What is a Brown Diamond?

What is a Brown Diamond?

Curious about the hype around brown diamonds? Wondering if you should join the trend? Look no further! This Learning Guide has got you covered with answers to the most commonly asked questions about brown diamonds, including:

  • What exactly are brown diamonds?
  • How rare are they?
  • What are “chocolate diamonds”?
  • Are brown diamonds naturally mined or man-made?

What Are Brown Diamonds?

A brown diamond refers to any fancy colored diamond that displays a brownish hue. These diamonds can vary in shades from a pale brown to a deep, almost black-brown color, with some exhibiting yellowish brown, pink-brown, or orangey-brown tones.


One fascinating aspect of colored diamonds is their origin of color, which differs from one color to another. In the case of brown diamonds, their coloration results from plastic deformation in the diamond’s crystal lattice. This deformation, caused by pressure, creates graining that gives the diamond its brown color when light passes through it. The diamond absorbs different wavelengths of light, resulting in the brown color we see.

As the demand for alternative colored gemstones for engagement rings grows, brown diamonds have emerged as an affordable option compared to colorless stones.

Where Can You Find Brown Diamonds?

Brown diamonds are primarily found in the world-famous Argyle Mine, although it’s not specifically renowned for producing brown diamonds. The Argyle Mine is widely recognized for its exceptional pink and extremely rare red diamonds. However, the mine was closed in 2020.

Other notable locations where brown diamonds are sourced include Brazil, Congo, Angola, and Borneo. Still, the majority of brown diamonds available on the market are from the Australian Argyle mines.

Tinted Brown Colorless Diamonds vs. Brown Fancy Colored Diamonds

It’s essential to understand the difference between fancy color diamonds and tinted brown diamonds. Fancy color diamonds are those that are intentionally colored and valued based on the depth, intensity, and rarity of their hue. In contrast, tinted brown diamonds are considered lower on the GIA’s color grade scale and are not classified as fancy colored diamonds.

When selecting colorless diamonds, it’s crucial to ensure that there is no brown tint present in the stone. The presence of a brown hue in a colorless diamond can significantly impact its value and quality. Therefore, it’s essential to have a reputable jeweler or gemologist examine the diamond’s color and clarity before making a purchase.

Brown fancy color diamonds are distinct from tinted brown diamonds, and a brown hue in a colorless diamond can significantly impact its quality and value.

What is a Chocolate Diamond?

The term “chocolate diamond” is a marketing name made famous by the designer brand Le Vian. The term is used to market brown diamonds under a more appealing name than simply calling them “brown.” Since brown is not the most desirable color for diamonds, associating it with everyone’s favorite brown food was a clever idea. The term chocolate diamonds is used by the company to describe any brown diamonds set in Le Vian’s brown diamond jewelry collection.


Le Vian offers some stunning brown diamond jewelry pieces, but the price inflation can be exorbitant. As a designer brand, customers are paying for both the brand name and the markup costs on brown diamonds. In other words, Le Vian charges significantly more for their brown diamond rings and jewelry designs than other retailers. However, they have become the most recognizable name in brown diamonds, thanks to retailers such as Kay and Jared, who are also known for their high markup costs.

Ultimately, it’s crucial for consumers to understand that “chocolate diamond” is simply a marketing term used to market brown diamonds under a more appealing name. While Le Vian offers some beautiful brown diamond jewelry pieces, customers should be aware of the potential price inflation when purchasing from a designer brand or a high-end retailer.

Champagne Diamonds vs. Chocolate Diamonds

The jewelry industry distinguishes between different shades of brown diamonds, and “chocolate diamond” has become a general term for fancy dark brown diamonds, although it was first popularized by Le Vian as a marketing term. Champagne diamonds are a type of fancy light brown diamond, characterized by a light brown hue throughout the entire diamond with the same saturation and intensity in every area.


