The Diamond 4 C’s is the key to Cash Value: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight

Color:  The color grade of a diamond refers to how closely its body color approaches colorlessness. The best color for a diamond is, in fact, an absence of color. A truly colorless stone will carry a premium price, and the larger that diamond, the greater the premium per carat.

DIamond Color Grading ChartMost diamonds have at least a trace of yellow, brown, or gray body color. Though a lot of diamonds will appear to be colorless, most actually possess subtle shade differences. These variances in color are due to traces of elements such as nitrogen and boron that become assimilated into a diamond’s atomic structure during the original formation. Most commonly, a diamond will have a hint of yellow or brown due to traces of nitrogen.

D-E-F:  Colorless

G-H-I:  Near colorless; looks nearly colorless when mounted

J-K-L-M:  Faint yellow, face up

N-O-P-Q:  Very light yellow to intense yellow color

RSTUVWXYZ:  Increasingly lower color

Clarity: Clarity describes the purity of a diamond. This is determined by the number, size, nature, and location of the internal (inclusions) and external (blemishes) imperfections. Nitrogen and other elements trapped within a stone during its formation effect the ultimate color, and minerals embedded in a diamond during crystallization will influence the diamond’s clarity.

The fewer the inclusions the more rare and precious the stone will be. The number, color, size, and position of any inclusions will specify a diamond’s clarity. If the diamond does not have a GIA diamond certificate (report) to establish a diamond’s clarity, it must be examined by a GIA Graduate Gemologist under a 10x magnification; the fewer the inclusions, the more valuable the diamond will be.

Two methods used to enhance the clarity grade given to a diamond are laser drilling and fracture filling. Laser drilling is the process in which a laser is used to drill a microscopic hole into a diamond and then treated to remove the included material.  

The second treatment is fracture filling. This method involves using heat and pressure to impregnate an open fracture, filling it and making the fracture less visible.  Treated diamonds have a significant drop in Cash Market Value. Blemishes are abrasions such scratches, pits or nicks on caused by wear or coming in contact with other diamonds.  Extra Facets are small facets placed to remove imperfections; not part of the cutting style.

Diamond clarity chartIF – Internally Flawless No inclusions visible at 10x magnification.

VVS1 – Very Very Slightly Included #1 Inclusions that are extremely difficult to detect at 10x. VVS2 – Very Very Slightly Included #2 Inclusions that are very difficult to detect at 10x.

VS1 – Very Slightly Included #1 Minor inclusions, difficult to detect at 10x.

VS2 – Very Slightly Included #2 Minor inclusions, somewhat difficult to detect at 10x.

SI1 – Slightly Included #1 Noticeable inclusions, easy to detect at 10x.

SI2 – Slightly Included #2 Noticeable inclusions, very easy to detect at 10x.

I1 – Included #1 Obvious inclusions. Can detect with the unaided eye. Possible durability issues.

I2 – Included #2 Obvious inclusions. Easy to see with the unaided eye. Durability issues/cloudy. I3 – Included #3 Obvious inclusions. Very easy to see with the unaided eye. Not for jewelry.

The above clarity grading grades are in accordance with the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).  Clarity can be subjective so it is very good if you already have a GIA diamond grading certificate (report).  Most jewelers are not GIA Graduate Gemologists. When liquidating diamonds it is very important to make sure that a GIA Graduate Gemologist examines your diamonds so you are sure to get the full value.   

Cut: (proportions): Cut is used to describe how closely the proportions of a brilliant cut diamond are to ideal proportions. A diamond with deep proportions will not only look smaller when set but will look less brilliant than an ideal cut diamond.  

A diamond with a shallow cut will look bigger however it will also appear watery.  Ideal Proportions will result in a diamond having maximum brilliance which is more in demand. A diamond cut to Ideal Proportions loses more of the rough diamond material and requires a more skilled diamond cutter thus increasing the price per carat.  Round diamond are worth more “per carat” than fancy shaped diamonds.  The reason is that round diamonds are the most brilliant cut and more rough diamond material is ground away when cutting a round diamond versus other shapes.  Fancy shapes like Oval, Pear, Marquise, Princess, Emerald cut, Asscher and Cushion shapes still enjoy very good to high Cash Market Values.

