Multiple factors affect diamond prices, including the characteristics we discuss in diamond grading. Global issues such as COVID and the Ukraine conflict also contribute to rising costs. That said, what you really want to know is are diamond prices up or down?
Global conditions affect production cycles because diamond cutting centers cannot remain open. There are fewer diamonds available, and shortages usually result in higher prices.
Fortunately, COVID is less of an issue, and production is returning to normal. Or at least it was until Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, 2022. In that case, global boycotts of Russian-based businesses, including diamonds and precious metals, impacts the market. Diamond prices rose sharply in the following months and currently seem to be calming down.
Diamond Prices Are Subject to Global Conditions:
Under those circumstances, we anticipate higher prices based on shortages of supply. We live in interesting times, and perhaps this is an excellent time to consider lab-grown diamonds.
Consequently, I think of myself as more of a naturalist and can't believe I wrote that. Be forewarned that lab-grown diamond prices continue to fall as production technology improves.
It's also essential to note that most lab-grown diamonds are poorly cut. The exceptions are Brian Gavin Lab and James Allen True Hearts lab-grown diamonds.
Examples of Natural Diamond Prices:
Overall Rating: 3/5
GIA #2327686650: 1.01 carats, G-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut diamond from Blue Nile. The diamond has a total depth is 61.7% with a 57% table diameter. The 40.8 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. While the 35 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
Overall Rating: 3/5
GIA #2344161539: 1.04 carats, G-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut diamond from James Allen. The diamond has a total depth is 61.7% with a 56% table diameter. The 40.8 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. While the 34.5 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
Overall Rating: 3/5
GIA #2327686650: 1.01 carats, G-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut diamond from Ritani. The diamond has a total depth is 61.7% with a 57% table diameter. The 40.8 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. While the 35 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
HEARTS & ARROWS IDEAL CUT:
The Hearts and Arrows Ideal Cut diamonds referenced below cost more than standard ideal cut diamonds. That's because it takes about 4X longer to polish these diamonds to the higher degree of optical precision.
As a matter of fact, more diamond rough is also lost during the cutting process. Consequently, the higher degree of optical precision will produce a higher degree of light return. In addition, the sparkle factor will also be even more vivid and intense. Under those circumstances, the odds are that you'll see an appreciable difference in visual performance.
AGS #104105166083: 0.924 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond.. The diamond has a total depth is 61.6% with a 55% table diameter. The 40.7 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. While the 34.6 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
AGS #104084747034: 0.901 carats, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Victor Canera H&A diamond. The diamond has a total depth is 60.8% with a 57.5% table diameter. The 40.7 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. While the 34.8 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
GIA #7361489262: 1.02 carats, G-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond. The diamond has a total depth is 61.3% with a 57% table diameter. The 40.8 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. While the 35 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
For the sake of this section where we are comparing diamond prices comparison, we'll focus on the following criteria: 0.90 to 1-carat round brilliant ideal cut diamonds. With VS-2 clarity and G-color and proportions within the range we recommend below.
In addition, the overall cut grade must be either AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent and a higher degree of optical precision. exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows. That is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment that is necessary to produce a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows.
THE BEST PERFORMANCE AVAILABLE.
In the world of diamond cutting, Brian Gavin is the King. As a matter of fact, his team used to produce the H&A diamonds featured in our Private Label collection. Needless to say, it doesn't get any better than that. From our perspective, the Black by Brian Gavin Diamonds are the Lamborghini of Light Performance.
AGS #104112553008: 0.991 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond.. The diamond has a total depth is 61.5% with a 55.8% table diameter. The 40.7 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. While the 34.7 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
AGS #104112553008: 0.991 carats, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin Diamond. This diamond exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows. The hearts pattern is a reflection of the higher degree of optical precision. That is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment from the perspective of 360-degrees.
GIA #7361489262: 1.097 carats, F-color, VS-1 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin Diamond. The diamond has a total depth is 61% with a 58% table diameter. The 40.8 degree pavilion angle should produce a high volume of light return. While the 34.7 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
For the sake of this section where we are comparing diamond prices comparison, we'll focus on the following criteria: 0.90 to 1-carat round brilliant ideal cut diamonds. With VS-clarity and F-G color and proportions within the range we recommend below.