While the term “champagne” is used to describe light brown diamonds in general, the more expensive champagne diamonds have a secondary light yellow hue. It’s essential to note that the color and clarity of a diamond play a significant role in its value, and a champagne diamond with a secondary yellow hue may be more valuable than one without it. Understanding the differences between various shades of brown diamonds can help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing diamond jewelry.


Cognac Diamonds vs. Chocolate Diamonds

Cognac diamonds are another term used to describe brown diamonds that fall between fancy deep brown diamonds and fancy dark colored diamonds. While there’s no exact science to determine whether a diamond should be categorized as a cognac or chocolate diamond, most brown diamonds can be classified under one of the three brown diamond color names.


Due to the similar dark brown hues, many people may confuse chocolate diamonds with cognac diamond jewelry. However, diamonds with dark brown tones and a secondary tone of orange or pink are typically considered cognac colored.

It’s important to note that the color and secondary hues of a diamond can significantly impact its value, so it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the different shades of brown diamonds when making a purchase.

Are Brown Diamonds Cheap or Expensive?

Colored diamonds, including brown diamonds, are among the most expensive diamonds in the world. Some fancy colored diamonds can cost thousands of dollars more than colorless diamonds of the same quality, even for the lightest shades of color. Fancy blue and fancy pink diamonds are the most expensive of all the fancy color shades.

While brown diamonds are relatively less expensive than other fancy color diamonds, a one-carat light brown diamond can still cost as much as an eye-clean near-colorless diamond of the same weight.

However, if you’re looking for a high-quality brown diamond ring with dark brown stones, expect to pay about three times more than you would for a similar colorless diamond. Ultimately, the price of a brown diamond will depend on its color intensity, size, and clarity, among other factors.

In general, champagne diamonds are priced lower than chocolate or cognac diamonds.

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How Rare Are Brown Diamonds?

If you’re wondering about the value of brown diamonds, the answer is yes, they are worth something. Colored diamonds, including brown ones, are considered valuable. In fact, colored diamonds are the only type of diamonds that are really worth investing in.

However, compared to other fancy colored diamonds, brown diamonds are not as rare. Yellow diamonds and brown diamonds are generally considered more affordable colored diamonds. However, fancy yellow diamonds with intense saturation and hue can still fetch a high price depending on their carat weight, and may even be referred to as “canary diamonds.”


Brown and yellow tints are common in mined diamonds, as miners often come across tinted diamond rough when searching for colorless diamonds. However, finding brown tinted diamond rough with a consistent hue and saturation is rarer. The larger the carat weight and the darker the brown diamond, the more rare and valuable it is. Brown diamonds with strong secondary hues also tend to have a higher value.

Are Lab Created Brown Diamonds Real?

Most retailers sell natural brown diamonds, but synthetic brown diamonds are also available in hues of yellow brown, pink brown, and orange brown. Although lab-created brown diamonds have the same properties as natural ones, they are less valuable than their natural counterparts of the same quality and color.

The price difference between a natural and lab-created fancy vivid brown diamond can be up to 30%, but it is unlikely to notice a difference between them other than the hue.

Large carat weights of brown diamonds can cost a fortune. One of the most famous brown diamonds is the Golden Jubilee Diamond, weighing 545.67 carats and cut by Gabi Tolkowsky, whose family is also known for creating the ideal cut round brilliant diamond.

The Golden Jubilee diamond, cut by Gabi Tolkowsky, holds the distinction of being the largest faceted diamond in the world. It is now a part of the crown jewels of Thailand, along with other precious gemstones and jewelry pieces.

Best Places to Buy Brown Diamonds

If you are in search of a fine jewelry retailer that specializes in brown diamonds, there are several reputable options available online. James Allen and Leibish & Co. are two of the top retailers to consider when looking to purchase a brown diamond.

James Allen is an excellent choice for those on a budget, as they offer a large selection of affordable brown diamonds. They have over 50 loose diamonds in different shades of brown, ranging from light to dark.

