Valuable and rare are two words that best describe a diamond. Diamonds are a popular choice in engagement rings and other luxurious items because of their unmatched brilliance. Buyers would typically go for colorless stones since these pieces are popular for their crystal-clear appearance.
But nowadays, the interest in unconventional and colored diamonds are rapidly increasing. One of them is the champagne diamonds. The name may be unfamiliar to you, but you might have seen this on TV and the internet at least once.
Its fancy name makes this piece catchy to buyers. More than that, its brown appearance radiates a vibrance that looks stunning and elegant if you pick the right variety. Others also perceive this diamond as having some healing properties that make a person more positive in life.
Regardless of the reason, champagne diamonds are beautiful creations. This article will give credit to these lovelies.
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What Are Champagne Diamonds?
Brown diamonds are only starting to gain popularity in recent years. Buyers frown upon these stones before because their qualities were less appealing. That is why producers came up with a smart marketing strategy.
They replaced the term brown with chocolate, champagne, and cognac diamonds. These alternative names radiate luxury, glamour, and rarity, attracting more buyers, collectors, and investors.
Thus, a champagne diamond is a niche of brown diamonds with a yellowish overtone. Like other colored diamonds, their shade may also vary from light to dark varieties. We shall further discuss its color chart in the next section.
Diamonds are naturally colorless because it is the default hue of crystallized carbon. Due to nature’s cycle, there are instances when a diamond contract defects allowing other elements to enter the carbon structure. Nitrogen is the most common element found in diamonds next to its main component.
Carbon and Nitrogen do not have the same electron numbers. Once they bond, some free Nitrogen electrons capture light and color during the stone’s formation, resulting in a yellowish color. The more Nitrogen a diamond has, the higher chances that it will become fancy yellow or brown.
When we refer to colorless diamonds, the yellow pigments mean a less valuable piece. Once its color quality reaches a degree where it looks brilliant again, the diamond’s value begins to rise. However, champagne diamonds are not as expensive as other colored stones. It is an affordable alternative to colorless pieces as it falls to the lighter end of the colored spectrum.
Champagne stones are lighter than chocolate, and it is less vivid than cognac. Some experts would say that champagne and chocolate diamonds are synonymous. Le Vian, a trusted diamond retailer, patented the term Chocolate Diamonds to bring out the best in the less appreciated brown diamond family.
Another thing that makes champagne diamonds impressive is their durability. It ranks ten in the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making it a resilient piece that is perfect for everyday wear. It does not mean it is free from chipping, but breaking these diamonds are harder than colorless pieces.
Indeed, a champagne diamond is a luxurious and solid item that you do not want to miss in your collection box.
Sources of Champagne Diamonds
Champagne diamonds come from different parts of the world. Some are mined in Congo, Brazil, Borneo, Angola, and even in Arkansas State Park. The most popular mining site for these stones is the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia.
The mine officially opened in the 1980s after explorers discovered that a part of Western Australia’s Kimberly region is a diamond deposit. Indeed, they figured that the area was a great source of pink diamonds. That is why the Rio Tinto Corporation made the first move of venturing into Argyle.
It is the largest diamond producer globally, and it is the main source of naturally grown pink and red diamonds. The site is also a melting pot for champagne, cognac, and blue diamonds. It peaked in 1994 after mining a total of 42 million carats of diamond.
The term ‘champagne diamond’ is a brainchild of this company. Buyers typically ignored Brown diamonds because the demand is higher in the colorless department. When Rio Tinto came up with its brilliant marketing technique, retailers started to profit from them.
However, its sparkling story ended in November 2020 when the corporation decided to shut the mine down. While it is true that Argyle has an abundant quantity of diamonds, only a few of them satisfy the standards of gem quality.
Moreover, the excavations are getting deeper, which requires an increase in drilling operations. The market of naturally grown diamonds also became stagnant in recent years with the growing popularity and convenience of lab-grown diamonds.
The cost began to overpower the return despite its consistent production of colored diamonds with premium quality. Since Argyle produces 95% of the world’s champagne diamonds, its closure may limit the stone’s availability in the market. Moreover, the focus of mining them may shift to Africa and Siberia.
How Are Champagne Diamonds Graded?
A diamond’s worth is assessed through its 4Cs: Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat weight. While no one quality has a greater contribution to the stone’s value, experts would say that having a great cut should be a top priority for maximum brilliance.
However, colored stones have a different take. As its name suggests, color is the primary concern here. It is not only about having pink, blue, or brown shade, but the color is further divided into three dimensions: Hue, Tone, and Saturation.
Hue refers to the stone’s visible color. Some only have a single color, while others contain a secondary color. A champagne diamond is a brown-colored piece with a shade of yellow or orange tint. In rarer instances, some overtones are pink.
Tone refers to the color’s darkness. Most champagne diamonds are lighter, and the darker ones are rarer and more valuable. Saturation is about the color’s intensity. Like tone, diamonds with higher saturation grades are more precious.
