20 Types of Black Stones for Jewelry

No, black stones are not limited to emo or goth fashion, nor to mourning jewelry; black gems are great to complement white and pastel-colored clothing, if not any color at all. Black jewels, like white stones, are of neutral color, and give your overall look the much needed flourishes without offending the shade of your clothes. Do you know the different black gemstones made into jewelry? Here is a list of black rocks and gems worn on jewelries, from the most expensive to the more affordable.

Black Opal

Beating diamonds for their value and price are black opals. Opals, not only reflect all colors, but come in all shades of body tone, including black. Because of the dark background, the colors diffracted by the black stones stand out quite strikingly. Unlike white opals, the black gems are among the rarest, and accordingly the most valuable. Most of the world’s supply of the black jewels comes from Australia. Opals in general are the traditional and modern birthstones for the month of October.

Black Opal

A polished black opal
Source: Ra’ike via Wikimedia Commons

Black Diamond

A small piece of black diamond

Black Diamond

No, diamonds are not necessarily clear or white; they come in almost all colors, including red. Diamonds also occur as black rocks, otherwise known as carbonado, though the black gems are not exactly black. Various impurities in the precious stones give the diamonds extremely dark color that they look black. Being the rare kind, the black jewels are more expensive than white diamonds. The black precious stones are found in the Central African Republic and Brazil. Diamonds in general are the traditional and modern birthstones for the month of April, both in the Western and Hindu calendar.

Black Pearl

Black pearl on the shell of the oyster
Source: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons

Black Beryl

Pure beryl is clear, but impurities give beryl different colors, including yellow and green — which makes the beryl an emerald. While red beryl is rarest, the black gemstones are also very rare, with small supply of the black stones coming from Mozambique and Madagascar. Beryl, excluding emerald, is the birthstone of the zodiac sign Scorpio.

Black Star Sapphire

A famous black star sapphire
Source: greyloch via Wikimedia Commons

Black Pearl

Pearls are not exclusively white; there are black pearls too. Produced by the oyster Pinctada margaritifera, the black gemstones, also known as Tahitian pearls, are very rare — and accordingly more valuable; because, compared to other oysters, the black pearl oysters turn out fewer amounts of the black stones. From the traditional birthstones of February and November, pearls in general have been made the birthstone of the month of June, both in the Western and Hindu calendar.

Black Serendibite

A specimen of the rare serendibite
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Black Garnet

A specimen of the black garnet melanite
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Black Sapphire

The mineral corundum, if not red in color — and therefore identified as ruby — is called sapphire. Sapphires come in all other colors, including white and black. The black rocks may be translucent to transparent in clarity, if they were not among the so-called black star sapphires, which are opaque with a six-star shine. All these black gemstones are not strictly black in color, but of such a dark hue — whether bluish, purplish or other — that they look black. Sapphire used to be the traditional birthstone for the month of April along with diamond, but was made the modern birthstone for September, while designated as the July birthstone in the Hindu calendar. Sapphire is also the birthstone of the zodiac sign Taurus.

Serendibite

Serendibite is a recently discovered precious stone, which may be green, blue or black in color. Before 2005, only the extremely rare green serendibite from Sri Lanka was known to exist. The black stones of the serendibite mineral, however, were discovered in Burma (Myanmar), which has become the main source of the black gemstones.

Black Garnet

While known mostly for their red color, garnets also occur as black stones. The black rocks come from either of two species of garnet, which are called pyrope and andradite, the black gemstones of the latter being specifically called melanite. Garnet in general is the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of January, both in the US and Britain, as well as for the zodiac sign Aquarius.

Black Zircon

A gorgeous black zircon specimen
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Black Zircon

Zircons are excellent substitutes for diamonds and, like diamond, the precious stones come in a variety of colors. Beside red, yellow and green, zircons also occur as black stones. Zircon is general is a modern birthstone for the month of December in the United States, and the birthstone for September in the Hindu calendar. Zircons are abundant, hence the relatively inexpensive price of the black gemstones despite their gem quality.

Cassiterite

Magnificent black crystals of cassiterite
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Cassiterite

Cassiterite is a tin ore. While used mostly in tin production, fine specimens of the black rocks are also used as ornaments. The black gemstones are usually opaque, but can be translucent when found in thin crystals. The black stones have a metallic luster that makes them desirable for jewelry.