Customers can view each diamond in crystal clear 360-degree videos, which allows for a close examination of the diamond’s sparkle and beauty. Prices for brown diamonds at James Allen start as low as $3,000 per carat and go up to $7,000 per carat. Additionally, every brown diamond ring comes with a lifetime warranty for the ring setting, as well as a diamond certificate from an independent gemological laboratory.

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For those seeking high-quality brown diamonds, Leibish & Co. is an excellent option. They have one of the largest selections of colored diamonds online, including a wide range of brown diamonds. Customers can select the Champagne Diamonds tab under their colored diamonds page to view their selection of natural brown diamonds, including fancy intense brown diamonds, fancy deep brown diamond shades of cognac diamonds, and yellowish brown hues desired by champagne diamond seekers.

While the price of genuine brown diamonds from Leibish may be higher than those from James Allen, the gem quality of these natural diamonds is truly a sight to behold. All of the brown diamonds available at Leibish are GIA certified, ensuring their authenticity and quality.

Whether you choose to purchase a brown diamond from James Allen or Leibish & Co., both retailers are known for their exceptional customer service and quality products. When purchasing a brown diamond online, it is important to select a reputable retailer that provides detailed information on each diamond, including its color grade, clarity, and carat weight. This will ensure that you are making an informed purchase and will be satisfied with your diamond for years to come.

Best Diamond Shape for Brown Diamonds

While the round cut is known to be the best diamond shape for colorless diamonds due to their symmetrical proportions resulting in excellent light performance, the same does not apply to brown diamonds or any other fancy color diamonds.

Round diamonds are designed to have superior sparkle and brilliance, creating a lot of white and rainbow light. However, for colored diamonds, the color itself is the primary focus. If a round diamond reflects more white light, it interferes with the hue of a brown diamond, or any other fancy color diamonds, diminishing its brilliance. This is also true for other fancy color diamonds.

A halo setting can mitigate this effect by placing a circle of white diamonds around the brown diamond center of an engagement ring, creating a beautiful contrast that highlights the brown diamond’s color.

For colored diamonds, fancy diamond shapes are recommended. Shapes with larger surface areas, such as radiant cut diamonds or emerald cut diamonds, are ideal for displaying the color intensity of the diamond. These cuts showcase the depth of the diamond’s color, giving it an eye-catching appearance in an engagement ring.


A brown diamond engagement ring is a great alternative to the traditional colorless diamond ring. Brown diamonds have similar physical properties to colorless diamonds, making them durable enough to be worn daily.

There are three main categories of brown diamonds to choose from: champagne, cognac, and chocolate diamonds. However, if you are looking for darker chocolate diamonds, it is best to avoid Le’Vian, as their pieces are beautiful but often overpriced. Shopping for a brown diamond ring online can offer more options and better prices.

The cost of a brown diamond ring depends on the intensity of its hue and its carat weight. Brown diamonds under 1 carat can cost the same as a high-quality colorless diamond of the same grade. Brown diamonds with rich hues and over 2 carats can range from $7,000 to $25,000. It’s essential to buy from a reputable jeweler and to ensure that the diamond comes with a certification from a reputable gemological laboratory like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

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When it comes to choosing a diamond shape for a brown diamond ring, fancy shapes like radiant or emerald cut are recommended. These shapes have a larger surface area, which helps to showcase the color intensity of the diamond. A halo setting with a circle of white diamonds around the brown diamond center can also help to enhance the diamond’s color.

Brown diamonds can be paired with any colored metal, but yellow and rose gold are particularly good choices as they complement the warm tones of the stone. Rose gold is especially suitable for cognac diamond jewelry.

By now, you should be able to distinguish between the three main shades of brown diamonds and have a better understanding of their properties and characteristics. Although not the rarest, brown diamonds can still be overpriced, so it’s essential to compare quality and prices before making a final decision.

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