If you want to enhance your look, there’s no better way to enhance your prestige than with diamonds. Diamonds are clean, elegant, and sure to cement you as a force to be reckoned with. They are staples of a luxury wardrobe.
The only downside is that they are expensive.Very expensive. But you can do a little bit of research into certain cuts and styles that can clean up your look without cleaning out your bank account.
Diamonds have a specific set of descriptors that help determine their value. Here’s how you can estimate a diamond’s worth before ever looking at the price tag.
Why Are Diamonds So Expensive?
In the 1800s, diamonds were considered extremely rare. However, a large crater in South Africa containing a trove of diamonds made them much more accessible. The problem was that De Beers Mining Company, which originally had a monopoly on the diamond market, feared that this vast supply would cause diamonds to become more available, and therefore less expensive.
To fight that, De Beers decided to start releasing diamonds in much smaller batches. By limiting the supply of gems available for purchase, they were successfully able to drive up the price and emulate rarity, despite a fairly large abundance.
Of course, diamonds are still a very rare gemstone due to the immense pressure, heat, and specific elements necessary tocreate them. But their cost is largely due to the precedent that De Beers has set.
Jewelers do often have to take a lot of time and effort to properly cut diamonds to fit into engagement rings, bracelets, and watches. This also increases the price, as the labor necessary to create the perfect gem doesn’t come cheap.
This is why diamond alternatives have grown in popularity, as they perfectly simulate the appearance of the real thing without any of the expenses that come with a pure diamond investment. Simulants such as cubic zirconia can be used to makehigh-quality jewelry at an affordable cost.
Regardless, diamonds and their alternatives are all assessed using the same tools, and these tools are good to know before your next big purchase.
The Four Cs
A diamond’s value can be determined using criteria known as the four Cs, which are Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. These qualifications were created by theGemological Institute of America, and a diamond that is GIA certified is one of exceptionally high quality.
The cut is arguably the most important aspect in figuring out a diamond’s worth. It refers to the quality of the gem’s angles, proportions, brilliance, fire, and other fine details. It’s an evaluation of the diamond’s ability to reflect light and give it that signature, gleaming aesthetic.
The GIA grades a diamond’s cut on a scale ranging from “Ideal” to “Poor,” though it’s important to note that these grades don’t necessarily determine the quality of a diamond’s cut. These just refer to the ability of the stone to reflect light.
When a diamond has an ideal cut, it means that the gem’s depth and width are perfectly proportioned for maximum light reflection. These look like pieces of art and are likely to garner the highest price tags. These are likely to be round cut stones, as they are the most iconic diamond cut that usually has the best reflective qualities.
You may have seen diamonds that look like different shapes, such as hearts or ovals. The shape of the stone won’t necessarily denote its cut or ability to reflect light. The cut has more to do with the diamond’s features rather than its external appearance.
There are manydiamond cuts, and the average individual wouldn’t be able to tell the quality just based on light dispersion alone. Cuts like princess or oval are equally stunning even though they may not gleam in the same ways.
This facet is graded in terms of how colorless a diamond is. The GIA rates diamonds from D to Z, with D being the most translucent and Z being the brownest/ yellowish. These differences can have dramatic effects on the diamond’s price.
Something important to note about diamond color is that most variation in hue cannot be seen with the naked eye: they require an expert. Cut has an effect on its brilliance: not the color.
A pure, translucent diamond would never be discolored on purpose. You may have seen diamonds that are more unnaturally colored, such as green or pink diamonds. This is done by a jeweler to obtain a specific appearance and they aren’t graded on the same scale used to assess the typical “white” gems.
This portion of the four Cs determines the quality of a diamond based on internal inclusions and external blemishes. The GIA uses the following scale to calculate a gem’s clarity, with flawless being the highest grade:
- FL (Flawless)
- IF (Internally Flawless)
- VVS (Very, Very Slightly Included)
- VS (Very Slightly Included)
- SI (Slightly Included)
- I (Inclusions)
Internally flawless and flawless diamonds are extremely rare, and therefore, extremely expensive. Although inclusions and blemishes might affect the stone’s ability to reflect light, most are yet again invisible to the naked eye.
Your best bet when buying is just to make sure the gem looks acceptable to you. As long as you can’t see any blemishes and you feel that the stone is the right fit for your style, then you should go for it.
Simulant diamonds are graded on the same scale, and since cubic zirconia is a durable synthetic, you can easily find a ton of fantastic options withVVS ranks or higher. This is a cost-effective option that will look just as good as the real thing.
The final component in estimating a diamond’s value is the carat weight. Note that this doesn’t necessarily refer to the size, as smaller diamonds can still hold a higher density than larger ones. Typically, the larger the carat, the pricier the stone will be.
One carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. So if you find yourself staring into a two-carat diamond, that means it weighs 0.4 grams.
Although cut usually carries a bit more importance, a large caratage can really make a bold statement. Aring with a higher weight will definitely not go unnoticed, and it can be a big influencer on the style of jewelry you decide to buy.
Which Is the Most Important Factor?
Although all of these elements should be taken into account before making your investment, the cut is arguably the most important attribute. This is really the only one you’ll notice with the naked eye, both literally and figuratively reflecting your own personal style.
You can also pay attention to the band itself that the diamond rests on. High-quality metals like stainless steel and silver might give you a sturdier foundation that does not need to be cleaned as regularly as other alternatives.
It’s also important to think about the purpose behind buying your diamond. If this is an engagement ring or a piece that will have sentimental value, you may need to weigh your options a bit more. However, if you just want to look good and be a conversation starter, there is no reason not to choose cheaper diamond alternatives. They are just as long-lasting and look just as great.
Another factor that is unrelated to the stone itself, but has a large influence over your purchase, is the manufacturer’s warranty. Jewelers with lifetime guarantees or other warranties are reliable places to purchase jewelry, as they have confidence in their products and truly care about your investment.
If all else fails, talk to your jeweler directly about what might work best for your given situation. They are there to help, and they’re professionals for a reason.
Diamonds are only so expensive because of market trends, but their rarity doesn’t help alleviate their hefty price. You can estimate how much you’ll be dropping on your next purchase by examining its Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat.
Although cut has the most influence on a diamond’s direct appearance, all of these factors can fluctuate the gem’s worth. Since these specifications are the same for diamond simulants, it means that you can save a ton of money by thinking about choosing an alternative.
Above all, you should pick something that works foryou. There are so many different cuts, colors, and sizes that you’ll be able to stock up your accessory drawer in no time.