"How much is a diamond?"
This is the most common question that I have encountered from new customers along my decade long service in the diamond industry. My immediate response is "How much is a car? Well, which car?" A top of the line Ferrari or a Kia? (This comparison is not to say that a Kia is not a good car, but how we as a society perceive those two cars).
When we come to evaluate the value of a diamond we need to look into the four basic parameters, the 4 C's, along with some other factors that can increase or decrease the price of diamond. The 4C's consist of color, clarity, cut and carat weight.
The Color Spectrum, which is based on gradual color difference from white to yellow, starts from the letter "D" and goes all the way to "Z". D, E, F are colorless, "G, H, I, J" are near colorless and it becomes more and more yellow as you go down in the spectrum toward "Z". As a general rule the whiter the color the higher the value of the diamond. Beyond "Z" we have the fancy yellow colors, or Canary Diamonds. Those diamonds have a separate color spectrum, and depending on the intensity and density of the yellow within the diamond they can be more valuable than even the "D" color. There are some other shades of color, like brown, that can be seen in diamonds. In most cases those would reduce the price of the diamond, depending on the intensity, by up to 50%. The top light brown shades would reduce the price by two grades down in the color. Those shades would make the diamond slightly darker when viewed face up. Some gemological laboratories would state the other shades of color in the diamond on their certificate, but in most cases the only way for a customer to see it is through the side of the diamond on a color paper.
The clarity of a diamond is based on a scale from FL (flawless) and IF (internally flawless) to I3 (heavily included). FL-IF are clean diamonds and there are no imperfections within the diamond. VVS1-VVs2 (Very, very slightly included) - on those diamonds it would be virtually impossible to see any imperfections under a 10X magnifying glasses. On the larger diamonds, 1.5ct and above, those diamonds would be a good investment with a combination of D-F colors. VS1-VS2 are Very Slightly included diamonds. When you look at the diamond under 10X loop you would find the overall look of the diamond very clean and transparent although there will be some minute imperfections. SI1-S12 are the most saleable diamonds within the U.S. Those diamonds would have some different types imperfections that would be visible under 10X magnifying glasses. Most of the SI stones are eye clean (hard to notice the imperfections to the naked eye).
You should always keep in mind that seeing or not seeing an imperfection is a subjective matter. There are some types of imperfection, mostly black carbon, that might be visible to the naked eye. As a general rule the determination of a clarity grade is based mostly on the ratio of the mass of the inclusion to the mass of the diamond. It is safe to say that a 1 carat (ct) diamond and a 20ct diamond that have the same size imperfection would not be graded the same way. The lowest grade with in the gem quality diamonds are I1 and I2 those are mostly included diamonds. the imperfections of those diamonds are mostly visible to the naked eye. Some of the I1 stones can face up nice if the imperfection is off to the side of the stone making in prongable.
The fewer and less visible these birthmarks are the more valuable a diamond will be. The following chart illustrates the varying grades for Clarity.
The third C is the cut of the diamond. We ate BOVA believe that this is the most important parameter in evaluating the value of the diamond. If the some is cut too shallow or too deep it looses brilliance and fire, it would have a lot of dark areas across the stone. This is the first thing that people would notice when looking at a diamond. Most of our diamonds are Ideal cut or Premium cut, the difference between those two cuts are the depth and table percentage. Different manufacture and laboratories throughout the globe would call both of those two cuts Ideal. To the untrained eye it would be very difficult to distinguish between the two. Although some in the diamond industry would say that the Ideal cut is the best cut we thing that they are both very good. Most manufacture would much rather cut a diamond close to Ideal cut proportions in order to retain the most amount of weight from the rough diamond. There is almost always a way to cut any diamond to Ideal proportions, but the trade off would be weight and every point (100 points = 1 carat) counts. To put in perspective, in a $10,000 per carat diamond every point is $100 that means that if the diamond can be finished at 3.12ct with a very good cut or 3.01ct in an excellent cut the difference would be $1,100. In most cases when customers are in the market for 3ct diamond they would consider both examples and in most cases would go with the larger one for the same total price. We also include in the cut t he shape of the diamond (Round, Princess, Oval, Asscher, Radiant, Cushion). As a rule of thumb, in 0.70ct and above diamonds round are about 15%-25% more expensive than any other cut. The reason behind this is that the manufacture loses the most amount of rough when they cut a round stone. Another reason is that the demand is higher. This factor should be taken into account as well when working with a budget (as most of us are). Keep in mind that most diamonds, regardless of the shape, would have a beautiful brilliance when cut t perfection.
The Carat weight of the diamond is also a very important parameter in the evaluating the value. In the wholesale level the Rapaport price list is the guidelines for diamond prices around the world. The list gives the customer a general price range of a diamond, most stones would sell for a certain discount from the list. Some stones however, the larger and cleaner diamonds (the rare ones), would be sold above the price list.
The list gives us a price per carat that a diamond should be sold for. It is divided into several weight categories, (0.50-0.69, 0.70-0.89, 0.90-0.99, 1.00-1.49, 1.50-1.99, 2.00-2.99 ...). The higher the weight category, the higher the price per carat (ppc) that the customer would pay. The increase in price is not necessarily in relation the increase in the weight. A 2.00ct is more than twice the price of a 1.00ct of the same quality. There is also a price premium for stones that are in the mid to high range of every category (0.80+, 0.95+, 1.20+, 1.70+, 2.50+ ...).
At this point we must say that diamonds that are cloudy or milky would not be sold based on the list. They are much less desirable as a result of a much lower brilliance and transparency.
Cost is considered to be the 5th C. In most cases customers would have a certain price range that they would like to stay in. As a result we should look for most suitable combination of the four C's for every customer. It is an individual decision, some customers would like to have a higher clarity and give up some color. There is always a trade off between the color clarity and the size (weight) of the diamond.
Last but most defiantly not the least C that needs to be considered - the Certificate. GIA is considered the highest authority in grading diamonds by the trade. EGL is another major laboratory that is vastly used in the US market. EGL is not consistence in the way they grade diamonds around the world. We, at BOVA sell both GIA & EGL certified diamonds. Please contact us
today to learn more about the world of diamonds.