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DO NOT Buy Cognac and Champagne Diamonds!

At least until you read this quick guide and undestand what you need to watch from in regards to Champagne Diamonds!

A Definitive Guide to Cognac and Champagne Diamonds

cognac diamond ringCognac Diamond Ring - Deep Orange Brown Diamond

In this guide, we’ll go over what champagne diamonds are, do’s and don’ts when buying a cognac or champagne diamond, and teach you about their prices (as well as how to save money in the process).

I know that "do not buy" may come as a dramatic announcement - but I really meant it. It is based on my 14 years of industry experience, answering customers an endless amount of questions and from seeing a lot of scams.

And to really get the full picture, I highly recommend reading our brown diamonds buying guide.

All I ask is about 6 minutes of your time and I believe I can save you thousands of dollars (or at least save you from a scam) - and if you feel like I succeeded - I'd be happy if you share it.

But first thing first…


What are Champagne Diamonds?

Champagne diamonds are real diamonds and are a part of a small family of gems that are called fancy color diamonds. Among the other members of the family you can find yellow diamonds, pink diamonds, purple, blue, green, orange, gray and a few other.

"Champagne diamonds" is simply the unofficial naming convention that refers to brown diamonds with a secondary tone of yellow. Diamonds that (as their name) resemble the color of Champagne. The intensity of the yellow can be weak (yellowish) or strong and same goes about the general intensity of the color.

Here are examples of the color description as would be defined in the GIA certificate: fancy light yellow brown, fancy yellow brown etc. For lighter shade yellow it would state yellowish instead of yellow.

The above GIA definitions are sometimes translated into the champagne diamond color chart. A chart ranging from C1 to represent the lightest color champagne diamond to C7 the darkest.

A C1 diamond is not even a fancy colored diamond but rather a top light brown diamond. Meaning a white diamond with a brownish tint. These are diamonds that are not sought after and are very cheap. C2 diamonds are already starting to show more color and are also more yellowish.

The interest in these diamonds usually applies to C2 or even C3 and up. A C7 diamond is already familiared as a Cognac diamond as the deep orange color is mixed with the brown.

Champagne Diamonds Color Chart from C1 to C7 Cognac Champagne Diamonds from Light C2 to Dark Cognac C6 & C7
GIA graded as Fancy Light Yellow Brown, Fancy Yellow Brown, Fancy Dark Yellowish Brown and Fancy Deep Orange Brown

Where do Champagne Diamonds Come From?

Where do Colored Diamonds Come From?

Brown diamonds (Champagne included) are found in several locations – from the Arkansas State Park where you can search them yourself to Angola, Brazil, Borneo, Congo and Australia. The most renown location is Australia’s Argyle Diamond Mine. A mine that is most famous for producing some of the most beautiful pink diamonds in the world.

Are Champagne Diamonds Rare?

Generally speaking, brown diamonds are among the most common forms (or colors) of fancy color diamonds. Champagne diamonds is a small group of diamonds within the niche of brown diamonds which makes them somewhat rarer. Add the fact that it is said that the ratio between regular colorless diamonds to natural fancy colored diamonds is about 10,000 to 1 and you would understand that they are far harder to find than regular colorless diamonds. Now to spike things up a bit, the Argyle mine that is one of the most dominant mines when it comes to producing Champagne diamonds is planned to close in 2020 (though may be pushed back to 2021). Which should make them harder to find.

How Much Do Champagne Diamonds Cost?

Being real diamonds, natural champagne diamonds are expensive compared to other gems and semi-precious stones. However, maybe due to the fact that in early days they were in very low demand, they are still fairly affordable compared to regular colorless diamonds. And if we were to compare prices of champagne diamonds to colorless diamonds you’d see that champagne diamonds are far cheaper than their white counterparts.

A good quality 1 carat champagne diamond would cost about $2,000-$3,000 compared to a good quality 1 carat round G, SI1 diamond would cost $4,000 - $5,000. And the gap just grows bigger as the carat weight goes up.

