Buying a diamond can be a minefield for those who are simply looking to buy some beautiful jewelry. Why is this particular one carat stone so much more expensive than bigger, visually similar stone? How can you tell if you are getting a good deal or not? Let us take a look at the factors that will push up or down the price of a diamond.
Size Doesn’t Always Matter!
As mentioned above, a very good quality one-carat stone can cost more and be more highly valued than a three-carat stone of a lower quality. Very often a large, flawed stone can be improved in value through judicious and careful cutting. This can remove flaws such as chips, feathering, inclusions, or external blemishes, even if the stone that remains is significantly smaller than the one that began the process.
Clarity on Gems
Natural diamonds almost always have some blemishes or flaws, and large stones can easily be damaged by being bumped or crashed around during the mining process. Clarity of a diamond is ascertained by examining the stone in good lighting and at least ten times magnification. Stones with no visible flaws at this magnification will be rated the highest. Poorer quality stones having flaws that are visible to the naked eye. Many stones are sold as being ‘eye clean‘ which means the flaws cannot be seen without magnification. Obviously the ‘cleaner’ the stone, with or without magnification, the higher the cost.
The color of a diamond is also very important. Stones are graded from D to Z, at which point they move into stones which have bright obvious colors. These are desirable to those markets which deal with ‘fancy’ stones. Fancy means brightly colored when it comes to diamonds, with a Vivid Fancy label referring to the deepest color stones available. For traditional diamonds: D, E, and F graded diamonds are the best, being almost completely transparent.
A diamond’s color is important as the more color in the stone, the less the light can refract and disperse through the stone. This makes it lose some of the desired sparkle and scintillation. Thus, a middle of the alphabet graded stone – K or M, for example – will be priced lower than an otherwise identical stone that is rated D, E or F. Confusingly though, if the stone is rated Z, or has moved into the Fancy category, the price can once again begin to rise. But this depends on the actual color of the stone and the fashion for it at the time!
Cutting to Size
The cut of the diamond can dramatically affect the price of the finished stone. The cut must be designed to remove as many flaws and inclusions as possible. This will shape the diamond in such a way that it maximizes the stone’s refractive and reflective properties. A very well-cut poor-quality stone can actually gain a higher price than a shoddily cut good one. This is something that fortunately does not happen often, especially now that diamond cutting machinery has been perfected!
Now you know some of the factors to consider when coming up with a diamond-buying budget! Before you commit, why not check out this diamond price calculator to make sure you know the kind of figures you will be looking at?