Salt and pepper diamonds are a very unique and popular choice for the modern Engagement Ring. When considering a salt and pepper diamond, you are guaranteed to have a truly unique and one of a kind stone.
Each salt and pepper diamond is one of a kind, with a splash of unexpected color peppered in an otherwise clear diamond background. "Salt and Pepper refers to just that -- the particular coloration to a diamond that features a mix of black and white inclusions. The variety within this sub-category of diamond is wide-ranging and can vary from smooth, smoky blends to high contrast speckled or striped looks. Subtle distributions of black and white inclusions (typically opaque minerals like graphite, pyrite, and hematite) give each stone its unique look. The larger the number of black inclusions, the more gray or dark the stone will appear. A lightly included S&P may have just a sprinkling of black in a mostly clear stone, where others may be almost entirely black, with inclusions on top of inclusions. There are, of course, various 'in between' specimen as well. The inclusions themselves (typically NOT desired in a traditional diamond) are what actually give these stones their name, and often times -- the more the merrier! Salt and pepper diamonds are valued for their individuality-- and many just adore the look of a tiny galaxy on their finger.
The rarest, most prized type of salt and pepper diamond has it's own name: the galaxy diamond. Galaxy diamonds are particularly unique, in that they appear most like a galaxy in space, and feature more of a smoky or gray background or stone body with lighter to white flecks that mimic stars. Often times, galaxy diamonds will be cut in the brilliant (or traditional) style, and not rose cut -- meaning the stone will have a traditional diamond shape, with a flat top and pointed culet (bottom).
Diamonds of this style are much more subjectively categorized than traditional diamonds. While this subtle difference can be made among salt and pepper stones -- some people simply call all salt and pepper diamonds 'galaxy diamonds'.
S&P Diamond Cuts and Shapes
The cut of salt and pepper diamonds differs a bit from traditional diamonds. For traditional white diamonds, the standard practice is to cut with an end goal of enhancing a diamond's brilliance, beauty, and sparkle. Salt and pepper diamonds, however, feature inclusions front and center, meaning the overall 'brilliance' factor is reduced significantly from the start. Cutting instead focuses on enhancing the stone's individuality and uniqueness, and aims to highlight and/or frame unique patterns that exist. Because of this, it's common to find fancy or unique cuts that you don't see as often in traditional stones, like step cuts, geometric cuts, rose cuts, and funky and fun shapes like kites, coffins, triangles, hexagons, and portrait cuts.
Because stones of this quality are more readily available than those prized for their lack of inclusions, it is fairly easy to find stones of nice size (above a carat). It's also common to find them at very affordable prices, without the hefty increase between minute jumps in carat weight. It is entirely possible to find a 3-5 carat S&P diamond for a fraction of the cost of a 1 CT traditional diamond. As size increases in S&P diamonds, the price does not dramatically increase exponentially. Typically, the more beautiful and/or unique the pattern, the higher the cost may be...yet even the higher priced S&P diamond's costs still do not begin to approach that of a traditional white diamond.