black gemstones

What Are The Top Black Gemstones and Why People Love Them

How many gemstones do you know?

Without a doubt, crystal-clear diamonds will be the first to pop up in your mind. Then it may be followed by the blood-red ruby, the sparkling-green, the sky-blue blue turquoise, and many more. Among them, however, black gemstones are the exception. You may not even know they exist. Yes, they do, and the top black gemstones can give other more well-known gems a run for their money.

So, which precious stones are black?

This is what this article is about—to familiarize you with them, and why people love these gems.

Top Black Gemstones

What gems are black in color? In medieval times, black gemstones were associated with mourning or death; that they exude negative vibrations. However, a black gemstone meaning can be as unique as the wearer.

As time moved on, so did people’s perspectives. Nowadays they are making headway among people who want to make a fashion statement. In fact, wearers flaunt them because of their uniqueness and affordability.

There are close to a hundred black stones with gem-potential, but only a very few merit becoming a jewelry piece like the one in this Clean Origins review. That honor belongs to these jewelers’ favorites—the best of the best of black gemstones.

Black Diamond


black gemstone

Black diamond

This gemstone, also known as Carbonado, is a dark and opaque gemstone often used as abrasives and in cutting tools. But there is nothing abrasive in black diamonds when talking about jewelry, although new jewelry making tech greatly helps.

They may not sparkle, like regular diamonds such as the one in this Aurate NY review, but they reflect light in an alluring way. And it is different in a number of ways. Such as:

  • First, they can only be found in some parts of Brazil and the Central African Republic.
  • Second, it is older than the diamond you may be familiar with—dating back 3.8 billion years.
  • Third, it contains hydrogen—an element found only in space rocks, and it can withstand greater pressure.

Black Sapphire

Black sapphire is a variety of corundum—an extremely hard aluminum oxide mineral. They were formed thousands of years ago and their color comes from the impurities present during their formation.

The major supplier of black sapphire is Australia. Though the gemstone is considered low grade, it has become popular among jewelers because of its affordability.

Black Onyx

Onyx is a semi-precious variety of agate with white and black alternating bands. The word comes from the Greek word onux—meaning nail or claw—due to its color.

Natural onyx comes from India and South America. As jewelry, it usually comes in cameo form or intaglios (a form of printing technique) to show its color contrast.

Black Pearl

There are three varieties of black pearls.

  • Akoya Pearls from Japan
  • Freshwater Pearls from China
  • Tahitian Pearls

So, what is the most expensive black stone? Of the three, the Tahitian pearls are the real black pearls. They grow inside a very specific type of oyster—the Tahitian black-lipped Pinctada margaritifera. Needless to say, they are very expensive. Depending on the size, a strand can cost from $500 to $25,000.


Obsidian formed when viscous lava cools rapidly. It is a stone rich in silica, giving it a glassy luster. Though obsidian is jet-black in color, impurities like iron oxide produce varieties of different colors like red or brown. And tiny gas bubble inclusions give it a golden sheen.

They may also come with dark bands or gray, green, or yellow spots.

Black Spinel 

Black spinel is a gem with magnesium oxide and magnesium-aluminum oxide impurities. It is a very rare and valuable gemstone.

Spinels don’t come with inclusions and don’t require any chemical treatment—unless they come in light colors. Though called Black Spinel, it may come in a variety of colors, like dark blue, purple, pink, yellow, and amber.

Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Thailand are the chief sources of black spinels.

Black Zircon

Black zircon is zircon silicate, a mineral, that gets its color from iron oxide inclusions. Because of its luster, it is often used as a diamond substitute. It is also a hard stone, but brittle.

Black zircon is very difficult to find in the market because of its rarity. If ever there is, it will be very expensive.

Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam have been the chief sources of black zircon for hundreds of years.

Black Tourmaline

Black tourmaline is a hexagonal crystal from the aluminum borosilicate family. Its most common color is, of course, black. But impurities like magnesium, iron, and other elements can give it different hues.

It has a glassy luster; smooth to the touch. The stone is tough and resistant to breakage, making them ideal to work with. And they can be cut into different shapes.

Black tourmaline is the most common among gemstones and can be found anywhere. Because of this, it is the most popular—even among the multi-colored family of tourmaline gemstones (see chart).

tourmaline colors

Tourmaline Color Chart

And the most expensive black stone, too. Extra-fine loose black tourmaline stones can go from $150 to $450/carat.

Black Jet

Of all the black gemstones, the black jet can lay claim to being the true black gemstone. It is solid black and seems to absorb all light, reflecting nothing.

Black jet is an organic gemstone, a variety of bituminous coal from fossilized wood. It was very popular during the Victorian Era where it was used for mourning. Since then, its popularity has fallen off. The gem is soft and can easily be damaged so wear it on special occasions only—if you have one.

Oh, be careful! It is highly flammable so keep away from candle-lit dinners.

Black Garnet

Black garnet is a calcium-iron silicate that appears dull or glossy black. It has two varieties: black andradite and black melanite. Of the two, the latter is more common in the jewelry world.

Black melanite is similar to black tourmaline in color but has a higher luster. It is a tough stone, resistant to breakage. As jewelry, it is often faceted to bring out its brilliance. Excellent wear for any occasion.

Black Jade

Black jade is a generic term used to describe mineral rocks, like nephrite (a jade-like material with high silicate of calcium and magnesium content), colored by high concentrations of dark minerals.

