Brown-colored gemstones are not so many people’s preferred choice of gemstones for jewelry. That notwithstanding, these natural stones are durable and a good choice for jewelry you will be required to wear every day.
In this guide, we shall cover:
- What is a brown gemstone?
- Where to buy the best brown gemstones?
- Review of the best brown gemstones
In this Guide
What are Brown Gemstones?
Brown is one of the least preferred colors for gemstones both for enthusiasts and collectors. Even the best stores that sell gemstones do not stock these kinds of gems very often.
Most people are embracing modernity; the reason brown gemstones are gaining popularity as people step away from the traditional and conventional hues.
A very good example is a brown diamond that has recently become popular among celebrities. Brown is used as a symbol of health, simplicity, and nature.
The brown tone in these gems comes in different shades from light to dark. These kinds of stones are unisex; you will find brown gemstone jewelry for both women and men.
Where to Buy the Best Brown Gemstones
You can buy brown gemstones online or from physical jewelry stores. Both these places will guarantee you high-quality stones.
If your budget is a little tight, you are most likely going to find high-quality and affordable stones from online stores like James Allen and Blue Nile. Both these stores have a wide selection.
Types of Brown Gemstones
There are not so many brown gemstones out there. The few that are available come as various minerals. Here are some of the commonest types you will find in the stores.
- Brown Diamond
- Fire Agate
- Brown Citrine
- Smoky Quartz
- Tiger’s Eye
- Chocolate Opal
- Brown Tourmaline
- Cat’s Eye Apatite
- Mahogany Obsidian
Brown Gemstone Names and Pictures
#1. Brown Diamond
- The commonest type of diamond
- Excellent brilliance
- Synthetic types available
- Costs between $2,500 and $4,500
Tens of years ago, most people did not like brown diamonds because it was thought that the value of this stone solely depended on its clarity.
This norm was broken by the millennial who wanted something different from colorless diamonds.
You may have heard jewelry lovers or even other people referring to brown diamond using some other name like chocolate, champagne, or cognac. When compared to other diamond types, brown diamond is the most common and also the lowest price too. The most expensive is the dark brownstone and also the most valuable.
Like most other diamond pieces, brown diamond has great brilliance and is the hardest among all kinds of gemstones. The dark brown shade goes a long way in hiding the inclusions present. If you would prefer a brown diamond that is inclusion-free, then there are lab-created varieties.
- Somehow affordable
- Not popular
#2. Fire Agate
- Waxy shine
- Somewhat rare
- Tough stone
- Costs between $0.5 and $15
Just like opals, fire agates are very beautiful stones that exist in different color swirls and bubbles.
Brown agates have very few deposits found in the USA and Mexico. They are very gorgeous with excellent iridescence and sheen.
These brownstones belong to the quartz family hence the toughness. The best fire agate normally has a hardness of 7; the surface is waxy luster and is translucent. Jewelers love to cut this stone in cabochons and make it into unique patterns to bring out the stone’s sheen.
- Quite affordable
- Not cut into facets
#3. Brown Citrine
- Vitreous luster
- Costs between $4 and $15
Like the previous stone, the brown citrine is also a member of the quartz family. The brown color is a result of iron traces inside the stone. Most of the brown citrine in the jewelry stores are heat-treated amethyst stones.
Natural brown citrine is in plenty and is normally mined in Burma, the USA, Brazil, and Madagascar.
This gemstone is very transparent and often shiny. These optical properties are normally enhanced through faceting to improve brilliance. Its hardness is 7 Mohs, and can last longer if extra care is taken.
Brown citrine is the perfect stone for making statement jewelry since it is almost free of inclusions and somehow visible.
- Quite affordable
- Perfect for statement jewelry
- Common heat-treated
#4. Smoky Quartz
- Has big crystals
- Durability is medium
- Costs between $0.5 and $10
Smoky quartz is one of the crystalline quartz stone varieties and exists in hues ranging from dark brown to yellowish-brown.
Smoky quartz is one of the gemstones found in plenty and the brown shade is not even the most popular. This stone normally has very big crystals that are transparent and with almost no blemishes.
When the crystals are being formed, there is irradiation of aluminum resin that makes the stone gain a brown shade. Several smoky quartz stones have vitreous shines and exhibit good brilliance.
This stone can be cut into facets or cabochons. When faceted the dark shade of smoky quartz looks orangish brown. When in cabochons it looks smooth and glossy. With hardness rank of &, you can use this stone to make all kinds of jewelry.
