Loose Diamonds between 0.8 to 1.2 carats are probably the most traded precious natural stones globally. Determining the price of a carat diamond primarily depends on seven factors, described as follows:
To sum it up, while on a budget, if you look around and shop well online, you can get a good quality:
- 1-carat round brilliant cut diamond for $4,500 to 6,000;
- 1-carat fancy shape diamond, such as a princess or radiant cut, for around $3,000 to $4,500; and
- 1-carat in the investment-grade range would cost as much as $13,000 to $16,000 for a round shape diamond and $11,000 to $14,000 for fancy shapes—the highest grade being a 1-carat GIA graded Flawless (FL) and Colorless (D) Excellent Cut diamond with no Fluorescence.
How the Diamond Trade Works Online?
The internet fundamentally changed the diamond business. In the past, retailers would charge up to 200% markups. Now, because shoppers can easily compare prices online, the trends have changed. However, there is a "but."
Almost all online retailers work with the same set of dealers. They do not own any stone but instead are intermediaries between you and the dealer. The only difference is the percentage of mark-up. James Allen, for example, has one of the lowest mark-ups in the industry.
Since the mark-up on GIA Certified Loose Diamonds Online is just 6-15% from the wholesale price, let us look at some of them in the 1-carat range in different criteria ranges and determine their prices.
Criteria 1: Budget Option - Round Diamond, 1 Carat, SI1, Very Good Cut, H Color, Medium Blue Fluorescence, GIA Graded, Average being around $4300:
Criteria 2: Investment Grade Option - Round Diamond, 1 Carat, Excellent Cut, D Color, No Fluorescence, GIA Graded, Average being $15,000:
Criteria 3: Budget Option - Fancy Shape, Princess Cut, 1 Carat, I Color, SI1 Clarity, Good Cut, GIA Certified, Medium Blue Fluorescence, Average being $2,800-$2,900:
Criteria 4: Investment Grade, Fancy Shape, Oval Cut, 1 Carat, D Color, Flawless, GIA Graded, No Fluorescence, Average being $11,000:
The Seven Factors that Affects the Diamond Price:
The seven factors that affect a diamond's price include diamond shape, diamond carat weight, diamond cut, diamond color, diamond clarity, diamond certification, and diamond fluorescence. Please read our article on diamond price factors for more information.
Diamond rings have become the iconic symbol of all things related to love and romance. We have all been programmed to ask women to see their ring immediately after learning that her sweetheart has proposed. We then drill her with questions about the type of diamond on her ring and instinctively comment on the diamond's size. This habit resulted from a clever De Beers marketing campaign and their strict monopoly on the diamond market during the 19th century.
But this was not where our love affair with diamonds began. While it may be true that De Beers has been credited with glamorizing the phrase 'diamonds are forever,' researchers have found evidence that traces the popularity of diamonds back to Ancient Greece. Diamonds have long been a symbol of status and wealth, especially today when we often equate diamond size with a couple's wealth. However, as we will discuss, bigger does not always mean better.
A 1-carat diamond can be quite a beautiful sight to behold when it is of good quality cut elegantly. Current market trends indicate that the cost of these diamonds can range from $1000 up to $15,000, though this range might not be beneficial. Unfortunately, nothing is inevitable in the world of diamonds. Two diamonds of similar size and cut may vary significantly in price.
It is, thus, pretty apparent that purchasing a diamond this size will require a substantial financial investment. Some men end up using several months' worth of their savings to buy a ring with a 1-CT diamond, only to end up with one that is fake or of inferior quality. Let us first discuss how to determine that a diamond is genuine before considering spending such a substantial sum of money.
How to Determine if a Diamond is Genuine?
There have always been several far-fetched rumors and folklore about assessing the authenticity of a diamond. One of the most popular options to test a diamond that is featured on television is biting it. It should be evident that this is a bad idea. Note that this could result in severe damage to the precious materials around the diamond. Besides, the item of jewelry is likely to be very filthy, having passed through many hands. It is equally unwise to try and use the diamond to scratch glass.
A much safer option would be to make use of the breath test. Merely breathing on to the stone and watching it as it fogs up should help you determine whether the stone is real. If the fog clears away immediately, the diamond is real. But if the fog lingers for a few seconds, chances are it is not. Unfortunately, this method is not 100% accurate since the fog from your breath does not clear away immediately from several other precious stones as well.
Another option is to purchase an inexpensive diamond tester that can cost as little as $15. But it may seem like an impractical choice if you are only shopping for a diamond for the special person in your life.
Your safest, most accessible, and affordable option is to request to see the diamond certification before making any purchases. The GIA certification is the most widely respected option. In addition to the physical certificate, a unique certification number is carefully inscribed on the stone in a location where it will not be visible.
The Gemological Institute of America issues a GIA certification. Located in Carlsbad, California, it is a not-for-profit organization that has been certifying diamonds since 1931. The institute also has several officers worldwide and employs a total of 1400 research professionals.
They aim to protect unsuspecting consumers from being deceived by dishonest salesmen. They have developed a time-tested standard that ensures that their certification provides an honest, impartial, and undoubtedly accurate assessment of the diamond's quality and value. The researchers also have a set of master stones used as a control when examining the stones being tested.
The trained professionals at the Gemological Institute of America spare no expense when seeking to certify a stone. Their assessment requires using delicate scales and powerful computers to determine the weight, accuracy of the cut, number of flaws, and the stone's overall brilliance or sparkle.
