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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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:
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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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