Salt and Pepper Diamond Engagement Rings Are Rare In New Zealand

Salt and Pepper Diamond Engagement Rings Are Rare In New Zealand Cover Photo
8 min read4 March 2024

Going for a flawless sparkling diamond is not the only way to go when it comes to shopping for a diamond engagement ring. And if you’re someone that considers themselves as classic but unique, then salt and pepper diamonds may just be the diamond for you. This article will walk you through salt and pepper diamonds, how they compare to other diamonds and gemstones, what you need to watch out for, and the best place to buy a custom bespoke salt and pepper diamond engagement ring from.

What Are Salt And Pepper Diamonds?

Salt and pepper diamonds are just like any other diamond — typically formed deep within the Earth (or in a lab) but have so many inclusions that they appear grey or champagne coloured. Salt and pepper diamonds also don’t look like moonstones like many other poor clarity diamonds. The diamond needs to have so many inclusions that it changes the way that the light refracts through the diamond to give it its hazy grey or champagne colour.

Each salt and pepper diamond is also unique from any other — as each has its own “fingerprint of inclusions”. This is why working with a jeweller that understands the intricacies of picking a salt and pepper diamond is so important, especially if you are getting a custom bespoke engagement ring.

Are Salt And Pepper Diamonds Expensive?

It’s a fair assumption to believe that salt and pepper diamonds would be much more cheaper than higher clarity diamonds. After all, diamonds are graded on colour, clarity, cut and carat.

While that is part of the equation, salt and pepper diamond prices are based on demand and how good a jeweller is at sourcing them. So regardless of where the diamond sits on 4Cs, they are pretty much their own category of diamonds.

Salt and pepper diamond prices are also influenced by the diamond’s unique inclusions, colour and shape.

So yes, while salt and pepper diamonds are cheaper than eye clean diamonds, they aren’t fire sale cheap.

What Do Salt And Pepper Diamonds Mean?

Diamonds in general have been used as a symbol of eternity and everlasting love for centuries. And this doesn’t exclude salt and pepper diamonds. In fact, we believe that the unique inclusions and its corresponding colour can represent the unique relationship that you have with your partner. And simply because of the way salt and pepper diamonds are formed, it can also symbolise resilience, beauty in imperfections and strength. After all, salt and pepper diamonds are formed under intense pressure and heat.

How To Buy A Salt and Pepper Diamond

Salt and pepper diamonds has a lot going on for it — they are typically more affordable than eye clean diamonds, they lean into the idea of classic but unique, and come in some dazzling shapes. But there are things you need to be weary of. For a starter, nice salt and pepper diamonds can be incredibly hard to find. That is despite them rising in popularity.

Make sure you see a range of salt and pepper diamonds before you buy

Salt and pepper diamonds come in a range of colours, cuts and inclusions. But some are more common than others. For example, many salt and pepper diamonds have yellow-brown overtures and typically come as rose or Asscher cut diamonds. It is for this reason, once you have decided to work with a jeweller, you should ask them to see around 10 - 15 different salt and pepper diamonds before narrowing down on a cut or colour.

Another reason you should check out a range of salt and pepper diamonds is because it can be quite a big mental shift to go from eye clean diamonds to salt and pepper diamonds. If you are in the market, you need to be comfortable with buying a type and cut of diamond that no one in your friend’s circle will probably even have heard of. Now that is some main character energy vibes.

Rose Cut Salt And Pepper Diamonds

Rose cut salt and pepper diamond
Rose cut salt and pepper diamond

Typically jewellers cut diamonds to be eye clean to maximise their shine and ultimately the diamond’s value. However, with salt and pepper diamonds, that goes against the point. That is why you will seldom see a round brilliant cut diamond.

Instead, you will find a round shaped diamond called the ‘rose cut’. This is a much flatter cut of the ‘round brilliant’ which maximises the surface area of the diamond instead of its shine. So while it lacks the brilliance of a ‘round brilliant’ that is kind of the point.

The other advantage of a rose cut is that because they are cut much more shallow than a round brilliant, they have a much lower profile. So if you live an active lifestyle or love the idea of going full bezel, the rose cut is your slam dunk cut.

Rose cuts can also come with amazing faceting which can accentuate the unique inclusions of a salt and pepper diamond. And we are all about it.

Asscher Cut Salt And Pepper Diamonds

Asscher cut salt and pepper diamond in full bezel

The Asscher cut diamond looks outstanding with an eye clean diamond, and even better with a bit of colour and a bit of inclusions. They are edgy (literally and figuratively), have amazing symmetry and speak to a bygone art deco era.

So why do they work so well with salt and pepper diamonds? The contrast between the perfect and imperfect will give your diamond an ‘old romance’ feel to it. The cut was also popular during the art deco era, so both the cut and the salt and pepper diamond symbolise something that has lasted the test of time, and will continue to do so.

Salt and Pepper Cuts Are Way More Interesting In General

Just like with eye clean diamonds, salt and pepper diamonds come in the usual cuts such as pears, cushions, ovals and princess. But what you will find that they are much more likely to come in cuts such as the trillion, hexagons, tapered baguettes, the emerald cut, and even totally organic shapes.

Again, work closely with your jeweller to find a salt and pepper diamond that has the particular shape and colour that you want to work with.

Salt And Pepper Diamonds Need Added Protection

Hexagonal cut salt and pepper diamond in full bezel
Hexagonal cut salt and pepper diamond in full bezel

Because salt and pepper diamonds have so many inclusions, they make the diamond a lot more fragile than other diamonds. When buying a salt and pepper diamond, make sure you work with your jeweller (Hint: Four Words) to find one that does not have surface inclusions.

Certain salt and pepper diamond shapes are also safer than others. For example, if you were dead set on a marquise cut salt and pepper diamond, we would advise you to use bezels, especially at the tip to protect the diamond from potentially chipping.

Surface inclusions can create little nooks and crannies for dirt, dust and oils to get into which can make it difficult to clean, and lead to a greater chance of the diamond breaking from an accidental blow.

How to think about your salt and pepper diamond engagement ring features

Going for a salt and pepper diamond doesn’t limit you to a solitaire design. You can add other gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires and even eye clean diamonds.

The best salt and pepper diamond engagement rings we have seen use the colour of the diamond in an interesting way. For example, while white diamond halos may not be a common, asymmetric accenting stones with bezels are.

Leaning into a yellow gold or rose gold band as a white gold or platinum band is more suited to an ice white finish which many salt and pepper diamonds may struggle to achieve.

Love inclusions even more? Consider a black diamond

Taking the idea of inclusions to the extreme, you will eventually end up with a black diamond. There are so many that inclusions that the light does not escape from the diamond giving it its black colour. Unlike what many people would think, there are no distinguished impurities in a pure black diamond at an atomic level. A black diamond is still made out of carbon atoms.

Thinking Of Buying A Salt And Pepper Engagement Ring?

Because every salt and pepper diamond is unique, you’ll want to see a few before you buy. And that is where Four Words comes in. You can book an appointment — virtual or face to face and we will find you the exact stone that you are looking for.

Get started

Diamond Illustration

Whether you’re just starting out or have done all your research, we are here to help.

Have a question? Contact us

Not ready?
Stay updated with the Four Words newsletter

We'll send practical advice, design guides and our latest creations.

Four Words Ringbox