Geological classification

What is more expensive, a diamond or a diamond?

In this article we will help you figure out how to choose a diamond. In it, we do not recommend certain characteristics, but tell you simply and clearly what the parameters for evaluating diamonds are – physical data that directly affects their quality and price. After reading our article, you will understand what you need to pay attention to when buying diamond jewelry. For a long time, there was no unified system for grading diamonds in the world. Each jeweler assigned his own evaluation characteristics to the stones and set his own price. In the middle of the last century, specialists from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) streamlined all knowledge and proposed a system of international diamond evaluation, now known as 4C. It includes 4 main pricing factors: Color, Clarity, Carat and Cut – color, clarity, weight and cut. The 4C diamond grading system quickly spread throughout the world and is now perfect. In this article we will build on it, sometimes supplementing the diamond evaluation criteria with information from the Russian GOST system.

Сolor. Diamond color

  • The colorless group includes investment stones, stones from expensive premium jewelry and jewelry from top brands.
  • The second group is used in jewelry with high-level diamonds with an excellent balance of price and quality. Stones of this group are indistinguishable to the untrained eye from colorless ones.
  • Diamonds from the third are slightly yellow, but a stone selected by an expert and set in yellow gold will both look good and cost well.
  • In group 4 – a transitional color, from colorless to yellow, cream, the so-called “champagne”. If we talk about high-quality decoration, then they are appropriate in rare cases. If we talk about the mass market, this is a very popular group due to its low price.
  • Group 5 contains stones with a noticeably yellow color, but not a pronounced one, like a valuable one, which is assessed on a special fancy scale for colored diamonds. However, if you want a yellow diamond, but there is no way to pay for a bright color, then the best solution is colors X, Y, Z.

Clarity. Diamond Clarity

Diamond is formed at the confluence of two extreme factors – enormous pressure and temperature. Such conditions are possible only in the deep bowels of the earth. Then, from the depths, the diamond comes to the surface. During the process of formation from carbon into diamond, all sorts of third-party materials get into it – from foreign gases and minerals, to its brother, coal. These inclusions form inclusions in the diamond, and then in the diamond.

Inclusions in the diamond clarity rating system are divided into 5 groups and 11 characteristics, designated by capital letters of their names. For example, F (Flawless) is flawless, and I (Included) is with noticeable inclusions.

Inclusions in a diamond will help determine whether the stone in front of you is natural or synthetic. The color and clarity of diamonds can only be determined by a professional gemologist using a special jewelry loupe. Thus, a flawless diamond of the FL category from a stone with clarity with barely noticeable VVS2 inclusions is difficult to determine even for a professional.

Pure transparent stones are much less common in nature than those with inclusions, and the rule that determines value here is the same as in color – the best clarity and highest value are those diamonds that have fewer inclusions.

  • The first group includes rare, impeccably clean and expensive investment stones.
  • The second group includes high-quality stones with extremely small inclusions. We can say that these are top-end stones that are set into high-quality jewelry.
  • The third group has the best combination of price and quality. From this group onwards, you will need the help of a competent consultant who can weed out the poor quality and select the best.
  • In groups 4 and 5, defects visible to the naked eye are increasingly common. Stones of category SI2 and below are most often found in the mass market.

Specialists literally buy a pure high-quality stone, for example, D/IF without looking at it – if it is a certified diamond, then the stone will be flawless no matter where and by whom it is sold. If a specialist is not chasing the top grades of the stone, but is looking for an acceptable price-quality ratio, then a visual inspection of the diamond is mandatory.

Carat. Diamond weight

It so happened that it is easier for people to know the weight of their diamond than to remember the parameters in millimeters. Therefore, the weight of a diamond in carats has become the main “folk” measure.

The name carat comes from the carob tree Cerátiοn. Its seeds have a unique feature – any seed weighs 0.2 grams, that is, 1 carat. In the Middle Ages they were used as weights for weighing diamonds.

Unlike gold, which costs the same gram in a small bar as in a kilo bar, the cost of a diamond increases exponentially. That is, one carat of a diamond, all other things being equal, costs significantly more than two stones of 0.5 carats each.

The second feature is an increase in price when thresholds of 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 carats, etc. are reached. A 0.49 carat diamond will cost less than a 0.5 carat stone and they will look the same. Accordingly, a consultant whose client sets the task of finding a stone at a lower price will look at the lower threshold. But this is not relevant for everyone – if you want to buy a white diamond for investment, then you need round numbers. Therefore, a large diamond with an even weight of 1.0 carats will be more expensive and more in demand than a stone weighing 1.01 or 1.09 carats.

Cut. Cut

The most common round 57-sided shape, which allows the diamond to maximize the play of light, was developed in 1919 by mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky. For more than a century, without being subject to adjustments, it has been the cutting standard.

Diamond is the name of a natural material, and a diamond is a diamond after cutting.

In addition to round, there are several other diamond cut shapes: princess, oval, pear, marquise, cushion and heart. Each of them is beautiful in its own way. It is believed that the best play of light is found in the round cut, followed by the square princess cut. We can say that a more round shape plays better than elongated shapes. A round diamond, all other things being equal, will cost more than other shapes.

Interesting fact: with a round cut, up to half the weight of the original crystal is lost, which is also why the round cut is more expensive than others.

