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