The beautiful thing about brown diamonds (well besides for their color) is their endless shades of colors and affordable prices.
But even brown diamonds are diamonds and making a mistake when buying one can be quite expensive.
Prices of Brown Diamonds
For many years brown diamonds were considered industry diamonds. In a very slow moving and old fashioned industry where the goal was to have the clearest and most colorless diamond, these "ugly" not white diamonds were simply undesired.
However, things have changed. As the fashion industry evolved and people were willing to break that boring mold of colorless diamond engagement rings, the demand for colored diamonds increased substantially. First came industry trend setters and famous celebrities but soon after - the rest followed.
In fact, the demand has increased so much that the prices of colored diamonds spiked many times over during the last two decades. But, for some reason, maybe due to their old reputation, brown diamonds were late bloomers and their price still remains very affordable.
Make no mistakes, these are still diamonds, but within the niche of rare natural colored diamonds, brown diamonds are among the most common (along with yellow diamonds) and are the most affordable from all colored diamonds (besides black diamonds).
When comparing the prices of brown diamonds with white colorless diamonds you'd easily see that for the mere price of a 1 carat F VS2 diamond you can get two 1 carat brown diamonds...
A 1 carat brown diamond starts from approximately $2,500 and an F VS2 costs approximately $4,000. While you probably don't have what to do with two rings, having an extra $1,500 in the bank account is always welcomed.
What sets the price of a brown diamond?
The most known way to grade and evaluate diamonds was invented by the GIA years back. It's called the 4Cs of diamonds - meaning to classify the diamond by its main attributes of Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color.
It is said that these four C's live in equilibrium, no criteria is more important than the other since the resulted diamond is the composition of them all. There are those who do claim that cut is the most important C of all because no one cares how big is a diamond (i.e. Carat), if the diamond is dull it is "worthless" - an argument that I can very well relate with.
HOWEVER, when considering a brown diamond, even Cut is negligible when compared to… COLOR. In fact, this is true to all colored diamonds (and within them browns) - the most important aspect (the most important "C") is the color.
This is because on one hand, two brown diamonds can look so different that it doesn't even make sense to compare and on the other hand they can look very similar but may have HUGE price differences.
Confused? I'll explain:
Look at the following pictures of brown diamonds:
All are brown diamonds by definition. When the GIA grades a colored diamond the color description is often composed by two and even three colors. A main color and supporting secondary hues. When you read the GIA certificate the main color is the last one that is mentioned in the color description.
Most cases, when someone is looking for a brown diamond he cares for a specific shade. Therefore it is irrelevant to compare them…
However, look at the diamonds on the right. Unlike the diamonds above, these diamonds are quite similar… most people would say that they are brown with pink.
But these diamonds are in fact very different. Few are pink diamond with a secondary tone of brown and the others are brown diamonds with a secondary tone of pink. And the price differences are enormous.
Can you tell which is each?
To conclude about what mainly sets the price of a brown diamond - it’s the color.
But color is not only color… Color definition is divided between color hues and its strength (its intensity).
Generally speaking, the stronger is the color, the more expensive is the diamond. A dark or deep brown diamond will be more expensive than fancy brown that is more expensive than fancy light brown.
And… the rarer the secondary color is, the more expensive. Yellow is much more common than pink and therefore a yellow brown diamond (aka champagne diamond) is cheaper than a diamond with similar attributes that has the color description of pink brown.
Same about yellow brown compared to orange brown (cognac diamond). Orange is rarer than yellow so yellow brown is cheaper than orange brown.
Do the other 3Cs effect prices of brown diamonds?
Yes, without a doubt.
A 2 carat diamond costs much more than a 1 carat diamond. In fact, as with all diamonds, a 2 carat diamond costs more than two 1 carat diamonds together. Clarity also affects the price but the advantage of brown diamonds is that they are often very dark so the inclusions are hard to see allowing you to "compromise" the clarity in favor of other attributes.
Cut is obviously also important. Would you like a dull diamond or one that sparkles? Not surprisingly everyone wants a beautiful diamond that sparkles and in economics with increased demand comes increased pricing.
What is the most important thing to check when buying a brown diamond?
My main recommendation is simply to verify that it has a GIA certificate. This is truly the only way to know what you are getting.
The GIA certificate will specify all of the attributes that the diamond possesses.
Its exact weight, cut, clarity, color and more. No one will trick you into buying a champagne diamond that is actually worthless. Most of what you need to know in order to make your wise decision or at least in order to compare with other retailers.
From this point on... you just need to love the diamond!