When evaluating the quality of a diamond, most people are familiar with the term ‘the 4Cs.’ This term describes the attributes on which a diamond is judged for quality: clarity, color, cut, and carat. For salt and pepper diamonds though, the 4Cs play a different role in determining value. These diamonds are evaluated based on the inclusions being a standout feature of the gemstone. Since most colorless diamonds have clarity evaluated on the basis of lack of inclusions, this is the exact opposite.
The clarity in salt and pepper diamonds is not a concern in the traditional sense because the presence of inclusions is the main appeal. Subtle distributions of black and white inclusions give the stone its unique look. They usually consist of opaque minerals like graphite, hematite, and pyrite. And the larger the number of black inclusions, the more gray or dark the stone will appear.
The color of the body of the diamond itself will also have an affect on the overall look of a salt and pepper diamond. Acting almost like a colored diamond, the body color of this particular diamond ranges from being colorless to milky, to having hints of yellow or green, to gray. So a darker body color combined with darker inclusions will result in a darker overall diamond appearance, and vice versa.
The cut of salt and pepper diamonds will differ from traditional diamonds as well. The standard practice is to cut to enhance a diamond’s brilliance. However, the high number of inclusions in salt and pepper diamonds means that the brilliance is naturally quite reduced. To enhance this diamond’s beauty, stones are cut to highlight the unique patterns and inclusions in the stones. For this reason, fancy cuts are quite common, including step cuts, rose cuts, and geometric shapes like hexagons, kites, pears, and triangles.
The carat size of salt and pepper diamonds has quite the range. These stones are affordable and available, and can easily be found in larger sizes. They also differ from traditional diamonds in how the price increases with the increase in carat weight. Whereas pricing for traditional diamonds follow an exponential scale, salt and pepper diamonds will stay more even as carat size and cost both increase.