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What is a Chocolate Diamond?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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A Chocolate Diamond™ is a type of brown, fancy-colored diamond that is sold by LeVian Jewelers. The term is also used more generally to refer to any brown diamonds. These stones are very common and were largely thought to be worthless until the late 1980s, when LeVian began a marketing campaign to increase demand for them. There are synthetic versions of these gems, but they are typically considered less valuable than natural ones, and brown diamonds are generally less valuable than white ones.

Natural and Synthetic Formation

The color of natural chocolate diamonds is thought to be created by pressure surrounding them as they form, which causes irregular shapes in their molecular structure. Radiation can also affect the color, as can trace elements like nickel and nitrogen. Each of these three factors can be reproduced in a lab to create synthetic versions of these gems, which often have a deeper color than natural ones. The degree of pressure, radiation, or elements in the stone can cause color variations ranging from light brown to dark olive, leading chocolate diamonds to be generally categorized as champagne, honey, cinnamon, cognac, or clove.

Chocolate vs. Other Colors

The only difference between chocolate diamonds and others is the color — they all have the same strength, hardness, and other properties. Despite this, brown diamonds are generally considered to be less valuable than most other types because they are very common, were historically used for industry instead of jewelry, and are often color-enhanced. They also have a bad reputation in some areas because they are sometimes treated to make them look like white diamonds and then sold with fraudulent labels.

Choosing a Chocolate Diamond

People buying these stones should consider the "Four Cs," which are color, clarity, cut and carat weight. Buyers should ask for a certificate from a reputable, independent gemology laboratory guaranteeing that the seller's description of these four aspects are accurate to avoid getting color-treated gems or those with hidden flaws. The best chocolate diamonds have a naturally strong color and are very clear, with imperfections that can only be seen through a jeweler's loupe, if at all. The cut of the stone is rated by its depth and width, along with its facets, which should be consistently uniform.

The carat (ct) weight of a gem is determined by its actual weight, with different numerical rankings being assigned for every 200 milligrams of weight. Those weighing less than 200 milligrams are measured by a point system, with each carat having 100 points. Though many people look only at carats, it's important to remember that larger stones may actually be less valuable, especially if they score poorly on the other three Cs. Additionally, if a person wants a true Chocolate Diamond™ instead of just a brown diamond, he or she should check with the jeweler and look for the LeVian trademark to be sure of getting a genuine product.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon972625 — On Oct 05, 2014

Despite all the negativity surrounding Levian chocolate diamonds, I will honestly say when I purchased them, I never imagined they could be the "most common diamond" especially considering the price, but I will say Levian does have some very nice pieces, some that I own, some that I still want.

At any rate, I will say first off that Mr. Levian is a genius. He turned a "common" (as it is referred to), less valued diamond into a money making machine. Smart guy. I will also say I am very pleased with my jewelry I have from Levian. I have three rings, engagement, bridal and just some extra bling for the right hand as well as a necklace and earrings. I do love my Levian. My engagement ring has a white diamond in the center but chocolates on the side. personally like the rose gold color with the chocolate diamond; it brings out the bling. I guess I've been duped, but my diamonds shine and I love them, so who cares?

By anon962866 — On Jul 26, 2014

A neighbor of mine claims she purchased a chocolate diamond when she was on vacation in st Martin's. (A ring) I've known her for four years and, I've never seen her wear it.

Recently, she accused a maintenance guy of stealing her jewelry. She now claims it is a chocolate diamond ring and necklace worth about $800.00. I have a feeling she is lying about this to scam her insurance company and cause this man to lose his job.

I didn't know what a chocolate diamond is, so I came here to find out. It says you can only buy from La Vian Jewelers. Is this true, and do they market their diamond sales in St Martin's? She is making a police report, and I don't think she is telling the truth.

