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Diamond & Gem Buying Guide : How Rough Diamonds Get Their Prices

Posted on June 19 2014

Rough diamonds have character that just can’t be touched by their polished, sparkling cousins. Not only are they exquisite in their earthy naturalness, but they also are a lot more affordable than the polished variety. And certainly not because they are any less precious. Actually, we believe that they are more precious because they’ve been preserved. Also, the fact that you know exactly where these natural diamonds come from makes them priceless.

How many people (mistakenly) measure their worth based on the size of the rock on their finger? Yes, size does count but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of diamond valuation. We're going to share with you the secrets of raw diamond pricing, so that the next time you buy, or are given - lucky you! - one of these precious stones, you’ll understand what you’re paying for.

Four Factors to Consider when Valuing Rough Diamonds

So how exactly are rough diamonds priced? Diamonds aren’t known as precious stones for nothing. They’re not a dime a dozen and they aren’t mass-produced factory goods. Each diamond is unique so there is no one-size-fits-all pricing model.

There are, however, some key factors that most natural diamond dealers will look at when pricing the stones. Let’s take a look at each of these:

  • Location, location, location. No, we’re not talking real estate here, but it sure is important in the diamond world too. This is one of the most crucial factors to us at The Raw Stone, and is what our entire philosophy is based on. Basically, the diamonds you want to stay away from are conflict diamonds (blood diamonds). Conflict diamonds were sourced from countries that have not been approved by the Kimberley Process, and are funding conflict with profits from their diamond industry. These loose diamonds may have a very pretty price tag (because they are often smuggled out of their country of origin and bypass typical laws and regulatory agencies), but where they come from is certainly not pretty. When you buy from The Raw Stone, you will have peace-of-mind knowing that your stone is a conflict-free diamond.

The Marange Diamond Fields - A conflict diamond site with unsafe working conditions

  • The pre-cut structure of the rough diamond. These are classified as octahedrons, dodecahedrons, crystals, cleavages, flats, macles, rounds, cubes, and boart. Each structure or shape has a different yield – that is, a number of carats of cut diamond you would get out of the raw diamond. For example, when stones are cut, the final product will weigh around 50% the weight of the original stone, and cut flats will weigh only 25% of the original diamond. The higher the yield, the higher the price. Before being priced, a gemologist will look at the crystalline structure of each of the loose diamonds to determine the quality and will base the price also on this

Octahedron and dodecahedron rough diamonds

  • Color and clarity. Color ranges from D through M, and clarity can have a rating from IF to I3. The clearer the diamond the higher the price will be. Also, diamonds that are closer to D in color will cost a lot more than those closer to M. The flaws in diamonds are also examined – the fewer flaws a raw diamond has, the more valuable it is.

Color grading scale - can be used for rough or polished diamonds

  • Carats or the weight. These features will be examined before anything is done to alter the stone. Gemologists can also factor in the estimated weight of these industrial diamonds after they have been cut and finished. Typically, for each category of rough diamond - low quality industrial diamonds, higher quality industrial diamonds, cuttable rough diamonds, and fancy rough diamonds - the higher the carat/weight, the more expensive the stone.

If you're still confounded by the mystery of rough diamond pricing, we invite you to contact us directly. We'd be happy to speak with you about any of our stones, and how you might make the best buying decision possible!

Or, get an idea of pricing by viewing our inventory here, or be in direct touch.

 

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