Like black garnet, black jade also has two varieties: jadeite and nephrite. Of the two, jadeite is of higher quality, hence more expensive.

The gem is soft and easy to carve into beautiful designs. Black jade is very compact in composition and very durable. It can be cut into either faceted or cabochons. Most black jade jewelry, however, is of the cabochon cut.

And if you are crystal-biased, this question might pop up in your mind, “What crystal is black?

All of the above precious stones are black. However, under certain light conditions, they may exhibit different hues depending on the impurities contained within. Except for Black Jet, which is the true black gemstone as it absorbs, not reflects, light.

Remember that technically, black is not a color but the absence of color. Black Jet fits the description to-a-tee.

But not all are crystals. And here’s why…

A crystal is a solid material whose constituents are arranged in a highly-ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in all directions.

That being the case, all top black gemstones are black crystals except black pearl, obsidian, and black jet.

The Meanings of Black Gemstones

Black is beautiful. It is cool; it is sexy. Over-sized women love to wear black to improve their visual appeal. Black gemstones are beautiful, cool, and sexy as well—if worn on the right occasion and stylish color contrast with its environment.

But adornment and beautification are not the only reasons why people love them. They love them for the perceived black gemstone meanings rife with a sense of mystery, fascination, and wonderment. These gems cater to people’s deepest desires and dreams and, at the same time, a shield against their gravest dreads and fears.

They love to wear them for symbolism—power, sophistication, and elegance rolled into one.

For example:

Black Onyx


lack gemstone

Black onyx

In ancient times, black onyx had a bad reputation. In fact, the Arabs had a name for it—el jaza—meaning “sadness.” Somehow that changed. From sadness to that of presager (something that foretells something bad will happen or about to happen). That’s why Cleopatra of Egypt, wore it to sense negative energy and warn her of impending danger.

Now people wear with much the same reason as Cleopatra—to warn them of negative energies that might spell trouble. It is believed that black onyx absorbs negative energy. And the more negativity it absorbs, the darker it gets.

Another meaning of onyx is it being a repository of past events and capable of showing or reminding the wearer of the significant events in his/her life.

The gem is considered a protective stone on dark nights and loneliness; stabilizing relationships and increasing the renewal of body and spirit. The stone is said to boost happiness, intuition, and instincts; it also helps in changing bad habits.

In Feng Shui, black onyx is said to protect and ground the wearer—a therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that electrically connect you to the ground. It is known to give the wearer the strength, stamina, and determination to persevere.

Indian and Persian folklores take black onyx as a protector from evil. And Indian geologists believe, it is a protector of human relationships.

In astrology, black onyx is believed to give the wearer power and courage, hence gave it the star signs of Leo and Capricorn.

Black Sapphire


black gemstones

Black Sapphire

Conventional wisdom says that black sapphire means wisdom, virtue, and good fortune. As a wedding ring, it means faithfulness and sincerity.

In metaphysical terms, black sapphire is a good grounding stone that will protect your body and the energies around you. It also deflects negative energy that other people emit; gives you a calm and strong disposition even in chaotic and stressful moments.

Black sapphire will get rid of your doubts and give you a clear idea of how to set things right; guides you in determining the right thing to do.

The stone is believed to increase your energy levels and your enthusiasm. It is also a good stone to wear when in charge of a team working on projects. And its reach encompasses a wide range of human activities such as healing and health, wealth, and relationships. It even appeals to the heavenly realm.

Black sapphire ranges in color from brown to black. And each color appeals to certain angelic spirits that can intercede on your behalf.

Other than angels, black onyx also appeals to different gods. For example, it honors Manat, the Arabian Goddess of Time, Destiny, and Death. It also honors Cybele, the Roman Mother Earth, and Goddess of Wild Animals; Juterna, the Roman Goddess of Brooks, and Ponds and Turan, the Etruscan goddess of Love and Beauty.

Black Tourmaline


black gemstones

Black tourmaline

Among black gemstones, black tourmaline takes center stage when it comes to meanings and symbolism. It is the most powerful grounding, purification, and protection stone. And for centuries, various cultures nurtured different beliefs about the virtues of the stone.

For example, in 18th-century literature, Babara Walker considered this stone helpful to artists, authors, actors, and others in the creative field. A Dutch scientist claimed that tourmaline wrapped in silk and pressed against the cheek can cure a feverish child. In Africa, tourmaline was once used to awaken one from the “dream of illusion.

These are but a few of the meanings and symbolism of black tourmaline in bygone eras.

Now, in these more worldly days, black tourmaline is said to be a good stress-reliever, fosters compassion and cool-headedness, and radiates energy that attracts money, healing, and friendship.

Black tourmaline promotes inspiration and happiness; reduces fear, and builds self-confidence in the wearer. It keeps the digestive system healthy and strengthens teeth and bones. The gem is also good for people with adrenal disorders and trauma treatment.

Regardless of its meaning, past or present, black tourmaline is a unique stone. It produces electricity when heated, and can store electrical charge. That’s electrifying, isn’t it?

On the practical side, black tourmaline is worth investing in because it is one of the most popular among black gemstones.

Now, these gemstones make for a good investment, but if you want to know if gold jewelry is worth your dollar, check out our article, “From Gifts to Investments: Why You Should Buy Gold Jewelry Now.