Megan Thorne's Evergreen Three Stone engagement ring is sided by two white rose cut diamonds. The salt and pepper diamond in the center weighs in at 2.02-carats.
Megan Thorne designed this salt and pepper diamond ring and matching band.
Megan Thorne likes working in yellow gold. This is her Evergreen Five Stone setting with slick gray 1.49-carat rose cut hexagon center stone.
Almost everyone knows all about the four Cs of diamonds. These gems are graded and valued upon their cut, clarity, color and carat weight. The clearer, brighter and whiter, the more highly prized and valuable a diamond is.
At least that’s the way it’s always been. But some people are now taking a shine to the imperfections, inclusions and that distinctly earthy, au naturel appearance in their gemstones these days.
Often called dishwater due to their gray, brown, murky, even opaque appearance, or known as salt and pepper or even galaxy referring to the presence of distinct black and white inclusions that give some stones a semi-opaque gray, speckled, almost Milky Way appearance, these are spectacular stones.
These diamonds are not just up-and-coming, they are becoming more and more sought after. Even Brides magazine has weighed in on the subject.
Designers are embracing the more natural diamonds in a big way, and once you see them you might fall for them yourself. Fort Worth jewelry designer Megan Thorne is certainly all in. She has a selection of eye-popping salt and pepper engagement ring designs, with even more on the way.
“I’m excited these stones are gaining attention,” Thorne tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “In the past such stones would have been ground down and used in industrial applications. But they are more desirable now.
“After a few marketing campaigns in the past 10 years or so, these diamonds have been introduced in different iterations. Including raw and rustic diamonds. I call them either salt and pepper or galaxy diamonds.”
It is easy to see why.
Most times, these stones are rose cut to amp up the unusual color and brilliance of the facets. While many modern diamond cuts (like the princess, oval, pear, round or marquis with 50 to 58 cuts) are employed specifically to hide imperfections in a gem and to reflect as much light as possible. The centuries old rose cut (also known as an old mine cut) features a large, domed table which allows your eye to flow down into the stone magnifying a diamond’s brilliance.
With far fewer facets (only 24 cuts) from most modern shapes, there is nowhere to hide anything on these natural diamonds. That’s the point for those who love a more natural look. The color, muddiness and speckled flaws actually add to the stone’s beauty in their minds. Like an antique mirror ― where its blotchy, oxidized appearance adds to its appeal — you don’t want to camouflage the flaws.
“Unlike very clear, and perfectly white stones, these have an ethereal softness and they don’t shoot light across the room,” Thorne says. “The rose cut, with its flat bottom and domed top is like a window, inviting you to explore the galaxy inside. It also gives a bigger look to the stone.”
Thorne’s Evergreen solitaire ring features an oval rose cut, salt and pepper central 1.84-carat diamond ($5,775.00). It’s impossibly sparkly, with dappled splashes of ink and ice, clutched in a dramatic claw prong setting with hand-carved evergreen pattern on the shoulders. It looks brilliant with a contrasting 18-karat yellow gold band.
“I fell in love with yellow gold for my mountings,” Thorne says. “It’s more mailable, and I like the feel of it in my hands when I am creating.”
Eighteen carat gold also is the perfect visual counter point to salt and pepper diamonds. The contrast makes them pop all the more.
Another stunningly unconventional engagement ring choice is Thorne’s three stone Evergreen. Lit from within, the center salt and pepper flashes with hints of both icy grey and warm fire. The 2.02-carat cushion shaped diamond is flanked by the soft sparkle of white rose cut side diamonds, accentuating the color of the center stone.
This setting is ideal “for a thoroughly modern girl who likes to wink at tradition,” Thorne notes.
Salt and pepper stones are less expensive and more interesting. They have varying opacities, ranging from see-through to opaque. Other variations include flashes of color like lava reds and blues that are visible in the stone, lending a lovely iridescence.
“But these are diamonds,” Megan Thone assures. “They are durable and lasting, while other popular colored stones do not stand up well to everyday wear.” Including sapphires, emeralds and rubies. Thorne’s salt and pepper engagement rings are heirlooms to pass on to the next generation.
“The awareness of them is growing,” she says. “You can afford a larger stone because the price point is friendly. I think people are looking for something that expresses their personality. And these diamonds are often more interesting and pleasing.”
Thorne tells PaperCity she has six more designs currently in production, each utilizing antique and salt and pepper diamonds.