In this case, the featured diamonds are from the Black by Brian Gavin Collection. As such, they exhibit the highest volume of light return and broad-spectrum sparkle that is more vivid and intense. As a matter of fact, Brian Gavin is the only cutter in the world with a patent for maximizing light performance in the modern round brilliant cut diamond.
Perplexed About Diamond Prices?
Don't worry because that's how most people feel when trying to make sense of the market. Fortunately, we've got your back and this guide will help you make sense of diamond prices. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of subtle factors that affect the price of diamonds.
In other words, there are many more factors beyond the 4Cs that contribute to the price of a diamond. Although this may be true, we've been at this game long enough to help you unravel the mystery. Be sure to Contact Us if you have any questions or would like help searching for diamonds.
3 Reasons Why Diamond Prices Seem Confusing:
The Game is Rigged (but you can still win)
Do you know what buying a diamond, investing in the stock market, and gambling in a casino have in common? "That's right sucker, the game is rigged for the house to win." That doesn't mean that you still can't win the game, but you need to be more savvy than most guys. Lucky for you, we're going to teach you all about diamond prices.
You're a Newb (and they know it)
Let's face facts. You're probably not a professional diamond buyer with 35+ years experience. Because if you were, you'd be me (and then, you wouldn't be you). It took me years to fully understand and appreciate the subtle factors influencing diamond prices. Most people jump into the game without understanding the rules and pay dearly for it, but not you.
Spoiler Alert: Only the naive believe that calculating diamond prices is as simple as taking Carat weight, Color, Clarity, and Cut quality into account. Would you like to be one of the few people who understand the intricacies of diamond prices? Then keep reading.
Hidden Factors Influence Price:
Most people think that the price of diamonds with the same paper grade should be comparable. It seems to make sense that the price of all one carat, GIA Excellent cut round diamonds of comparable color and clarity should be similar in price. After all, it's easy to compare the price of other consumer goods like cars, computers, and electronics.
However, there are a lot of hidden factors that contribute to the market price of diamonds. It's not as simple as calculating the carat weight of a diamond by the price per carat recommended in some diamond buying guide like the Rap Sheet.
The Basic 4Cs & Diamond Prices:
How much is a one carat diamond worth today?
Imagine that your girlfriend tells you that she's always dreamed of wearing a one carat diamond.
And the last schmuck guy she was dating was too cheap to buy her one. On top of that, her best friend on Instagram is showing off a one carat diamond ring from Tiffany & Co.
You might surmise that the bar has been set at the one carat mark. With that in mind, you set off to determine how much a one carat diamond costs.
If you're like most people, that means that you'll run a search for one carat diamond prices on these popular sites:
Basic Search Criteria:
Hearts & Arrows Diamonds:
The majority of standard GIA Excellent and AGS Ideal cut diamonds will exhibit more light return than non-ideal cut diamonds. That just makes sense, right? Because the combination of ideal proportions and excellent polish and symmetry will create that effect.
However, standard ideal cut diamonds still tend to leak more light than hearts and arrows diamonds. That's because most standard GIA Excellent and AGS Ideal cut diamonds are not polished to the higher degree of optical precision. As a matter of fact, it can take up to 4X longer to polish an H&A to the higher degree of optical precision. In that case, Hearts and Arrows diamond prices are higher than the price of standard ideal cut diamonds (but the H&A diamonds perform better).
H&A diamonds are polished to a higher degree of optical precision. That produces sparkle that is more vivid and intense along with a higher volume of light return. In that case, standard ideal cut diamonds can't compete. In fact, you'll clearly see the difference in a side-by-side taste test.
Hearts and Arrows Ideal Cut Diamonds deliver the next step up in sparkle factor and light performance.
Not all Hearts and Arrows diamonds are created equal. You will see varying degrees of optical precision and consistency across the brands. Higher degrees of optical precision tend to command higher diamond prices. However, the production volume of each manufacturer and their position in the supply chain will also affect diamond prices.
Ultra / Super Ideal H&A Cut Diamonds:
Spectacular Sparkle & Light Performance Worth Paying For.
