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Brown Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

Brown Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know

We all know the good ol’ white diamonds that have been objects of desire for so many for centuries, that have represented status symbols for royalty and the wealthy all around the world. But, what if there’s something else out there? Something luxurious, rare, expensive, and quite simply – spectacular.

Well, there is. In fact, diamonds come in different colors and you’ve probably heard of some. Most know of black diamonds, because of their mysterious looks and their alleged origin story. There are also others, that are less popular, such as pink, yellow, and grey.

However, there is one that doesn’t harbour the same adoration as the others do, but that has a special, uncanny look to it – the brown diamond.

To truly appreciate the beauty of a brown diamond, you need to know some key pieces of information about it. They aren’t the characteristic beauties displayed in films and that have adorned the necks of royalty for centuries, but they certainly have their appeal.

So, if you want to know more about these peculiar beauties, some interesting facts, their origin, the differences between them and regular white diamonds, and more, just keep reading!

Bad Rep, Or Just A Diamond In The Rough?

As we’ve said, brown diamonds have always been in the shadow of their other siblings that seemed to outshine them, which is certainly unfair. For the longest time, they were considered to be the inferior diamond with a low price point.

They weren’t in style, nor were they very sought after. The truth is, if the brown color isn’t as intense, they can have a very pale yellow color and seem almost like they are stained and dirty.

But, lately, brown diamonds have slowly started gaining more traction and more popularity, especially after some celebrities were seen walking the red carpet wearing brown diamond jewelry.

For instance, Rihanna wore a chocolate diamond necklace worth a whopping $130.000 to the 2018 Grammy awards. Also, we have Scarlett Johanson who flaunted her impressive 11-carat brow diamond engagement ring at the 2019 ComicCon Marvel. Lizzo, the increasingly popular singer, has also shown her affection towards this unusual diamond in 2020, when she rocked some stunning brown diamond jewelry at the Brit Awards ceremony.

As you can see, some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry have been showing love for this diamond which has seriously affected its ratings amongst buyers.

More and more couples are considering precisely this diamond for their engagement rings, since it’s unique, rare, and absolutely stunning. If you have this gem on you, you’re guaranteed to be noticed.

Fun Facts

Before we jump into the more serious stuff let’s enjoy some brown diamond trivia to spice thighs up, shall we?

Symbolism

It goes without saying that most gemstones have some sort of meaning attached to them, whether they’re a birth month stone, whether it’s an emotion they represent, or a mythical story that they carry. Brown diamonds are no different.

As far as their symbolism goes, there isn’t a consensus. Different people believe different stories and meanings, and everyone finds the ones that they like best. We can say that most of them are actually connected to the color brown, rather than the diamond itself.

Here are some of the most interesting ones:

  1. Stability, practicality and dependability – if you want to show someone that that is how you view them or that they can find that in you, then maybe brown diamonds are the diamond for you. 
  2. Connection to nature – those who wear brown diamonds are believed to be grounded and deeply connected to their natural origin, Earth, and Mother Nature. This consequently leads to feelings of peace and tranquillity.
  3. A repaired relationship – those who have had turbulent relationships with their loved ones and managed to overcome those hardships may find the brown diamond the diamond for them. 

Jewelry Matches

Whichever stone you’re working with, you should try to make sure that you make the best of it, to enhance and accentuate its strong sides, beauty, and uniqueness. That’s why brown diamonds need to be incorporated into jewelry carefully to make them stand out, compliment them rather than make them look cheap.

Jewelers say that the best match for brown diamonds is rose gold since the pairing makes for a rich, unusual, but absolutely stunning combination that’s guaranteed to turn heads. Sure, it can also be paired with white and yellow gold, but rose gold truly brings out this diamond’s full potential.

History

When they were first discovered, brown diamonds weren’t properly appreciated. They were considered cheap and not valuable at all, which is why they weren’t used for jewelry at all at first.

They waited for their time to shine, and it started to approach in the late 1980s. Before that, a company that dealt with diamond cutting and importing – The Baumgold Bros, decided to try and give brown diamonds a new life.

They rebranded these diamonds by giving different shades interesting names that would appeal to customers, such as coffee, caramel, cognac, and champagne (some are still used today).

