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Are Black, Brown, Cognac, Champagne, And Chocolate Diamonds Really Diamonds?

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When it comes to a diamond's color, consumers have long had a strong preference for clear stones -- the clearer, the better. Colorless stones are relatively rare, and with diamonds, rarity equals value.

However, colored diamonds are not unknown -- and some of the fanciest blues, pinks, and yellows are the rarest of the rare. Other colored diamonds are also in vogue, however. Despite the fact that they aren't nearly as rare, black diamonds, chocolate diamonds, cognac diamonds, and champagne diamonds are also getting a lot of love these days from jewelry buyers. What exactly are these? Are they even real diamonds? Here's what you need to know.

Black Diamonds

Black diamonds, just like regular diamonds, can be natural or man-made. They can also be natural diamonds that are treated, or "color enhanced" to make them more attractive to buyers. Natural black diamonds have an unusually high degree of inclusions that give them their distinctive appearance -- and are quite rare. Treated black diamonds are more affordable, but they're largely poor-quality white diamonds that have been chemically doctored to make them useful as jewelry. Simulated black diamonds are grown in labs -- but their price and uniform color make them attractive to many buyers.

Brown Diamonds

Brown diamonds go by a variety of different names, including cognac, champagne, and, of course, "chocolate." The only difference between them is the shade of the diamond and the marketing skills of the jewelry manufacturers using their designated titles.

Brown diamonds are actually extremely common. They contain numerous different types of inclusions that give them their various shades. For much of the modern diamond industry's existence, they weren't of much value to jewelers because consumers didn't want them.

That's all changed. Some clever jewelers found that they could make lovely pieces of jewelry using selective brown diamonds of various shades. When the stones were repackaged as "champagne-colored" or "cognac-colored," consumers became more accepting. By the time one of the world's foremost designer jewelers started a line of "chocolate" diamond jewelry (and trademarked the name), consumers were hooked.

The Takeaway

So, what does the color mean to you, if you're diamond shopping? Frankly, not very much. You can rest assured that diamonds really do come in all those colors -- and all the colors are incredibly beautiful when cut, polished, and set the right way. In fact, you may be thrilled to have more choices than you would have once had, now that consumers have come to see the beauty in a little bit of color. Buy the diamond that you like the best -- not what anyone else says is the best to own.