Hearts and Arrows diamonds represent the best value because they deliver the highest volume of light return. In addition, the sparkle factor which is more vivid and intense. Whereas standard AGS Ideal and GIA Excellent cut diamonds might cost less. However, they are more likely to leak light and produce sparkle which is less impressive.
Diamond Price Pitfalls to Avoid:
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. It's right about now that most people make the biggest diamond buying mistake of their lives.
That is assuming that the 1.01 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA Excellent cut diamond from Blue Nile (left) is going to deliver the same light performance as the 1.11 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond (below).
However, that's not likely because those two diamonds fall into different classifications within the spectrum of ideal cut. As a matter of fact, the difference in light performance is clearly evident. That is, if you know what to look for, so I'll give you a hint. Look at the difference in contrast brilliance in the arrows pattern and how evenly light is reflecting under the table facets.
The Price of Performance:
In this case, it's like the difference between a standard Porsche 911 and a Porsche 911 Turbo.
Check the math: (8027.02 - 7120.21)/7120.21 = 0.1274 * 100 = 12.74%
Even though both diamonds are technically one carat, G-color, and VS-2 clarity with an overall cut grade that seems comparable at first glance. The difference in the price per carat is due to the higher degree of optical precision.
The question is whether it's worth it to you to pay 12.74% more for the higher volume of light return and more vivid sparkle factor.
Diamond Prices vs Cut Quality:
Diamond Cut Quality Affects Diamond Prices By Up To Sixty Percent!
The reason that this 1.11 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond costs more is because the diamond cutter spent more time polishing it to a higher degree of optical precision.
As you can see, the arrows pattern is exhibiting stronger contrast brilliance. Which gives the diamond a lot more sizzle because of the bolder contrast between the light and dark sections.
At the same time there are reasons why this James Allen True Hearts diamond is priced the way that it is.. For one thing, there are some variances in the size and shape of the hearts. Notice how the hearts in the relative 12 and 6 o'clock positions are a little smaller than the rest. In fact, the heart at six o'clock is a little smaller than one in the twelve o'clock position.
In addition, if you look very closely, you will see that the tips of the hearts are bending ever-so-slightly. Which indicates a difference in the length of the lower girdle facets.
And the light pink sections under the table facet in the Ideal Scope image on the left indicate a slight amount of light leakage. All of which could be improved if the cutter spent a little more time polishing the diamond to a higher degree of optical precision. Then again, time is money and not everybody wants to pay the higher price for better performance. The perception of value is also a key factor in the decision.
Better Light Performance:
More Time on the Wheel Creates Better Light Performance (but it comes at a price).
One look at the Ideal Scope image for this 1.054 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Hearts and Arrows diamond and you know that it's returning a higher volume of light return. After all, it doesn't show any of those light pink sections under the table facet that indicate light leakage:
Notice how evenly light is reflecting under the table facet and the even distribution of hue and saturation. The hearts pattern is also more consistent in size and spacing and the tips of the heats are not twisting. In that case, it's clear that this diamond exhibits a higher degree of optical precision. That is also why it costs more per carat than other H&A diamonds.
Black by Brian Gavin vs Signature Diamond Prices:
Now that you know how diamond cut quality affects price and performance, you might be wondering about the difference between Black by Brian Gavin and their Signature diamonds.
Are Black by Brian Gavin diamonds worth the premium?
This 1.054 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond costs $8,654.66 per carat.
While this 1.03 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin diamond costs $9,111.65 per carat.
Using the same formula from before: (9,111.65 - 8,654.66)/8,654.66 = 0.0528 * 100 = 5.28%
We can determine that the Black by Brian Gavin diamond is about 5% more expensive than the Brian Gavin Signature diamond. Although that may be true, it probably took another day longer to produce the higher performance of Black.
Superior Performance for 5% More:
The reality is that only you can decide what level of sparkle factor and light performance you're willing to pay for. However, it seems to me that the difference in light return and the intensity of sparkle is worthy of your consideration. Especially when you consider that this is the kind of thing that distinguishes one ideal cut diamond from another.
Now that you know what to look for, I'm certain that you can see that this 1.03 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin diamond exhibits an even higher degree of optical precision.
