As anyone who has shopped for a diamond ring knows, diamond value can be a confusing concept! Because there are many factors that go into diamond quality – think of the famous Four C’s – all of these variables together can affect diamond price and value. Your personal choices about which diamond to buy and where to buy it will also impact the price you pay for the sparkle you want!
What Factors Affect Diamond Value?
The main factor behind diamond value is rarity. Among natural diamonds, perfectly colorless (white), perfectly clear, and very large diamonds are the rarest, except for those with natural fancy colors like pink, blue, and purple.
All colorless diamonds are compared to this ideal of color, clarity, and carat as part of the diamond grading process and in valuation to determine how much the diamond is worth. That is three out of four C’s that depend on how perfectly the diamond has been created by Mother Nature. With all due respect to Mother Nature, she usually creates diamonds that don’t quite make the mark!
For the final C, Mother Nature gets a break: human cutters shape and facet diamonds using both traditional tools and high-tech gadgets. The precision and excellence of their work is graded as the fourth C – cut – and only the most beautifully cut diamonds fetch the highest prices. A diamond that is large (carat), white (color), flawless (clarity), and of excellent cut, symmetry, and polish (cut) will be worth more than those diamonds that fall short in any of these areas. Independent laboratories such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) are the best sources for laboratory reports that document a diamond grades.
How Do I Determine Diamond Worth?
Most diamonds are valued against a jewelry industry benchmark in the form of price lists like the Rapaport list that every diamond dealer uses. A diamond passes through many hands from mine to market and the price goes up each step of the way. The fewer the hands between the diamond mine and yours, the lower the price you can expect to pay.
However, buying a diamond secondhand – from a pawnshop or estate jeweler – is one of the best ways to get the most value for money when it comes to diamonds. This is because the secondary market trades in diamonds at closer to their wholesale value and the pricing no longer has to cover the shopping mall rent, glossy advertising, and television commercials that the big retail and chain stores pay for to draw crowds.
How Do I Get the Best Diamond for My Money?
Here are some tips for value in each category that will deliver both beauty and bang-for-your-buck:
Carat: look for stones that are “shy” of a carat amount, like 0.90ct, 1.90cts, and 2.90cts. These diamonds will appear heavier (1.00ct, 2.00cts, 3.00cts), but will cost much less, as prices jump at the even carat weights.
Color: Diamonds are graded from D (perfectly colorless, white) to Z (light yellow or brown). Choosing a diamond that is near colorless with grade of F, G, or H will yield a stone with a beautiful white appearance at a better value than the rare D.
Clarity: A diamond does not have to be flawless to appear flawless to the naked eye! Diamond clarity is graded using 10x magnification. Choosing a diamond that has been graded only SI (Slightly Included) or VS (Very Slightly Included) will usually yield a stone that looks perfectly clear to the wearer.
Cut: Cut is the one variable the buyer must never compromise on! 21st century technology means more diamonds than ever are cut and faceted to a high standard. For round stones, choose a diamond judged to be at least VG (Very Good) and you are certain to be blinded by brilliance!
Pay the Best Price While Maximizing Diamond Value and Worth
Remember that diamond quality is mostly determined by nature, and perfect diamonds are rare. Bypass the mall and check out secondhand sources like reputable pawnshops and estate jewelers to cut back on high retail prices. Use the 4C’s to shop smart: look for “shy” stones (carat), aim for near colorless grades for a white look (color), choose a diamond that appears flawless to the wearer (clarity), and don’t stint on cut!
Where Can I Pawn or Sell my Diamond?
Located in Midtown in the International Gem Tower, New York Loan Company is your premiere upscale collateral lender. Private, confidential and secure – this is not your typical pawn shop. Come find out what your diamond is worth and get an honest valuation: (212) 997-5626.