weddings

Salt and pepper diamonds: The cheaper engagement ring option that still looks super exxy.

Not to start things off on a downer, but diamonds aren’t really our best friends anymore. They’re actually more expensive than ever.

This isn’t new news. Over the last few years, environmental, sustainable and ethical factors have led to a worldwide supply shortage, making diamonds harder to find and more expensive to buy, and opening up a whole new market for man-made or synthetic diamonds.

The Mamamia team debate how much is too much to spend on a wedding dress in the video below. Post continues after video.

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For these reasons, plus the fact it’s always nice to save a few bucks, people are turning to alternative engagement ring stones. In 2018, everyone was buying gorgeous pale pink morganite gemstone engagement rings.

But it’s 2020 now and it’s time to talk about another great option that looks just as exxy as celebrity diamond engagement rings, but without the ridiculous price tag:

Salt and pepper diamonds.

From what salt and pepper diamonds are and how they can look, to how much they cost and where to buy them, here’s a quick rundown on the salt and pepper diamonds, the alternative engagement ring option you ought to consider.

What are salt and pepper diamonds?

 

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Put simply, salt and pepper diamonds are imperfect diamonds with black and white ‘flaws’.

Also referred to as grey diamonds, they start out exactly the same way all diamonds do – as bits of carbon deep underground squished into a solid diamond form by extreme heat and pressure. They also all have what the industry refers to as ‘inclusions’ (imperfections) that determine a stone’s ‘clarity’ (how many or few inclusions it has).

While diamonds with a high clarity are sought after and expensive, salt and pepper diamonds have a lower clarity, with white and/or black inclusions that give the stones their salt and pepper appearance.

Think of them like the oddly-shaped or dimpled fruit and veg that traditionally weren’t good enough to be sold at the supermarket, but are now cheaper and just as delicious.

Types of salt and pepper diamonds.

Like all diamonds, no two salt and pepper diamonds are the same.

As you can see in the image below, salt and pepper diamonds can vary from being near white, slightly speckled or light grey, to a cloudy grey, marbled or near black. They can also be lightly speckled but still translucent, or more sold in colour.

The more ‘flawed’ the diamond, the more salt and peppery it’ll look.

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Are salt and pepper diamonds cheaper?

We know salt and pepper diamonds are technically lower in quality, as dictated by the four Cs (cut, colour, clarity, carat) of diamond shopping. But if you couldn’t give a stuff about the clarity of your diamond and enjoy the unique look of salt and pepper diamonds, the good news is they’re more affordable than traditional diamonds.

For example, a larger salt and pepper diamond will be cheaper than a white diamond of the same size.

How much your salt and pepper diamond engagement ring will cost depends on the size of the stone you choose, if the ring also contains white diamonds, which metal you chose and the quality of the stone.

On Etsy, salt and pepper engagement rings range from as low at $500 for a rose cut salt and pepper diamond set on a 14k yellow gold band, to upwards of $5,000. As with wedding dresses, take extra care when buying a salt and pepper engagement ring online. Shop around and do your research to avoid disappointment.

Australian retailers, like Sydney-based jeweller Natalie Marie Jewellery, list grey and salt and pepper diamond engagement rings from anywhere between $1,720 and $5,150. No, it’s not free, but in comparison to the $8,700 the average person spends on an engagement ring, salt and pepper diamonds are by far more affordable.

Salt and pepper engagement rings.

Look up #saltandpepperdiamonds on Instagram and you’ll find hundreds of images of salt and pepper engagement rings made in all different engagement ring styles.

Here are 22 really lovely photos of salt and pepper diamond engagement rings for inspiration:

 

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Feature image: Supplied/Lisa-Marie Lavocah.

Would you buy a non-traditional engagement ring? Tell us in the comments!

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