Salt and Pepper Diamond Engagement Rings are Making a Statement
Every diamond is unique — a sentiment that couldn’t be more true for salt and pepper diamonds. There’s no denying that in recent years salt and pepper diamond rings have grown in popularity. Of course, we love them because they are so beautiful and, of course, special. So we got with Meri Geraldine, the founder of the ethical jewelry brand Gardens of the Sun for a deep dive into understanding everything there is to know about these statement rings.
In the past, Geraldine explains, “salt and pepper diamonds were mostly used for industrial purposes. Think diamond drills.” However, in the last decade, they have become a trend. They are a popular choice for couples who “want to steer away from the traditional white diamond, because they love how unique salt and pepper diamonds are, and because of the lower price point. . . . The question is whether this will remain a trend or whether salt and pepper diamonds are here to stay. Of course we hope for the latter!” And in the meantime, we’ve got all the details for you to decide if these diamonds are right for you.
These stones are so special because while diamonds are traditionally known for the “brilliance and sparkle of a brilliant cut clear diamond,” these are more “wild, smokey and mysterious,” Geraldine notes.
Although, they aren’t for everyone, there is appeal when considering the fact that “salt and pepper diamonds have the same hardness as white diamonds or colored diamonds.” But couples should still understand that “the many inclusions can make the diamond more fragile and less durable.” What exactly does that mean?
According to Geraldine, “Like clear diamonds, salt and pepper diamonds rank 10 on Mohs scale of hardness. That means salt and pepper diamonds don’t scratch easily. But since they have inclusions, they can chip easier than a flawless diamond.”
If these diamonds are your style, then of course, you might wonder what advice Geraldine has when shopping for one. She tells us: “Because they’re so unique, picking a salt and pepper diamond is not like picking a brilliant cut sparkling white diamond, where you’d go for a high quality cut, graded clarity and avoid inclusions. Salt and pepper diamonds don’t have such grading. They’re often rose cut in uncommon shapes, so that the finger coverage can differ visibly, even if both diamonds are the same weight. On top of that, no two salt and pepper diamonds are alike. I often suggest clients choose a diamond that speaks to them.
“For someone on a smaller budget but with a larger ring size, I would suggest going for a more shallow rose cut diamond. This diamond will have a larger surface area than a brilliant cut diamond, so at first glance your ring will show more diamond.
“For the setting, I would recommend a bezel setting. Rose cut diamonds often have natural pits and cavities at their edges — a testament of their imperfections and inclusions reaching the surface. A bezel setting tends to cover such imperfections more than a prong setting would. A bezel setting also offers more protection than a prong setting.”
Bezel Setting vs Prong Setting
Now, you may be wondering what a bezel setting looks like compared to the prong setting. A bezel setting is one that cups the stone, encasing it in a slight metal overlap. A prong setting has a few metal prongs that fold over the gemstone to secure it in place.
The ring is a big deal, but for many, there’s still a budget to answer to, so while these diamonds are affordable, pricing can be hard to pinpoint. Geraldine explains, “it depends on the carat weight, cut and clarity (yes, some salt and pepper diamonds are much more heavily included than others!). There are also some price differences in origin, for example salt and pepper diamonds from Canada and Indonesia are more expensive than those from less ethical origins, like Russia.”
By way of example, the salt and pepper diamond jewelry at Gardens of the Sun starts at $154 for a custom small diamond ring or $260 for a rose cut salt and pepper diamond necklace, and goes up all the way to $3,299 for a ready to ship salt and pepper diamond engagement ring or up to $4k for a custom salt and pepper diamond ring.
It’s only natural that as you live your life on a daily basis, you question the best ways to clean your ring to keep it sparkly and beautiful. Geraldine says, “The best way to clean salt and pepper diamonds is with warm water and mild soap or soap nuts. We recommend avoiding steam cleaners and ultrasonic cleaners, since they can damage salt and pepper diamonds that are already less durable because of their internal flaws.
“Exposure to water doesn’t affect salt and pepper diamonds negatively, although we always recommend taking off your jewelry before jumping into the pool because of the chemicals used to treat the pool water.”
Photos courtesy of Gardens of the Sun
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