By anon934893 — On Feb 22, 2014

I have the ring that is on the history of the Le Vian company's website. To say it is anything less than stunning or exquisite is nonsense. A diamond is a diamond and like many other precious and semi-precious stones, diamonds come naturally in many different shades.

Just because diamonds of the brown and other colors were "traditionally" used for industrial purposes and clear diamonds were "traditionally" (recent in history, by the way) for wedding rings does not mean that there is something wrong with them. Any diamond in the right artist's hands can become something beautiful.

Rest assured anyone wanting a chocolate or other colored ring from Le Vian, you will not regret it and will get tons of notice. These rings are phenomenal. I was lucky enough to get a fabulous deal at a pawn shop and not pay retail which is always crazy -high overpriced anyway. I love diamonds and I love chocolate and now I can wear both 24/7!

By anon333547 — On May 06, 2013

I recently purchased a chocolate diamond and I absolutely love it. My diamond does not in any way look like smoky quartz. I am also the owner of white diamonds, which I also love.

I feel that everybody has their own preference and unlike anon142849, I do not feel like people will think I have been duped and I know for fact that I have taste. I wear my chocolate diamond proudly!

By anon316112 — On Jan 27, 2013

I recently purchased a beautiful chocolate diamond ring and you can trust me when I say that the stones don't look anything like smokey quartz, otherwise I would have never bought the ring.

The center stone is a rich golden color and is a true stunner. The compliments just keep on coming. Also, I have been surprised at the number of people who recognize the stone as a diamond, saying nothing else would sparkle as much. Am I happy with it? Just try and take it from me!

By anon308086 — On Dec 08, 2012

Basically, they are using heat and radiation to turn less valuable diamonds that are off-color like yellowish, into a silk purse.

By anon301888 — On Nov 06, 2012

Interesting post, but most of the colored diamonds sold in stores are color-treated.

By anon287883 — On Aug 27, 2012

Would chocolate diamonds be considered rare or to be in limited supply?

By anon249038 — On Feb 19, 2012

I prefer colored diamonds. Anything, including a white diamond, is only as valuable as public demand makes it.

By anon241672 — On Jan 19, 2012

Chocolate diamond -- didn't we used to call that coal?

By anon231630 — On Nov 25, 2011

If you like it and it makes you happy, it does not matter what other people say or think about it.

By anon231629 — On Nov 25, 2011

The chocolate diamond is a diamond. I think colored diamonds are beautiful and mixed in with white diamond setting, it becomes an even more stunning piece.

By anon224429 — On Oct 22, 2011

My new chocolate diamond ring sparkles, and I love it! I'd pay twice over what I paid for this one over a white diamond wedding set. This chocolate diamond ring I got is to replace my old wedding set in which a prong broke and I lost one of the diamonds.

By anon162117 — On Mar 22, 2011

my wedding ring is aquamarine, chocolate and white diamonds. All I can say please don't hate on this unique bling! Brush all the haters off. My ring and I are flawless.

By anon156521 — On Feb 27, 2011

You all do realize that all diamonds (white or coloured) are desirable because of a marketing ploy, right? It's just a chunk of compressed carbon.

So to say that it's the carbon in the diamond that makes it brown is ludicrous! It's actually the nickel content in the ground that makes a brown diamond.

And yes, in theory, it is defective. But that doesn't mean it's ugly. Some can look like smokey quartz but there are hundreds of different colours and intensities to choose from so that you make sure it doesn't look like a quartz.

As long as you do your research in cut, clarity and color, a chocolate diamond can be beautiful and cost effective.

By anon151893 — On Feb 11, 2011

After reading (way too many) comments here I feel I must comment as a diamond lover. A diamond is only worth what some one is willing to pay for it! I, personally, have never paid for any of the diamonds I own. This does not mean that I do not know what I like. And I like anything that looks nice.

Stop saying that it is not a good diamond because it is not this or that, because the ladies buying them do not give a crap.

