Diamond Factors for Assessing Quality Charts

Sharif Khan
Sharif Khan
Last Updated    EST 
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Diamonds are rare and precious, making them expensive due to their quality and brilliance. There are seven main factors to consider when comparing the quality and prices of diamonds, which also contribute to the overall appearance of a diamond.

Diamonds are expensive because they are rare and precious, and their quality and brilliance impact their price. Mining and processing diamonds require a skilled workforce and extensive work. As a result, every step in the supply chain of diamonds adds to the cost, making them comparatively expensive in the marketplace.

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Diamond Quality Factors

Seven main factors should be considered while assessing a diamond's quality and price. These include Shape, Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat, Grading Reports or "Certifications," and Diamond Fluorescence. The excellence of each factor makes a difference in the quality and price of a diamond. Physical appearance is also important, but the above factors determine it.

Diamond Quality Factors

Quality Factor: Shape

There are many shapes of diamonds available in the marketplace. The most common are roundprincessovalasscheremeraldradiantcushionmarquise, and pear. Selecting the shape of a diamond depends on your preference, but it would be the first step in comparing prices. Fancy-shaped diamonds, e.g., princess, cushion, or radiant cut diamonds, are up to 20% cheaper than similar round ones of the same carat weight and clarity. On the other hand, over 80% of all polished diamonds are round, as it has been one of the most popular cuts historically.

Hint: Round brilliant-cut diamonds are suitable for investment purposes and can maintain value if bought at the right price. It takes a much larger rough stone to make a round-shaped diamond than it does to make a princess-cut or cushion-shaped one, so you are not getting the fancy cut stones cheaper.

Quality Factor: Cut

In our opinion, the second important factor in determining the price of a diamond is the Cut. The brilliance of a diamond is highly dependent on its cut. A poorly cut diamond will not have the desired return to fire and will look small because of its depth. We have seen cases where a .80ct diamond would look larger than a 1.0ct diamond simply because of its cut.

Hint: To maximize your budget, buy a diamond within the very good range. It will give you great fire while saving you the amount you would have to pay for an excellent cut. However, avoid a diamond with a very deep or shallow cut. Use James Allen's ultra HD 3D technology to analyze the cut and clarity of a diamond before buying it.

Quality Factor: Carat

The third important factor is the Carat Weight of a diamond. Carat is the weighing scale for any diamond: the greater the weight, the more expensive it will be. Diamonds that weigh below a full carat are generally cheaper than those weighing more.

Hint: To maximize your budget, buy a diamond slightly under a full carat, e.g., 0.95ct. or 1.90ct. The price tag is much lower for a slightly smaller diamond than for a full carat or two carat. However, both would look identical to the naked eye.

Quality Factor: Color

The fourth important factor in determining the price of a diamond is Color. The colors of white diamonds range from Colorless to Light Yellow. Being rare, colorless diamonds are the most expensive ones. There are 22 grades of diamond colors from D to Z: D is colorless and the costliest, while Z is the least desirable--light yellow or close to Yellow.

Hint: To maximize your budget, buy G-I color diamonds, which look almost colorless and have great brilliance, especially G-H color ranges. For higher color grades (J-K), use rose or yellow gold settings to offset the yellow tint in the diamond.

Quality Factor: Clarity

The fifth factor in determining the price of a diamond is Clarity. Flawless diamonds are comparable to diamonds with "eye-clean" clarity in terms of costs because they are appreciated for having natural birthmarks for authentication purposes (ranging from VVS1-VS2). Eye-clean clarity means that the inclusions are unnoticeable with the unaided eye. Clarity grading determines the number of inclusions within a diamond.

It is assessed based on GIA's grading scale, ranging from Flawless or FL, including three or I3.

Hint: To maximize your budget, buy eye-clean SI2 diamonds for under 1ct., SI1 for under 1.5ct., and VS2 for over 1.5ct.-3ct. They will look the same as flawless diamonds, so there is no point paying the extra unless you have room in your budget. However, you should make sure they are eye-clean.

Quality Factor: Certification

The sixth important price determinant is the "Certification" of a diamond. A grading report by GIA or AGS will increase the value of the diamond you are buying as it will confirm the quality: assurance = higher price. However, getting diamonds graded by GIA and AGS is also costly. Ungraded diamonds are less expensive, though we strongly advise against purchasing them. The so-called "appraisals" will grade a stone that is I1 in clarity and J in color as SI1 in clarity and G in color.

Hint: Never buy an ungraded diamond. GIA or AGS is your best bet.

Quality Factor: Fluorescence

Depending on the type of fluorescence, the price of a diamond can be affected by 5%-20%. Please read our post on Diamond Fluorescence to understand what it is and what should be avoided.

Hint: Buying a diamond with up to medium blue fluorescence might save you up to 10%. It can also make H-I color diamonds look much whiter and can be a great ally in saving money if done right.


While comparing the prices of diamonds, keep the above-listed factors in mind to get the best diamond within your budget. Mastering these factors will give you great confidence in any diamond market.