What are salt and pepper diamonds?

Gem gals, I recently became aware of salt and pepper diamonds. I guess they’re incredibly popular! Now, you may be wondering, just like I did, what they are and why people are excited about them. So let’s get right to it!

First off — what are salt and pepper diamonds?

Well, we all know what diamonds are. Sparkly, White. Did I mention sparkly? So, salt and pepper diamonds are more gray. They have tiny blemishes and imperfections inside (in gemologist language, we call these inclusions) that cause their color to change. So, diamonds with white imperfections are the “salt,” and diamonds with the black imperfections are the “pepper.”


Range of color for salt and pepper diamonds. (image courtesy of Alexis Russell)

When I talk to women, they’re always looking for something different, something unique. And these diamonds fit the bill. They’re trending for millennials especially. And I’ve talked to plenty of brides who were so excited to discover these!


If you think about it, they’re traditional enough for people who still want a diamond for their engagement ring, but different enough to show off your style and personality.


A salt and pepper diamond ring from Etsy


Different from traditional diamonds

Salt and pepper diamonds, in another time and place, would have been considered too imperfect to sell. Traditionally, the more internal flaws a diamond has, the lower quality (and price) it was. But salt and pepper diamonds seem unafraid of their flaws, and you can see that some of them are really quite beautiful.


Going with this kind of diamonds gets you out of the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, color, and carat) that most people use when shopping for a diamond ring. Honestly, these will not grade high for color or clarity, and they’re often cut in unique shapes (more on this below). So it’s not really as important to get them graded and evaluated by a laboratory.


A close-up: here you can see the internal flaws

Because of their flaws, these diamonds are often significantly less expensive. I imagine that’s a huge part of their appeal too!