There’s an interesting history behind the well-known moniker of ‘chocolate diamond.’ Prior to the 1990s, diamonds were valued almost entirely on their clarity and coloration. Clear diamonds were the pick of the pack, attracting high prices and featuring in record-setting jewelry. Brown diamonds, despite their hardness and beauty, were often left without the same value as their clear counterparts.
However, this pricing dynamic changed in the late 1990s, when well-known jewelry manufacturer Le Vian introduced its ‘Chocolate Diamond’ range. The diamonds were entirely off-color, featuring few colorless diamonds or clear stones. Almost overnight, the value of brown diamonds increased, making the once undesirable chocolate diamond one of the most valuable ring jewels out there.
Today, chocolate diamond rings are available from both Le Vian and a selection of other diamond companies. While the term is technically a trademark owned and controlled by Le Vian, it is used widely amongst jewelery buffs to identify diamonds that are of a brown or dark red tone. Valuable and increasingly exclusive, chocolate diamond rings are the latest high-value item in jewelry.
If you plan to purchase a chocolate diamond ring – be it one manufactured by Le Vian or another jewelry label – this complete buyer’s guide could help you find a lucrative deal. From immensely pretty rings to affordable secondary pieces, apply these simple strategies and you stand to save a significant amount on your next engagement ring, flashy wedding band, or commemorative ring.
The Five Styles of Chocolate Diamond
‘Chocolate diamond’ is both a brand name and a fairly nondescript term, as chocolate diamonds can vary dramatically in size, composition, and appearance. For simplicity’s sake, any diamond that’s of a brown color can be classified as chocolate, along with several that appear as a dark red, somewhat red-brown shade. There are five basic types of chocolate diamond, which are explained below.
Chocolate diamonds are of a mid-dark brown color similar to that seen in root beer or scotch. They are the most common form of chocolate diamond, which explains the name, and make up a sizable portion of the ‘chocolate’ branded rings and earrings. Cognac diamonds are slightly lighter in color, and lack the density of color that is often visible in classic chocolate diamonds.
On the other hand, honey diamonds are of a light brown, somewhat yellow color. They’re typically used alongside white gold, as the two metals’ relatively lightness can create an interesting level of minor contrast. Champagne diamonds are lighter still, verging closer towards the standard diamond in clarity. Finally, cinnamon diamonds are of a light reddish-brown shade and limited color density.
While these five variations share obvious visual similarities – brown or light brown color, a deeper level of color depth, and a very unique style – they look world apart when placed next to each other. Before ordering a nondescript chocolate diamond online, check to make sure that it’s the color that you would like. All chocolate diamonds are of the same density and hardness as clear diamonds.
Chocolate Diamonds: Value, Pricing, and Availability
Originally, jewelers found it difficult to market chocolate diamonds. They were imperfect by most conventional measures, featuring limited clarity and a dark hue that most buyers were uninterested in. It wasn’t until Le Vian rebranded the chocolate diamond as an introductory or secondary jewel that people started to take notice of the earthy diamond – and take notice they sure did!
While chocolate diamonds are highly popular, particularly amongst jewelry enthusiasts and serious collectors, they’re priced below their clear counterparts. This is, in part, due to the limited cost that’s incurred in searching for chocolate diamonds – the precious stones are more common in Australian mines, and can be found more frequently than the more desirable clear, high-value alternatives.
Secondly, it’s due to the belief that colored diamonds are imperfect – one that’s been held by leading jewelers for several centuries. While chocolate diamonds are chemically identical to clear diamonds – they share the same density, consistency, and weight – their ‘spoiled’ aesthetics make them a lower value item amongst jewelers. This has made them a popular ‘introductory’ diamond amongst buyers.
Le Vian’s chocolate diamond rings are priced from $599 upwards – a fraction of the cost of similar rings featuring clear diamonds. While the value of a diamond ring is hard to pinpoint exactly, given the amount of variables between otherwise similar rings, it’s safe to say that chocolate diamonds are available at a fairly low price point. Other brands also offer low-cost chocolate diamond jewelry.
Chocolate diamonds are widely available through retail jewelers and online retailers. As with all jewelry, it’s best to view items in person before committing to a purchase. The moniker ‘chocolate diamond’ can be somewhat unspecific, and it’s best to gain an understanding of color, consistency, and style in person. Contact a retail jewel or boutique outlet to view chocolate diamonds in person.
Fake Chocolate Diamonds and Other Buyer Pitfalls
Like other precious stones, chocolate diamonds have been copied and imitated by predatory jewel salespeople and unethical merchants. The majority of copied diamonds are purchased online, often unknowingly by those in search of the genuine article. Before purchasing diamond jewelry online, check that you’re buying from a merchant that’s established, certified, and reputable.
Fake chocolate diamonds – often dyed glass stones and other valueless items – are also sold through a network of jewelry dealers in East Asia. These stores are particularly common in China, where an established network of promoters will lure customers into jewelry stores. The stones are sold at low prices – often unrealistically low – leading many to believe they’ve bought real diamonds cheaply.
Avoid all jewelry scams by purchasing through an authorized dealer, either online or in person at a retail outlet. The vast majority of jewelry scams are successful because of a lack of familiarity with the items in question. Research chocolate diamonds extensively before buying in order to avoid any scams, hustles, or unethical deals.