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All You Need to Know About the Champagne Diamond

We know you want champagne. Don’t we all? But a champagne diamond—that might be another story. Perhaps you’re wondering what exactly a champagne diamond even is. And that’s a fair question. After all, it sounds bubbly and exciting, but maybe it’s just a marketing ploy to get you to buy less-than-desirable brown diamonds? Don’t worry, we’ll cover all of that. And more—including how to know if a champagne diamond is right for you, how to find a good one, and what it’ll do to your wallet.

What is the Champagne Diamond?

Champagne diamonds are named for their rich, warm, yellowish-brown color that can’t help but remind us of our favorite fizzy drink. That said, champagne diamonds can be found in a range of shades from very light to vivid and dark. Unlike other fancy color diamonds, whose colors are caused by trace elements present in the growth process, champagne diamonds get their brown color from internal grain lines that are basically microscopic distortions in the diamond’s crystal structure. And, yes, their yellow comes from the presence of nitrogen, so the color is caused by both the diamond’s elements and structure. One last thing, sometimes, you might also hear the term “cognac diamonds” thrown around. This refers to a deeper brown color with an orange undertone. ‘Champagne’ or ‘cognac’, these names are not meant to trick you, but to describe what the color looks like and its unique mix of shades. 

Frank darling custom champagne pear diamond split shank ring.
Champagne diamonds come in every shape, but it’s harder to find the perfect hue than you would think!
fancy yellow diamond half bezel emerald cut
Sure, you could always prioritize a yellow fancy color diamond but there’s something about champagne diamonds that leave us feeling ‘buzzed’ for more.

What Does a Champagne Diamond Symbolize?

Ah, champagne. The very word evokes a sense of celebration, doesn’t it? But when we talk about champagne diamonds, we’re diving into a realm that’s both bubbly and mystifying. At first glance, you might think it’s all about that effervescent hue, reminiscent of a glass of the finest bubbly. But there’s more beneath the surface. Champagne diamonds, with their unique brownish-yellow tint, are nature’s own little wonders. They’re not just another marketing gimmick; they’re a testament to nature’s artistry.

The champagne hue, coined somewhat less romantically as “yellowish-brown” in the diamond world, provides a certain je ne sais quois and allure that is hard to define. Many believe that the champagne diamond symbolizes stability and harmony and feel that the natural exuding warmth of the diamond allows the wearer to stay calm, cool, and collected, even under pressure meant to form a diamond. Whether that is true remains to be seen, but without a doubt champagne diamonds are making their mark by offering a fresh, contemporary twist to traditional bling.

How Are Champagne Diamonds Formed?

Unlike their crystal-clear cousins, champagne diamonds have a tale that’s tinged with a touch of the extraordinary. That lovely, hue, a tantalizing blend of brown and yellow, isn’t just a quirk of fate, it’s a testament to their unique formation process. As these diamonds form deep within the Earth’s mantle, nitrogen atoms become their close companions, replacing some of the carbon atoms in the diamond’s structure. This delicate dance of elements gives our champagne diamonds their signature boozy hue. But it’s not just about the science. It’s about the romance, the allure, the story and every champagne diamond, with its warm and earthy tones, is a page from nature’s own diary-chronicling millennia of secrets and stories.

An East-West champagne Marquise diamond ring
Champagne diamonds, unlike champagne, do not have to be mined in the Champagne region of France to be considered real. As long as they contain their luscious yellow-ish brown hue they’re considered true champagne as in this east west set Marquise sparkler.
Champagne pairs well with just about anything, including a gorgeous pink sapphire. Design your two stone

Champagne Diamond Colors

Champagne diamonds are part of the fancy color diamond classification. What is that? Well, the standard diamond color grades range from D-Z (though most retailers commonly sell only D-J or so). Anything beyond a Z in color saturation is termed “fancy” and will be graded and priced as such, using color descriptors such as “fancy light yellowish brown” rather than a simple letter grade. Now, with typical diamonds in the D-Z range, prices will drop the lower your color grade goes. But once you hit the fancy range, they can definitely jump back up. Lucky for champagne lovers, though, they’re one of the most common fancies so their price tag is pretty reasonable. 

Rock Hard

Admittedly, a big part of why diamonds are so loved for jewelry (and especially engagement rings that we wear daily) is because diamonds are the hardest gemstone in the world. Nothing can scratch them (except other diamonds) and thus they’re ideal for everyday (albeit expensive) jewelry. But if your personality calls for a bit more color than the norm—and you don’t want to try a softer semi-precious gem—fancy colors like champagne diamonds are probably a perfect fit. They offer the hardness and durability of a diamond but with a warm, sunshiney hue that will stand out from the crowd!

