Obviously this is a very wide ranging question, but what I’m focusing on is an overall strategy for getting the RIGHT price on a diamond, which I will break down into two answers: one for loose diamonds and the other for a diamond already mounted in a ring.
The first answer is for a loose diamond, where the only things you’re paying for are the size (carat weight), the color grade (how strong of a white color grade the diamond does or does not have), the clarity grade (how many imperfections are trapped inside the diamond, i.e. dark spots, gas bubbles, white spots, cracks, cloudiness etc.), and most importantly the quality of the cut (how properly the diamond is shaped and how accurately the angles are cut on the diamond so the maximum amount of light and sparkle is created by the stone). Each of the three categories (cut, color, and clarity) determine approximately one-third of the price of the diamond. Carat weight is a given, the bigger the diamond the more value it has.
With all that being said, the first way to start determining the current value of any diamond is to ONLY compare with sellers of diamonds that you know are honest, straight forward dealers with good word of mouth reputations. If you don’t know any, take the time to ask friends and find some!
When you find a couple of reputable jewelers, compare their prices with the prices of the most expensive diamonds of any same size and quality on any internet list of certified diamonds (certified by the GIA or EGL-USA). The most expensive diamonds with the same quality grades usually have no undetectable problems or are the most accurately graded. These internet prices along with those from reputable jewelers should all be somewhat similar. This is the single most important way to find the true current value of any diamond, without exception.
A complete diamond ring
The second answer involves having to determine the value of a diamond already mounted in a ring with other side diamonds. Actually, it’s quite simple. You must request the exact weight and quality in writing on an appraisal of the center stone all by itself, and then follow the example I gave above for the loose stone. It is important you know how much you’re paying for the ring and side diamonds versus the center diamond.
Many times not even the jeweler can tell you how the cost breaks down for the center diamond verses the ring. If the jeweler or salesperson can’t tell you this, it’s time to go to another store. If your jeweler doesn’t know what they’re selling you, you’ll never be able to trust you’re getting an accurate quote on the price vs. quality of the diamond or the ring itself. The details of an accurate appraisal are also very important when it comes to having the same diamond replaced by your insurance in case of loss.
Don’t shoot for TOO low a price
Everyone wants to believe they’re smart enough to search out that fantastic deal, and that type of thinking lays the groundwork for someone to recognize you as a gullible consumer ready to believe anything that will save them a dollar. I cannot even begin to tell you about all the dealers who find every way possible to make you believe you’re getting a better deal than is honestly possible. Read What’s the catch behind the AMAZINGLY low price?
A prime example of this would be all the diamond inventory lists on web sites such as Blue Nile, etc. The prices always start out ridiculously cheap and by the time you’re at the bottom of the list they are a much higher but more realistic price. And, interestingly enough, they’re all the “same quality”. This leaves most people believing they can purchase a diamond for a very cheap price, because they only look at the first few diamonds at the beginning of the list. Consumers who are a little smarter, however, look at the entire list and need answers as to why there is a such a huge range of prices for the same quality and size of diamond. A large majority of the time the price difference is contributed to how well the diamond is cut (AKA the most important part!). There could also be a number of other hidden problems with diamonds that are graded much cheaper but appear to be the “same quality” on paper.
Check out some of our other posts on Diamonds