Black Onyx

Onyx is a kind of agate with alternating layers of color, the most popular being black and white. The name onyx is commonly used to mean the black stones, as chalcedony is used to refer to the white. In lieu of the white band, onyx may also have a red layer, composed of sard, in which case the black gemstones would be called sardonyx. Onyx is the traditional birthstone for the month of July and the zodiac sign Leo. See also The Black Onyx: Stone of Power.

Black Agate

Found in a great array of colors, agate also occurs in black. In fact, onyx is a variety of agate. However, the name onyx is usually reserved for agate with parallel black and white banding, as well as entirely black portions of agate. Otherwise, the stone retains the name agate. See also Agate: Stone of Prudence.

Black Tourmaline

A nice specimen of black tourmaline
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Black Tourmaline

Tourmaline comes in a variety of color, including red — which are called rubellites — and black. The black stones may belong to the species of tourmalines called dravite, yet the most common of the black rocks is the schorl, which accounts for about 95% of all tourmalines. The black gemstones are glassy with undertones of blue or brown, yellow if dravite. Needles of tourmaline may also include in quartz, making what is called tourmalinated quartz. See also Black Tourmaline: Stone of Calmness.

Black Spinel

Black spinel on the rock
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Black Spinel

While famous for the red color that makes them great substitutes for ruby, spinels come in other colors, including white and black. The black stones can be opaque, in contrast to other black gemstones, like diamonds and sapphires, which are known for their metallic luster. Black spinels are mined mostly in Thailand.

Black Star Diopside

A black star diopside cabochon
Source: Didier Descouens via Wikimedia Commons

Black Star Diopside

Black star diopside are black stones that reflect a star shine, which is four-rayed, as opposed to the black star sapphire for instance, which casts a six-rayed star. Also called black star of India, the black gemstones come mostly from India. The regular diopside, without the star shine, is also used in jewelry.

Black Moonstone

Though commonly thought of as white, moonstones are available as black stones. Like white moonstones, the black gemstones hail from the group of minerals called feldspars, along with sunstone, oligoclase and andesine. The black semi-precious stones are not necessarily black entirely, but may be grey, interspersed in many cases with the beige and white of the more well-known moonstone. Moonstone in general used to be the traditional birthstone for the month of August, but has now been made the birthstone for June.

Jet

A great sample of jet
Source: Geni via Wikimedia Commons

Jet

Ever wondered where the word jet-black came from? Jet is a black stone, and jet-black, meaning as black as can be, originally meant as black as the jet stone. The black stones are not pure mineral, but are in fact wood decomposed under high pressure over millions of years. See also Jet: Stone of Restoration.

Obsidian

Obsidian is a black volcanic glass. Though the black stones have a shiny surface, obsidian is not crystalline, unlike most gemstones, and may be formed out of various composition subjected to volcanic activity. The black rocks occur when molten lava rapidly cools down. Though typically jet-black, the black gemstones may appear grey when cut in a different way. See also Obsidian: Stone of Grounding.

Black Jasper

A black jasper pebble
Source: Simon Eugster via Wikimedia Commons

Black Jasper

Like onyx, jasper comes from the chalcedony group of mineral. Besides red, green and yellow, jasper also frequently occurs as black rocks. Jasper in general is the traditional birthstone for the month of March, along with bloodstone, another form of chalcedony.

Hematite

Hematite
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Hematite

Hematite, or haematite, is an iron ore that has the same crystal structure as ruby and sapphire. The name hematite comes from the Greek haimatitēs, which means “blood-like,” owing to the red color of its powdered form. Aside from the black rocks, hematite may be grey or silver in color, but always they have a rust-red streak. Hematite is the main source of iron, and is harder than pure iron. See also Hematite: Stone of Charisma.

Black Fluorite

A huge specimen of black fluorite
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Black Fluorite

Also known as fluorspars, fluorites are fluorescent (an adjective derived from its name) stones that come in virtually all colors, including red, yellow, green and black. The black gemstones are less common. The black stones, like all fluorites, are rather soft, and hence not widely used in jewelry.

Other Black Stones

Black rocks occur widely in the earth’s crust, and these black stones need not be precious stones for people to wear them in jewelry. Even some of the black gemstones above — hematite, jet and obsidian in particular — are not categorically precious or semi-precious stones; but these black stones are used as ornaments. Other black rocks made into jewelry include amphibolites, lodestone, tektite and lava. The name blackstones refer to any number of stones, including jasper, that are dyed black and polished for jewellery.

Do you like to wear black gems on your jewelry? Black jewels are great in adding strong lines and edge to your look.

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Published October 17, 2013Last updated July 2, 2016

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