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Jan 6, 2023

How to Calculate Diamond Value

How Much Is Your Diamond Worth?

Whether you want to sell diamond jewelry or you want to know the value of your stunning diamond pieces, it helps to know how much your diamond is worth. You'll feel confident that the price you're getting if you sell a diamond is fair, or you'll know for sure that your prized diamond rings, necklaces and more are valuable.

To know your diamond's worth, you'll want to know how to calculate the value of a diamond, or at least understand how the professionals do it. Read on to learn what jewelers and technicians evaluate when answering your question, "How much is my diamond worth?"

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What Goes Into a Diamond's Value?

As you learn how to calculate diamond value, you'll see that most traits that influence a diamond's worth relate to rarity. The harder it is to find a certain quality of gem, the more value it will have. Along with those traits comes proof that your diamond jewelry is authentic and of high quality. Factors of a diamond's value include:

What Goes Into a Diamond's Value?


  1. Certification: A certificate of authenticity or diamond report provides details on your diamond. When you sell diamond jewelry, it's useful to have your diamond's documentation. It acts as insurance, in a way, that helps guarantee you get a fair price for your gemstone or jewelry.
  2. Carat: This is the unit of measurement used with the weight of a diamond. The larger a gem, the higher its carat number will be. While it is rare to find large diamonds, those tend to be more valuable.
  3. Clarity: Different characteristics of a diamond contribute to its state of clarity. No diamond is perfect, but with fewer of these characteristics, a diamond will have a higher clarity. As you've probably guessed, diamonds with higher clarity are rarer and therefore have a higher value.
  4. Color: This straightforward quality is the color of the diamond. If your gem is meant to be colorless or white, the less color, the better. Most diamonds have some sort of impurity that gives it a yellowish tint. A perfectly colorless diamond is incredibly rare but comes with an equally high value because of its color.
  5. Cut: Also known as the shape of a diamond, the cut of a diamond sees more human involvement. A technician cuts and polishes a diamond to suit a piece of jewelry or to highlight its other qualities. The quality and precision of a cut contribute to an overall value, along with the other elements above.

While you may have recognized the last four factors as the four Cs, think of the first factor as a bonus C. When combined in an evaluation, these five considerations help determine what your diamond is worth.


How Does Diamond Certification Impact Diamond Value?

When you purchase a diamond ring or other fine jewelry, the jeweler should give you a certificate of authenticity. This document ensures that the diamond is genuine, and it also outlines its properties. Be sure to keep this certificate in a safe place. You don't want to lose it if you ever decide to sell your diamond jewelry or pass it down to someone else. When you keep your diamond's documentation in a safe place, you can check it for qualities of your gem, such as these included in a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) report:

  • The date of the report
  • Report number
  • Shape or cut of the diamond
  • Measurements
  • Grading results of the four Cs
  • Quality of the polish
  • Quality of its symmetry
  • The level of fluorescence
  • If there are any inscriptions

The GIA also includes diagrams outlining your diamond's proportions and clarity characteristics, all of which contribute to its worth. Along with the factors outlined in the report, the document itself may contribute to worth. When a diamond is certified and comes with the proper documentation, you can essentially prove that the diamond ring or other jewelry has certified qualities rated by a technician.

Having certification for your diamond jewelry doesn't guarantee that the value will increase, but you'll have an easier time getting competitive offers for your gemstone or jewelry. It'll be easier for a jeweler to evaluate your diamond with the documentation that outlines your gem's qualities.

If you did not receive documentation or cannot find your copy, you can get your jewelry re-evaluated. Be sure to note that the GIA can only grade unmounted diamonds since settings can skew test results. While that may be a hurdle for those looking to get a grade report for diamond rings or jewelry, it is worth getting the certificate. Some sellers don't require a certificate when buying a diamond from you, but it's good practice to obtain this documentation and keep it safe.


How Does Carat Weight Impact Diamond Value?

Carat Weight Plays A Key Role in Valuing a Diamond


Jewelers and technicians use the metric carat when weighing diamonds and other stones. Graders must be accurate when measuring a diamond's carat weight because even a hundredth of a carat can mean a difference in value for a diamond.

Since accuracy is vital, technicians use sensitive equipment to measure the carat weight of any size diamond. For some context for this unit of measurement, know that a carat equals any of the following:

  • 0.2 grams
  • 0.007 ounces
  • The weight of one paperclip

One carat of a diamond is worth much more than a paperclip, of course, but that will give you an idea of how much a carat of a diamond weighs. In your average diamond ring, necklace or other jewelry, you'll typically see a diamond with a carat weight of one or less. When a diamond's weight is less than one, it is described as points. A 0.55-carat diamond, for example, would be 55 points.

You've probably bought goods by weight before, where more weight equals a higher cost. Typically, double the weight of an item costs twice as much — one pound of apples costs a certain amount while two pounds costs double. While a diamond's weight does affect value, it's not always as simple as you'd see in other products.

Because several qualities impact a diamond's worth, you can't assume that your diamond will be worth twice a gem that's half its size. It could be worth more or less than double depending on its other qualities. You do have a good chance at larger diamonds being worth more, though, simply because they are rare, but it must also have other positive qualities, like a high clarity.


How Does Clarity Impact Diamond Value?

