Have some diamond jewelry or some loose diamonds laying around? If so, you’re probably wondering “how much is my diamond worth?”
Selling diamonds and old jewelry is a fast and easy way to make a few extra bucks — especially if the jewelry doesn’t hold any particular sentimental value.
Unlike gold jewelry, a diamond’s value is calculated by many more factors than simply weight alone. Sure, many factors determine the cost of gold, but when you sell your gold jewelry, most locations calculate the value based on nothing more than weight.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to calculate the worth of a diamond on your own. Diamonds and jewelry must be appraised by qualified professionals.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get somewhat of an answer to the question “how much is my diamond worth” on your own.
Wondering “How Much is My Diamond Worth?” Here’s What Appraisers Consider…
It isn’t easy to determine exactly how much your diamond is worth. Appraisers take many factors into consideration. Color, clarity, cut and carat — otherwise known as the four Cs.
Next, the appraiser must consider the band and setting. Is it in good shape? What is the material?
Finally, other external factors contribute to the cost of diamonds such as market value. In other words, your diamond is worth exactly what other people are willing to pay for it. Still, this doesn’t mean you’ll get exactly what it’s worth (but we’ll get to that later).
The Geological Institute of America (GIA) has an official grading system for calculating the worth of diamonds and diamond rings Here’s what appraisers typically consider when you bring in either a loose diamond or diamond jewelry.
Although chocolate or pink diamonds are all the rage right now, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re worth more money.
If you have a white diamond, appraisers look to see how “white” it is. Any yellowish or brownish tints can significantly degrade the stone’s value.
When it comes to colored diamonds, the prices fluctuate even more.
Naturally occurring colored diamonds may be worth way more than white diamonds due to their rarity. The Hope Diamond, for example, is dark blue and worth nearly $250 million dollars.
Fun fact: many people possessing (or attempting to steal) the Hope Diamond throughout history have met untimely fates.
Other rare colors include yellow, pink, and red — the rarest of all.
Minerals in the soil contribute to a diamond’s color. Boron results in a blue diamond while graphite may produce a black or gray diamond.
However, manufacturers may also alter a diamond’s color. These artificially colored diamonds don’t carry the same value as their naturally occurring counterparts.
When appraisers look at a diamond’s color, they usually consider how appealing it is to the eye along with its rarity.
A grading scale ranging from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow) determines the stone’s color, grade, type, and potential value.
As appraisers evaluate color, they also look at the stone’s clarity.
At this stage, appraisers look for any defects or abnormalities called “blemishes” and “inclusions.” Blemishes are located on the diamond’s surface while inclusions are within the stone.
Most of these defects are not visible to the naked eye so appraisers use binocular equipment at 10x magnification.
After identifying any inclusions or blemishes, appraisers rank the diamond on a scale from flawless (completely clear) to included (obvious flaws or cloudiness). In between these two rankings are varying degrees of clarity including internally flawless, very very slightly included, very slightly included, and slightly included.
This system is used by the GIA, but other organizations such as the American Gem Society and World Jewellery Confederation have their own ranking systems.
Diamond inclusion shaped like a unicorn.
Inclusions or internal characteristics may include:
- Laser lines
- Twinning wisps
Blemishes on the diamond’s surface could include:
- Polish lines
- Dark spots or light spots
A completely clear or “flawless” diamond is most valuable due to its aesthetic appeal and market value.
Contrary to what the term implies, a diamond’s cut does not refer to its shape.
Instead, it describes the stone’s internal and external characteristics and crystal structure. Diamonds with a high-quality cut are more brilliant and luminous.
When appraisers evaluate the stone’s cut, they look at facets inside the diamond that contribute to three factors: symmetry, polish, and proportions.
These three factors go hand-in-hand. Diamonds with an exceptional polish are often more symmetrical and reflect light in a special way.
Diamond cutters take the cut into consideration when developing the shape and exterior cut of the diamond. In addition to considering the interior cut, appraisers also look at the exterior cut by evaluating at least three factors:
- Table size: the largest central facet. A medium size is ideal.
- Crown height and angle: angled portion on top of the diamond.
- Pavilion depth and angle: angled portion on the bottom of the diamond.
- Girdle thickness and diameter: the area between where the crown meets the pavilion
Each portion of the stone contains its own facets which appraisers will examine. When a diamond is perfectly symmetrical and exhibits crisp angles, this is referred to as the “heart and arrows phenomenon” due to the pattern’s resembling hearts and arrows.
Diamond cuts have changed drastically over the centuries. Table-cut stones or old single cuts were popular in the 15th century.
Now, several fancy cuts are available in addition to traditional brilliant rounds.
What might be the most significant factor contributing to a diamond’s overall value is its weight or carat. Carats are used for measuring the mass of not only diamonds but all gemstones and pearls.
One carat equals 0.2 grams and each carat correlates with a particular price. Diamonds that weigh more are usually — but not always — worth more than lighter diamonds.
However, size often plays a more important factor than weight. Large diamonds are almost always worth much more than their smaller counterparts. As a result, the price per carat increases as the diamond’s size increases.
This is because large diamonds are much rarer than small diamonds. And when it comes to gemstones, rarity and appearance reign supreme for determining the price.
Are the Stones Loose or Mounted?
Each situation has its ups and downs.
If your stone is mounted in a setting — like in earings or on a band — it can be significantly harder to appraise. For mounted diamonds, the appraiser will have to estimate the weight so it won’t be entirely accurate.
A setting can also hide certain flaws or give an inaccurate depiction of color and clarity. A diamond on a gold setting, for example, could make the stone appear yellowish which would decrease its value.
At the same time, you could receive more money if you sell the diamond along with a gold setting.
Setting and Band
Just like the diamonds, many factors determine the price of your setting or ring band.
The first thing appraisers consider is the type of metal. Is it silver, gold, platinum, or something else? If the diamond is attached to the setting, they’ll need to estimate the weight. Keep in mind that metals have different grades. Gold, for example, uses the karat system. (Not to be confused with carats for diamonds.)
They also take condition into consideration. Obviously, scratched bands and worn out prongs will significantly reduce the piece’s value.
The appraiser may also look at the setting’s design. Intricate patterns and shapes are more difficult to create and much more labor intensive so this increases the setting’s value.
Determining the Value of a Diamond Ring
Now you need to determine the value of the loose diamond or piece of jewelry to answer your question “how much is my diamond worth.”
Since the value of diamonds is based on much more than just weight alone, it’s hard to determine exactly what yours is worth.
Plus, the market value significantly impacts the price of your diamond. If people collectively and suddenly stopped considering diamonds to be valuable, their price would plummet.
Diamonds are only worth what people are willing to pay for them.
The rarer the diamond, the more people are willing to pay.
Once you’ve figured out how much your diamond is worth, you’ll need to find someone willing to pay close to the value. Easier said than done.
Deciding where to take your diamond after you’ve determined its value makes all the difference. Pawn shops typically sell their gemstones and gold to third parties like jewelry makers. Unless you sell the diamond or jewelry yourself, you’re probably not going to get what it’s really worth. Remember: all businesses need to make a profit off the transaction.
Even if you sell it yourself, you still probably won’t get exactly what you paid for it. Anything pre-owned usually sells for less than the same item new.
As you can see, that’s why it’s important to understand the real value of your diamond — so you can get as close to that value as possible when you decide it’s time to sell it.
Focus keyword: how much is my diamond worth?