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Diamond Knowledge

Styles of salt and pepper diamonds

A rundown of the many different faces of salt and pepper stones

Updated March 10, 2023

Choosing the right style of salt and pepper diamond

If you’ve started your search for the perfect salt and pepper diamond, you’ve probably come across the myriad of different styles this stone comes in. With plenty of inclusion patterns to choose from and a host of white, gray, and black hues, salt and pepper diamonds are far from a one trick pony! But which style is right for you and your partner? And how can you sift through the dizzying amount of options available?

We’ve already gone over the ins and outs of color possibilities and how salt and pepper diamonds get their unique patterns, but we wanted to point out a few beloved styles you may find during your diamond selection process. Despite so much variation in looks, there aren’t any widely accepted names for different salt and pepper styles. As such, the names we use here are the ones we most commonly see and that we find most helpful when working with couples. Without further ado, let’s look at some popular variations of salt and pepper diamonds!

Did you know?

Salt and pepper diamonds can contain a large variety of inclusions! Styles may include spots and speckles, splotches or swirls of color, vine-like inclusions that can reach multiple levels of the stone at once, or all of the above. These inclusions can also be white, black, or even various shades of gray for an entirely different look every time


Some salt and pepper stones actually maintain a lot of that classic diamond look with a translucent backdrop that lets you see every little speck and splotch. Translucent salt and pepper stones with clear or pale backgrounds are ideal for an up close and personal look at all of those interesting inclusions and patterns. They also allow you to see inclusions at every level within the diamond, providing depth and a more three-dimensional effect. Neat!

What’s more, some salt and pepper stones have very few inclusions at all, looking almost clean compared to other variations. After all, salt and pepper diamonds are simply regular diamonds with lots of inclusions! These stones often appear clear or light gray in color, looking similar to a traditional diamond. Some couples prefer the look of a clean salt and pepper stone with fewer inclusions that offers classic diamond appeal for a fraction of the price.


On the other side of the spectrum, salt and pepper diamonds can also have an opaque backdrop, and many couples adore the richer color of this variety. You can’t usually see through these salt and pepper diamonds and into their depths like the translucent ones mentioned above, but the solid body color makes a wonderful backdrop for those intricate inclusions near the surface of the diamond. This can make for some trippy effects when looking at vein-like inclusions, as you’ll only be able to see the parts that reach the stone’s surface!

Opaque stones are where you’ll find colors like milky or icy white, misty or stormcloud gray, or even jet black. They may take on a frosty or cloudy appearance or look completely solid in color, and their opaque hue means you’ll get a bit more shimmer and sparkle out of their facets as light reflects directly back to you. Fun fact: a fully opaque diamond is usually referred to as a black diamond. While not technically a salt and pepper diamond, this can be a great choice for those looking for that jet black appeal.

Black and white (or vice versa)

Many couples seem to gravitate towards black and white salt and pepper diamonds because: 1. These colors make up the classic style of this particular type of diamond, and 2. The two colors create a stark contrast that really stands out in an engagement ring! But, if you’ve read our article on inclusion patterns, you know that it’s not exactly all black and white with salt and pepper diamonds. In fact, popular salt and pepper diamond styles may have white backgrounds or inclusions (or both), and the same is true for black hues.

The possible color and inclusion combinations are almost endless, and which one speaks to you really comes down to personal taste. You may prefer the appeal of a white salt and pepper diamond with black and/or gray inclusions, offering plenty of opportunity to view those unique patterns and a neutral background that looks amazing with any metal setting. Or, maybe you’re an emo kid at heart and prefer darker, black stones with striking white and gray inclusions that look more like a night sky filled with stars when set in icy metals like white gold or platinum.

Shades of gray

There’s almost no end to the possible shades of gray you can find in salt and pepper diamonds, and that’s great news! This means that every gray stone is completely unique, providing a personal take on that spicy appeal. Gray salt and pepper diamonds may be pale or light gray, medium or stormy gray, charcoal gray, or even so dark gray that they almost teeter on the edge of black.

And that’s not just body color: these same shades of gray can also be found in every type of inclusion, meaning you can have gray speckles, squiggles, swirls, and more. Some couples love the look of a gray stone with varying gray inclusions, and the monochromatic appeal is ideal for modern or minimalist settings.

Galaxy diamonds

Galaxy salt and pepper diamonds are a very popular choice among couples who want something special, and it’s easy to see why. The heavy inclusions within galaxy diamonds mimic a night sky with starry specks, swirling nebulas, and milky galaxies (hence the name!). You may also see these stones referred to as “celestial diamonds”, which is also an accurate representation of their out-of-this-world patterns.

There’s no one color that denotes a galaxy salt and pepper diamond. Instead, they typically consist of a healthy mix of white, black, and shades of gray that combine to create these mesmerizing patterns. Galaxy salt and pepper diamonds are ideal for the space lover in your life, or maybe you plan to propose under a starry night sky. Either way, these galaxy-inspired diamonds are positively heavenly!

Which one is right for you?

Now that you’ve gotten a taste of some popular salt and pepper diamond styles, which one speaks to you? Do you like your diamonds extra spicy, peppered with a variety of different inclusions? Or, are you a lover of refined, less included stones that retain much of that classic diamond appearance? There’s really no end to the color and pattern combinations of salt and pepper diamonds, so be sure to look at multiple stones to see which one best suits your or your partner’s taste.

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