6 Factors That Determine The Price Of Loose Diamonds

Author Lynelle Schmidt
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Date Aug 22, 2014

6 Factors That Determine The Price Of Loose DiamondsPurchasing complete diamond rings with live stones has its advantages,because it saves you time and effort in the ring buying process. But, if you have a very specific diamond in mind, you might need to start with a loose diamond instead of a complete ring that doesn't meet your exact standards.

Buying loose diamonds is one of the best ways to get exactly what you are looking for, especially if you are searching for her dream ring. Picking out the ring setting and then choosing a loose diamond allows you to have the ultimate say in the final price and "sparkle" that the ring will have.

Buying your first loose diamond can be a little like buying your first car. The process can be confusing at first, and you don't want to walk into a store without knowing a few things first. To get you started, here are some of the major factors that will determine the price of any loose diamond:

1. Carat Weight

Without question, carat size has the biggest impact on the price of loose diamonds. This may be the first question you ask yourself when trying to determine how much money you want to spend on the diamond. If you are unsure of what the different carat sizes look like, click here to see a diamond carat size scale.

Carat weight will primarily determine the size of the loose diamond you end up buying. Make sure you understand her expectations about the diamond size that she wants before deciding if the loose diamond is within your budget. There are plenty of others ways to buy diamond rings on a budget, so even if you can't provide the carat size she wants, you can still get her a great ring.

2. Cut

In the world of diamonds, the cut refers to how the facets and angles of a diamond work together to reflect light. Cut has the single biggest impact on the sparkle, brightness and the beauty of a diamond. A well cut diamond is desirable and valuable when it has that distinctive and tremendous light return, aka sparkle and fire.

In contrast, a poorly or moderately cut diamond doesn’t reflect much light back towards your eyes. So a poorly cut diamond appears flat, lifeless, dull and apparently dirty even when it is perfectly clean.

A diamond's "cut grade" doesn't tell the whole story but it does help you understand if your diamond has a great cut or a poor one. For instance, a round diamond certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) today will be given a cut grade of either Poor, Good, Very Good, or Excellent. Buying a Very Good or Excellent diamond will typically cost more because you are getting a high performance diamond.

3. Color

Color refers to how white, or "colorless," the diamond appears. The better the color, the more rare and more expensive that diamond will be. Colorless diamonds will have a grade of D, E, or F by the GIA (below):

GIA Color Grading Scale

Different diamond shapes will reflect color at different strengths, so seeing the diamond's color in person will help you justify the price you pay. It can be very difficult to see these differences online. If you want to learn more about how diamond color is graded and how it can effect price click here to download a free educational guide.

4. Clarity

Clarity is a measure of how many imperfections are in the diamond, like dark spots, gas bubbles, white spots, cracks, or cloudiness. The cleaner a diamond is (the less imperfections), the rarer it is and the more it will cost even if the imperfections are barely visible to the naked eye.

The best way to evaluate if the imperfections are noticeable is to actually look at it up close in person. If you do this, you can still buy a diamond with flaws and imperfections that looks perfectly fine in person. If you are looking for places to save, consider a lower clarity that has perfections invisible to the naked eye.

5. Shape

A diamond's shape can impact that price of a loose diamond. Below, you'll find some of the most popular diamond cuts today:

diamond_shapes

While round cut diamonds are the most popular today, they are also one of the most expensive. Round cut diamonds cost more because of higher demand and because the most raw material is removed during the cutting process. In other words, it takes a larger rough diamond to cut a round diamond than other shapes. Other fancy cut diamonds, such as princess cut, use less wasted material when they are being professionally cut so are typically less money carat for carat.

6. AGS or GIA Certified

Loose diamonds that are certified by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society) are reliable. These two institutions have very systematic and consistent ways of grading diamonds that will allow you to feel more confident with your purchase. When you buy certified diamonds, you aren't paying more for the diamond however you can be confident that the diamond's grade is true (it won't be exaggerated) and you are getting what you pay for.

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