However, their strategy didn’t find much success in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In the ‘80s, they started getting some more recognition. Why you may ask? A mine in Australia called the Argyle mine unearthed a bunch of brown diamonds. 

The Golden Jubilee

The most famous brown diamond was also mined in the mid-’80s, precisely 1985. It is called the Golden Jubilee Diamond and it originates from South Africa. 

The reason it’s so famous is that it’s actually the largest cut and faceted diamond in the world at 545.67 carats. It’s also part of the Thai crown jewels and can be seen on display in Bangkok. Its estimated price is somewhere between 4 and 12 million USD, can you believe that?!

Now, there’s one more interesting piece of information about this diamond. It’s actually a blessed stone for royalty. What do we mean by that?

Well, ten years after the diamond was discovered, it was purchased by Henry Ho of Thailand, or rather a group led by him. After that, it was brought to the Vatican and presented to Pope John Paul II, from whom it received a Papal Blessing.

Later, it was also blessed by the Supreme Imam, as well as the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch of Thailand – a blessed stone indeed! But what does it have to do with royalty?

Here is what – the diamond was presented to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in honour of his 50th coronation anniversary. Up until then, the stone was known as the “Unnamed Brown”, but the king decided to rename it, and that’s how it came to be “The Golden Jubilee”. 

Much more fitting, wouldn’t you say?

Diamonds 101

Before we dive into the world of brown diamonds, you first have to acquire basic knowledge of diamonds in general. Usually, when someone mentions diamonds, we most likely think of the colorless ones – white diamonds.

Engagement rings, family jewelry, princess tiaras and crowns, they’re all adorned with high-class white diamonds. Mostly.

We’ve mentioned that there are other diamond colors and that is thanks to the fact that diamonds are created naturally, in the Earth’s layers, which are filled with loads of different elements that end up in the chemical makeup of diamonds.

These little additions are called inclusions, and they are what’s responsible for the diamond’s color, among other things. Diamond quality is determined by four things, the four C’s: cut, carat, clarity, and color. The better their rating in all of these categories, the more valuable they are.

Inclusions affect all of the above, so generally, diamonds with more inclusions are considered less valuable.

Inclusions

So, what are these mean little things that “ruin” diamonds? To put it simply, inclusions are tiny little imperfections within a diamond which are created due to the high pressure and heat that diamonds are under during their formation process.

To be clear, diamonds that don’t have any inclusions are extremely rare. In fact, most diamonds have some sort of inclusions. They are imperceptible to the eye, but jewellers and experts have special microscopes that they use to determine how many and which inclusions exist within a diamond.

The fewer inclusions there are in a diamond, the more valuable it is. However, some people like their diamonds to have some intricacies that make their diamonds more unique and interesting, and are more drawn towards ones that have more inclusions.

Of course, they are hardly visible, but there are some that can be visible to the naked eye, which some consider adding “spice” to the diamond.

Carat, Cut, Clarity, Color

The infamous four C’s determine how valuable the diamond is. How perfect it is. There are specifically made charts that help experts rate each specific diamond and thus decide how much it’s worth.

1. Carat

Unlike gold, where carats represent its purity, in the diamond world, carats represent a diamond’s weight. Before we go any further, we have to make a distinction – this isn’t about the size of a diamond, but about its weight.

For instance, a 1 Carat diamond equals 200 milligrams (0.2 grams), and weighs about as much as a quarter of a raisin. However, depending on the shape of the diamond, as well as its cut, two diamonds that both weigh 1 Carat, can be very different in size.

Now, when it comes to the importance of this C, we can’t say that it’s crucial. Sure, it’s important, but actually, more people, regular and experts, find brilliance and the overall appearance of the diamond to be determining factors.

2. Cut

The cut of a diamond is crucial to its beauty. Through the cut, all of the other characteristics of a diamond can either come to life and be enhanced, or they can be overshadowed and ruined. That’s why diamonds must be cut properly, to enable the light to pass through them and give them that signature sparkle. 

3. Clarity

For diamonds to be as shiny as they are, they need to have their clarity, their brilliance. Inclusions that we’ve mentioned affect a diamond’s clarity, so the more inclusions, the less clarity, and vice versa. Much like color, diamond clarity is graded on a scale from FL (flawless) to I2 (Inclusions 2).