Black by Brian Gavin diamonds cost more than other diamonds with similar characteristics, such as carat weight, color, and clarity. But that's because the diamonds spent more time on the wheel being polished to a degree of perfection that is beyond imagination.
The first Black by Brian Gavin diamond that I saw took my breath away and so has every one after that. They are absolutely incredible to look at through a diamond through a loupe. The precise nature of the faceting and the virtual facets that it produces continue to blow my mind. And that says a lot considering how many diamonds I've evaluated in the last 35+ years.
More on H&A Diamond Prices:
Based on my experience, hearts and arrows diamonds are cut to different standards. Which is why I break them down into classifications based on varying degrees of optical precision:
- 1Ultra Super Ideal Hearts & Arrows diamonds.
- 2Super Ideal Hearts & Arrows diamonds.
- 3Hearts & Arrows Ideal cut diamonds.
It's important to understand the differences in cut quality and performance. Because this is one of those times where you're only going to get the sparkle factor that you pay for. The higher the degree of optical precision, the less the diamond is going to leak light and the more intense sparkle you will see.
#3 Entry Level H&A Diamonds:
H&A diamonds in this cut class will exhibit a very good pattern of hearts and arrows. Which is kind of a funny thing to say when you consider that we're talking about diamonds in the Top 1% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds.
#2 Super Ideal Hearts & Arrows Diamonds:
These diamonds will exhibit excellent patterns of hearts and arrows. I refer to these diamonds as Super Ideal Hearts & Arrows diamonds because the optical precision is clearly better than standard H&A diamond production.
Some people have argued that there is no such thing as a super ideal cut diamond. However, that wrongly assumes that all hearts and arrows diamonds are cut to exhibit the same degree of optical precision. Which is something that
any idiot anybody can see is not true. Just look at the difference in the consistency of the hearts patterns.
#1 Ultra Super Ideal H&A Cut Diamonds:
This is the level of diamond cutting that blows my mind. I literally had to create a new cut classification for this level of hearts and arrows diamond.
Hats off to Brian Gavin for achieving the highest degree of optical precision that I've ever seen. Black by Brian Gavin when only the best will do.
By the way, this is what we chose for my son's engagement ring (pictured left).
It practically goes without saying that 30+ years of experience as a diamond buyer at the trade level enables us to buy direct from practically any diamond cutter in the world.
We chose Black by Brian Gavin because the sparkle factor and light performance are mind blowing even from my perspective.
Diamond Prices vs Expectations:
How much should you spend on an Engagement Ring?
The price of the diamond in the center should not dictate the true significance of an engagement ring.
Nonetheless, we live in a world where money is a symbol of value. Therefore, we trade diamonds for dollars when we buy an engagement ring. Which means that you might be wondering how much to spend on an engagement ring.
An old advertising campaign sponsored by De Beers suggests a minimum of two months salary. The supporting premise of the idea is that if you and all your friends work for the same company, doing the same thing, getting paid the same relative amount of money, all spend two months salary on an engagement ring, then all your wives will be happy.
But that's not very realistic in this modern age now, is it?
How Much Should You Spend?
Perhaps a better question is how much does the ring she wants cost?
Obviously, the price of diamonds is going to factor into your decision about how much to spend on an engagement ring.
Just like the old adage about wanting champagne on a beer budget, it helps to be realistic about whether or not you can afford what you want, or whether you need to adjust things accordingly.
I will never sacrifice on diamond cut quality since that will negatively impact sparkle factor and light performance. However, I am likely to adjust minor factors like carat weight, color, and clarity since those things are more subjective.
Experienced diamond buyers know that our perception of diamond color is more important than the actual color grade. They also know that a VS-1 may not look better than a VS-2 to the naked eye since both will face-up eye clean.
Cut Quality Factors Into Price:
Diamond Cut Quality can Affect Diamond Prices by up to 60%
The simple truth is that you're always going to pay more for better quality.
A new Porsche GT3 costs more than a 911 turbo and that will cost more than a standard 911 non-turbo.
You'll also benefit from a completely different level of performance with each step up the ladder.
It's true of cars and it's true for diamond prices.
From the perspective that you're only going to do this once in your life, I personally think it makes sense to spring for the highest cut quality you can afford. It's totally worth it because the difference in sparkle factor will show up from across the room.
