Cognac diamonds have been around for several years, but like many jewellery trends, we’re seeing a boom in popularity thanks to some scroll-stopping rings on Instagram and Pinterest. Many of the enquiries we get at Katannuta Diamonds come from South Africans wanting to know what cognac diamonds are, whether they’re real diamonds or not and, most importantly, how much they cost.

If you’ve come across cognac diamonds in your internet searches and have been wondering about questions like this, keep reading – we’ve got all the answers for you.

Cognac diamond earrings South Africa

A set of beautiful cognac diamond earrings in rose gold.

What are cognac diamonds?

Before we answer this, it’s important to understand that the entire diamond industry revolves around marketing. Without clever marketing, pioneered by De Beers back in 1939 when Harry Oppenheimer headed to New York, the industry would not exist like it does today. A basic tenet of marketing is to make the product or service you want to produce sound more appealing to your end consumer.

Think of cognac, the drink. Now think of the images it conjures up.

Sipping a glass of cognac with a loved one in front of a fireplace.

Warmth, coziness and time with family. Celebrating a big win or success in your life. Rewarding yourself after a job well done.

Now think of the colour brown. What does that remind you of? Nothing exciting, right?

But what colour is cognac? Hues of brown, essentially. Some cognacs are darker in tone, some are lighter in tone, some have golden hues.

And that’s what cognac diamonds are – diamonds in varying shades, tones and hues of brown, golden brown and sometimes orangey brown. But cognac sounds more enticing than brown, doesn’t it?

Round diamond ring south Africa

A round brilliant cut cognac diamond ring set in 18ct rose gold.

Are cognac diamonds real?

Yes, they are. Cognac diamonds are real diamonds and brown is the most commonly occurring fancy diamond colour available. Naturally occurring brown diamonds are a result of plastic deformation of the crystal, which leads to a colour change from the pure white colour.

Plastic deformation rearranges the carbon atoms in a diamond, creating defects in the crystal structure and altering the way light is absorbed and reflected by the diamond. To best understand plastic deformation, think of a cube of play dough. Now, take that cube between your two hands, and smear your hands gently in opposite directions. When you do that to a diamond, you induce brown, pink or even red colours. Whilst brown diamonds are common and can account for up to 15% of a mine’s diamond production, pink and red colours are exceptionally rare and exorbitantly expensive.

Cognac diamond colour scale

The C1-C7 cognac diamond colour scale introduced by Rio Tinto.

Cognac (or chocolate diamonds, as so named and trade marked by Leviev Diamonds) can also be graded according to colour and clarity. Rio Tinto, the mining company who first started mining large numbers of brown diamonds in 1986, created a colour grading scale for these diamonds, ranging from C1 to C7. C1 diamonds are the lightest in colour, C7 are the darkest. Diamonds in the C1, C2 and C3 are often also referred to as “Champagne diamonds”.

Do cognac diamonds sparkle?

Like all diamonds, the sparkle, fire and brilliance of a cognac diamond comes down to the cut and the proportions of the gemstone. An excellent cut round cognac diamond can show amazing sparkle. Have a look at our recent Instagram reel to see just how much sparkle you can expect to see from an excellent cut cognac diamond.

How much do cognac diamonds cost in South Africa?

Because brown diamonds are relatively common, the cost of cognac diamonds in South Africa (and the rest of the world) is significantly less than the cost of white diamonds or other fancy colour diamonds. As with all diamonds, the cost of cognac diamond is dependent on a number of factors, including the hue, tone and saturation of the brown colour, the size of the diamond and the clarity of the diamond.

Prices vary substantially and can start as low as a few hundred dollars (upwards of R1,500) per stone for smaller or lower quality diamonds, up to a few thousand dollars (upwards of R15,000) per diamond for larger and better quality diamonds. To give you a better idea of some prices of cognac diamonds in South Africa, here are few of the diamonds we currently have available:

Pear cut cognac diamond

A pear cut cognac diamond priced at $750 (Approximately R11,400).

oval cut cognac diamond

0.65ct oval brilliant cut cognac diamond, $807 (approximately R12,200).

1.03ct oval brilliant cognac diamond

1.03ct oval cut cognac diamond, $1918 (approximately R29,153).


emerald cut cognac diamond south africa

0.79ct emerald cut cognac diamond, $982 (approximately R14,900).


cognac diamond price south africa

0.84ct emerald cut cognac diamond, $1043 (approximately R15,850).

We’ve also got a few ready-to-wear cognac diamond rings available:

cognac diamond ring

A 0.29ct cognac diamond in an 18ct white gold and diamond halo setting; R12,000.


brown diamond snowflake ring

2.03ct dark cognac round brilliant cut diamond in an 18ct white gold setting; R70,000.



1.19ct cognac diamond ring with matching wedding ring in 9ct rose gold; R60,000.

We hope we’ve answered all your questions on cognac diamonds! As always, were here to help you understand diamonds, gemstones and jewellery better so feel free to contact us to find out what we have in stock and what cognac diamond jewellery we can help you with.