What makes a champagne diamond unique is it follow two clarity charts. The first one is the standard chart from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), an official organization responsible for evaluating the diamond’s 4Cs. The other is a chart created by the Argyle Diamond Mine specifically for champagne stones.
Argyle’s chart names each scale from C1 to C7. The following are its measurements:
- C1 and C2: Light Champagne
- C3 and C4: Medium Champagne
- C5 and C6: Dark Champagne
- C7: Cognac
On the flip side, the term ‘champagne’ is inexistent in a GIA report. Instead, they rate the colored diamonds through the following measurements:
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Vivid
- Fancy Deep
- Fancy Dark
The light and medium champagne diamonds in the Argyle scale fall to GIA’s colorless chart that uses an alphabetical grading system. C1 and C2 would fall to letters N to V, signifying Very Light Yellow and Light-Yellow grades. C3 and C4 may fall to letters W to Z, which are more tinted and the least in the colorless chart.
Those falling in the dark champagne (C5 and C6) and cognac (C7) categories are classified as Fancy Dark or Fancy Dark Brown. Below is an example of a champagne diamond with a VVS1 clarity grade and a cushion-cut shape from Blue Nile. It does not have an overtone, and its per-carat price is around $2000.
Another primary example is a Fancy Dark Orangy Brown diamond from Leibish. It is a pear-shaped stone with a VS2 clarity and 1.04-carat weight. Its darker tone makes its price more expensive than the Blue Nile’s at an almost $3000 mark.
However, assessing a champagne diamond’s quality is tricky and difficult. If you want to have a more informed decision when buying this piece, talking to an expert is necessary. Moreover, it will help if you give more credit to GIA’s assessment over Argyle’s color scale.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Champagne Diamonds
A champagne diamond, like other varieties, has its set of pros and cons. It is up to you if you find its benefits enough to offset the drawbacks. We shall begin with the top five things you will gain if you choose a champagne diamond.
#1. It Has a Sunshine Beauty
Like real champagne, champagne diamonds reflect a decadent personality. Stones falling in the C1 to C4 group illuminated a warm, subtle, and sunny ambiance that goes well with a gold metal band. Its brilliance intensifies with the perfect proportions and the right band setting.
Its neutral color allows you to blend it with any of your casual or formal attires. There is no wonder why several Hollywood stars walked in the Oscars and other famous TV shows with a champagne diamond as their main accessory or outfit.
#2. It Has a Strong Build
Diamonds are known as the toughest stones in the world. It takes a lot of pressure and high-intensity impact before it will break. This durability is also prominent in champagne diamonds, especially those with darker tones. Thus, it lessens your worry if you chip its edges or hit it on hard surfaces.
#3. It Has a More Affordable Price
Champagne diamonds are best for people who are looking for a colorless diamond alternative. The per-carat price of the latter is more expensive, depending on the 4Cs quality. On the other hand, brown diamonds are more affordable since it has a lower demand rate.
Thus, if you find champagne diamonds rare and impressive over colorless ones, it might be the right choice for you. Besides, you do not need to worry about its clarity since the color can cover any of its blemishes.
However, you also need to be careful when assessing a brown diamond as its features are difficult to evaluate. For a more satisfying purchase, consult with an expert instead of relying on the images uploaded on a diamond retailer’s website.
Another colored diamond that you would want to explore with the same caliber as those with yellow hues.
#4. It Reduces Mining Wastage
If we are in the early 1900s, champagne diamonds will be thrown into the trash bin or used in other industries. It was a time when only colorless and other good-looking colored stones have a market value. Because of Rio Tinto’s smart marketing strategy, some brown diamonds are now included in the jewelry collection.
This shift resulted in the reduction of mining wastage since useful resources extracted from nature are increasing. With the rise of brown diamonds’ popularity and Argyle Diamond Mine’s shutdown, champagne diamonds will soon become one of the rarest diamonds in the market.
#5. It Is an Unconventional Choice
Since not all clients would prefer a champagne diamond, it is still an unconventional choice for a jewelry piece. It is not a favorite pick for engagement rings, but some would love it in fashion rings and as an accent stone in bags, dresses, and other designer pieces.
If you love to be unique and different without spending too much, these luxurious pieces can be the best options.
As to its disadvantage, we can only think of one thing. The fact remains that champagne diamonds fall in the lower ranks of colored diamonds. If not for its fancy name, they will remain as the surplus in the diamond world.
Moreover, assessing the cut and clarity grades of darker champagne diamonds are hard. Thus, the first thing you must do when shopping for these stones is to look at their GIA certification. This way, you will know if the piece does have the qualities you are looking for in champagne diamonds.
Famous Champagne Diamonds
Champagne diamonds are not as rare and popular as pink, blue, and red diamonds. However, some stones with this color feature made a mark in history, signifying that brown diamonds can be as glamorous as the other varieties.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond
It is the largest cut and polished diamond in the world with a 545.67-carat weight. It came from the Premiere Mine, where the Cullinan diamond and Taylor-Burton Diamond were also unearthed.
