There are four basic elements that make up the pricing of diamond jewelry. But like most things, once you get past the basics, the information overload becomes more than many consumers need to know. These elements are:
Completely colorless diamonds are extremely rare. While most diamonds may appear to be colorless (white), if examined closely, most have subtle yellow shades that can be seen when comparing two diamonds next to one another or under a jeweler’s loupe or one of the many Digital Compound Microscopes available in the market. Colors in a diamond are not always bad, as pink, blue, and black diamonds have become increasingly popular in recent years. As with all precious stones, different diamond colors are a result of trace elements present within the diamond. The GIA has created a color grading scale for “white” diamonds that can help to identify the shade of the diamond (representing how much of the trace elements exist).
Diamond Clarity is a way to measure the extent of a diamond’s internal flaws. A diamond that does not have many flaws is, as one would expect, of higher quality and price. This is because inclusions interfere with the light’s ability to shine through a diamond, making the diamond appear less brilliant. Grading labs such as the GIA view diamonds under magnification to determine their clarity. As the size of the diamond increases, so does the ability to see inclusions. This makes quality more important as the diamond size increases.
The good news is that very small inclusions will not detract from a diamond’s beauty or cause it to be less durable.
Because diamonds can be cut to almost any size, diamonds are measured by weight. The standard unit of measurement for diamonds is the carat, which is equal to 0.2 grams. To give an idea of how much a carat is, there are about 2300 carats in a pound. Since carat is still a pretty rough unit of measurement, gemologists have created “points.” There are 100 points in 1 carat. But weight is not the only important factor that determines price. Two diamonds that weigh the same can have very different prices, due to the differences in quality as you learned above.
When diamonds increase in size (especially past 1 carat), the price begins to rise exponentially. This is just because of how rare diamonds are. It’s easy to make small diamonds out of large ones. It’s far less easy to pack together a bunch of small diamonds to make a large one.
When a diamond is found, it looks more like a piece of crystal or sandblasted glass. To make it look like a diamond, the gem is cut and polished by gemcutters or manufacturers that follow a precise method to cut “facets” or small angled pieces on the outer faces of the diamond. The table is the largest facet of the diamond that you would see when looking straight at the diamond. The crown is just below that, and the girdle is the largest or widest part of the diamond. On a round cut diamond, the pavilion is just below the girdle and leads to the pointy tip of the diamond, called the cutlet.
The diamond’s cut is a large part of why it shines so brightly and looks so beautiful. so when next you go to a jewelry store you know what to look for.
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