Each diamond is different, therefore it is quite difficult to give you an exact price per carat, but here are a few "live examples":

Search Brown Diamonds

As for the future, my personal expectation for their prices due to the end of the Argyle mine in one hand and the increase in demand on the other that their prices would go up. Something I cannot say looking at colorless diamonds price chart.

What are Cognac Diamonds?

Cognac diamonds are also brown diamonds. However, unlike champagne diamonds that has a touch of yellow in them, cognac diamonds are considered darker and deeper browns and come with a deep orange hue in them. An example of GIA color descriptions that can be considered cognac diamonds: fancy orange brown, fancy deep orange brown, fancy dark orange brown, fancy dark brown. When the color is strong and deep, these are the C7 diamonds in the Champagne color chart.

Cognac Diamonds Cognac Diamonds - Deep and Dark Orange Brown Colored

How Much Do Cognac Diamonds Cost?

Below are a few examples from our stock of Cognac diamonds to show their prices

Search Brown Diamonds

Why the Nicknames?

There are those who claim that this is an elaborate scheme to help retailers sell these "lower quality" diamonds - associating them with sophisticated and exclusive drinks (long ago brown diamonds were considered industry diamonds).

In fact, a while back Jezebel posted an article about how jewelers are lying to people with these names to sell poor and low quality diamonds. An article that echoed the community and got responses all over including "In Defense of Chocolate Diamonds" and "The Lies about Chocolate Diamonds".

I believe that the reason for these names is far simpler…

Brown diamonds come in a vast ray of shades. Either pure browns or combined with yellow, orange and even pink and purple. Considering the fact that not every potential customer is a certified gemologist that can describe a colored diamond using a three shades composition methodology, what is more suitable that associating it with a product that everybody is familiar with? And in that case, do you have a better association than champagne for a yellow brown shade or cognac for orange brown diamonds?

Not only in Browns

To prove the wrongfulness of the conspiracy theory mentioned by Jezebel, one can also look at the other colored diamonds that earned nicknames over the years –

  • Canary Diamonds - Strong pure yellow colored diamonds.
  • Pumpkin Diamonds - a combination of orange and yellow.
  • Turquoise Diamonds - Blue green and green blue diamonds.
Canary Diamond Pumpkin Diamond Turquoise Diamond

Those are among the most expensive and desired colored diamonds out there. Diamonds that do not need any sort of assistance in marketing.

So, Why not buy Cognac and Champagne Diamonds?

I do not believe that every jeweler tries to manipulate their customers, I do believe however that the professionalism and color interpretation is not always the same (most jewelers are NOT gemologists) and that as a customer you should know what you are paying for. Especially when you are paying big bucks buying a diamond (whether for yourself or a loved one).

The only way to do so is to buy a diamond with a gemological certificate - and our recommendation - specifically a GIA certificate.

The most important thing is to LOVE the color of the diamond you are buying. But you need to be aware of what you are paying for.

This means that it is ok to let your jeweler know that you are looking for a cognac colored diamond if you desire a deep brown or champagne colored diamond if you want a lighter shade with a touch of yellow but at the end of the day, check the GIA certificate - know what you're getting - not only color wise - but also the exact weight and origin of color - make sure it is natural.

With that at hand – you can definitely buy a cognac or champagne diamond!

What’s the Difference Between Chocolate and Champagne Diamonds or Cognac Diamonds?

Champagne diamonds and cognac diamonds are color variations within the brown diamonds family. Their creation process in the same and they originate from the same locations throughout the earth.

Chocolate Diamonds® are Le Vian’s proprietary brand of natural fancy color diamonds that are chosen for their rarity and chocolate flavor. There are color, clarity and cut criteria, as well as responsible, traceable sourcing criteria for being branded as Chocolate Diamonds®.” (Eddie Le Vian to Jezebel)

What does that actually mean for the consumer?

Just like champagne and cognac they are technically brown diamonds. Color wise, these are chosen for being darker brown colored diamonds (especially compared to Champagnes). Price wise, being a branded diamond with limited supply and a “designer goods”, chocolate diamonds® are more expensive. Far more expensive.

If you want to have a better and deeper understanding you can read our article what is a Chocolate Diamond?