A Guide To How Raw Diamonds Are Used in Jewelry

You’ve probably heard the phrase “a diamond in the rough.” People use it to describe someone who seems ordinary at first glance but has wonderful hidden traits beneath. Raw diamonds are the gemstone behind this popular saying. Raw diamonds are particularly striking, especially in jewelry designs. In this article, we’re exploring how raw diamonds are used in jewelry.

When we hear the word diamond, we might envision sparkling earrings or a stunning engagement ring. A rough diamond is different from popular white diamonds because it isn’t polished or cut; it’s straight from the earth.

Read on as we answer all your questions about raw diamonds and how you can wear these natural gems.

What Are Raw Diamonds?

Raw diamonds are completely unrefined. They might be cleaned up a bit, but that’s just to get a better look inside. These stones will most likely have inclusions or minerals that got stuck within while the diamond was forming. 

Inclusions in raw diamonds can give the gem different coloring. Some might be pink or purple, while others might be a cloudy gray. Carbonado is a black diamond known for its toughness, and it’s often engraved to bring out the dark coloring. Others, like the salt and pepper diamond, are multi-colored in black and white.

With all these different looks, how do you identify a rough diamond? Well, it’s a little tricky.

Most raw diamonds look transparent with tints of yellow or brown. Even if you somehow find one of the rare colorless raw diamonds, you might mistake it for quartz or glass. If you want to know for sure, you can get a portable diamond tester that detects conductivity. Alternatively, you can take the gem to a jewelry store and pay to have it tested. 

So we know it’s a raw diamond, but what kind?

raw diamonds

Types of Raw Diamonds

You can find raw diamonds in varying colors and sizes. Even though they aren’t cut, they only crystallize a few ways. In other words, raw diamonds only come in a few natural shapes.

  • Octahedron: This is the most common shape for raw diamonds. It has eight faces and looks like two pyramids with their bases attached.
  • Cube: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s important to note that not all six faces will be even or completely flat.
  • Dodecahedron: This eye-catching shape has a whopping twelve faces, and each face has five edges. In other words, every side looks like a pentagon. Pretty neat!

While we mostly appreciate diamonds for their striking appearance, the official classifications for rough diamonds focus on its purpose. The three sorting categories are gem quality, industrial quality, and boart (ground diamonds used for polishing raw diamonds)

When it comes to jewelry designs, gem quality stones are the ones that matter most. Gem quality raw diamonds beautifully adorn necklaces, rings, and other accessories. But rough diamonds vary in size and shape, so how do they go from the ground to jewelry?

raw diamonds

How Raw Diamonds Are Used in Jewelry

Raw diamond jewelry emerged in popularity in the early 2000s, and it’s easy to see why! In an era that circulated around space costumes and all things futuristic—raw diamonds complimented the Y2K aesthetic perfectly. Fun fact: Martha Stewart even featured some in her wedding magazine. With such unique shapes, how are raw diamonds used in jewelry designs?


While attaching the entire raw diamond to a necklace is one option, many opt for slicing. Raw diamond slices maintain the diamond’s shape while avoiding the presence of inclusions. The slices show fascinating patterns and highlight the color of the gem. They can be paired with silver or gold for a one-of-a-kind statement pendant.


A group of smaller raw diamonds can be combined with a strand. These gems function like beads and look gorgeous as a wrapped bracelet. Longer strands can even be worn as necklaces, too, but a collection of raw diamonds in one color adorns a wrist just beautifully. Many use black diamonds for these, as they match with everything while adding intrigue to any ensemble.


With cut diamonds, ring settings are standard for different shapes. With a rough diamond, the stone itself shapes the setting because the gem’s shape is so unique. Many jewelers will use a prong setting to show off the entire crystal and preserve its captivating colors. 

Raw Diamond Ring Settings

Rough diamonds that are closer to colorless pair well with platinum or silver settings. If the stone has yellow or brown tints, you can highlight the color with a silver or platinum setting. Another option is to complement the color with yellow gold or rose gold. For distinct colors like pink or blue, it’s best to emphasize the color with cool tones like platinum, silver, or white gold. 

Benefits of Raw Diamonds Over Cut Diamonds

In order for a raw diamond to stay raw, it can’t be faceted or polished. All the usual steps of planning and cutting aren’t relevant here. Fortunately, this comes as a benefit to buyers!

Raw Diamonds Are More Affordable 

For one, the less intensive process for a rough diamond makes it a much more budget-friendly selection. You’ll also get more bang for your buck, as the typical cutting process cuts away about 50% of the stone, on average.

Raw Diamonds Are Unique and Mysterious

The second benefit of raw diamonds is having an entirely unique diamond with its own character and story. If the stone is speckled, like a salt and pepper diamond, the light will reflect off some of it, while absorbing into the rest. Especially with a black diamond, you may find yourself gazing inside of the gemstone to uncover its mysteries.

A Wide Variety of Styles and Shapes

Most diamonds come with inclusions. As mentioned, it’s rare to find a pure diamond without tints of color. Rough diamonds, on the other hand, are much more common. While the majority of them get sorted for industrial use, gem quality diamonds have become increasingly popular. It’s easier than ever to get your hands on a raw diamond! 

The main drawback of a rough diamond over a cut diamond is brilliance. A diamond’s cut will determine how much light it reflects, so a better cut means more sparkle. Without crafting the facets and polishing the gem, a rough diamond won’t have the same sparkle. Still, raw diamonds make up for it because they offer celestial intrigue! After all, few people own an organic stone straight from Mother Nature, so you’re sure to trailblaze as a trend-setter.

Are Raw Diamonds Right For You?

Some prefer the classic, traditional appeal of cut and polished diamonds. However, those looking for something completely unique will love the mysterious and subdued nature of raw diamonds. A rough diamond has an organic, earthy feel that will have people asking you, “What’s the story behind that?” And with your majestic raw diamond in full display, we’re sure you’ll have a fascinating answer!





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