salt and pepper diamonds
Asian woman choosing wedding rings at jewelry diamond store shop

Did you know that the very first documented diamond engagement ring dates all the way back to the year 1477? Archduke Maximillian of Austria had a diamond ring commissioned to present to his bride-to-be, Mary of Burgundy. Up until this point, ornate rings with precious and semi-precious stones weren’t used for engagement rings; but it did start a trend for European nobility. Nothing beats the shimmer and sparkle that a diamond can provide. Diamonds are often prized for their impeccable clarity and bright white coloring. But a new trend is now focusing on salt and pepper diamonds as one of the popular alternative diamond options.

But just what are salt and pepper diamonds, and what makes them unique? This guide will give you all of the details you need to understand salt and pepper diamonds. Keep reading below for further details.

What Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

Salt and pepper diamonds are named for their unique speckled and marked appearance. These types of diamonds feature prominent inclusions that give their surface flecks of white, gray, and black. This gives them a very distinct look, like multitoned pepper flakes and salt granules.

Unlike traditional diamonds, which are often preferred for their absence of inclusions, salt and pepper diamonds rely on these inclusions and imperfections in their design. No two salt and pepper diamonds are ever the same due to a diamond’s natural patterning process.

One salt and pepper diamond variation, in particular, called the galaxy diamond, is especially breathtaking. Featuring a distinct look and cut, it is so named because it bears a striking resemblance to a galaxy. Thousands of white flecks mimic the appearance of stars against a dark gray to black colored background, simulating space itself.

Whereas natural white and colored diamonds represent a perfect and forever love, salt and pepper diamonds remind you that love is about accepting flaws in your partner and still seeing them as beautiful.

Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds Real Diamonds?

The flaws and inclusions in salt and pepper diamonds may have you think that they are not real diamonds. Salt and pepper diamonds are just like regular diamonds and are found deep within the earth. They have the same hardened carbon structure with a rating of 10 on the MOHS Hardness Scale.

You may also think that salt and pepper diamonds are a scam since diamonds are valued based on their perfections. But the truth is, only around 30% of all the diamonds mined are actually considered to be gem quality. The rest are used for industrial equipment applications.

Flawless and Internally Flawless graded diamonds will always have internal and external flaws and inclusions. The difference is, these flaws and inclusions are more difficult to see with the naked eye. They can only be seen under a magnification of 10x or greater.

  • Internally Flawless (IF)- Visible blemishes only but no inclusions when viewed under 10× magnification
  • Flawless (F)- No visible inclusions or blemishes are visible under 10× magnification

Internally Flawless, and Flawless diamonds are the most sought-after because of their crystal clear and clean look. But Internally Flawless diamonds are also the most expensive. Internally Flawless, and Flawless diamonds only comprise about 0.5% of all naturally grown and mined diamonds.

Therefore, salt and pepper diamonds should not be viewed as inferior diamonds. The process of developing and growing diamonds underground for millions of years means there is no such thing as a completely perfect diamond.

Do Salt and Pepper Diamonds Still Follow the Four C’s?

Because they are still natural diamonds, salt and pepper diamonds absolutely still follow the 4 C’s involved with diamond grading. However, the 4 C’s play a slightly different role in assessing the value of salt and pepper diamonds.

The 4 C’s typically stand for:

  • Cut- the special faceting and shaping of the diamond
  • Clarity- appearance or lack of visible blemishes and inclusions
  • Carat- the diamond’s overall size measured by carat weight
  • Color- the amount of white light visible within the diamond

When evaluating salt and pepper diamonds, these traits often skew the opposite way. Instead of fewer inclusions and coloring, they will exhibit darker and more pronounced features.

Care should be taken not to use an ultrasonic cleaner since these inclusions can make salt and pepper diamonds more fragile. You should also choose a sturdy setting to ensure the diamond receives the most protection possible.


Salt and pepper diamonds can vary in their coloring, they can be colorless like traditional types of diamonds, or they can have a milky appearance in their coloring. With color, salt and pepper diamonds take on many of the same characteristics as colored diamonds, due to their inclusions and markings. Salt and pepper diamonds can also have traces of yellow, grey, and even green.

Natural carbon can influence the color of salt and pepper diamonds as well. These diamond options can contain mineral elements such as hematite, pyrite, and graphite obtained during the diamond formation process.


For clarity, these salt and pepper diamonds will proudly display their so-called flaws for all the world to see in favor of total transparency. Some inclusions will be more subtle, while others will stand out, depending on your preference, and also influence the stone’s coloring. The larger the size of the inclusions, the darker black-colored or gray-toned the stone will be.

For salt and pepper diamonds, a better term to refer to their level of clarity is translucency for the clear areas that are visible. The more cloudy tones or opaqueness a salt and pepper diamond has, the more inexpensive it may be. The more translucency it displays, the more value it may have.


Carat weights relating to diamonds also greatly influence their overall value. Larger diamonds will be worth more, along with the other C’s as a factor of diamond grading.

Ordinarily, a Flawless or Internally Flawless graded diamond will up the price of a traditional natural diamond on its own. But when you factor in larger carat weights, an Internally Flawless diamond weighing 2 carats can range anywhere between $7,000- $60,000 in price depending on its color, clarity, and cut grading.