When a cutter takes a diamond in his hands, he is faced with a dilemma – to cut the diamond to its maximum weight or to the best proportions. In the first option there will be less loss and more weight, in the second there will be a better play of light and a higher price per carat.

The second point that affects the value of a diamond is the quality of polishing of its edges. In the world, it is customary to distinguish between 5 types of cutting and polishing proportions. In the certificates they are both listed as Excellent (excellent cut), Very Good and Good (very good and good), Fair (average) and Poor (unsatisfactory). The Russian GOST uses gradations A, B, C and D, corresponding to first-class, good, medium and poor cuts.

Proportion or symmetry is the third important cutting factor. In ideal proportion, the light passes through the entire stone and comes out to the surface back to the viewer, gaining maximum play. When the proportion is violated, the effectiveness of light refraction also decreases.

In modern realities, the fifth point that adds value to a diamond is a reputable certificate. With it, the buyer is completely sure that he is buying what the seller claims. When choosing between two diamonds, all other things being equal, a certified diamond represents a transparent offer and a protected purchase.

Now you know the most important thing about diamonds. In the following articles, we will explain in detail how to buy a diamond, consider different situations: when you need to buy an investment diamond or buy a diamond ring with the best price-quality ratio, and explain how to read a diamond certificate.

Diamond and brilliant: what is the difference between these stones? And are there any differences at all, maybe they are one and the same? And if there is, which one is more expensive and better? Is it even worth buying jewelry with this mineral? The answers to all these questions are below.

Differences

Diamond is one of the most famous and sought after minerals.

It owes its popularity to several points:

  • the highest hardness, reference on the Mohs scale (10). But the stone is not very durable. What does this mean? If you run the sharp edge of a crystal across any other mineral, a scratch will remain, but the edge will not be erased. But if you hit a diamond with a hammer, it will break into small fragments. At the same time, it is impossible to scratch it with another gem;

  • prevalence. There are large deposits of diamonds on all continents except Antarctica (but precious stones have not yet been particularly searched for there due to the too high cost of production and attendant difficulties);

  • wide scope of application. They are used in the production of drills, blades, abrasives, electronics, in the nuclear and quantum fields, and, of course, in jewelry.
Materials
Color Colorless, yellow, brown, black, blue, red, pink, blue. green
Hardness 10
Luminescence Yellow, blue, green, red
Transparency Transparent
Line color No
Birefringence No
Density 3,47-3,55 g / cm³

A diamond is a cut gem-quality diamond. That is, any diamond is a diamond. But we cannot say that they are the same thing, because not every diamond can become a diamond.

The purest, largest and most beautiful minerals are cut and turned into diamonds. And the “illiquid goods” and fragments remaining after cutting are used for industrial purposes. For example, they use diamond coating on drills and bits to make holes in the hardest building materials.

What’s more expensive?

Diamonds are definitely more expensive than diamonds. After all, only the best and largest specimens are cut.

It is also worth considering that during cutting, part of the weight, that is, carats, is lost. The exact amount of “loss” depends on the quality and size of the workpiece, as well as the shape of the cut. The most waste comes from the classic 57-facet (round) diamond cut. Therefore, stones of this shape are usually more expensive than square or fancy ones.

Read also: Diamond cutting: types, types of shape, facets, grades and clarity (45 photos)

Moreover, if we talk about profits in the diamond mining industry, the direct miners account for only 10–20% of the total profits. And the lion’s share of the income (80–90%) goes to rough diamond cutters and various intermediaries who resell finished stones.

You also need to take into account that the cost of diamonds is artificially inflated. This is done through active advertising of this particular stone. A big step in popularization was made with the development of the film industry, television and radio broadcasting.

For example, the well-known line “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” from Marilyn Monroe’s song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friends,” which she performed in the 50s film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” This phrase is repeated many times in different variations to consolidate the success of the mineral.

Advertising for engagement rings is done in a similar way. Almost everyone is sure that a diamond should be inserted into an engagement ring. But sapphire, emerald, ruby ​​or alexandrite are absolutely not suitable for this purpose. Although no one can explain why. In theory, the same emeralds or alexandrites are more expensive, which means they should be valued higher. But no, they are not advertised like that, which means they are not in trend.

But when choosing a stone, not only as a beautiful decoration, but also for the purpose of long-term investment, you need to take into account that much more diamonds have already been mined than the jewelry market requires. At the same time, the level of production does not decrease over the years, and finished products are simply stored in warehouses so as not to collapse the market. So such an investment raises a number of doubts.

For comparison, the photo below shows a comparison of prices for diamonds of the same weight, cut, color and clarity in 2012 and 2023, according to the Rapaport Diamond Report price list. For convenience, stones with equal characteristics are highlighted in columns of the same color.

As you can see, absolutely all stones have fallen in price in 11 years. Only the lowest quality samples with noticeable L3 inclusions (highlighted in pink and dark green on the screenshot) more or less retained their price. Pure diamonds (without impurities) are falling in price the fastest; over the past decade they have lost up to 30% of their value.

Conclusion

All diamonds are diamonds, but the reverse does not apply. The main difference between these minerals is the presence of a cut, which improves the appearance, increases the transparency and brilliance of the stone, turning it into jewelry. But the price after such processing increases several times, and sometimes hundreds or even thousands of times. Is such a markup justified? Everyone decides for themselves.

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