‘Chocolate’ diamonds have gained in popularity in recent years, to the chagrin of many purists. For years some diamond jewelry companies have been accused of generating a hype about diamonds traditionally seen as bottom-the-barrel stones, effectively deceiving end consumers by rebranding brown diamonds as ‘chocolate’. Jezebel and the Daily Mail have gone so far as to call these jewelers “liars” who are “fooling women”, claiming the name and marketing of the chocolate diamond is insulting: “Women won’t be able to resist, because it’s chocolate! Women won’t care that they’re just brown rocks if we call them chocolate!” Why then are chocolate diamonds growing in popularity?
Luxury jeweler Matthew Ely thinks differently about it and encourages Vogue Australia’s readers to move away from the norm of white diamonds and to consider purchasing chocolate diamonds sourced from the Australian Argyle mines. “They are more luxurious than many diamonds because achieving the perfect cut with an Australian Chocolate diamond is much more difficult due to the fact that they are a much harder material,” says Ely. “Chocolate diamonds also take longer to polish because of this hard density and often require a talented jeweler to yield the best results, which drives up labor costs and causes them to be more expensive overall.” Ely listed some of his top tips with regards to choosing the chocolate diamond as an engagement diamond alternative.
When deciding whether to choose a chocolate diamond over a white one, he suggests color is strongly linked to one’s desire for owning something unique. Chocolate diamonds pair well with warmer tones such as a rose gold and set with rubellite and pink tourmalines to balance out the chocolate tones. “Adding smaller complimentary stones to the design also adds a lovely bespoke touch.” He stresses the importance of a cut, stating “a good cut is by far the most important characteristic to look for in a quality chocolate diamond as it is what is going to outlast the brilliance of the stone.”
With regards to the hue of chocolate, this remains a question of one’s personal taste. Ely does suggest that consumers avoid choosing a color so rich and dark that the level of brilliance does not shine through. Avoid diamonds with a lower quality cut or one that is heavily included, as this once again tarnishes the brilliance of the stone. Another pleasant difference is that chocolate diamonds are relatively more affordable than white diamonds, allowing consumers to purchase statement sized stones for a similar budget that would afford them a smaller white diamond.