Raw diamonds, also called rough diamonds, are the uncut form of the world’s most popular white gemstone. Formed in the earth for centuries and left untouched, raw diamonds bring eye-catching geometry and an origin-story feel to fine jewelry designs like these Bario Neal classic solitaires: the Avens Raw Diamond Ring and the Lash Raw Diamond Ring.
Gemstory: Raw Diamonds
Origin: Most of our raw diamonds are from South Africa. Some come from Namibia, Botswana, or Canada — all ethical sources for diamonds.
Color: Gases and minerals present when a diamond is forming affect its color. Some raw diamonds have hints of brown, or salt and pepper. We also work with colored raw diamonds.
Treatment: As untouched gemstones, raw diamonds are not heat-treated to enhance color or increase clarity.
Mohs hardness scale: 10 (Diamonds are the hardest gemstone.)
Sizes: Bario Neal is able to get raw diamonds in all sizes.
Design notes: When diamonds are faceted, the goal is to maximize the visibility and face of the stone. Setting an octahedron-shaped raw diamond in a bezel setting will hide half of the stone inside a ring, so raw diamonds can appear smaller. However, diamonds are sold by carat weight, so clients keep value in a raw diamond by avoiding the cutting and polishing process that removes some of the stone. Note that more durable prongs may be required to secure an irregular-shaped stone.
Raw Diamond Shapes
While many raw diamonds are octahedrons, with a traditional diamond shape, so-called “alluvial diamonds” have traveled from their original source and been rounded and smoothed by water along river beds. There are also raw diamonds called “macles,” which are flatter and triangle-shaped (see this Custom Macle Prong Ring).
Raw Diamond Appearance
For decades, raw diamonds were underappreciated, but their shape and form give each stone a one-of-a-kind identity. After all, life isn’t perfectly smooth. The appealing ruggedness and color variations of raw diamonds in this Custom Topaz and Heirloom Rough Diamond Cluster Ring prove that “different” doesn’t mean unstylish or inelegant.
“Raw diamonds are like fingerprints,” says Bario Neal Principal + Lead Designer Anna Bario. “You see all the aspects of the stone: the shape, the textured surface, striations.”
Ethically Sourced Raw Diamonds
Bario Neal is firmly committed to the ethical sourcing of all gemstones and precious metals, and clients looking for ethical, traceable diamonds can feel good about raw diamonds too. Many of the human rights abuse issues associated with the diamond industry happen in the cutting and polishing process. With raw diamonds, there is no cutting and polishing, so that risk is largely eliminated.
Designing With Raw Diamonds
With cut diamonds, there is one way to set the stone traditionally. With raw diamonds, settings can dictate which side is up but sometimes there are other possibilities depending on the symmetry — or asymmetry — of your raw diamond. A tip from Anna: Integrate raw diamonds with cut white diamonds or colored gemstones for a rugged and smooth contrast. Bario Neal’s Custom Raw Diamond Open Lash Dyad Ring is a beautiful example of grounded meets gleaming.
According to the Gemological Institute of America, “Indian jewelers have long recognized the beauty of uncut gemstones. The tradition of using them is centuries old, and it still continues in modern design houses.”
Bario Neal loves to carry on the tradition and work with clients interested in jewelry designs with raw diamonds. Fill out our custom design questionnaire or make an appointment with us today to visit a showroom in Philadelphia or New York City. We also work with remote clients around the world virtually and by phone.