Seriously. I used to conduct blind taste tests with my in-store clients and they could always tell the difference between the different versions of ideal cut diamonds. Especially when I asked them to step back a few feet and look at the difference in sparkle factor from 3-10-20 feet back.
Calculating Diamond Prices Per Carat:
You might have noticed that the prices listed in the price comparison above are per /carat. That's because trade members quote diamond prices per carat.
Here's how to calculate the price per carat of a diamond:
Simply divide the cash/wire transfer price by the carat weight. For example, the 1.03 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin Hearts & Arrows diamond is selling for $9,675.00 which will be discounted to $9,385.00 for payment via cash/wire transfer.
Divide the cash/wire price by the carat weight to determine the price per carat:
e.g. $9,385.00 / 1.03 carats = $9,111.65 price per carat (PPC).
The reason why people within the diamond industry price diamonds per carat is because most dealers are working off the Rapaport Diamond (price) Report as a starting point.
The Rapaport Diamond Report:
This is a what a recent copy of the Rapaport Diamond Report or "Rap Sheet" looks like:
The prices indicated on the Rapaport Diamond Report reflect their opinion of HIGH CASH ASKING PRICES in the wholesale market. Which means that this is an indication of Wholesale Diamond Prices.
The Rap Sheet is divided into sections for the most popular ranges or "magic sizes" of carat weight.
The price per carat for each combination is stated as numbers, e.g. 108 and you'll need to add the appropriate number of zeroes to the end to determine the price per carat for diamonds in that weight class.
Note that there are indications that suggest that prices might be higher for diamond carat weights that represent the high end for each spectrum of carat weight. For example, the price per carat of a 1.25 - 1.49 carat diamond might be 5-10% higher than the PPC for a 1.00 carat diamond.
Diamond dealers often refer to diamond carat weight in their relationship to quarter carats. For example, a one carat diamond is commonly referred to as 4/4. With regards to diamond price variables, you might see something like this on diamond price reports: "1.25 to 1.49 Ct. may trade at 5% to 10% premiums over 4/4 prices."
Diamond Price Chart:
The Rap Sheet is essentially a diamond price charta like the example provided below.
To calculate diamond prices (in this specific carat weight) you multiply the carat weight by the price designated for each combination of clarity and color.
For example, to determine the price for a D-color, Internally Flawless (IF) clarity, diamond, you would multiply the carat weight by 26,000 (adding in the appropriate number of zeroes at the end).
Diamond Prices Per Carat:
Remember that diamond prices increase categorically in tiers of carat weight.
This 0.50 carat, E-color, VS-1 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin diamond is selling for $2,250.00 which means that it has a Price Per Carat (PPC) of $4,500.00
e.g. 2,250.00 / 0.50 = 4,500 PPC
Using the PPC as a baseline for price, Brian Gavin would price the diamond by calculating the PPC by the carat weight:
0.50 * 4,550 = $2,250.00 cash / wire price.
Remember that the Price Per Carat (PPC) of Diamonds increases dramatically by carat weight. Diamond prices are represented in tiers of carat weight.
Diamond Prices Increase by Carat Weight:
The diamond price comparison chart below demonstrates how diamond prices increase by carat weight. The data is based on diamond carat weights that represent the most common "magic sizes".
The carat weights are in line with the price categories indicated in the Rapaport Diamond Report, e.g. 0.10 carats, 0.15 carats, 0.20 carats, 0.33 carats, 0.40 carats, 0.50 carats, 0.70 carats, 0.90 carats, 1.00 carats, 1.50 carats, 2.00 carats, 3.00 carats, 4.00 carats, and 5.00 carats.
As you can see, the price per carat for a 0.10 carat diamond is much less than the PPC for a 5.00 carat diamond of the same color and clarity. The reason for this is pretty simple. It requires a much smaller diamond crystal to produce a ten pointer than it does a five carat.
Which brings up another point. It takes a 0.25 - 0.30 carat piece of diamond rough to produce a 0.10 carat ideal cut diamond. Whereas it will take about a 10 - 12 carat piece of rough material to produce a five carat ideal cut diamond.
Consequently, there is a substantial difference in the amount of rough wasted during the production of diamonds of different sizes. In that case, the amount of rough waste factors into the price of diamonds right along with the cost of production.
