durability.
It could be argued that the salt and pepper diamond is the white diamond’s more sustainable sister. Whilst tonnes and tonnes of earth must be shifted to extract a small handful of gem-quality diamonds, salt and pepper diamonds are more readily available. Naturally, their extraction still has an impact on the Earth – like any material that must be mined from the ground – but the journey to a beautiful salt and pepper stone is far shorter, gentler and less consuming than the endeavour to land upon a high-grade one.
Unfortunately, however, we're still yet to find a supplier of salt and pepper diamonds that can offer the ethical credentials and level of traceability that we seek. We don't stumble upon these one-in-a-million wonders all that often, but we're always ready to try our best!