What Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

As custom jewelry designers, we are fortunate to witness unique trends on the rise, firsthand. Over the past few years, we’ve noticed that one stone in particular has been steadily growing in popularity amongst fellow nature lovers: the "salt and pepper" diamond. 

2.63ct Rosecut Salt and Pepper Diamond and Scattered, Embedded Diamond Evergreen Low Profile Antique Style Ring in 18k Yellow Gold

What Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

A "salt and pepper diamond" is a diamond with many visible inclusions. These inclusions are primarily white and black, hence the name “salt and pepper.” While almost every natural diamond contains inclusions of a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, most are too small to be seen. In the case of salt and pepper diamonds, these inclusions are much larger and affect the appearance of the diamond without the use of magnification.

Appearance of Salt and Pepper Diamonds

The inclusions, also known as imperfections, inject personality into these unique diamonds. While some favor brighter specks, others veer on the darker side, projecting a cloudy illusion. No two stones are alike, yet they are all stunning in their own way. We often refer to these inclusions fondly as nature's birthmarks.

As shown in the image below, the more inclusions a diamond has, the more "peppery" it appears:

inclusion examples


Gradient Scale

The gradient can range quite drastically from a clear, glittery brilliance to a dark, smoky ash. Let's look at the range of colors of salt and pepper diamonds, starting with white. Below, we have three stones, starting with a clear, icy white and ending with an opaque, pearlesque white.

white gradient salt and pepper diamonds

Following our white salt and pepper diamonds are our grey stones. In a similar fashion to our white stones, we have a clearer diamond with fewer inclusions. We transition to a smokier grey with a cloudier appearance.

grey gradient salt and pepper diamonds

Finally, we have our dark grey salt and pepper diamonds. These stones are riddled with beautiful inclusions. While our first dark grey stone maintains some of its clarity, our last stone is a glittery black.

dark grey gradient salt and pepper diamonds

Seattle Trend-Spotters: Is a Salt and Pepper Diamond Right for You?

While we will always reserve a space in our heart (and design studio!) for classic, clear diamond solitaire engagement rings, we happily welcome the increasing demand for these smoky beauties. From vintage styles to modern geometric shapes, many couples in Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest opt for an engagement ring that is less traditional. 

In comparison to their “perfect” cousins, traditional white diamonds, salt and pepper diamonds are a more economical option. If you are aiming to keep costs down and favor an alternative, mysterious look, then salt and pepper diamonds are most certainly for you!

 P.S. Planning a proposal? Check out the 10 best spots to get engaged in Seattle

Diamonds With a New Purpose

Who says diamonds are only for engagement and wedding rings? Another reason we love salt and pepper diamonds is that their unique appearance lends itself to any ring setting and style imaginable. If you want to build a dream ring from scratch, choosing a loose stone with some serious character, such as a salt and pepper diamond, could be just what you need! Look at the stunning transformation of this salt and pepper stone:

before and after comparison of a salt and pepper diamond from loose stone to complete ring

Eco-Friendly Diamonds

If there wasn't enough to love about salt and pepper diamonds already, here's one more fact to sway your mind: salt and pepper diamonds are inherently less taxing on the environment. Traditional white diamonds require more time and resources to mine. To extract white diamonds, miners must displace a significant amount of soil and rock. Salt and pepper diamonds, on the other hand, are a more eco-friendly choice because they require much less earth displacement. If you love classic diamonds and are environmentally conscious, our collection of ethically sourced Canadian diamonds could be a great option. 

Whatever your style, we encourage you to embrace the imperfections of salt and pepper diamonds. Shop our ever-changing selection of salt and pepper loose stones or ready-to-ship salt and pepper diamonds.