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What are brown diamonds?

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

July 29, 2019

Diamonds come in all sorts and shapes. The 4 C’s of diamond valuation determine the price of the precious stone. One of these four C’s is color. The most well-known diamond color is “white”. The term white is a broad understanding. Because this can range from pure white to yellowish. But, besides white, diamonds come in many colors. There are the so-called ‘fancy colors’, like bright yellow, orange, pink, blue, green, red and black. But the most common color variety for natural diamonds is brown.

What is a brown diamond?

Around 15% of the mined diamonds is brown. Initially, brown diamonds were not very popular. Because of the reduced sparkle, brown diamonds were mainly used for industrial purposes. But over the years, more and more people discovered the beauty of brown diamonds. After all, a brown diamond in – for example – a rose gold setting looks marvelous.

rose gold ring with brown diamond

Champagne, cognac and chocolate diamonds

Because of the gaining popularity, people wanted to know more about that mystical brown little rock. Just like white diamonds can vary in hue, the same goes for brown diamonds. The color brown can vary from a yellowish-brown to a deep chocolate brown color. Many companies decided to attach their own name or trademark to a specific brown color. But the most widely used color grades are champagne diamonds, cognac diamonds, and chocolate ones.

cognac colored diamond earrings

Champagne diamonds

Champagne colored diamonds are the lightest form of brown. We use the term champagne for stones that are light brown(ish) and have some yellow tints. Often, these light-colored diamonds come from the range of white diamonds. A champagne diamond can be a top cape diamond or crystal-colored diamond.

Cognac diamonds

Cognac diamonds get their name from the famous drink. They are a lot darker than champagne diamonds. Instead of a yellow tint, they have a deep orange or red hue in it. You might even say cognac diamonds have a golden tone. Cognac diamonds, therefore, have a much warmer color than the summery champagne diamonds. We sometimes refer to cognac diamonds as ‘fancy cognac’. Fancy colored diamonds have a certain range of color strength, intensity, and vividness. In other words: these diamonds have a beautiful color.

woman wearing brown diamond earrings

Chocolate diamonds

Most chocolate diamonds come from the Argyle diamond mine in Australia. The term ‘chocolate diamonds’ was trademarked by the fine jeweler ‘Le Vian’. We can best describe chocolate diamonds as natural fancy (dark) brown colors. The classic deep brown diamonds add great warmth to the piece of jewelry it is set in.

chocolate brown diamond bracelet

Are brown diamonds rare?

From all colored diamonds, the brown ones are the least rare. Compared to (perfectly) white diamonds, brown diamonds often have attractive prices. Even though brown diamonds are rarer, they actually cost less than the white ones. However, every rule has its exceptions. The value of a diamond is determined by the 4 C’s, including the color. For example, brown diamonds that come close to red are a lot rarer and more valuable than brown ones with yellow hues. If the hue of the brown is special, rare or in another way out of the ordinary, it affects the price.


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