Related Read: Diamond Color Vs. Clarity: What’s More Important?

4. Color

And lastly, we have color, which is also affected by inclusions. They can range from completely colorless to almost yellow. We will dive deeper into this topic a bit later, when we get to the color of brown diamonds.

Lab Diamonds

You know that natural diamonds are rare, that they take millions of years to form, that they are difficult to get to, and so on. All of these drive their price up really high. But, diamonds are really sought after. Everyone wants one. They’re gorgeous, luxurious, durable but unattainable.

Not only are they out of reach for those that want them in their jewelry collection, but also for those that would benefit from their hardness in their field of work. Since diamonds are practically indestructible, they are often used for industrial purposes. However, making saw blades, grinding wheels and drill bits out of diamonds is extremely expensive.

So, what’s the solution? Well, some incredibly smart people came up with the idea of growing diamonds in labs. This way, people, and scientists, can control the process of making a diamond, they can make it more perfect, and more importantly – more affordable.

Lab diamonds have the same chemical makeup as natural diamonds, but they take far, far less to form, and the process of getting them is nowhere near as tedious and costly.

More and more couples are opting for lab diamonds instead of natural ones, and don’t really care about their origin – their chemical makeup is the same. This is why, lately, lab diamonds have been getting increasingly popular.

Read More: Lab-created Diamond Vs. Natural Diamond

What Are Brown Diamond And How Do They Get Their Color?

Now that you know a bit about this diamond’s reputation, we can get on to more specific information about it. Certainly, the most fascinating thing about it is its color. It’s what sets it apart from all of the other diamonds and gems on the market, what makes it unique.

Technically speaking, only the white, or rather the “colorless”… the color is the real color of pure diamonds with no inclusions. But, as we’ve established, there is a very small minority of those diamonds that exist in the world. 

Most diamonds have some sort of inclusions that give them a certain hue or color. Different inclusions make different colors.

In the case of brown diamonds, the inclusion that is responsible for their color is nitrogen (the same inclusion gives yellow diamonds their color). Add to that some light that gets absorbed through the structural defects of a diamond during its formation process, and there you have it – a real brown diamond!

Now, we don’t want you to look at the word “defect” and think that there is something wrong with these diamonds. Here, the word doesn’t have the same meaning that we associate with it in other contexts.

Here, in the diamond world, “defects” are welcomed, since they are what cause diamonds to have these unique, stunning colors. They’re what sets them apart from one another, as well as other gemstones out there.

Color Intensity Levels

Since you now know where the brown in diamonds comes from, we can move on to talking about the different shades of the diamond, if you will. Diamonds are created in natural, uncontrolled environments, where conditions can vary. That means that different brown diamonds can and do vary in color intensity.

However, even colorless diamonds have different hues and color tints to them, which is why they are rated on a scale according to color.

Colorless Diamond Color Scale

Colorless diamonds are also graded on a scale (from D to Z). Diamonds graded from D to F are considered colorless, with D being completely colorless, while those graded E or F are colorless to the naked eye, but expert gemologists are able to see a difference.

The next group is the near-colorless ones, graded from G to J. As the name says, they are nearly colorless, but they have a slightly more visible hue when standing next to diamonds from the former group. However, when standing alone, the color is practically impossible to notice.

As for the next group, we have diamonds rated from K to M, and their yellowish hue is visible to the naked eye, even when alone. Usually, M colored diamonds are the most colored ones retailers will sell.

And lastly, we have the N to Z group, in which the diamonds have a very obvious, strong yellow and some even brown tint. This group overlaps with the first group of brown diamonds.

Brown Diamond Colors

Much like the other colored diamonds, brown diamonds are graded on the same scale of intensity which has nine grades:

  • Faint
  • Very light
  • Light
  • Fancy light 
  • Fancy
  • Fancy dark
  • Fancy intense
  • Fancy vivid
  • Fancy deep

It sounds like a lot, but it’s pretty interesting. The first three groups, faint, very light, and light, actually overlap with the last group of colorless diamonds that we talked about – the N to Z group. However, those diamonds are actually considered low-quality ones, and are basically worthless, regardless of whether they are considered colorless or brown diamonds.

