Fancy brown diamonds are the most commonly mined fancy color in the world, but until very recently were overlooked for being perceived as dull and uninteresting. Fancy brown diamonds burst onto the diamond market in the 1980s, when the Argyle Mine in Australia, first famous for their noteworthy pink diamonds, launched a massive marketing campaign to promote these diamonds.
By coining the titles Champagne Diamonds for the lighter colored brown diamonds and Cognac Diamonds for the darker shades of brown, they were successful calling the world’s attention to these beautiful stones. Brown diamonds are also commonly referred to as Chocolate diamonds. Associating the brown diamond with the warm luxury of these products worked wonders, and fancy brown diamonds of all shades have now earned their niche in the world of fancy colors. They are now synonymous with uniqueness and luxury, and highly prized by collectors and consumers alike. Brown stones have become prevalent as accents or centers tones in jewelry.
Brown diamonds are mined in South African, Siberia, and most commonly in the Argyle Mine in Australia.
Cause of Color
Fancy Brown Diamonds are the equivalents of yellow diamonds when it comes to the cause of their coloring. When a white diamond displays a dark enough yellow or brown color, it falls off the D-Z colorless scale and enters the class of colored diamonds.
Their brown coloring comes from nitrogen impurities in the atomic structure of the diamonds. Although brown diamonds can sometimes be graded the same way as the other fancy colors, with shades ranging from Fancy Light Brown to Fancy Deep Brown. However they are more commonly graded by the unique Champagne Diamond scale, created by the Argyle Mine. On this scale, brown diamonds are graded in increasing color depth, from Light Champagne (C1-C2), to Medium Champagne (C3-C4), to Dark Champagne (C5-C6), and finally Fancy Cognac (C7).
Although pure brown diamonds are hard to come by, they are more easily found with secondary hues such as pinkish brown, yellowish brown, and orangey brown. These diamonds can be enchanting in a variety of colors, and should be a definite consideration for anyone on the search for a beautiful colored diamond. They carry the extra advantage of being extremely affordable!
Famous Brown and Champagne Diamonds
Famous brown diamonds abound and are world renowned for their amazing combinations of size and vivid coloring.
The Golden Jubilee is the largest brown diamond and the largest faceted diamond in the world, weighing 545.67 carats. In its rough form, the Fancy Yellow-Brown diamond weighed 755.50 carats. Cutter Gabi Tolkowsky describes the cut as a “fire rose cushion cut”. The diamond was presented to the King of Thailand in 1997 for his Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of his coronation.
The Incomparable Diamond was the fourth largest uncut diamond, weighing 890 carats when it was discovered in Zaire (today the Democratic Republic of Congo). In 1984, owners Marvin Samuels, Louis Glick, and David Zale of Zales Jewelers cut the diamond, yielding the largest stone of a 407.48 carattriolette shape. There were also 14 smaller diamonds cut from the same stone. The largest diamond has a fancy brownish-golden color. The smaller stones range from colorless to deep rich brown. The Incomparable diamond first set a record by appearing on internet auction site eBay in November of 2002 but did not sell. Today it sits on Mouawad’sL’Incomparable diamond necklace, featuring 91 diamonds totaling 637 carats and priced at $55 million USD, making it the most expensive necklace in the world, according to Guinness World Records.
Other notable champagne diamonds:
The beautiful 69.93 carat Golden Pelican is a rectangular emerald cut champagne diamond. Its name originates not from the bird, but from the famous Pelikanstraat in Antwerp’s diamond district, where the diamond was cut.
In 1967, the Lesotho Brown was discovered in the kingdom of Lesotho in Africa. It was purchased by Harry Winston and cut from its original 601 carats into 18 smaller diamonds. The largest, called the Lesotho I is an internally flawless 71.73 carat, emerald cut, pinkish brown diamond.
Investing in Champagne Diamonds
The market for fancy brown diamonds is one of the fastest growing luxury markets in the world. The past five years have seen incredible growth in this industry, with a jump from zero to 5 billion dollars, and new price records are being set daily for brown diamonds.
When fancy champagne diamonds were first introduced to the diamond market 20 years ago, they were ridiculed as low quality and dull stones. Since then, however, their beauty and value has become widely recognized and their prices have been rising steadily. Although they are still one of the only fancy colors still valued at less than colorless diamonds, it won’t stay this way for long. Most brown diamonds in the world are mined in the Argyle Mine, slated to close in 2018. As they follow the same course that pink diamonds followed on their rise to fame, champagne, cognac or chocolate diamonds are bound to only keep growing in popularity. If you are interested in investing in a diamond, brown diamonds are one of your most lucrative options, and there is no better time than now!