Reselling Black, Brown, Or Chocolate Diamonds?


Non-white, non-fancy colored diamonds have limited resale value. These diamonds include chocolate and black diamonds.

Naturally colored fancy diamonds can be very expensive and are much different than the treated diamonds commonly used in jewelry today.

A few years ago, jewelry retailers began marketing and selling non-white diamonds. These companies refer to them as chocolate diamonds or Le Vian diamonds or black diamonds or brown diamonds. I do prefer white diamonds; however, I admit the jewelry designed with some of these diamonds is very attractive – I like the contrast in colors with the diamonds and gold.

Consumers, however, are not as well educated about these colored diamonds. Let me give you some reference. There are fancy colored diamonds. Beautiful canary yellows, blue diamonds like Shirley Temples, green and pink diamonds, and of coarse brownish colored diamonds do exist. These diamonds are expensive because the colors they have are natural. When they were mined, the diamonds had that color. Their prices can range on the lowest end to 3 times what a similar white diamond goes for. On the high end, the prices could be 20 times more. These natural colored diamonds have a significant secondary market. Recently, I bought a natural yellow diamond, which is a beautiful cushion shape. Naturally colored fancy diamonds are rare.

Large jewelry chains like Zales, Kay, Shane Co, and Jarrod, however, are not selling that product. The colored diamonds they sell are treated either with irradiation or heat to bring out whatever color they want. These diamonds have much less of a secondary market. There is a twofold reason for these diamonds have limited value or worth on the secondary market. First, they are inexpensive to begin with. The diamonds that do get treated are less desirable for starters. They are often off white color and/or have significant inclusions or lower clarity grades. Second, these diamonds have not demonstrated significant staying power; they are most likely a trendy style now and passé a few years from now.

I am not trying to talk you out of buying a treated non-white diamond. Some jewelry made using them is very pretty. Just know that there is limited resale value, and you should pay SIGNIFICANTLY less than a white diamond.

written by Joseph Dolginow

September of 2018


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