The current economic crisis has prompted many Americans to sell their used, unwanted or broken diamond jewelry or loose stones in exchange for enormous payouts. This is fortunate for people in need of fast cash, since diamonds have maintained a steady value while real estate, stocks, bonds and other investments have sharply declined.
It is far more complex to appraise diamonds than it is to assay precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum. With metals, the assayer only needs to determine the weight and purity of the metal and the current market price. With diamonds, however, there are other factors to consider that affect the value of the stones. These include what are familiarly called “the four Cs”:
CARAT: The stone’s weight expressed in carats where 1 carat = 0.2 gram. The price per carat doesn’t increase proportionally as size goes up. It varies with certain established carat weights. That’s why a diamond of 4 carats is more costly than four 1-carat stones of the same quality. The weight of small diamonds is expressed in ‘points’ rather than percentage of a carat. For example, a 0.4 carat diamond equals 4 points.
CLARITY: A diamond’s clarity can be affected by various types of imperfections such as cracks, small pockets, tiny bubbles or other foreign substances that are inclusions within the stone. A perfect stone is free of these.
CUT: The way a diamond is cut affects its ability to reflect light and its apparent brilliance. It does this by refracting light from facet to facet and then by finally dispersing it out from the topmost facet of the stone. The most valuable stones generally have the greatest brilliance.
COLOR: White diamonds, or those without any coloring, are usually considered the most valuable because they permit light to be passed through and dispersed as a rainbow of colors, much like a prism does. However, if a colored diamond is bright enough, it is considered a “fancy gemstone” and may have considerable value. Pink and blue stones are most valuable.
Very few diamonds are actually colorless and most are at least tinged with color.
Red diamonds are very rare indeed. Many diamonds have some tint of yellow as a result of small amounts of nitrogen in the stone. When brighter than average, these diamonds are referred to as “canary” stones. There are also green and black diamonds which almost always have some white inclusions as imperfections in them.
Clarity, Cut, Color and Carat are all factors that our certified GIA Appraisers must take into account when appraising each stone we receive.