Diamond Cut ChartCarat weight:  Diamond weight, is weight, not size.  Diamond weight is stated in carats and may be described in decimal or fractional parts of a carat. If the weight is given in decimal parts of a carat, the figure should be accurate to the last decimal place. For example, ”0.30 carat” could represent a diamond that weighs between .295 and .304 carat. Some retailers describe diamond weight in fractions, using the fraction to represent a range of weights. A diamond described as 1/2 carat should weigh between .47 and .54 carat.Value per carat increases with carat size, because larger rough diamonds occur less frequently. In other words, 2 half-carat diamonds taken together will not cost as much as 1 one-carat diamond, as the one-carat stone is rarer. Also, a premium is added to diamond prices as they exceed each ½ carat increment in weight.  So a 2.50 carat diamond is worth more “per carat” than a 2.00 carat diamond.

Cash Value:  So how much will I get for my $10,000 diamond ring?  That answer varies significantly as it depends on many factors like when you bought it, what the quality is and who appraised it.  For example a 1.50 carat round diamond of very good quality bought in the 70’s and appraised at $8,000 may have a Cash Market Value of $10,000.  Whereas a fair quality 1.50 carat pear shaped diamond bought last year and appraised at $15,000 may have Cash Market Value of $5,000.  The unfortunate fact is that jewelry appraisers are often biased towards their own merchandise and there are no laws governing jewelry appraisal prices.  

Additionally, most jewelers are not gemologists.  Since their grading skill is lacking they typically grade lower when buying to make sure they do not make a mistake. That is why it is important to only have a GIA Graduate Gemologist examine your jewelry.  GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is the one and only world recognized diamond grading laboratory.  There are numerous other gemstones labs that issue grading reports, but none have the accuracy or carry the prominence of the GIA.

A vital point to understand about a Retail Appraisal Price is that it is used for insurance purposes… to replace the item at full retail price in a retail store in the case of a loss.   This Retail Appraisal Price cannot be confused with the Cash Market Value.  The Cash Market Value takes only the precious metal value, plus the gemstone value, plus any bonus value (for very special or signed jewelry pieces).  We already covered the precious metal Cash Values, and below you will find a very general list of diamond cash values.  There are also natural colored diamonds, and in the case of case of blue, green, pink, orange and red diamonds the value can be much, much higher than white diamonds.  Fancy natural brown, grey or black diamonds have a price lower than white diamonds of equal size and quality.

Size        Shape  Quality              Cash Value Range
0.75ct  Round  Very Good – Exc $900 – $2,200
0.75ct  Fancy  Very Good – Exc $700 – $1,800
1.00ct   Round  Very Good – Exc $3,500 – $7,000
1.00ct  Fancy  Very Good – Exc $2,800 – $5,000
2.00ct  Round  Very Good – Exc $12,000 – $25,000
2.00ct  Fancy  Very Good – Exc $  9,000 – $17,000
5.00ct  Round  Very Good – Exc $60,000 – 205,000
5.00ct  Fancy  Very Good – Exc $50,000 – 175,000

The above ranges represent Cash Market Values for diamonds with very good color (F-H), very good clarity (VS – SI) and excellent proportions.  There are other factors like fluorescence, condition and specific proportions which can lower or raise prices.  Higher quality (D,E,F color / IF – VVS clarity) diamonds will have a significantly higher Cash Market Values.  Conversely, lower quality diamonds will have lower cash market values. But at least you now have a cash market value range that will cover most very good quality diamonds that are set in jewelry.

Fancy shaped diamonds like Pear shaped, Oval shaped, Heart shaped, Marquise shaped, Emerald cut, Asscher cut, Cushion cut and other shapes sell on the market for lower prices than rounds.  Fancy shaped diamonds will not achieve the maximum brilliance that a round shape can and fancy shaped diamonds are in lower demand.  They cost less than rounds when bought, and have a lower cash market value versus rounds when being liquidated.  That being said, well cut fancy shaped diamonds are wonderful and always enjoy high cash market values.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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