- Very cheap
- Used in all jewelry types
- Among the least known quartz stones
#5. Tiger’s Eye
- Found in plenty
- Sometimes shows chatoyancy
- Costs between $0.5 and $10
Tiger’s Eye is among the most commonly found quartz gemstones. It is in plenty and you can find it in almost any shop. This stone has very unique patterns formed on its surface.
This gem has a gold-brown appearance that sometimes portrays a cat’s eye effect known as chatoyancy. This effect is further pronounced if the stone is cut into cabochons.
Tiger’s eye measures 6.5 to 7 on Mohs and has a silky shine that sometimes exhibits iridescence. Its hardness level makes it an acceptable gem for making everyday jewelry.
In the past, healers used this gemstone to help people deal with anxiety and also boost creativity.
- Easily found
- Very low price
- Not widely known
#6. Chocolate Opal
- Very smooth
- Has unique pattern
- Has inclusions
- Costs between $100 and $200
Chocolate opal has a totally different brown shade from other opal stones. Its tone is very dark and has unique patterns that sometimes look like a snake’s skin.
These gems are opaque to translucent and normally have a glossy shine. Some of these stones have some minor blemishes but which do not affect how the stone is priced.
If you find chocolate opals that carry a very high price tag, most likely they have no inclusions and are very glossy.
This stone can be used to make different types of jewelry since its hardness stands at 5.5 to 6.5 Mohs. Chocolate opal is a soft stone and acquiring it might necessitate putting it in a protective setting. Alternatively, you can buy loose chocolate opal and look for the best kind of setting separately.
- Quite plenty
- Not so durable
RECOMMENDED: Best Opal Engagement Rings
#7. Brown Tourmaline
- Brilliant stone
- Somehow rare
- Costs between $300 and $1,000
Tourmaline is one of the colorful gemstones to be found, unfortunately, its brown varieties are quite hard to come by. Nonetheless, it is a fiery stone that may have secondary undertones in purple or pink hues.
Jewelry collectors like the dark brown gem that is intensely saturated. They love brown tourmalines that have high brilliance and clarity too, although they may be a little expensive.
Faceting is common with brown tourmalines since it helps boost their brilliance. These stones are used to craft different kinds of jewelry since they are relatively hard at 7 to 7.5 on the scale of hardness.
With their great eye-catching sparkle, brown tourmalines can be used to make earrings, rings, and pendants.
- Used to make all kinds of jewelry
- Hard to come by especially the good quality
RECOMMENDED: Most Popular Pink Gemstones
#8. Cat’s Eye Apatite
- Soft stone
- Exhibits the cat eye effect
- Costs between $100 and $300
Similar to the Tiger’s Eye gemstone, the cat’s eye apatite also has chatoyancy. You can better see this effect if you look at the gem under direct light. The cat’s eye effect will be seen running down the surface of the stone.
The chatoyancy is even improved by cutting the stone into cabochon.
With all these said, it is important to keep a cat’s eye apatite’s chatoyancy in mind when you go shopping for this gemstone. This is imperative since this stone only measures 5 Mohs when it comes to hardness and is not the best stone for most types of jewelry. In fact, if you must have one, then insist on the stone to be put in a protective setting such as a bezel.
- Does not last long
- Translucent to opaque
- Costs between $40 and $200
Andalusite was first discovered in a town in Spain called Andalusia. It is a pretty stone that many people are yet to know about. There are only a few varieties of this stone that are in the spotlight. However, they are doing a good job bringing this brown gemstone to the foreground.
This brown gemstone is pleochroic and will always display two colors depending on the angle you are viewing from. You will find most stones with green, yellow, and orange undertones.
Andalusites are normally carefully faceted to make the pleochroism and brilliance better.
This brown gem normally exists as opaque, but in few instances, you can find translucent stones which are very expensive. It measures 7.5 Mohs and can be used in any kind of jewelry.
- Attractive brilliance
- Not popular
#10. Mahogany Obsidian
- Waxy sheen
- Volcanic gem
- Low to medium hardness
- Costs between $1 and $5
How mahogany obsidian looks depends on what exactly got trapped in the stone during formation. The commonest obsidian is black.
With inclusions, the obsidian’s color may vary in shades. Dark brown is one of those varieties and may have inclusions forming brown or red patterns.
This stone is often cut in cabochons and has a waxy luster. Faceting may not be possible with this stone because of its compact nature of inclusions.
This stone is soft with a hardness level of 5.5 Mohs. This means it can easily break, making it not the best choice for jewelry worn in rough environments. However, if you like bohemian vide or hippy jewelry, this is the stone you need.
- Very low price
- Additional bohemian vibe
- Susceptible to breaks
RECCOMMENDED: Onyx vs Obsidian; The Differences