What Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

What Are Salt and Pepper Diamonds?

Salt and Pepper diamonds are natural diamonds that have unique, black pepper like speckles. 
All diamonds are pure carbon. A white diamond is pure carbon and so to is a salt and pepper diamond. The black speckles present in a salt and pepper diamond are also pure carbon. Just like how freckles can form on the skin as a result of an overproduction of melanin, black speckles of carbon in a diamond simply didn't crystallize at the same rate as the rest of the atoms for one reason or another.
Other diamond colors like orange, green, blue, etc. are attributed to other elements present in the diamond. Orange, for example, means the nitrogen atoms have grouped themselves in a very specific way. Green diamonds were exposed to some form of radiation during the stone's formation and journey to the Earth's surface. Rare blue diamonds are created when boron is captured in the structure. (Scientific American
salt and pepper diamond
The natural black carbon inclusions do not inherently make the diamond weaker - A high quality salt and pepper diamond is the same strength as a white diamond and is every bit as durable.
With that being said, just like with all white diamonds there is a huge variety of quality among salt and pepper diamonds. The really low quality material will have a lot of surface pits that look like divots on the surface of the diamond along with cracks, etc that do affect the structural integrity of the diamond. 
salt and pepper diamond ring
We have spent years identifying and cultivating relationships with diamond dealers who are committed to sourcing their salt and pepper diamonds ethically, and we are often the first to see any new conflict free salt and pepper diamonds that are available on the market. We have the largest collection of salt and pepper diamonds engagement rings and salt and pepper diamonds in our loose stone section.  We look at hundreds of salt and pepper diamonds every month and only purchase a tiny percentage of what we see - we only purchase the most beautiful and interesting stones, with the best sparkle, and with little to no surface pits or structural issues. The diamonds that we pass on are then trickled down through the rest of the industry. 
We inspect every diamond we buy under magnification with a microscope (the same microscope we use to set all of our melee diamonds for the most accurate, precise, and professional setting). Other high end jewelers who sell more of the 'cookie cutter' type rings will commonly use microscopes to inspect/set their diamonds as we do, but this practice is not common amongst our direct competitors who also sell salt and pepper diamonds.  
“It’s almost like when you look inside the diamond, you’re going on vacation to a special place."  (Scientific American)
salt and pepper diamond

Diamonds are formed deep within the earth - about 100 miles or so below the surface. A combination of high temperature and high pressure is necessary for a diamond to form; the diamonds we see at the earth's surface are brought up from the mantle by a violent volcanic eruption.  By moving quickly from the upper mantle to the surface of the earth (essentially moving rapidly from a high to a low temperature), the carbon atoms are locked in place into a diamond structure. (Smithsonianmag.com)