When it comes to diamonds, it can be hard enough to wrap your head around what makes a stone precious, and that’s usually when we’re talking about white diamonds. When you throw in different colours, it can be even more confusing to those not educated on the subject. With the rise of alternative stones and coloured diamonds, a firm trend that seems to be continuing (thank you, Kate Middleton), black diamonds are also on the rise yet are perhaps the most misunderstood. To wade through the mystery, Vogue spoke to luxury Double Bay-based jeweller Alina Barlow, of ALINKA, who told us everything you need to know.
Tell us the difference between black diamonds and white diamonds.
“Black diamonds are natural diamonds—like white diamonds, they are precious and naturally made gemstones. However they differ due to naturally occurring inclusions. The more inclusions, the more opaque the stone is, and the more intense the black colour. This also makes them the perfect stone for those looking for a more dramatic or monochrome look.”
What are some of the other differences to look out for?
“Black diamonds also present a different kind of glimmer to white diamonds. Where white diamonds internally refract lots of different colours (the sparkle), black diamonds reflect light off the surface, which creates the unique shimmer of a black diamond. ALINKA black diamonds are set in solid 18 carat white gold which is finished in black rhodium, which complements the diamond and creates a contemporary aesthetic with attitude.”
Please share why black diamonds resonate so well with your brand and why you have decided to make it a hallmark of ALINKA.
“I have always had an affinity for linear design and monochrome minimalism. Prior to launching ALINKA in 2015, I saw a gap in the market for beautifully made fine jewellery with a rebellious edge. I wanted to build a brand that uses exceptional quality diamonds, with a design that was both contemporary and endlessly versatile. Each piece I design is available in both black and white diamonds and we work exclusively in solid 18 carat white, yellow and rose gold. The rarity of diamonds makes them special and expensive, and for that reason they should not only be your most worn item but also the most versatile. I design pieces that can be worn everyday and with every outfit, and could be dressed up or down, and take you from your morning spin class through to an evening gala.”
Are black diamonds more precious than white diamonds? What should we look out for when looking for quality in black diamonds? Is there the same grading system as there is for white diamonds?
“Black diamonds are still natural gemstones. They fall within the same overall diamond qualities. However they are graded differently to white diamonds, and are instead selected for their surface lustre and even colour distribution, with the more opaque black diamonds being more desirable.”
Tell us how to wear black diamonds. Are we allowed to mix them with white diamonds? What metals should we look to when wearing them?
“Decadently and with attitude! For me black diamonds are a great way to add an edge to an outfit. I very much have a maximalist approach to jewellery, and love to stack my pieces together. Each piece is designed to be mixed with existing pieces in the collection. I also mix black and white diamonds together—my only suggestion would be to stick with 18 carat white gold as this creates a cleaner look. My ethos with jewellery is that it has to feel right to the wearer. Jewellery is sentimental, it should be an extension of you. Each piece should accentuate your personality, rather than wear you.”