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There are two different types of black diamonds; naturally forming black diamonds and 'black diamonds'. Naturally formed black diamonds are extremely rare and very few are sold in the same state they are found - these are of course extremely expensive and are very very rarely sold on the high street. The black diamonds you see in stores are actually not black to begin with, moreover they are simply dusky, dark and opaque due to the occurrence of inclusions and structural defects. These are often known as Carbonado. To make these diamonds suitable for sale as black diamonds, a heat treatment is applied to them.

White diamonds can be pure and colourless (graded colour D) through to light yellow (graded colour Z) and these cannot really be compared to other coloured diamonds, such as black and blue, hence these are known as fancy coloured diamonds. Black and white diamonds are therefore measured under two different grading scales.