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 combining these four factors.
Let us discuss a few of the variables that can affect the price 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 believe the cut is the most
critical factor when assessing a diamond.
When expert jewelers carefully craft a diamond, they
carefully examine the stone to determine how best to shape it 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, it is carved to reveal its
true beauty. Only when the diamond is cut carefully will the stone 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 a beautiful stone. 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 diamond'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 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, which 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
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 1 carat diamond can be
smaller than a 0.90CT diamond with a deeper pavilion or broader circumference.
However, these differences are hard to distinguish by the naked eye.
Many consider the 1ct. diamond the ideal carat weight for a
center stone on a ring, especially when selecting engagement rings. Diamonds
that are 1 carat or higher tend to be more expensive than smaller diamonds because
the former (large diamonds) are rare 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 purchased rings slightly below
the one-carat mark and saved thousands. A 0.95CT ring is almost as impressive
as a 1 cararing. The differences are so minute that it is easier to distinguish
with the assistance of a trained diamond expert.
Other prudent shoppers have purchased rings with clusters
of much smaller diamonds. You will pay significantly less for a ring with
several 0.25 carat diamonds than one with only a single 1 carat diamond, even if the
cumulative weight of all the smaller diamonds equals or exceeds 1 carat.
Selecting a diamond—and the right diamond for the occasion
you have in mind—requires focusing on more than the diamond's grade. Two
diamonds with the same grade and certification may look completely different.
Hence, understanding how the price is affected by variations of the 4Cs is critical
to making informed decisions.
Many opt to compromise on quality to save money, only to
end up with a ring that could be more impressive. Here are a few additional
tips on how to purchase the ideal diamond without breaking the bank:
Related: How Much Does a 2 Carat Diamond