On the other hand, salt and pepper diamonds will cost less. So, even if you get a larger carat size, you’ll get more diamond for your money.


A diamond’s cut doesn’t refer to its shape but rather the faceting and the dimensions of a diamond that attribute to its appearance. Brilliant cuts are the most common for round-shaped diamonds as they show off the most facets.

For salt and pepper diamonds, there is less need to choose cuts that focus on brilliance. A salt and pepper diamond’s appearance is less brilliant but still beautiful in its own way. Instead, the focus is more on fancy cuts, like step-cuts and rose cuts, that serve to enhance the natural inclusion patterns of the diamond.

A rose cut can be particularly flattering for a salt and pepper diamond. It features a larger surface area facet which can show off the patterning of the inclusions better. Rose cuts also produce more shallow diamonds that you can use for low-profile settings.

What Are Some Special Shapes Available for Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

Salt and pepper diamonds are unconventional types of diamonds, therefore they also make the perfect candidate for more daring shapes. You can use a wide range of whimsical geometric shapes to go along with the signature attributes of your salt and pepper diamonds.

You can find salt and pepper diamonds in shapes like:

  • hexagon
  • kite
  • pear
  • triangle
  • marquise

A hexagon-shaped salt and pepper diamond offers a unique six-sided diamond shape. It displays a sleek, modern aesthetic through its geometric line structure. Hexagonal salt and pepper diamonds also come in an elongated variation for an enhanced, stylish look.

A kite-shaped salt and pepper diamond is an even rarer diamond shape. It generally features 4 straight edges with 2 long and 2 short parts. A kite-shaped salt and pepper diamond offers an Art-Deco design for your ring.

A pear-shaped salt and pepper diamond has a rounded top with a pointed tip. It is also called a teardrop because it resembles a tear in shape. It is a variation of a round and marquise cut.

A triangle-shaped salt and pepper diamond goes by many different names. It is most commonly known as a trilliant cut, but sometimes it is also referred to as a trillion, Trillian, or a Trielle cut. A trilliant is a modern cut that creates an equal three-sided triangle shape and a flat table with pointed or flat edges.

A marquise-shaped salt and pepper diamond can also resemble a narrow football or the outline of a pair of lips. It has an elongated and elegant elliptical shape with two pointed ends. The shape can make the diamond look larger and gives fingers a more lengthened appearance.

Rough or raw salt and pepper diamonds can also be used in favor of a more bohemian or rustic vibe.

How Can You Wear Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

Of course, salt and pepper diamonds will make for a beautifully distinct engagement ring, but they can also be worn in other ways.

Salt and pepper diamonds allow you to play around with different looks. Since these diamond options often contain many different colors and patterns within the stone itself, you’ll find that they can go with just about anything.

You can wear them to dress up your look or use them as an everyday fashion accessory. A salt and pepper diamond also makes a gorgeous accent or a decorative statement stone for a cocktail ring.

Salt and pepper diamonds can bring the bling to a stylish bracelet. Wear salt, and pepper diamonds mounted in studs and drop earrings. Salt and pepper diamonds also add elegance to a stylish pendant to be worn as a necklace.

Salt and pepper diamonds also look great with gold, silver, and rose gold metal options. Choose gold for a more classic look, silver for a modern appeal, or rose gold for a vintage charm. Gray and black-toned metal bands complement the color tones of the stone itself.

Since salt and pepper diamonds are more affordable, you can even afford to get a whole coordinating jewelry set for yourself.

Why Should You Choose Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

Each bride is a unique individual with their own distinct style. So why should your diamond engagement ring look just like everyone else’s? You want a diamond that catches the eye and still stands out in a one-of-a-kind way.

Salt and pepper diamonds are the same way. Each features its own distinctive patterns and characteristics in its designs. These patterns and marks, much like snowflakes, are not easily duplicated.

More and more modern brides are turning away from traditional-styled diamond engagement rings. They want diamonds that allow them to represent their personal sense of style. This is why salt and pepper diamonds are ideal for non-traditional brides.

The use of salt and pepper diamonds is also gaining traction in the LGBTQ+ community. Gender-neutral, non-binary, and same-sex couples are looking for designs that buck the rules of traditional marriage. They also want something that accentuates their personal style.

The more flawless a diamond appears, the higher its price will be. Salt and pepper diamonds are also a more affordable option since they feature more inclusions than the average diamond. This can make them a great option for brides who are looking for the right balance of an eclectic engagement ring stone option with a more affordable price tag attached.

There is also less waste associated with using salt and pepper diamonds. Most of these flawed salt and pepper diamonds were tossed away since they were viewed as not being as perfect as their flawless-looking counterparts. But now, they are being utilized more often.

Find High-Quality Jewelry and Diamond Options at Finer Custom Jewelry

Salt and pepper diamonds are just one of the many types of diamond options available for modern brides and grooms alike. Jewelry is an extension of your personal style and tastes, so you should be able to buy what you like. But if you can’t find what you want, you can customize it instead.

Finer Custom Jewelry has a wide variety of high-quality diamond types to choose from. We also specialize in custom, high-quality jewelry designs. Let us make your jewelry dreams a reality at Finer Custom Jewelry.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your custom jewelry consultation.