What Does 20 Back of Rap Mean?
The short answer is that they're saying that the diamond price is 20% off the list price on Rapaport.
However, that doesn't really mean anything.
Well, that's not quite true...
It could mean that you're about to get screwed (if you don't know what you're doing).
Because diamond prices are a reflection of the characteristics.
Imagine this Diamond Price Scenario:
What if diamond prices are based on something like this scenario in relationship to Rap?
Of course, that makes perfect sense because diamond cut quality affects price by up to sixty percent.
So, what is a jeweler really saying when they say that a diamond is priced 20 back of Rap?
Really nothing more than the diamond is being sold at a discount that is proportionate to the characteristics.
That means that calculating diamond prices is not as simple as the outline above. And the reason why is because there are other factors that affect the price of a diamond.
How the 4Cs Factor Into Price:
There are many hidden factors that influence diamonds prices and the PPC. Not the least of which is diamond cut quality which can affect the market price by up to 60%.
Understand that I'm not talking about the basic overall cut grade of AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent. Because the gemological laboratories do not take optical precision into account as part of the overall cut grade. In that case, we use the following reflector scopes to judge optical precision and light performance:
These special scopes enable us to judge the cut grade of the diamond beyond the basics of proportions, polish, and symmetry. Consequently, the overall value of the diamond will be affected by these factors:
Clarity & Diamond Prices:
It stands to reason that the inclusions within a diamond will affect the price. After all, some clarity characteristics are more or less desirable than others.
It's not enough to look at the clarity grade.
You have to consider the nature of the inclusions:
Extent of the Inclusions:
Do the Inclusions Present Any Sort of Durability Issue?
Diamond prices are affected by much more than the basic 4C's. Hidden factors such as the nature of the inclusions can have a dramatic effect on price.
Each diamond clarity grade represents a range or spectrum of inclusion. As such, you can have a VS-2 clarity diamond which is right in the middle of the spectrum. Or you might be looking at a VS-2 clarity diamond that represents the higher or lower end of the range.
In addition, certain types of inclusions are more or less desirable than others:
Diamond Clarity Characteristics:
An Easy Reference for Inclusions Listed in Key to Symbols.
Acceptable Inclusion Types:
Inclusion Types to Avoid:
The list of acceptable diamond clarity characteristics is much shorter than the list of inclusions to avoid. You can find examples of all these inclusions types within diamonds of all clarity grades with exception of Flawless and Internally Flawless.
This article on Diamond Clarity Characteristics contains photographs and examples. It stands to reason that the price of a VS-2 clarity diamond that contains any of the inclusions in the right column should be less expensive than a VS-2 clarity diamond that does not contain those inclusions.
In addition, a VS-2 clarity diamond that contains only crystals is worth more than one that contains other inclusions included in the list on the right. However, it goes without saying that the size, location, extent, and visibility of the inclusions also factor into diamond prices.
Color & Diamond Prices:
Once again, it is important to realize that each diamond color grade represents a range or spectrum of hue and saturation. In addition, the color grade of a diamond may be influenced by shades or undertones.
This 1.54 carat, F-color, Internally Flawless clarity, oval brilliant cut diamond is a good example. The screenshot on the left shows the characteristics indicated on the diamond details page. Notice that the diamond is graded as F-color. However, the listing details below show a hidden characteristic revealed in the trade listing.
Brown, Green, Grey Undertones?
The supplier for this diamond indicates that it exhibits shades of brown within the dealer listing:
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due:
The supplier for this diamond mentioned the brown shade of this F-color diamond even though the GIA did not. In addition, the vendor mentioned the brown undertones to my client. That way she could make an informed decision whether to buy it or not.
What does "No BGM" mean?
Diamond suppliers use the term "No BGM" within the listing details to specify that the diamond does not exhibit any Brown or Green undertones. The "M" designates that the diamond is not Milky or cloudy in appearance.
It is not common for diamond vendors online or retail jewelers to use "No BGM" in their listing details. However, this is something that you can ask them to verify with the supplier and/or physically check if the diamond is in-house. Needless to say that this is another characteristic that affects diamond prices.
