Did you know that the majority of natural diamonds actually come in a brownish color? Mines all over Africa, Australia and Siberia routinely give up diamonds in this particular shade. Originally, this coloration was so unattractive that mine owners and jewelers considered these stones to be either worthless or only fit for use in some commercial applications. In the 1980s, the clever marketing of a sharp jeweler changed this perception.
He realized that this brown tinge marks the stone as a possible contestant for the designation of a fancy color diamond. In the past, jewelers had discovered that treatment with irradiation could change the brown coloration of the stones to yellow or even green. As an authority in the business, he began to sell brown diamonds in their own rights. The Le Vian Company introduced the Chocolate Diamonds brand to the public in the late 1980s and still heavily markets the brown color as a desirable quality in the stones.
Australia’s diamond mines in particular are the most famous source for brown diamonds. Scientists believe that the dark color is the direct result of nickel content and deformities within the structural makeup of the gems. Owners of Australia’s Argyle mine tried to give their own proprietary monikers to the brown gems. Marketed as “Cognac” and “Champagne” diamonds in the 1980s, the sellers gave up on the campaign after a short decade. The Chocolate Diamonds brand, however, persisted.
The brown diamond color developed a loyal following, and it did not take long for manufacturers to create synthetic versions of the gems. These are now available in shades reminiscent of honey, cinnamon and cloves. Since prices for brown diamonds are lower than those charged for other fancy color hues, the market saturation of synthetics is still fairly low.
Today, the brown diamond comes in a variety of shades and tones. There are light brown and dark brown stones. Some jewelers sell gems that feature a faint pink or orange tone. Others begin the old irradiation treatment but do not continue for long. This maintains the brown coloring but lightens it or gives it a slightly green tinge.
There are now several brown diamonds that have become popular. Case in point is the 546-carat Golden Jubilee, which is considered the world’s largest faceted diamond. It was discovered weighing 756 carats in 1985. Initially, cutters used the stone as a means to test out new cutting techniques and tools. In spite of its brown color, cutters worked on the stone for close to two years. At the end of this time, they had fashioned an astonishing gem that became so popular that it was fit as a present for Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s reigning king. At this time, experts place the value of the gem between $4 million and $12 million.
Peter Suchy Jewelers, located on 1137 High Ridge Road in Stamford Connecticut are experts in vintage and estate jewelry so we invite you to stop by our showroom.