But, when we move on to the other grades, we actually get to the true brown diamonds in all their glory. Also, the higher we go on this scale, the price grows as well. So, the more intense the color, the more valuable the diamond.

Just like with most things, the industry came up with names for these diamonds according to their color. We have:

As you’re probably able to guess, champagne diamonds are the lightest out of the three, and their color is a pale yellowish-brown.

Cognac diamonds have a stunning rich brown color, similar to that of cognac – hence the name.

And last but not least, chocolate diamonds have a deep, dark brown color that resembles a bar of dark chocolate. These diamonds would fall into the Fancy Deep category that we’ve mentioned before. And you’ll recall that it was precisely chocolate diamonds that ms Rihanna was wearing to the 2018 Grammy awards.

Undertones

Just like you can’t control if a diamond will have inclusions, you also can’t control which inclusions it will have. That means that, even if a diamond is predominantly brown and is therefore classified as such, it can also have other hues within it.

When it comes to other diamond colors, secondary color hues are seen as undesirable and actually lower the value of the diamonds themselves. However, with brown diamonds, it’s actually the other way around.

We like to look at brown diamonds with secondary hues like we do eye colors. Brow, chocolate eyes are stunning, warm and mysterious on their own, right? But if you add a bit of green to them, or some yellow, it only adds to them and makes them more interesting.

The same goes for brown diamonds.

The 4 C’s of Brown Diamonds

We’ve covered this topic with white diamonds, but these matters differ quite a bit when it comes to colored diamonds. That’s why we’re going to get into the specifics of the 4 C’s of brown diamonds here as well.

In colorless diamonds, cut and clarity play the key role, while with any colored diamonds, it’s the color. What’s more, clarity takes the backseat in most colored diamonds, since the increase in color intensity actually lessens the visibility of diamond inclusions.

As far as the cut goes, its significance is still there, but the purpose is different. Its role in colorless diamonds is to accentuate their brilliance, but in brown diamonds, the point is to maximize the color.

How Rare Are Brown Diamonds?

Diamonds are rare in general. That’s what adds to their sky-high price point. But what about brown diamonds? Are they rarer, or as rare as other colored diamonds, or are they maybe more common?

Well, out of all of the colored diamonds, brown diamonds fall on the more common end of the scale. They are only second to yellow diamonds which are the most common out of alo of the colored ones.

That consequently means that their price point is also lower than say, green, black, red or blue diamonds. But, don’t write these diamonds off as cheap just yet. We’ve told you about the attention it’s been getting in the last couple of years, which has also affected how desirable the diamond is and therefore, its price.

How Much Are Brown Diamonds Worth?

So, we’ve established that brown diamonds aren’t the rarest nor the most popular diamonds, which affects their price. But, what is that price actually, cos it sure sounds like it’s not much, right? No. 

A one-carat brown diamond starts somewhere around $2.500 and goes up to $4.000. For most, pretty unaffordable, but compared to white diamonds, a bargain.

The starting price for a one-carat white diamond is $4.400 but can go as high as $7.600. Now that is expensive. As you can see, the cheapest one-carat white diamond costs more than the most expensive brown diamond.

However, it’s pretty obvious that neither diamond is cheap but relatively high or lower priced compared to the other.

Conclusion

We’ve made it to the end of this little guide on brown diamonds. You came to this article wondering what you should know about brown diamonds, and it was our goal to supply you with as much necessary knowledge.

First, we got into some fun facts about brown diamonds to get you invested in these special gems and some history and their background. We’ve discussed some general info about white diamonds, inclusions, the 4 C’s, and lab diamonds and their differences from natural ones.

Then, we dove into brown diamonds and their colors, followed by their similarities with white diamonds with more inclusions and yellow tones. We also told you about the different shades that brown diamonds come in and the fact that the more intense the color, the higher the price is.

Furthermore, we also explained the 4 C’s of brown diamonds, which differ from the same 4 C’s of white diamonds, just like the rest of the colored diamonds do. We told you that brown diamonds aren’t very rare, in fact, they are only rarer than yellow diamonds. This also affects their price point, which is almost half the price of white diamonds per carat.

And there you have it. You are now equipped with brown diamond knowledge and you can boast all of this knowledge at the next dinner with your friends! We’ll leave you to it!

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