There is little doubt that customers are becoming more and more savvy when it comes to purchasing diamonds. Many consumers who have bought a diamond recently are probably already familiar with the universally accepted 4C’s ( Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat.
However, the 4 C’s only scratch the surface of a diamond’s grading and ultimate market value. In the last decade or so, new factors have been added to the diamond grading reports that have significant impact on a diamond’s retail and market value. But don’t feel overwhealmed ! We will take you through them all in this blog so that you can avoid paying sky-high prices at retail or getting ripped off at resale.
TO START, LET’S LOOK AT THE 4 C’S BRIEFLY:
- Carat – This most basic and familiar aspect of diamondS value. Carat refers to the weight of the diamond where 1 carat is equal to .2 grams.
- Colour – Colour grades sit on a scale from D-Z with D being completely void of color and very valuable and Z having a yellow tint, which makes it less desireable and less valuable.
- Fancy colours (not to confuse with fancy cut) diamonds have a colour scale of their own from ‘faint’ to ‘fancy deep’. Fancy colours can command very high prices per carat as they are very rare.
- Cut – Cut refers not to a diamond’s shape (e.g. round, oval, pear, etc.) but to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. The beauty of a diamond depends more on cut than any other factor. Though extremely difficult to analyze and quantify, diamond cut has three primary effects on appearance: brilliance (the brightness created by the combination of all the white light reflections from the surface and the inside of a polished diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the visible spectrum, seen as flashes of color), and scintillation (the flashes of light and dark, or sparkle, when a diamond or light source is moved).
- Clarity – It is not easy to determine a diamond’s clarity with the naked eye. When an appraiser examines a diamond, they must use special tools to see blemishes and inclusions (internal flaws). A diamond that is graded “internally flawless (IF)” without any blemishes or inclusions is very rare and valuable. The other end of the scale is “I1” meaning that inclusions can be seen with the naked eye.
AS WELL AS THE 4 C’S: 5 ESSENTIAL FACTORS TO CONSIDER
1. THE FIFTH C – CERTIFICATION
IT’ WELL KNOWN THAT NOT ALL DIAMOND GRADING LABS ARE CREATED EQUAL. THIS FACT IS ONLY JUST NOW BEGINNING TO CATCH ON AMONG CONSUMERS – AS WELL IT SHOULD. THERE ARE FOUR MAIN GRADING LABS USED IN THE JEWELLERY INDUSTRY.
EACH LAB VARIES IN LEVEL OF CONSISTENCY, RELIABILITY, ACCRUACY AND ADDED MARKET VALUE. THE GEMOLOGICAL INSTITUE OF AMERICA FOR EXAMPLE, IS CONSIDERED THE MOST RELIABLE, ACCURATE AND REPUTABLE IN THEIR GRADING.
Here is an example of a GIA certificate for a diamond
THIS RESULTS IN HIGHER PRICED STONES. EGL REPORTS ON THE OTHER HAND, HAVE RECENTLY BEEN BANNED FROM RAPNET, THE LARGEST DIAMOND TRADING NETWORK, AND SHOULD GET A SECOND OPINION.
Top gemological labs:
GIA – Gemological Institute of America
IGI – International Gemological Institute
HRD – Hoge Raad voor Diamant (Belgium)
AGS – American Gem Society
EGL – European Gemological Laboratory
2. LASER INSCRIPTION
With the growing importance of a reputable lab report, the practice of inscription has grown as well. The practice of inscription includes the etching of the grading report number associated with the stone.
This is done to assure that jewelers, resellers, or handlers do not ‘switch’ out the stone for one of a lesser quality. It also helps to investigate diamonds that may have been stolen and recovered.
There is currently two types of inscription: plotting & laser. Plotting used to be the most common way to etch a diamond’s value onto it however, this method was found affect the clarity of the stone. Since then, laser inscriptions have become the new standard as they have almost no adverse effect on the quality of the stone.
As customers are becoming more and more aware, laser inscription is becomming a popular request for customers who are buying or selling diamond jewellery.
3 THE GRADE ( HOW IMPORTANT IS THE GRADE)
A diamond’s cut grade didn’t used to be included on diamond reports and is sometimes overlooked by consumers. Now that it is a part of the grading scale, 80% of diamond cut grades are “excellent cut” which brings up their value by 12%!
A diamond’s cut grade can be broken down into two sub-grades: polish and symmetry. These two factors are assigned their own gradings that make up the total cut grade. The polish refers to the surface quality while the symmetry refers to the exactness of the diamond’s shape considering the arrangement of the facets.
GIA table below shows the cut grades,
Here you can read more from GIA education regarding how cut affects the value of a diamond.
Fluorescence is a reaction of trace minerals that causes a “glowing” effect under a UV light. Approximately 1/3 of diamonds are fluorescent.
Fluorescence can change the perceived appearance of real color, depending on its strength and color. Fluorescence used to be considered wholly negative to a diamond’s value, but modern understanding has proven that fluorescence can both positively and negatively impact a diamond’s value. In fact, the most common color of fluorescence is blue (more than 95%), and this can have a positive influence by causing a diamond to appear whiter. High fluorescence can make a diamond look “oily” which decreases the price while lower color grades with fluorescence can increase price.
5. MARKET DEMAND & RARITY
While essentially perfect diamonds exist, they are extremly rare this makes them highly valuable, especially the larger diamonds.
To add another point, a diamond can have top scores but come in a less popular shape. Every consumer has their personal taste, sure, but it is a well-known fact that some shapes are more popular and more saleable than others.
For example, the round brilliant cut has remained popular for quite some time while the marquise shape diamond reached its peak in the 1980s. We at Buymyjewellery.com have seen this effect take shape in the ultimate resale of a diamond no matter how high the quality.
IT’S YOUR CHOICE
Every individual has to make their own choices based on their taste, style, and needs. A diamond is an expensive purchase for many and being educated about this can help make smarter buying and selling choices.
Now you have the knowledge, have some fun, and treat yourself or someone you love.
Looking to sell a diamond instead? This knowledge can be equally advantageous in showing a buyer that you know your stuff and have fair price expectations.