What You Need To Know About Diamond Pricing
So you’re in the market for a diamond for that engagement ring or fine jewelry (that means earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc). If you have not spent any time researching diamond prices in the past, you probably don’t have any real points of reference for how much to spend. Before you shift to full-on buying mode, let us give you all the information you need to get the best diamond for your budget. There are four aspects you need to keep in mind when researching diamond pricing. After you finish reading this blog post, we guarantee you’ll have enough knowledge to spot a good deal and be able to walk away from your diamond jewelry purchase knowing that you got the best bang for your buck.
The 4 C’s
You have probably heard of the 4cs of diamonds by now – Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat. Let’s take a look at them one by one and what role they play in the pricing of a diamond. Read till the end to find out what the fifth ‘C’ is and how that can affect the price of a 1-carat diamond by 30%.
The Color determines how a diamond will appear in light, and if it looks white and brilliant or yellow and dull. If you were not aware of the diamond color scale, you should know that diamond color grades range from a grade of D to Z. D is the best color grade and Z is the worst. When you’re shopping for a diamond, you’re really won’t be seeing diamonds with a color less than J. To get a sense of how pricing affects the price of a diamond, look at our diamonds below. Both are 1-carat, VS2, Ideal cut, diamonds but one is D color and the other is J color. The price difference is drastic! The D color diamond is priced at $8,859, while the J color diamond is at $3,849. So what should you buy? In our opinion, unless you are fortunate enough to have money be no issue, stay away from D colored diamonds. You do not need to buy them. Actually, to get the most bang for you buck, stay away from the colorless.
PhD Bottom Line: Stay within the F – H range. Anything higher than F isn’t worth it, and anything lower than H is too low quality
The cut of a diamond is the way that the facets are proportioned and whether they reflect light symmetrically from the top of the diamond. A diamond should exhibit a proper amount of BRILLIANCE. If a diamond has proper proportions and symmetry, more light will reflect back from the diamond which will make the diamond look more brilliant or sparkly. Diamond cut is graded on the following scale:
- Excellent/Ideal – An Excellent cut diamond provides the best interaction between color and white light in a diamond (brilliance, fire, and scintillation). In this kind of diamond, almost all of the light is reflected out of the table
- Very Good- a Very Good cut diamond will still have good brilliance, fire, and scintillation, but not quite as good as an Excellent cut diamond. But to the naked eye, there will be little difference between Excellent and Very Good. However, the price difference will be noticeable.
- Good- With a diamond with a Good cut, you will still get great value, but you will notice the difference in brilliance versus a Very Good cut diamond just by looking at the diamond with your naked eye.
- Fair- A Fair cut diamond will have little brilliance because the light reflecting back from the pavilion will mostly exit from the bottom of the diamond leaving little reflected light to captivate the eyes.
- Poor- A Poor cut diamond will provide little or no light because the improper design allows almost all of the light to exit at the bottom of the diamond.
You will find that the better the cut grade, the higher the price because of the quality and beauty of that particular diamond. Look at the price variation between a good cut and an ideal cut diamond, the price doubles! You will benefit more from higher cut grade as it will have a greater amount of brilliance and fire making your diamond more appealing to those looking at it, but you do not need to get the highest cut grade to for your diamond purchase.
PhD Bottom Line: Go for Very Good/Good cuts
During this natural diamond creating process, small imperfections can appear inside of a diamond and also on the surface, kind of like birth marks. Diamond clarity refers to the degree to which these imperfections are present. Diamond clarity is graded on the following scale:
|FL (Best Clarity)||Flawless||Rarest Clarity grade, inclusions are not visible. Less than 1% of diamonds have this classification|
|IF||Internally Flawless||No inclusions or blemishes visible by a skilled grader under 10x magnification. Less than 3% of diamonds have this classification|
|VVS1||Very, Very Slightly Included 1||Inclusions very hard to find under 10x magnification. Experts can detect very minor inclusions only from pavilion (bottom)|
|VVS2||Very, Very Slightly Included 2||Inclusions just barely visible under 10x magnification. Experts can detect very minor inclusions from crown (the top of diamond)|
|VS1||Very Slightly Included 1||Minor inclusions barely visible under 10x magnification but not by naked eye.|
|VS2||Very Slightly Included 2||Minor inclusions clearly visible under 10x magnification but not by naked eye.|
|SI1||Slightly Included 1||Inclusions often visible to the naked eye without magnification|
|SI2||Slightly Included 2||Inclusions most likely visible to the naked eye from top (crown) and bottom (pavilion) without magnification|
|I1 - I3 (Worst Clarity)||Included 1 - 3||Inclusions clearly obvious to the naked eye|
Many people make the error of purchasing diamonds with clarity grades that are too high for their needs. For an engagement ring, you don’t need to pay extra for a diamond with exceptional clarity because unless you end up buying a very low clarity diamond (Low Clarity equals SI1 or below), the naked eye is not going to notice the difference. In other words, you can’t see imperfections for almost all diamonds with a clarity of VS2 and above, so why pay extra. Check out the prices between the two diamonds below which have the exact same characteristics – round, D color, Excellent cut, and 1 carat. Except the first one is SI2, the other one is Flawless – staggering right!?
PhD Bottom Line: Diamonds with clarity grades below SI1 have flaws which may be visible to the naked eye. Stick to diamonds with clarity of VS2 or better!
You guessed it, the bigger the diamond, the more expensive. Does Size Matter? With 1/100th of a carat able to make the difference of hundreds or thousands of dollars, it unfortunately does. Even though the price of a diamond is determined by all of the 4 C’s of the diamond – carat, cut, clarity, and color, ultimately the price is calculated based on the actual carat weight. Look at the two diamonds below and you’ll see how much the weight of the diamond increases the price.
The appeal of a diamond’s shape is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Whether you choose a heart shape or a marquise, the most important aspect to consider is your happiness. Stay close to your budget, don’t mortgage the house just to buy the 10-carat diamond. PhD tip – you’ll find that a .99 carat diamond can be considerably cheaper than a 1 carat diamond, so buy a carat just less than the whole number – it will be cheaper and nobody will be able to tell the difference.
PhD Bottom Line: Don’t get carried away with the size of the diamond and stay below the whole numbers. And remember, stick to your budget!
A certified diamond will give you the comfort and assurance that you are buying the real thing, but this can also make a difference of thousands of dollars. There a number of gemological laboratories out there who certify diamonds, but in our opinion only two are worth paying up for – GIA and AGS. If you’re buying a diamond that’s been certified by one of these labs, you can be sure that its legit.
- Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the industry standard, a GIA certificate will always be highly regarded and accepted worldwide. For this reason, GIA graded diamonds are the easiest to sell and demand the highest overall price.
- American Gem Society (AGS) – This is a very close second is . AGS has a reputation for being honest in their grading and offering the best and most innovative cut grading technology.
PhD Bottom Line: Buy the diamond that has been graded by one of these labs, it’s worth paying up for
keep in mind that each of the 4 C’s is equally important to pricing, but its okay to put more weight on one C over another. Don’t forget to pay attention to the factors other than color, clarity, and carat that determine pricing, as certification can have a huge impact on overall pricing. GIA and AGS are the best diamond labs, so look for them when buying a diamond. Other grading labs are fine, but do your research into these labs if you are seriously considering a diamond graded by one of them. Follow these guidelines to research and you will get the most for your money and enjoy the happiness you’ll bring to your loved one with this amazing gift!