What’s the deal with Chocolate or are they just Brown Diamonds?

Okay, let’s start by saying that unfortunately, this will have nothing to do with actual chocolate or any kind of food. Now that we are all sad about that, but on the same page, let’s chat about chocolate diamonds. Have you heard about chocolate diamonds?

Chocolate diamonds are diamonds that are brown. They can be found that way naturally or they can be lab-made. Any natural chocolate diamonds are under the trademark of Le Vian and owned by them.

So what’s the deal about chocolate diamonds? Are they any cooler than regular diamonds? Are they the best-colored diamond? If you have no idea about anything chocolate diamonds besides what you’ve seen on commercials, then we can help with that. Let’s see if chocolate diamonds should be on your radar.

Where chocolate diamonds come from

Like all diamonds, chocolate diamonds come from some person having to mine them out of the ground. More specifically, brown diamonds mostly come from Australia, Brazil, the Congo, Angola, and Borneo. They are one of the most common diamonds found while mining. They are like three-leaf clovers.

Being one of the most commonly found diamonds doesn’t bring them down though. Brown diamonds don’t let the fact that miners push them aside to look for other colors stop them from being marketed as a must-have, desired item. True chocolate diamonds are only about 1-5% of all of the brown diamonds found.

What makes chocolate diamonds brown

Is there a difference between brown diamonds and chocolate diamonds? Technically, yes.  Chocolate diamonds were all called brown diamonds until the year 2000 when Le Vian saw an opportunity and took it.

They decided to do one of the best rebrandings in the jewelry business. They trademarked the best brown diamonds as chocolate diamonds. Genius. They remarketed them as these exotic diamonds that anyone can buy for anyone. These affordable, different, for any occasion diamond.

Like when you try to convince yourself that the ice cream is going to be delicious because it still has chocolate in it even though it’s healthy and it’s technically not ice cream. The marketing team did a great job of convincing you that it would still taste like ice cream. You bought into it.

Le Vian did the same with only the best brown diamonds and now they are chocolate diamonds and sound so much more appealing to women. It’s not what makes a chocolate diamond brown, but what makes a brown diamond chocolate. We’ll cover that in a minute.

Where the brown color comes from

Chocolate diamonds are brown because of their internal color. Similar to why the other diamonds and stones are the color they are. It’s the way the unevenness and flaws inside affect the crystal of the stone. Got that? Let’s break it down more.

The more heat that’s there when the diamond is being formed, the more nitrogen gets stuck in there, and the browner the color of the stone will be. Less heat will make the diamond appear more yellow. So, lots of pressure and heat. That’s pretty easy to follow.

What chocolate diamonds look like

They look brown, simple as that. You could call them cappuccino, coffee-colored, but they are all a specific shade of brown. You can have a chocolate diamond in any kind of jewelry piece, and any form.

As far as what they can look like in a setting, well, anything is possible. They can be put into rings, necklaces, earrings, or whatever other pieces of jewelry you want. They are like any other diamond in that they can be cut and shaped however you want.

The grades of chocolate diamonds

Here it gets slightly different from regular diamonds. Chocolate diamonds are owned by Le Vian, remember? They decided that they didn’t like the same old boring grading scale for their precious chocolate diamonds. They wanted something to set them apart even more.

You can have look at all of those 4 C’s. Cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. So, a chocolate diamond needs to have at least a C4 for it to be chocolate. C1-3 means it’s only a brown diamond.

Wait? Aren’t all brown diamonds chocolate diamonds? Okay, no. Like how all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs. Every chocolate diamond is brown, but not every brown diamond is chocolate.

Le Vian wanted to make sure only the best brown diamonds could be called chocolate. They need to be a C4 in color and SI in clarity. That’s the lowest grade scale that can be accepted for a chocolate diamond. If you have anything lower than that, it’s a fancy brown diamond. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it can’t be called a chocolate diamond.

For the record, that means lab-made brown diamonds cannot be chocolate diamonds. Le Vian only wants those deep, dark, rich chocolate colors that come from nature. Sorry science.

Where to buy chocolate diamonds

Ah, here’s a good one. You can buy chocolate diamonds pretty much anywhere Le Vian diamonds are sold. Le Vian chocolate diamonds are sold at tons of retailers. You can always go to Le Vian’s website and buy them straight from there.

If you have a favorite jewelry store like Kay, they sell them. There are department stores like Macy’s and JC Penny that sell them. You can always go to Le Vian’s homepage and check for the retailers close to you that sell them.

I searched and there are about 30 jewelry stores around me that sell them. They are mostly Kay stores, but some others. No matter where you buy your chocolate diamond, you will get it in writing that you are buying a real chocolate diamond, so you don’t have to worry.

What do chocolate diamonds represent?

Again, what’s the deal with chocolate diamonds? Does it mean something different when you get a chocolate diamond? No. Not that popped up when searching.

Chocolate diamonds don’t mean anything different than any other diamond. They can be for engagement rings, wedding bands, anniversary jewelry, or whatever else you want to get it for. Birthday presents or just because. They were marketed more towards women to buy something for themselves. I don’t think there’s any meaning behind that other than a great marketing ploy.

They aren’t technically a color on the fancy color wheel of diamonds, so there isn’t a set meaning. But if you like to go with what colors in general represent, then brown stands for earthy, practical, and dependable. While pink or red is for passion and romance, brown is for being stable and down to earth. Makes perfect sense since brown is the color of the ground. Case solved.

What are chocolate diamonds worth?

Just throwing this out there first. Diamonds shouldn’t be purchased based on what their resale value will be, or what you think they might be worth in the future. That being said, chocolate diamonds are the diamond worth the least. Yikes. Sorry.

Yes, they still cost money. Yes, they can still cost a lot of money. But when it comes to value, chocolate diamonds aren’t the best holders. A chocolate diamond is purchased for the look. For the uniqueness. Not for thinking it will be there for a rainy day emergency.

But that could be a good thing, too. If you are looking for a diamond that will get you more bang for your buck, then, by all means, a chocolate diamond can do that for you. You can get a bigger and better chocolate diamond for a pure fraction of what it would cost to get a white diamond.

In the colored diamond world, brown is one of the more affordable colors. Chocolate diamonds are still way more affordable than a colored stone or a white diamond. Being the most affordable and having the least value isn’t always a horrible thing.

How much do chocolate diamonds cost?

The fun bit. Pricing. Let’s dig into some price ranges for a brown and chocolate diamond.

Brown diamond

You can get a 1 carat brown diamond for as low as $1,000-$1,500. A good quality brown diamond will run about $2.500 for 1 carat.

A 1 carat white diamond is going to run around $3,900-$6,000. They can go way higher, well over $10,000 for a carat, but this is for the average person.

This all depends on the clarity and color. These are ballparks. Still, a huge difference! You can see why brown diamonds are appealing.

Chocolate diamond

A 1 carat chocolate diamond can be around $2,000 to $8,000. While that is more than a fancy brown diamond, if you compare it to the white diamond price, you are still getting a better deal. Plus, you know that chocolate diamonds go through a bit tighter of a security process, so the quality will be better.

Which should you get?

Brown, chocolate, or white, the diamond you get needs to match your partner’s taste. If you are looking for something unique, then get a colored diamond. If you like the look of a chocolate diamond, then get yourself one.

I will be honest and say that I thought chocolate diamonds were gross and pretty ugly. But after having to stare at them all day for research, though I’m still not a huge fan personally, I can see the appeal. I will no longer judge anyone I see wearing one.

They are different, they are special, and they can still be absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for something more affordable but still screened as far as quality goes, then a chocolate diamond should be on your list to check out.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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