When you head to your closest diamond retailer, several factors can affect diamond prices. From carat to diamond shape, pretty much everything will affect the diamond price!
Everyone’s heard of the 4Cs—clarity, color, cut, and carat weight. These are the four ways that diamond prices were traditionally calculated. This article will cover the 4Cs and the other factors that go into diamond pricing, so you don’t have to wonder!
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Diamond clarity simply refers to how clear the diamond is. The fewer imperfections a diamond has, the higher the clarity grade, and the higher the diamond price is.
If the diamond clarity looks good to the naked eye and you can’t see any milkiness, cloudiness, or spots, then it’s probably got a good clarity grade. Clarity grade matters because it affects how brilliant and fiery the diamond is.
If you can see imperfections, it’ll have a lower clarity grade and lower diamond price, too. A higher clarity grade (like VS2 clarity) affects diamond prices because clearer, brighter diamonds are generally more sought after.
The shape of a diamond is referred to as its “cut.” Different kinds of cuts can be priced differently. The round diamond cut is the most popular and also the most valuable. Cut mainly affects diamond prices through different trends in popularity, with more popular cuts driving higher diamond prices.
Another way cut can affect diamond prices is by the cut grade. The better the cut grade (which just means how close to perfect the cut is), the higher the price. Cut grades are usually excellent, very good, and good, with excellent being the best. An ideal cut diamond has been cut perfectly.
Diamond color grading has become a science, with the color grade scale ranging from D to Z. This means that every tiny change in color can affect diamond prices. The highest color grade is D, which is perfectly “white” or colorless.
A better color grade drives higher diamond prices. And diamonds can come in fancy colors too—like red, blue, and black. These can even have even higher prices than white diamonds.
This one’s obvious. Carat weight is how diamond size is measured, with one carat being 200 milligrams in weight. The heavier the carat weight, the more expensive the diamond is.
Also, keep in mind the “magic sizes.” A magic size is the carat weight that marks a drastic increase in diamond price. For instance, a 1.00-carat diamond is around 10–20% more expensive than a 0.90-carat diamond, despite such a slight increase in carat weight.
Carat weight is usually referred to as just carat or even diamond weight. Carat weight is also abbreviated as “cw” or sometimes “dw.”
Other factors affecting diamond prices
So those are the 4Cs. What else affects diamond price?
Fluorescence is the effect that UV light has on a diamond. Around a third of diamonds emit a soft blue glow when exposed to UV light, giving the diamond a milky appearance.
This can affect diamond prices in two different ways. With a higher color grade (like D to H color), fluorescence can lower the diamond price. But, for an L or lower color grade, it can increase the price!
Diamonds are polished after they’re cut. How nice a polished diamond is can affect the diamond price because it alters how brilliant the diamond is. Like cut grades, polish grades are excellent, very good, and good.
Diamond symmetry is also related to cut quality, but it affects the diamond price to a lesser extent. The more symmetrical the facets are in a diamond, the more brilliant the diamond is and the higher the diamond price is. Again, symmetry is graded as excellent, very good, and good.
A triple excellent grade (symmetry, cut grade, and polish) will get an even bigger boost in diamond price.
Sometimes jewelers treat diamonds to make them look more brilliant or to hide imperfections. The problem is that treated diamonds are generally less sought after than natural stones. This means that treating can reduce diamond prices, especially when it comes to resale.
Lab diamond versus natural diamond
There are two ways a diamond reaches the market in the diamond industry: digging up natural diamonds (usually by a diamond miner) or by creating synthetic diamonds. A synthetic diamond (also known as a lab diamond or lab-grown diamond) is created in a laboratory but has the same qualities as a natural diamond.
You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between mined diamonds and synthetic diamonds, but mined diamonds are generally more expensive.
Price of the rough diamond
A final thing affecting diamond pricing is the cost of the rough diamond before it is cut and polished. A larger diamond will mean higher diamond pricing, for instance. Diamond shape also affects the total diamond price.
Diamond prices: the takeaway
With the standardization of diamond grading by organizations like the Gemological Institute of America, diamond prices are now much easier to work out (and understand).
The main factors which affect a diamond’s price are its carat weight, color, clarity, and cut. The bigger, clearer, and whiter the diamond, the better! Other things that can affect the diamond price include fluorescence, polish, symmetry, and whether the diamond has been treated.
When looking for the perfect diamond, you should decide what color and clarity grade you’re willing to settle for, then choose the biggest diamond that fits your budget. Remember, the diamond doesn’t have to be perfect to look amazing!