Cognac Diamonds – Everything You Need To Know

23rd Jun 2017

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Cognac Briolette Necklace

I first fell in love with cognac diamonds, twenty years ago, when I was given two cognac diamond briolettes by my friend and mentor, Hratch Nargizian. Sadly, I dropped one of them between the floor boards of a New York apartment, but the other I still wear every day around my neck, along with an assortment of other charms. Since then my collection has grown and I often include them in my designs.

Sienna, Billie & Zoe cognac diamond ethical wedding and engagement rings

Sienna, Billie & Zoe ethical wedding and engagement rings set with cognac diam

I love the warm earthiness they emanate whilst still having the sparkle that you only get from a diamond.

 

What are Cognac Diamonds?

Officially, cognac diamonds don’t exist, or rather they are not recognized by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).

The GIA simply refer to them as brown diamonds (i.e. light brown, dark brown with tones of yellow etc.), but to the rest of us, they are best known as cognac diamonds; so named because they are the colour of cognac.

The term ‘cognac diamond’ (along with ‘champagne diamond’) was invented by a clever marketing expert working for the Rio Tinto Diamond Co during the late 1980’s.

 

celeste ethical wedding ring in 18ct Fairtrade rose gold & diamonds

Celeste ethical wedding ring with white, champagne and cognac diamonds.

Rio Tinto own and operate The Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia. During this period the mine was producing masses of brown diamonds (both cognac and champagne colour) and rather than get rid of them they decided to give them a fancy name and sell them.

It may sound like we have all been duped into buying what used to be rubbish, but personally, I think it was a good thing as they really do have some special to offer in their own sweet way.

Champagne Diamonds Vs Cognac Diamonds

In case you were wondering, the above-mentioned champagne diamond is a much lighter shade of brown.

You can see the two next to each other in the image below to get the idea.

I love champagne diamonds too and often use them alongside cognacs in my work.

cognac and champagne coloured diamonds

Cognac and Champagne Coloured Diamonds

What makes Cognac diamonds brown in colour?

The brown colour in a diamond is caused by structural defects that allowed light to be absorbed into its crystal lattice when it was growing in the earth’s crust. Diamonds are made up of carbon atoms and it is the arrangement of these atoms that make up the crystal lattice structure in each diamond.

Annie ethical engagement ring, 18ct Fairtrade gold

Annie ethical engagement ring with a cognac diamond.

 

What about the price?

Cognac diamonds are a quarter of the price of white diamonds, which makes these little beauties easy on the purse as well as the eye. So, if you are looking for a great alternative to the “normal” diamond, they might just be the thing you have been looking for.

Golden Eagle ethical necklace, 18ct Fairtrade Gold

Golden Eagle ethical necklace with cognac and champagne diamonds.

Love them or hate them cognac diamonds are here to stay and I think that’s a very good thing. What’s your opinion?

If you want to see some examples of cognac diamonds in my work, head over to the engagement rings or jewellery and be on the look out for them in the descriptions.  You are also welcome to email me to discuss something bespoke.

Shakti Ellenwood