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Do You Actually Want a 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.

On the Bubble 

There’s no better place to start than with the obvious—a champagne diamond’s name. And, well, it’s color. Champagne actually refers to a particular hue in the diamond color spectrum, one that has a brown body color with a yellow secondary hue. Yellowish-brown, we call it in the industry. 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, basically microscopic distortions in the diamond’s crystal structure. Ok, well, their yellow comes from the presence of nitrogen, so a little of each. You might also hear the term “cognac diamonds” thrown around which refers to a deeper brown with an orange undertone. These names are not meant to trick you, but to describe what the color looks like and its unique mix of shades. 

Champagne diamonds come in every shape, but it’s harder to find the perfect hue than you would think!
Champagne pairs well with just about anything, including a gorgeous pink sapphire. Design your two stone

You Fancy, Wow

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. Luck for champagne lovers, tho, they’re one of the most common fancies so their price 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—but 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, 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. Rose gold is also a gorgeous choice for champagne diamonds, so don’t rule anything out!

A fancy yellow diamond like this will cost you much more than a champagne diamond due to its saturated hue.
The rose gold halo pairs perfectly with the gorgeous champagne pear!

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 in a fun two stone style engagement ring. Same shape or different, this is a serious statement style.

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 that cause a cooler tint. 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 took to create gorgeous fancy colors with 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’s a champagne diamond 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.

You don’t have to shell out fancy yellow diamond money to achieve a warmer look!
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 (tho less so 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. Also, shapes with a bit more depth 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 hello@frankdarling.com 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!