The diamond’s original appearance was not as appealing as it looks before it was polished and perfected. It even has an unattractive name called the ‘Unnamed Brown’ when it was discovered in 1985. It was only ten years later when the diamond gained its infamous name today through King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
The DeBeers Company gave this piece to Gabriel Tolkowsky to test some diamond cutting tools. Polishing and finishing this yellow-brown diamond to perfection took two years because of its large cracks and dents. In 1988, the Thai Diamond Manufacturers Association brought this piece to Thailand for an exhibit.
Henry Ho bought this stone and presented it to Kung Adulyadej in honor of his 50th coronation anniversary. It underwent Pope John Paul II’s blessings and the Supreme Imam and the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch in Thailand.
At that time, the government introduced the champagne diamond as a golden topaz to avoid its citizens’ scrutiny. The acquisition of the diamond occurred at a time when Thailand’s economy was in turmoil.
Today, the Golden Jubilee diamond remained in the Thai’s Royal Palace as one of the crown jewels. Also, its value is around $4 to $12 million.
The Golden Pelican Diamond
Not much of its information is available, but its unique structure made it an impressive champagne diamond. It was discovered in South Africa with a 69.93-carat weight. This emerald-cut diamond was mounted in a 14K yellow gold band and was auctioned in the 1970s. Experts estimated its value at $3 million.
Trusted Diamond Retailers That Offer Champagne Diamonds
Not all diamond retailers include brown diamonds in their collection. It will even be harder if all you type is ‘champagne diamonds’ because the GIA does not recognize that term. Instead, they use words like brown, brownish yellow, orangey-brown, or fancy vivid brown. As we said, the terms champagne and cognac are all part of marketing schemes.
You may wonder where you can find a reliable champagne diamond online. A single tap in the search engine will lead you to these three retailers that offer the best deals.
James Allen is a trusted US-based company whose focus is selling loose diamonds, engagement rings, wedding rings, and other accessories. The brand follows a customer-first policy as it envisions a world where more people can afford a diamond ring.
Its story began when James Allen Schultz felt frustrated after failing to find the right engagement ring for her wife, Michele. He scoured each brick-and-mortar shop in their town, and nothing suits his budget. From then on, he began to realize his mission of selling diamonds at an affordable price.
The initial name of his company was DirtCheapFinds. As it ventured into the digital market, he and his colleagues rebranded the name to JamesAllen.com. Today, James Allen tops the market with the greatest number of conflict-free diamonds in their collection.
Here you will find all sorts of diamonds with different qualities, including champagne diamonds. The good thing with the brand is it follows a business model that directly partners with gemstone producers. Thus, they have the freedom to set selling prices lower than other brands.
Moreover, James Allen also safeguards its customers by making its helpline available. 24/7. The clients can talk with experts virtually to ensure the quality of their chosen diamond. It also offers a 360-degree HD Digital Display technology for you to closely check a diamond’s quality in the comforts of your home.
Blue Nile’s story is almost similar to James Allen. It exists to provide more affordable pieces to its customers. Moreover, it has a large selection of top-quality diamonds handpicked by their expert jewelers.
What makes this company stand out is its strict quality control. You will never find a diamond piece in Blue Nile that is not worth the price. Its specialization may not be about fancy colored diamonds, but it does not falter with the available colored items in its collection.
They have the most premium qualities, but they will not milk all of your funds. Its greatest asset is the brand’s high-definition images that reflect the true features as what you should expect in real-life. Also, they assure customers of a money-back guarantee if they are dissatisfied with their transactions and orders.
Leibish & Co.
It is rare for us to mention Leibish in most of our articles, but this Israeli company is a hotspot for colored diamonds. It is a multinational diamond retailer with headquarters in New York and Hong Kong.
This brand is the right choice if what you are looking for are different varieties of champagne diamonds. This family-business began in 1979, and it is today’s leading supplier of colored diamonds for designer pieces, fashion accessories, and even expensive outfits.
Leibish is one of the few diamond retailers who ventured into the online market. They sell a wide range of jewelry from general piece to haute couture designs. It is not only a source of rings, earrings, and necklaces, but it is also a good place to choose a diamond for investment purposes.
Champagne diamonds are only a few of its wide array of conflict-free diamonds. Its clean and polished online display encourages you more to choose the best-colored piece that will suit your budget and taste.
Champagne diamonds are the literal embodiment of Drake’s song title Started from the Bottom Now We’re Here. From an ignored piece, brown diamonds are gaining more popularity these days. Fashion-forward celebrities like Maria Menounos, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, and Jennifer Hudson are familiar names who flaunted their champagne diamonds to the public.
More than its unique appearance, more people adore this item because it is less expensive than colorless pieces. It is also the most versatile diamond since you can mount it on any metal bands or use it for other purposes such as earrings, necklaces, or an outfit ornament.
The key to finding a top-quality champagne diamond is to search for it in trusted diamond retailers. However, with the Argyle Diamond Mine’s closure, its availability may suffer in the coming years. Thus, if you have the chance to grab one today, go on and find the piece that complements you.