Diamond Grading Certificates Reports:
There is NO SUCH THING as a Diamond Grading Certificate.
The gemological laboratories do NOT certify anything. The American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) and Gemological Institute of America Gem Trade Laboratory (GIA-GTL) issue a document that reports the characteristics of the diamond at the time it was graded.
Nobody is certifying anything and thus a diamond grading report is not a certificate of authenticity or quality.
Diamond Prices 1st Tier vs 2nd Tier Labs:
There's a reason why Diamond Prices for AGS & GIA Graded Diamonds vs EGL, GCAL, IGI, are different.
In my experience, all gemological laboratories are NOT created equal.
From my perspective, the American Gem Society (AGS) and Gemological Institute of America (GIA) are Top Tier Laboratories. Everybody else is a second or third tier laboratory. In my experience, most trade members will agree with this assessment. Except for those who are "Playing the Paper Game."
How to Play the Paper Game:
(AKA flipping lab reports for profit)
Have you ever written or said something that you knew was going to haunt you?
Well, this is one of those times. I'm 99.999% positive that this is going to rise up and bite me in the @ss.
Oh well, it's not like I'm not accustomed to receiving hate mail from trade members.
The Practice of
Flipping Sending AGS/GIA graded diamonds to other labs for better results:
Look. There's a reason why diamonds graded by labs other than the AGS or GIA are priced significantly less than AGS/GIA graded diamonds of the same carat weight, color, clarity, and cut quality.
The reason is simple. In my experience, other gemological laboratories (with exception of the HRD Belgium) do not grade by the same standards.
There. I Said It. Let the $hit $torm Begin.
But trade members know that it's true.
And a lot of them yield high profits by buying AGS/GIA graded diamonds and
flipping submitting them to other labs in hopes of receiving a higher color or clarity grade.
Now. I'm not saying that this is what happened in this case:
There were a lot of retail jewelers caught up in the string of lawsuits filed in response to allegations that EGL graded diamonds are not up to GIA grading standards.
I like the summary at the bottom. "This just in from JCK" (Jewelers Circular Keystone, a trade magazine) "EGL graded the diamond G, VS-2. A subsequent GIA report came in J-SI2."
Now. If they happen to be talking about a one carat diamond, the difference in the Price Per Carat between a G-color, VS-2 clarity diamond and a J-color, SI-2 clarity diamond is $3,500.00
Which is why a lot of diamond dealers play the paper game. Imagine how much money a diamond dealer can make by buying AGS/GIA graded diamonds and
flipping submitting them to a second or third tier lab for grading.
For Your Protection:
The Rap Sheet is Like the Kelly Blue Book:
If you're familiar with the Kelly Blue Book, then you know that the calculation to determine the value of your vehicle begins with a base price. Then the price or valuation changes in accordance with different model types and available options:
What most people don't know about the Kelly Blue Book price is that it's only the beginning of the valuation process. Once the base price for the model selected is determined, then the real fun begins.
While the Kelly Blue Book accounts for the overall condition of the vehicle, the reality is that factor is largely subjective. You might say that the overall condition of the vehicle is similar to the overall cut grade of a diamond.
But neither the Kelly Blue Book, nor the Rapaport Diamond Report, take optical precision into account. Which for diamonds is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment from the perspective of 360 degrees. There's also IDEX and other less popular reports for calculating diamond prices.
The Inside Scoop on Diamond Prices:
If you've read this article to the end, then you understand diamond prices better than most people. In fact, you have a better idea of what affects diamond prices better than I did in the beginning of my career.
You're less likely to be taken advantage of and you're not likely to overpay.
At the same time, you also know that diamond cut quality can affect diamond prices by up to 60%.
And that's HUGE.
Because diamond cut quality (which includes optical precision) is also the biggest influence over the intensity of sparkle and the volume of light return that you will see with your eyes.
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Answers to Your Diamond Prices Questions:
You've Got Diamond Buying Questions? We've Got Answers...
We've been in working in the diamond business as buyers at the trade level for more than 35+ years. In that case, we have the inside knowledge to help you better understand diamond prices. In addition, we have the experience and the resources to help you find the diamond of your dreams. Use our Free Diamond Concierge Service to take the guesswork out of buying a diamond.