The Bitter Truth About Chocolate Diamonds

Chocolate Diamonds® is a fancy name and trademark branding for what is known industry-wide as brown diamonds. They are so common and easily found that miners toss them aside while looking for rare and valuable varieties, such as colorless diamonds and fancy colored diamonds: pink, yellow, red, and blue.

What Is a Chocolate Diamond and Why Is It Brown?

The chocolate-like color of a brown diamond is from internal graining in their formation, which is due to abnormalities or discoloration in the stone. A bounteous supply of brown diamonds was prevalent long before Le Vian, a family-owned jewelry company, marketed them to the public. For many years, its uses remained limited to manufacturing industrial abrasives and cutting products.

According to the Gemological Institute of America, “Brown diamonds were considered good only for industrial use until the 1980s, when abundant quantities of them began to appear in the production of the Argyle mines.”

Are Brown Diamonds Overpriced?

The reason why pink diamonds, for example, are so expensive is because of their extreme rarity. 

Therefore, it does not make sense (nor is it fair to consumers) that something as common as brown diamonds is selling for the same price as rare gems of the same size, cut, and clarity. Where do they fall on the rarity scale for diamonds, you ask? The bottom. As mentioned, they are the most easily sourced diamonds in the world. As the supply of brown diamonds exceeds the demand by leaps and bounds, its market price should not equal those of a white, colorless, or true fancy diamond of the same size, cut, and clarity.

Furthermore, unlike colorless and fancy diamonds, brown diamonds are, in most cases, opaque and do not have a natural sparkle. Color-treating brown diamonds deceive buyers into believing that they are naturally brilliant, so they must be worth thousands of dollars.

A Product of Brilliant Marketing

If brown diamonds are quick to find and unappealing industry-wide, what made them an overnight sensation that demands prices on par with rare diamonds? Genius marketing.

In the early 2000s, Le Vian designed an array of jewelry featuring brown diamonds. Le Vian gave the jewelry to Hollywood celebrities and models, who then wore the pieces to movie premieres and red carpet events. As public awareness for the brown diamond jewelry adorning the bodies of famous women grew, so did people’s desire to own a piece for themselves.

Le Vian soon received overwhelming requests for brown diamond jewelry. However, their red carpet collection’s prices were too high for the average consumer. In response, Le Vian launched a new, more affordable line of jewelry featuring chocolate diamonds to the public.

The public’s desire for chocolate diamonds persisted to growing, mostly due to how versatile brown diamonds are. Brown, after all, is a neutral shade that matches well with almost any color. Le Vian’s choice of name was clever, too. Unlike “brown,” which is unfortunately associated with a few unpleasant things (use your imagination), the word “chocolate,” is rich, luxurious, desirable, velvety, and romantic.

Pairing the word “chocolate” with a brown diamond’s effortless ability to mesh well with other colors, especially rose gold, Le Vian followed up with a collection of chocolate diamonds set in rose gold, which they called the Le Vian Strawberry Gold Collection. Chocolate and strawberries. Again, genius marketing.

 “Brainwashing” Women to Buy Something the Jewelry Industry Wants to Get Rid Of

In an article for Jezebel, Dodai Stewart did not hold back and said Le Vian’s campaigns convince people, especially women, to spend their hard-earned money on (1) something unnecessary and (2) something the jewelry industry has little to no use for.

“But the real issue with chocolate diamonds is how they are aggressively marketed as a thing women should buy for themselves. A treat, like chocolate. Except they are not a cheap, sweet, delicious snack. A Le Vian chocolate diamond ring can cost from $1,300 to $8,000. And what are you really paying for? What is the value of that piece? What is it actually worth? There is no resale market,” said Steward, focusing on the fact that brown diamonds are common. 

However, many people do not buy jewelry or luxury goods for their resale value. Coming from professionals such as ourselves who encourage buying investment pieces rather than falling for trends, we know all too well that the majority of people buy luxury items simply because they want to enjoy them. Regardless, we want consumers to understand their purchases fully.


Brown or chocolate diamonds have become a popular choice for engagement rings in recent years. These diamonds captivate women because of their unique physical appearance and the clever marketing campaigns of certain jewelry brands. While chocolate diamonds can make interesting, nontraditional center stones, when it comes to down to investment, brown diamonds are money down the drain.

“If they are cheap and I like how they look, what’s wrong?” In truth, nothing.

While chocolate diamonds are less expensive compared to other natural diamond options, if you love how they look, nothing should stop you from buying and wearing them. This article’s main goal is to educate readers on the history of chocolate diamonds before deciding to purchase. Just remember that apart from the precious metal a brown diamond may be set in, chocolate diamonds themselves have almost zero resale value.

No one wants to think they will ever need to sell their jewelry, but one thing for sure is you can always count on getting more money for a white or colorless diamond than you ever would for a brown diamond.

How Much Does Your Diamond Cost?

See for yourself how much your diamonds are worth by getting an appraisal. Here at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry, our GIA-certified experts determine the value of a diamond based on its cut, size, clarity, and color. This means each diamond we buy or accept as collateral for a loan undergoes the highest level of scrutiny and examination. To sell or apply for an instant loan in Phoenix, Arizona, drop by our locations in Scottsdale or Chandler today.