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    How to Choose a Salt & Pepper Diamond

    If you know us, you know we love the alternative, the unique, and the one-of-a-kind. So, it’s no surprise that we’re all about the deeply magical, galaxy-esque vibes of salt and pepper diamonds. Today's blog is your guide to choosing the perfect salt & pepper stone for you!

    What are Salt & Pepper Diamonds?

    Salt & Pepper diamonds, often called ‘Galaxy’ diamonds for their cosmic, stardusted surface, are heavily included diamonds. ‘Pepper’ refers to the grey or inky black inclusions, and ‘salt’ refers to the icy white inclusions.

    What are inclusions? They’re minerals trapped inside the stone that can look like feathers, clouds, specks, clouds, or even chips. The unique pattern of mineral deposits reflects the singular moment and position on Earth when that stone was created.  

    Read our blog “What are Salt & Pepper Diamonds for more on what we love about these stones!  

    Start with Shape

    The best place to start your salt & pepper shopping is shape – do you love pear, kite, round, hexagon, oval, asscher cut, or even a shield shape? Salt & pepper stones come in every shape under the sparkling sun, so start here to narrow down your choices! Browse through our selection of salt & pepper rings to get an idea of which shape speaks loudest to you.

    The stone’s shape will dictate the ring’s overall design, so if you’re going custom, this is a great place to start to bring your vision to life.

    Curate by Cut

    As with traditional white diamonds, the two most popular s & p cuts are brilliant cut and rose cut. What’s the difference? Brilliant diamonds are cut for maximum sparkle – their pointed base and many facets are designed to reflect light back towards the spectator for a blinding sparkle. Rose cut diamonds on the other hand, are cut with fewer facets and a flat base to allow light to move through the stone, resulting in a more transparent, candlelit glow.  

    Why consider rose cut over the more popular brilliant cut?Thanks to their flat base and customizable facet pattern, rose cut diamonds can be cut into almost any shape – even completely irregular shapes. So, if you’re looking for a super unique stone shape, rose cut may be the answer!

    Also, rose cut diamonds look larger than brilliant cuts with the same carat weight. Without the pointed bottom, all the carat weight ends up in the top face of the diamond, resulting in larger looking stone. Who can resist that!

    Ponder on Gold Color

    Do you love the rosé hue of rose gold, the sunlit gleam of yellow gold, the icy magic of white gold, or the buttery glimmer of Peach Gold ®?If you’re set on one hue of gold, this can help narrow down your salt & pepper search – you can look for a stone that shines brightest with your chosen gold! If you’re open minded on gold color, save this step for later.

    Read our ‘Ultimate Guide to Gold & Precious Metals’ for more information on each option.

    Salt, Pepper, or Both?

    Most people tend to fall in three salt & pepper camps – those who love deep, dark starry night peppery stones, those who love ethereal icy white salty diamonds, and those in the middle who love a light grey, dusk-is-falling mix of salt and pepper. Take a browse through our salt & pepper rings and loose salt & pepper diamonds to see which end of the spectrum you gravitate towards.

    Once you know your general salt and peppery leanings, you can start narrowing down stones in that category. Every single salt & pepper stone is a unique inimitable galaxy of its own, and once you stare into its depths, you’ll know if that stone is for you. Keep an open mind – you never know what you’ll end up loving!  

    What if you want an exact replica of a stone you’ve seen that’s sold? We get this question a lot! Unfortunately, (and also fortunately) every salt & pepper diamond has a unique, nature-created pattern of inclusions that will never be identically repeated. We can, however, scour the Earth to find you a stone that matches your star-crossed stone as closely as possible – one that you love just as much, or hopefully more!


    The lightest diamonds in the salt & pepper spectrum, icy diamonds are heavy on the salt and light on the pepper. They range from perfectly white to a light dusky grey but all shades feel bright, dreamy, and deliciously ethereal.


    Right in the middle of the spectrum, these grey toned diamonds can vary massively in terms of their particular night sky constellation pattern. Usually you'll find a mix of salt and pepper inclusions for a multifaceted, light-catching, endlessly mesmerizing galaxy of stars with so much delicious depth.


    The darkest salt and peppers range from dark smoky grey to basically black - some can even be mistaken for a solid grey or black diamond. They're predominantly pepper and feel dramatic, glamorous, and oh-so enigmatic. Like an inky black night with glimpses of starlight in an otherwise midnight sky.

    No More Grading

    If you’re a diamond lover, you’ve probably heard of the 4Cs, the scale created to measure imperfection in white diamonds. Since with salt & pepper diamonds, we’re actually looking for interesting color and inclusions, the traditional grading system #neednotapply. And we love this! It’s easy to get bogged down by grading and forget to simply look at stones and trust your own definition of beauty. You’re now free to choose a diamond purely because you love it!

    While cut, color, and clarity are incredibly useful tools for narrowing down diamond selection to your preferred look, you could put 5 stones side by side with identical grades, and each one will look completely different. The grading does not tell all, and ultimately it comes down to what you LOVE – let the stones speak to you!  

    Inclusions should be cosmetic & not affect integrity

    While those s & p inclusions are magical and mesmerizing, they can also affect the strength and integrity of a stone if they reach to the surface or fall in areas that could affect setting the stone. Of course, you’re not expected to be able to judge the structural integrity of a diamond, an expert jeweler will do the vetting for you!

    The Made by Gem Breakfast team and all our independent jewelers source only the highest quality stones available and every stone is inspected heavily at extreme magnification to ensure not only stunning fabulosity but strength, durability, and high-quality cut for every single stone we sell.

    Consult an Expert, Trusted Jeweler

    While the no grading system is incredibly liberating, it also means you need to trust your jeweler. Only buy salt & pepper diamonds (or any gemstone) from a reputable expert jeweler you trust – they will ensure you end up with a high-quality stone that will not only last a lifetime, but is expertly cut for maximum beauty and sparkle.


    Shop S & P Diamonds at Gem Breakfast