Everybody knows we love the unconventional, the unusual, and the avant-garde, so naturally, we’re on board with the ever-effervescent champagne diamond. Maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe not, but today we’re here to raise a glass to these under-hyped but incredibly gorgeous golden diamonds.
Keep reading for:
- What are champagne diamonds?
- How are champagne diamonds formed?
- Why we love them
- How to choose your champagne diamond
- Sourcing of champagne diamonds
How can you spot a champagne diamond?
Champagne diamonds fall along the yellow-brown color scale. Named for our favorite celebratory drink, these stones range from honey-hued, sun-drenched, and golden toned to rich, cognac and mocha shades.
How are champagne diamonds formed?
While colorless diamonds consist of pure carbon, colored diamonds like champagne are made of carbon plusanother element. Champagne diamonds specifically are formed from carbon and trace amounts of nitrogen. As the nitrogen level increases, the champagne hue intensifies.
And beyond extra elements, colored diamonds can be created by slight defects in a stone’s crystal lattice. These defects cause the diamonds to transmit and absorb wavelengths of light more selectively, changing its color in the eyes of the observer.
Why We Love Them
BALANCE OF COLOR AND HARDNESS
Diamonds are rated 10 on the MOHs hardness scale – the hardest substance on earth and super durable for high-value jewelry. Colored gemstones like sapphires, rubies, or amber on the other hand, fall much lower on the hardness scale. This durability is why many color lovers still opt for diamonds.
Herein lies the appeal of colored diamonds – they marry the character of colored stones with the everlasting hardness of a diamond.
While white diamonds are prized for their crystal clear, colorless appearance, champagne diamonds are celebrated for their warm, subtly golden ambience.
And when paired with yellow or peach gold, this bathed-in-sunlight, gilded glow vibe only intensifies.
While most of the world is still fixated on the absence of color, champagne diamonds are a more distinctive, unique choice for us lovers of the path less travelled. And the endless color variations of a champagne diamond mean each stone is a true original.
Champagne diamonds cost less than their more popular colorless cousins. And if you love their unique hue, that means more diamond for your dollar.
Plus, a lower price tag means emerging and independent designers who can’t always afford the ultra-high price tag of white diamonds can create their masterpieces with more affordable, yet equally stunning, champagne diamonds.
When sourcing colorless white diamonds, mining companies only use a very small percentage of the diamonds they find, discarding the rest as waste or using them for industrial purposes.
Not so long ago, champagne diamonds would have been among these discarded stones. Now, these alternative diamonds are being celebrated instead of discarded.
This is the first step towards sustainability - reducing waste and using all the precious resources we extract from the earth. We’re also all about celebrating the unusual and expanding the narrow perception of beauty that was established so long ago. We love the alternative, the interesting, and the original – that’s beauty to us.
All Gem Breakfast stones are thoroughly vetted to ensure conflict-free sourcing. We have very personal relationships with all our suppliers and only work with people of the upmost ethics and quality. This applies to Champagne Diamonds and every other gem we use.
How To Choose Your Champagne Diamond
The most important factor when choosing a colored stone is (not surprisingly) color! Champagne diamonds range from the faintest brown to darker brown, with secondary hues of yellow, pink, or orange. Generally, the richer the hue, the more expensive and rare that stone is considered. But what matters most is your own personal preference – choose the hue you love.
The GIA doesn't actually use the word 'champagne' on grading reports. Instead, they classify lighter champagnes tones by letter grade, and as the shades get darker, stones are classified according to 'fancy' colored diamonds scales:
Faint Champagne -Graded by the GIA as: K to M or 'Faint Brown'
Light Champagne -Graded by the GIA as: N to R or ‘Very Light Brown’
Medium Champagne -Graded by the GIA as: S to Z or ‘Light Brown’
Dark Champagne or Cognac -The GIA grades these diamonds according to scales for fancy brown or fancy dark brown colored diamonds.
Not to be confused with diamond shape, ‘cut’ refers to how a diamond is cut from the rough and polished. By far our favorite of the 4Cs, a diamond’s cut determines its sparkle factor. The better the cut, the sparklier and more brilliant the diamond.
Just like white diamonds, champagne diamonds can be graded for cut by the GIA, however it’s less likely in the lower color grades. If the diamond is graded, we recommend ‘Very Good’ cut grades and above.
One thing to keep in mind with any diamond: what’s most important is how it looks to you – is it shimmering, sparkly, and catching the light from every angle? That’s the sign of a truly great cut. And of course, an expert jeweler can inspect the diamond for those hard-to-see aspects like symmetry, polish, and proportion that together create the most beautiful diamond.
To learn more about Diamond Cut, visit our blog.
Clarity refers to the level of blemishes or inclusions in the stone. Of course, the fewer the flaws, the more valuable the stone. With champagne diamonds, we recommend opting for ‘eye clean’ – meaning there are no flaws visible to the naked eye.
Just like colorless diamonds, champagne diamonds are graded by the GIA for clarity according to this scale:
- Flawless - FL
- Internally Flawless - IF
- Very, Very Slightly Included - VVS1 and VVS2
- Very Slightly Included - VS1 and VS2
- Slightly Included - SI1 and SI2
- Included - I1, I2, I3
There are very few flawless champagne diamonds, and the highest clarity grades are generally not worth the splurge. After all, it’s significantly pricier, and you won’t be looking at your stone through a loupe all day anyways!
Depending on the shape, you can usually find an eye-clean diamond in the VS1–VS2 range. And with brilliant cuts, you can even find eye-clean diamonds in the SI range. Keep in mind though, grading varies between labs – the look is more important than the grade! And cut is much more important than clarity.
Carat is the C that totally depends on your preference and budget. One thing to keep in mind: champagne diamonds cost much less than colorless diamonds so you’ll get a larger diamond for less!
And remember, carat weight refers to the weightof a diamond rather than the size of the diamond. Two 1 carat diamonds can appear very different in size depending on their cut.
Also, setting can play a big part in maximizing the face-up size of your stone. Generally, a pronged solitaire setting will make your stone appear its largest.
Pairing Gold with Champagne Diamonds
While we’re not about rules, we’re suckers for a champagne diamond set in yellow, peach, or rose gold. The pairing accentuates that golden, sun-drenched warmth we love so much in champagne stones.
For more on choosing the perfect precious metal for your ring, read our 'Ultimate Guide to Gold & Precious Metals'.
Sourcing of Champagne Diamonds
Champagne diamonds are found all around the world, but most come from the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia which is set to close at the end of this year.
With this closure, colored and champagne diamonds are expected to raise in price in the near future thanks to the reduced supply. This is a great time to invest in a honey-hued diamond if it’s something you love.
If you have any questions on champagne stones or want to consider creating your own champagne-centered sparkler, book a virtual consultationwith us anytime!