By anon151205 — On Feb 09, 2011

About "Getting duped" by chocolate diamonds: Cool stories people. Then again, like all resources, diamonds are only given value because people want them. People want chocolate diamonds? Chocolate diamonds go up in demand. Basic economics. Besides, I thought they were pretty impressive.

By anon142849 — On Jan 14, 2011

Chocolate diamonds are clever marketing for a worthless product. They may look nice in some settings, but wearing them will only make people think you've been duped or have no taste.

Like the poster above said, just get a smoky quartz (or plastic). The "chocolate" stones are worth about as much.

By anon135370 — On Dec 18, 2010

If I am not mistaken, all diamonds have flaws. So, does that not make them all defective if not man made anon59661? I think most jewelry is overpriced but that is what happens when people will pay it out for their "pretties."

By anon134767 — On Dec 15, 2010

I, as well as many others, would think someone is foolish for wearing/buying one.

By anon133849 — On Dec 12, 2010

Why a brown diamond? My diamond is brilliant, sparkling and 'white'. That's a diamond to me but whatever a person likes is the point.

By anon133712 — On Dec 11, 2010

Today I just got my engagement ring in a chocolate diamond and I love it! As I read these comments I'm astounded. It's gorgeous and it glistens just like it did in the jewelry store. I love the fact that it's not the conventional style engagement ring. I am thrilled and happy with my choice.

By anon130235 — On Nov 27, 2010

what the bugger does it matter what it is as long as you like it? those people who pick the colored diamonds maybe just really appreciate the color and wish to have a gem that is not easily scratched according to the mohs scale.

An engagement ring is supposed to be forever so if you used another gem, it could possibly chip or scratch. No, perhaps they shouldn't be that expensive, but when you really get down to it, neither should clear diamonds, really.

I am a jeweler so I am aware of the prices. If you don't buy diamonds in settings you are better off anyway. most of the price is with the setting in mind.

By anon130053 — On Nov 26, 2010

Brown diamonds are quite natural. However, this is definitely hype, an effort to move stones that would be gem-quality if not for the normally undesirable color.

By anon128802 — On Nov 20, 2010

It's all a marketing ploy by Le Vian to sell low quality diamonds as "designer". People are always silly enough to fall for expensive marketing ploys, especially if Hollywood buys into it first, so I'm sure these will just keep growing in price while the dealers are laughing all the way to the bank.

By anon128769 — On Nov 20, 2010

I just want to know the truth about the chocolate diamond. Is it worth the money or is it all hype and a rip off. --spider51

By anon94921 — On Jul 10, 2010

my side stones on my engagement ring are chocolate diamonds and I love them and get tons of compliments!

They add some unique but subtle sparkle. I'm a "traditional with a twist" kind of girl and they're perfect for me!

By anon80688 — On Apr 28, 2010

I notice most of the ads are pretty flashy under a gazillion watts of light. Almost always white diamonds are set with them. This alters what the true look might be. No telling what they look like if the pavilion facets get a bit oily. I think this is a media hype gimmick.

Colored diamonds are beautiful and rare. These new hybrids are likely treated in my opinion. Would love to hear from someone who really knows, though.

By anon63594 — On Feb 02, 2010

I have chocolate diamonds and they sparkle just like white diamonds and I feel quite decadent because not everyone has them.

By anon59661 — On Jan 09, 2010

Chocolate Diamonds are defective if not man made. They get their color from carbon in the diamond. It is not smoky. You can get them from as low as 8 cents a carat from any industrial diamond seller. No that was not a mistake. They are used in the concrete cutting blades available at Home Depot. I am in this business and I laugh when I see them on TV. Good diamonds are clear. Anything else is contaminated.

By cinder — On Dec 21, 2009

Maybe it's just me, but chocolate diamonds look a lot like smoky quartz. I've only seen pics from the search I did, maybe they have more sparkle and fire in real life. If they are as dull looking in real life then why waste the money, just get smoky quartz.

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