Brown diamonds are among the highest-sought gemstones in the world. Not only are they beautiful, they are mysterious and rare as well. Though they are the most commonly found colored diamond, brown diamonds are associated with a particular uniqueness and social status.

Though most of us have seen brown diamonds, you may not know all there is to know about the unique jewel. Read on further to discover how diamonds are made, what gives brown diamonds their color, what their value is, and more interesting facts.

Reddish-Brown Diamond with Firey Glow

How Are Diamonds Made?

Diamonds are all made the same, regardless of their color. That doesn’t make their origin-story any less interesting however. Diamonds are made 100s of miles beneath the Earth’s surface, in the mantle. The mantle is the layer of Earth that separates our surface from the hot, molten core. Temperatures there reach more than 2,000 degrees, with forces of pressure of more than 700,000 pounds-per-inch.

The extreme pressure and heat within the mantle can change and morph graphite, a naturally-formed element found in the mantle. When graphite is changed by this heat and pressure, its atomic and molecular properties change and restructure into amazing, triangular shapes. These triangular shapes are what become a well-formed diamond.

So, how do you find diamonds if they are created 100s of miles below us? Thanks to volcanic pipes that are naturally occurrent all over the world, the diamonds have a safe passageway to the surface. There are other ways to make a diamond, such as in a lab, but this is the only true way to form a natural diamond.

Where Does a Brown Diamond Get Its Color From?

Brown Diamond Ring

The origin-story of the diamond you read above explains how the white or clear diamond is made. When the graphite is perfectly morphed into a gemstone, with no obtrusions, you get a clear diamond. Sometimes during the evolution process of the graphite, other elements get caught in the formation. When additional elements become trapped in the crystalline structure, it causes imperfections. These imperfections create the special color in colored diamonds.

Each colored diamond is created with a different type of element within the graphite. Blue diamonds are created due to a reaction with boron for instance, while yellow/orange diamonds were created with nitrogen, and purple diamonds were created with hydrogen. Green diamonds are a little different, because the color is created through naturally-absorbing radiation in the soil.

Brown and pink diamonds are different from the other types of colored diamonds because they are not formed by the invasion of a particular element. Instead, brown diamonds are formed under the perfect combination of intense pressure and heat. These very specific factors create distortions within the crystal lattice that forms the crystal. These distortions absorb light and reflect the pink or brown color you see.

How Rare Is a Brown Diamond?

The vast majority of diamonds found on Earth are pure (white or clear), meaning that no impurities have affected their structure. Less often you find impure diamonds, or colored diamonds. Pink and yellow diamonds are among the rarest colored diamonds. Even though brown diamonds are the most commonly-found colored diamond, they are still much rarer than white diamonds.

Where Are They Found?

Diamonds can be found all over the world, but there are a few places that have yielded significant findings historically. Brown diamonds have been found in Northern and Southern Asia, Africa, and South America. Today, Australia produces the largest yields of diamonds; producing more than 80 percent of the entire world’s supply.

For a better prospective on rarity, brown diamonds take up about 15 percent of the world’s diamond supply. The Argyle mine in Australia reports that upwards of 80 percent of their diamonds have traces of brown in them.

How Are They Graded and Valued?

Brown diamonds are a little different in how they are valued and graded than other colored diamonds. Just like other diamonds, a brown diamond’s cut, color, clarity, and carat-size will attribute to its overall grade and value. Brown diamonds are generally graded on the following scale:

  • Light champagne;
  • Medium champagne;
  • Dark champagne;
  • Fancy cognac.

Unlike other colored diamonds, a brown diamond’s grade doesn’t always affect value. Brown can be present in almost all other colored-diamonds, so clarity-of-color tends to more important when trying to place a value on brown diamonds.

How much Does a Brown Diamond Cost?

Because these are the least-rare colored diamond, they are considered more affordable overall. In general, the stronger the color of a diamond, the more expensive it will be. Another factor influencing price can be secondary color options. If the brown diamond has traces of yellow or pink, which are much more expensive colors, the price of the diamond will rise.

Of course, color, cut, clarity, and carat are the biggest determinations in price-value. In some cases, you can get two brown diamonds for the same price as one highly-graded clear diamond. Prices can differ dramatically based on color intensity and cut, but a 1-carat brown diamond can start at around $2,500.

Famous Brown Diamonds

Burton Cognac Diamond

Burton Cognac Diamond, formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor

The history of brown diamonds may seem a little depressing considering many of them were destroyed. For hundreds of years, brown diamonds were considered worthless and were not even assessed on any kind of scale. Between education, popularity, and marketing strategies, brown diamonds started becoming one of the most sought-after colored diamond.

Beginning in the 1950s, a fine jewelry importer began rebranding brown diamonds to help entice sales. Baumgold Bros saw the potential in the inexpensive gem, and it worked. After Baumgold Bros’ success, other companies began following their lead. Fast forward more than 50 years and the jewelry company Le Vian trademarked their own term, “chocolate diamond,” and introduced an entirely new line surrounding brown diamonds.

Brown diamonds have been seen on royalty and celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor in 1974 and Jackie Kennedy. Brown diamonds have also been coined as some of the largest-found diamonds in the world, like the 890-carat Incomparable Diamond from Africa and the 601-carat Lesotho Brown from Lesotho.

Wrapping Up

Brown diamonds might be the most common colored diamond in the world, but that doesn’t take away from its brilliant beauty and allure. They are unique and hold a personality all their own. If you’re thinking about adding a brown diamond to your collection, be sure to consult a reputable jeweler.

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