Mellow Yellow

Another great thing about the warmth of a champagne diamond? Ok, you got us, two things. One: they are super flattering on pretty much every skin tone (kind of like bronzer but for your finger). And two: they go perfectly with yellow gold, which is having a moment of its own right now. The warm metal sets off the bubbling champagne stone in a way that white metal just can’t. Not to say white metal can’t be done—it’s pretty cool if you’re into a contrasting, statement look. And not to fear, rose gold is also a gorgeous choice for champagne diamonds, so don’t rule anything out!

Frank Darling custom fancy yellow oval diamond bezel ring.
A fancy yellow diamond like this will cost you much more than a champagne diamond due to its saturated hue.
Frank Darling custom rose gold champagne pear diamond halo.
The rose gold halo pairs perfectly with the gorgeous champagne pear! Contact Frank Darling today to design your custom champagne diamond engagement ring.

Speaking of Contrasts

You don’t just have to make your champagne diamond a solitaire! Heck no, you really can have it all. Like a glittering white pave diamond halo? Go for it. Want to try a three-stone look? Do a champagne center with two colorless side stones. Or flip it and reverse it by adding the champagne stones as side accents. Another favorite way of ours to play up the contrast and really make a champers stand out? Pair it up with a similarly sized white diamond for a fun two stone style engagement ring. Same or different shape, your diamonds create a serious statement style that’s uniquely yours.

You’re a Real One

Now that you know that champagne diamonds get their color from mother nature, we’re going to flip the script a bit and let you know that you can also find champagne diamonds straight from the lab. Yep, lab grown diamonds come in colors other than clear too! In fact, when they started out as a thing, many lab grown diamonds came out in shades of brown and yellow far more often—until some super smart folks figured out how to get them to come out clear. However, if you are looking for a true champagne diamond, you will have trouble finding that unique brown tint nowadays. This is because lower-color-scale lab diamonds tend to have a greyish blue tint, as a result of trace elements of boron while lower-color natural diamonds have higher trace elements of nitrogen, which causes a warmer yellow tint. But now that that’s solved, a bit of reverse engineering is all it takes to create gorgeous fancy colors with a way less carbon footprint. Add to that the fact that lab grown diamonds have identical chemical, physical and optical properties to mined diamonds, and we can’t say we’re seeing any downsides.

Wallet Talk

We know you’re wondering what a champagne diamond is going to cost you (what with it being fancy and all). Well, as we said up top, yellow and brown diamonds are the most common fancy colors with, let’s face it, less demand than say pink or blue (hello sticker shock). Now, you can usually find a champagne diamond for 20-30% less than a comparable straight-up fancy yellow diamond. And about 50% less than a white (colorless) diamond. Lab grown diamonds can also save you serious bucks, which just means more cash for the honeymoon, amirite? Other than this, your diamond will still be priced taking into account all the other Cs, so just find the right balance for you—but keep in mind for fancy color diamonds, color should really come first.

Frank Darling custom fancy yellow diamond oval three stone ring.
You don’t have to shell out fancy yellow diamond money to achieve a warmer look!
Frank Darling custom bezel rose cut champagne diamond ring.
Rose cuts are a great low-cost option if you are looking to show off your champagne color

Straight from the Source

Now, finding that super-perfect champagne diamond that’s the right shape, size, and hue for you—that’s another story. Plus, it’s still a diamond, so you have to consider its cut (though less so then when we’re talking deeper colors, which are cut for their saturation instead of their light return). And you’ll for sure want to actually see the diamond before you buy it, because color perception is pretty personal. I mean, do you know if you like “light”, “fancy light”, or “fancy” without seeing each one? I didn’t think so. You’ll often also find fancy colors in shapes other than round, such as princess, cushion or radiant. Or even in some sweet little rose cuts (very romantic, mind you). Why? Because rounds waste more rough weight in their cutting and are cut for brilliance. Which, again, isn’t the highest priority for color. Plus, shapes with a bit more depth, like rose cuts, tend to show off more body color. Ultimately, what this all adds up to is that finding exactly what you want is going to be a bit tougher than if you were looking for a round, colorless rock. 

At Your Service

Good thing you have us.  Explore our collection of champagne diamonds on your own or reach out to our diamond experts at with a bit about what your dream ring looks like and, obvi, your budget, and we’ll get you sorted. Want to go straight to customizing? Try our design quiz to work out all the details and get a free sketch!

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