My lovely wife kept asking me for diamonds, and I kept explaining to her that the whole diamond market is a fabrication of the marketing industry, they're really not that valuable, they are just marketed well, and supply is carefully restricted to keep from flooding the market.
But try as I might, my wife didn't see it this way, I guess the reality is that they are very attractive things, and there is a lot of prestige involved in their ownership, and when I eventually succumbed, after doing a whole bunch of research, I came to realise that they are a great way of showing someone you love them.
Anyway, in working out what sort of diamonds to buy my wife, and where to get them, I found out everything I could about them, and this report contains everything I learned.
Diamonds are a form of carbon and are the hardest material known to man. The high dispersion of light and hardness makes diamonds very useful for both jewellery and industrial applications. The name "diamond" derives from the Greek "adamas", meaning "invincible". The popularity of diamonds has increased substantially since the 19th century, mostly due to the increase in supply and improvements made in cutting and polishing techniques. Also the world economy growth and innovative and successful advertising campaigns have managed to help the Diamonds business. As you will see a bit later in this report, diamonds are commonly evaluated using the "four C's": carat weight, clarity, cut, and colour.
The objective of Diamond appraisal is determining the dollar value of the appraised jewel. This is usually done for insurance purposes or to determine the real market value of an item. Be sure you do it before purchasing anything if it is of substantial value, or you are uncertain of its provenance.
When you get a report for an appraisal, you should be sure you get a document explaining in detail the type of value that is being sought and how the appraisal will be used, what kind of methodology was used and resources it relied upon, the locations and dates of inspection, and the effective date of valuation. Also it should include a statement by the appraiser, where it's mentioned that they have no financial interest in this particular property. Also it must include the appraiser's qualifications and legal signature.
You should be very concerned if you get an appraisal in the following conditions: if the appraisal is not signed or it's handwritten, the fee is based upon the property's value or on some contingency. Also if the appraiser is not available or willing to defend their statement in a court of law this would ring warning bells.
This is maybe the most important property to consider when looking for a diamond, and is the only one that depends exclusively on man. A Diamond cutter's job is extracting the most profit and beauty from the rough stones. To do so, he must deeply and carefully analyse them before starting this meticulous job. The cut refers not only to the diamond's shape, but also to its proportions and finish, these are the factors that determine the sparkle of each diamond.
Using one and the same stone, it is possible for the cutter to go either for a beautiful result, despite having a heavy weight loss and most surely a huge loss in monetary value, or go for the income and lose brilliance and sparkle but having the maximum weight and monetary value for the stone.
Even when we have two equal polished diamonds, both having the same carat size, the same clarity, the same colour, they may look completely different. And why is that? There can be many different facets, and shapes in a diamond. Also the weight can be distributed in different parts of the stone, transforming completely the aspect of the gem.
If you're wishing to extract the most beauty from a diamond, the goal is to have light enter it, disperse as it bounces inside the Diamond, and producing all those different colours and sparkly effects, returning as much light to the eye as possible.
The clarity of a diamond measures how "clean" the diamond is. The cleaner the diamond, the higher the price you must expect to pay for it. Most diamonds are imperfect, mostly because they contain small "inclusions", and not because their cut fails to meet perfection. The scale of clarity measures the severity of these imperfections.
These inclusions may include:
It's very important to check where these inclusions are located in relation to the diamond's cut. Some of them are more noticeable when positioned in specific areas of the diamond, while others may be a bit more hidden.
If you take an example for this, a deep but almost invisible break in a diamond, especially when you look at the stone face-up, can have a greater impact on its clarity, than just a small black crystal that you can see very clearly at a glance.
Clarity imperfections have a great influence on the cost of diamonds. Depending on the type of imperfections and their amount, the cost can vary 3 or 4 times.
This is the second most important factor of a diamond in what's price related, just after the carat weight. It may sound logical, but then again did you know that diamonds exist in every rainbow colour?
Grading colour typically involves checking how close a stone's body-colour is from colourlessness. Most diamonds have at least a little trace of brown or yellow body-colour. With some exceptions, the natural fancy colours, such as purple, pink, red, or blue, the colourless grade is really the most valuable.
If a diamond doesn't contain enough colours to be called "fancy", then it should be graded in a standard scale of colours that range from Colourless to Light Yellow, from "D" through "Z". A "D" colour diamond is considered to be colourless. Conversely, if the colour is even more intense than "Z", it is then considered fancy. A fancy yellow diamond most time sells for a higher price than a regular light yellow one.
Diamonds can only be graded by Labs if they are not mounted, or "loose", and using a special light. Once a diamond is mounted on a necklace, for example, even well trained professionals can't always tell the difference between a "D" colour, and an "E" or even "F" colour diamond.
So, colour as a great influence on the cost of the diamond. Taking a typical Diamond, for example, the cost of a "D" colour diamond can be more than the triple of an "H" one.
Carat weight is the X factor when it comes to pricing a diamond. The carat is a metric which equals 0.2 grams, and it's the standard unit of weight for diamonds and almost all other stones. Assuming all other factors are the same, the heavier the stone is, the more valuable it is.
How to express "Carat":
It's very important you don't mistake carat weight when referring to the dimensions of a stone. This refers to weight only. Why is that? Well, mostly because weight can be hidden at different parts of a stone. You can have well-cut, deep, or shallow Diamonds. Some may appear much larger than others due only to its cut, even though the carat weight is exactly the same.
Prices are expressed as "price per carat", so when it's said that the Carat Weight has the biggest impact on the price of the diamond, we're referring to the unit price per carat, and not just the overall price of the whole stone itself.
It's common that people don't care about the other C's because they're wishing to get the largest stone possible with the budget they have. But you might agree with my wife on this point, that it's how sparkly the diamond is, along with it's cut, that makes the biggest impact to how you perceive your diamond. I guess it all comes down to personal choice on this point.
Depending on the category of prices (0.50-0.69; 0.70-0.89; 0.90-0.99; 1-1.49; 1.50-1.99 Carats) the price can be as much as $1000 more per category jump, so beware of this when you're looking for large gems near each category of prices.