While the GIA is the most well-respected certification, it is also worth noting that many other diamond certifications may prove helpful. Some of these are:
- AGS – Developed by the American Gemological Society
- IGI – Developed in Belgium by the International Gemological Institute
How 4Cs Affect the Diamond Cost?
Developed by the Gemological Institute of America, the price of a diamond is affected by what professional jewelers refer to as the 4Cs - cut, clarity, color, and carat. However, each diamond is as unique as a snowflake, whose cost depends on the combination of these four factors. Let us discuss a few of the variables that can affect the cost of a diamond.
The Diamond Cut
The cut of the diamond should not be confused with the shape of the diamond. It refers to the level of craftsmanship employed by the jeweler who carved the diamond from its rough state into the beauty used to make rings and other forms of jewelry. Many people believe that the cut is the most critical factor when assessing a diamond.
When an expert jeweler carefully crafts a diamond, they carefully examine the stone to determine how best to shape the stone to minimize the amount of diamond wasted. Once the finished product's shape is decided, the jeweler then carefully carves away the excess stone.
If the stone is cut carefully, the stone is carved to reveal its true beauty. It is only when the diamond is cut carefully that the stone will reflect light brilliantly. Stones that are not cut carefully will not sparkle or reflect light and appear somewhat dull and unattractive, which is why many believe the cut of the stone has the most significant influence on its price.
The Diamond Clarity
A diamond is essentially a beautiful stone. That said, it is bound to have imperfections, having spent years in the dirt with other elements. These imperfections could include shards of other stones or traces of other elements. A stone's clarity is determined by the number of imperfections and how obvious they are to the naked eye. A 10x magnification loupe and a microscope are used to examine the inclusions that are not visible.
The type, size, and number of inclusions vary from stone to stone. More imperfections will affect the stone's brilliance and cost. Diamonds with no apparent inclusions are rated as flawless, while those with the most apparent ones are rated as I3 on the GIA clarity scale.
The Diamond Color
In the world of diamonds, the less color a diamond has, the better. Clear or nearly clear diamonds appear more brilliant than colored diamonds. Therefore, colorless diamonds are far more expensive than colored diamonds that usually have a light yellow or brown tint. When making your selection, be mindful because gold jewelers tend to give crystal clear diamonds the appearance of having a yellowish tint.
The Diamond Carat
As previously highlighted, the carat weight of a diamond is the most popular of the 4Cs; one carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. Thus, it is easy to see a correlation between the carat weight and the size of the diamond.
Please note that the carat weight of a diamond does not always determine its size. Just as a short person can weigh more than a tall person, a 1CT diamond can be smaller than a 0.90CT diamond with a deeper pavilion or broader circumference. However, these differences are hard to distinguish with the naked eye.
Many consider the 1CT diamond to be the ideal carat weight for a center stone on a ring, especially when selecting engagement rings. Diamonds that are 1 CT or higher tend to be more expensive than smaller diamonds because the former (large diamonds) are quite a rare find and thus command a higher price than their smaller counterparts found quite easily. Some have even noted an almost 50% difference in the cost of a 1CT ring versus a 0.95CT diamond ring.
Many prudent shoppers have opted to purchase rings slightly below the one-carat mark and have saved thousands. A 0.95CT ring is almost as impressive as a 1 CT ring. The differences are so minute that it is hard to distinguish without the assistance of a trained diamond expert.
Other prudent shoppers have chosen to purchase rings with clusters of much smaller diamonds. You will pay significantly less for a ring with several 0.25 CT diamonds than one with only a single 1 CT diamond, even if the cumulative weight of all the smaller diamonds is equal to or more than 1CT.
Selecting a diamond—and the right diamond for the occasion you have in mind—requires that you focus on more than the diamond's grade. Two diamonds with the same grade and certification may look completely different. Hence, having a clear understanding of how the price is affected by variations of the 4Cs is key to making informed decisions.
Many opt to compromise on quality to save money, only to end up with a ring far from impressive. Here are a few additional tips on how to purchase the ideal diamond without breaking the bank:
How to Save Money When Purchasing Diamonds:
- Play around with the color of the ring.
- We would all prefer to get a D-colored GIA-certified diamond that is crystal clear, though it will attract quite a pretty penny. Opting to lower your color grade expectations will significantly affect the price. You will be surprised how much money you could save by purchasing a diamond of excellent quality and with a hint of color.
- Do not be afraid of inclusions. When we hear about inclusions or flaws on a ring, we immediately assume that the ring will be of inferior quality. This thinking is very flawed since, often, these inclusions are barely visible. Additionally, two diamonds with the same rating will have very different types or quantities of inclusions. Scrutinize the diamond and its inclusions before ruling it out. You can even ask to examine the stone using a microscope to ensure that you are getting value for money.
- Experiment with shapes. The shape of the diamond also has a significant bearing on the cost of the diamond. Round diamonds are the most expensive, second only to the princess cut. It is so because these shapes will require that the jeweler whittles away and wastes significant chunks of diamonds when cutting it because none is naturally round. Thankfully, there are many alternatives. If your preference is for round diamonds, why not consider an oval-shaped diamond instead? A round ring with the same rating as an oval ring can cost up to ten times more. As you have seen, choosing a diamond will not be easy. It requires that you think on your feet and do your due diligence not to be taken advantage of. As a result, you will be most pleased with your diamond that will last longer and remain with you as a symbol of love and devotion.