Champagne diamonds have become very popular among many diamond shoppers, and if you are one of them, it is good to know how the quality of these stones is evaluated. Let’s see how champagne diamonds are created and how they are graded for quality.
What Are Champagne Diamonds?
Champagne diamonds occur in nature and are simply stones that have a light to dark brown color.
Most diamonds mined have some sort of yellowish or brownish tint, which is considered undesirable, and this is why such stones sell at a discount compared with colorless diamonds.
The most valuable champagne diamonds, however, have a darker hue than the typical low-grade yellowish diamonds and are not considered second-rate stones.
Although champagne diamonds are natural, some of the stones sold by the jewelry industry have been colored artificially using heat and high-pressure treatment.
Nevertheless, these champagne-colored stones are also real diamonds.
Champagne Diamonds vs. Brown and Chocolate Diamonds
The difference between dark brown diamonds and champagne diamonds is in the intensity of color.
Champagne diamonds are simply a lighter variation of brown diamonds.
Chocolate diamonds are also a type of brown diamonds, only with a darker hue.
How Is the Quality of Champagne Diamonds Evaluated?
The quality of champagne diamonds is graded in the same way as that of other diamonds: The main quality characteristics are color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
Of these, color deserves special attention, as it is often not graded using the same scale that is used for regular white diamonds.
Evaluating the Color of Champagne Diamonds
In general, the color of fancy-color diamonds is assessed on three main dimensions: hue, tone, and saturation.
Hue refers to the visible color of the stone. In the case of champagne diamonds, their hue can be classified as brown (some graders might use the word “champagne” instead).
Tone refers to how dark the color is. Compared with other brown diamonds, champagne diamonds are on the lighter end of the tone scale. However, the most valuable champagne diamonds are those with a darker tone, as they are rarer.
Saturation is the level of intensity of the diamond’s color. In general, the more saturated the brown in a champagne diamond is, the more valuable the stone.
There is a grading scale developed specifically for champagne diamonds, and it uses grades from C1 to C7. Here is the meaning of each grade:
- C1 and C2: Light Champagne
- C3 and C4: Medium Champagne
- C5 and C6: Dark Champagne
- C7: Cognac
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) uses a different scale to grade the color of diamonds, and in that system, Light Champagne (C1 and C2) would be graded with letters from N to V and classified as Very Light Yellow or Light Yellow.
Medium Champagne (C3 and C4) would be considered Light Yellow and assigned a letter grade from W to Z.
Dark Champagne (C5 and C6) and Cognac (C7) are graded on a different scale in the GIA system – one created specifically for fancy-color diamonds.
On that scale, these diamonds are classified as either Fancy Brown or Fancy Dark Brown, depending on their tone and saturation.
Champagne Diamonds and Clarity Grading
The clarity of champagne diamonds is evaluated in the same way as that of other diamonds. As a rule, the fewer visible flaws there are in a stone, the more valuable it is.
Clarity is not as important for darker champagne diamonds, as flaws in them tend to be better hidden by their color.
The Cut of Champagne Diamonds
In general, the more proportional the cut of a diamond, the more brilliance the stone has, and the more expensive it is.
For darker champagne diamonds, brilliance becomes less important as it is less visible. For these stones, the primary consideration regarding cut is whether it maximizes the diamond’s color by enhancing its intensity.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For diamond jewelry, we highly recommend James Allen because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before buying it.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).