Rustic, Icy, and Opaque Diamonds

Rustic, Icy, and Opaque Diamonds an interview with Rough Diamond World by Corey Egan
An interview with Rough Diamond World
All images used courtesy of Rough Diamond World


A diamond does not have to be perfectly clear to be breathtaking. Sometimes, it’s the unexpected which really draws us in. I invite you to stare into the galaxy of a salt and pepper diamond or indulge in the translucent shimmer of an icy rose cut. The delightfully imperfect nature of rustic diamonds has a sensual, understated appeal.

Out in the wild, this type of diamond goes by many names. Sometimes called icy, rustic, salt and pepper or opaque, these monikers are usually determined by their color palette or inclusion patterns. Whichever label you prefer, it’s certain that these diamonds have blossomed in popularity over the last decade.

Rustic diamonds are not new. These rough crystals were once thought to be unusable due to their inclusions. Diamond cutters treated them as cast-offs as they cut away to clear crystals. Eventually, they were finally seen for their natural interest and beauty. They began faceting and polishing the imperfect rough into unique shapes which designers quickly embraced.

I find rustic diamonds infinitely intriguing. I am drawn to their muted color palette and inspired by the unique patterns and inclusions within the crystal. Each one is like a fingerprint. No two are identical.

You’ll often find these diamonds in rose cut shapes, with flat backs and a domed, faceted surface. But this unique rough can be purchased in the raw, in diamond slices, and in custom cut shapes.

To answer more questions about the terminology, makeup, and origins of rustic diamonds, we turned to our trusty partners at Rough Diamond World who cut and supply these unique gems to jewelry designers.

1. What are some common names for this type of diamond in the jewelry world? Which is the proper term? 

There are no "proper" terms. I have heard rustic, translucent, ice, and salt & pepper among the terms used to describe these diamonds.

2. What is the difference between raw and rustic diamonds? 

A raw diamond is completely unpolished, as it came out in nature. A rustic is a polished diamond with a raw feel.  

3. What are the most common colors for rustic diamonds? What causes the different color and patterns? 

The inclusions determine the characteristics and colors of these diamonds. The most popular at the moment is Salt and Pepper.

The reddish tones are usually iron inclusions although truly red diamonds take their color from a defect in their growth structure bending light to appear red. Yellow most commonly comes from Nitrogen in the diamond. Blues and grey without inclusions are from Boron and greens are usually a natural irradiation from deep inside the Earth.

4. What do you look for to determine the best quality of rustic diamond?

The most important quality characteristic is the polish of these diamonds. There should be no quality issues potentially causing a stone to chip or break in the higher priced goods. 

5. Are your rustic diamonds conflict-free?

All of our diamonds are conflict-free. We strictly adhere to the Kimberly process, and our factory is certified with the Indian government [where they are cut] for fair trade practices.

6. Rustic diamonds are growing in popularity. What makes them so appealing to your customers?  What are the benefits of choosing a rustic diamond? 

All diamonds resonate brilliantly compared to any other gemstone. What has often been overlooked in market clean white diamonds is that the characteristics that have previously been thought of as "flaws" are also beautiful and make every one of these stones unique! 

Salt and pepper rose cut hexagon rustic diamonds

7. What other kinds of unique diamonds are offered by Rough Diamond World? 

We offer all kind of diamonds from the rough to the polished. If you can think it, we can make it! or at least will do our best trying!!!

About the Author

As a long-time jewelry designer, I love the process of sculpting, engraving, and setting everything by hand. Through my exploration of texture-driven techniques and organic shapes, I hope you can feel my passionate energy and intention behind every piece.

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