It's nearly impossible to find a perfectly clear diamond, but ones with higher clarity do have a higher worth. The GIA defines internal and surface features that obscure a diamond's clarity. These features are known as inclusions and blemishes.

Inclusions, as the name sounds, are additional materials included inside a diamond. These inclusions may be minerals or smaller diamonds embedded in a gem's structure. Blemishes lie on the surface of a diamond and include scratches, nicks or other imperfections. While diamond is a hard material, errors in cutting or other elements can cause blemishes.

Sometimes, when a technician cuts and polishes a stone, inclusions and blemishes disappear. If these markings are too deep in a diamond's surface, they won't go away after a technician's treatment. While a skilled technician will try to avoid making inclusions and blemishes stand out to preserve a gem's clarity, they can't always prevent it. Cutting and polishing a diamond around its inclusions means making the gem smaller, which isn't as valuable.

Different gems contain different amounts of inclusions or blemishes. The GIA has a scale for measuring clarity that evaluates these characteristics. That scale rates clarity by:

Diamond Clarity Scale


  • Very very slightly included or VVS
  • Very slightly included or VS
  • Slightly included or SI
  • Included or I

VVS, VS and S all have two categories within them while I has three. These subcategories are ranked with a one, two or three. The lower the number, the better the diamond. The GIA scale also includes "internally flawless" and "flawless" ratings, where flawless, as you may have assumed, is the best possible rating.

Diamonds under the VVS or VS rating have more clarity than those under I. Their clarity comes from a lack of inclusions, hence the label "slightly included." On a GIA report, you'll see this rating under clarity grade. A VVS1 diamond, other than internally flawless or flawless, would give your diamond much more value than having an I3 diamond. Related to clarity and the appearance of your gem, color affects your gem's worth.


How Does Color Impact Diamond Value?

In an ideal world, you'd have a perfectly colorless diamond in your possession. Since diamonds with no additional minerals affecting their hue are rare, you should have an understanding of your diamond's color grading.

How Color Impacts a Diamond's Value


When a technician grades a diamond's color, they use what's known as a masterstone as a means of comparison. The control gem has a known color, which helps the technician make a comparison with your diamond. The closer the diamond is to the masterstone, the better its value. GIA uses a range of masterstones that fit into categories in their D to Z color grading scale.

In the D to Z scale, you want to be as close to D as possible for your diamond to have a higher value. The scale breaks down into color-based sections, where:

  • D to F is colorless
  • G to J is nearly colorless
  • K to M is faint
  • N to R is very light
  • S to Z is light

The jewelry industry widely accepts GIA's color grading scale as the standard for diamond evaluation. A jeweler will look for a gem in the D to J range to know they're getting a valuable gem. Jewelers still purchase gems with lower color ratings, but they do not have the same high value of nearly colorless stones.

Another factor technicians evaluate is a stone's fluorescence. Most diamonds with a fluorescence have a blue variety, which is more noticeable under ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunlight emits UV rays, which can make blue fluorescent diamonds appear less yellow. The colors balance each other out since they are contrasting, so in some cases, fluorescence is a good thing. Of course, you can have too much of a good thing. Too much fluorescence and a diamond will appear "oily" or cloudy, which lowers its value since that impacts clarity.

Other than fluorescent shades, some diamonds have a more visible hue, making them fancy color diamonds. Jewelers and collectors prize colored diamonds that have a stronger color — the opposite of what we favor in colorless diamonds. Natural fancy color diamonds are rare, especially those with pure colors. Most colored diamonds have a muted tone but are still beautiful.

Because of fancy color diamonds' similarity in hue to other gems, it's easy to let imitations fool you. If you're selling a colored diamond, be sure to have it tested to ensure it is an authentic diamond. Whether you have a fancy color diamond or a traditional white diamond, it's essential to understand how its shape influences its worth.


How Does Cut Impact Diamond Value?

A skilled technician can cut a diamond in such a way that shows off every facet. With the right polishing job, the facets will shine with such brilliance that they make the whole diamond sparkle. A quality cut should have a symmetrical facet layout and dazzling polish to highlight the positive attributes of your diamond.

Round-cut diamonds are the most popular shape today for jewelry, but you may also have a fancy cut diamond on your hands. These cuts include:

How Cut Impacts a Diamond's Value


  • Marquise
  • Princess
  • Pear
  • Oval
  • Heart
  • Emerald cut

Any cut can bring out the beauty in a gemstone. No matter the shape of your diamond, the cut will influence three factors that may sound like synonyms, but actually provide different qualities:

  1. Brightness: This optical effect is how white a diamond appears. Brightness is the easiest trait to understand since you know white surfaces to appear bright and blinding. A quality diamond shines with a high brightness, emphasized by its cut.
  2. Fire: You may imagine this optical effect to be warm and flickering like that of a flame, and you'd almost be right. Flashes of different colors characterize fire in a diamond. These flashes can be any color from blue to orange, depending on the lighting and surrounding environment. No matter the hue, they bring a diamond to life with color and movement.
  3. Scintillation: As light bounces through a diamond, it creates bright and dark areas. The variation of these light and dark areas are known as scintillation. A scintillating diamond has a dynamic appearance, with its highlights and shadows playing off each other.

With a quality cut, your diamond will have a dazzling shine that will help increase its value. You want a diamond that sparkles and reflects different colors of light to draw attention to your jewelry, and that's what buyers are looking for, as well.

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