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Home : Diamond Tutorial : The 4C's plus one
 
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Cost

The most important "C" you have to think about is COST. You've probably heard the "salary guideline" of spending about two months salary on a diamond engagement ring. While it may be helpful to know what the industry is suggesting, that is probably not the best way to decide how much to spend on an engagement ring.

If you earn $30,000 a month, you can probably save 4 months salary easier than someone who is earning $1,000 a month can save 1 month's salary. And it's important to know what your fiance thinks of the matter. Every person has their own preference and communication in this matter is important.

How much does each "c" affect cost?

Let's take a typical Diamond and change the various properties to see how it affects the price:

Carat:
A diamond of G color and SI1 clarity will be in one category of prices when it is between 0.50 - 0.69 carats. In other words, the "per carat" price will be the same for a G/SI1 diamond of 0.52ct as it would be for a G/SI1 diamond of 0.63ct. If you know the per carat price, you simply multiply it by the carat weight. When you take that same quality Diamond and increase the size to the next price category, which is the 0.70 - 0.89 carat range, the price increase will be approximately $1,100 per carat. Increase to the 0.90 - 0.99 carat range and the price increase will be approximately another $800 per carat. Increase to 1.00 - 1.49 carat range, and the increase will be approximately another $800 per carat. Increase the carat weight to the 1.50 - 1.99 carat range, and the price increase will be approximately $1,200 per carat.

Color:
Let's start with a 1.00 carat diamond of K color and VS1 clarity. If you move up to an H color, you will pay approximately an extra $1,700 per carat. Move up to F color, the increase will be approximately $1,100 per carat. Improve the color to D and the increase will be approximately $900 per carat.

Clarity:
Let's start with a 1.00 carat Diamond of G color and SI1 clarity. If you move up to a VS1, you will pay approximately an extra $1000 per carat. Move up to VVS1, the increase will be approximately $700 per carat. Improve the clarity to IF and the increase will be approximately $700 per carat.

Cut:
Cut is a bit more complicated and depends on various factors, like the quality of diamond you are considering. Ideal cuts are generally much more expensive than the others. But it needs to be judged on a case by case basis. If you have any questions on this matter regarding a particular stone, grab the measurements, fill out this form and ask away.

Pricing Terminology in the Diamond Business

The price of Loose Diamonds in the wholesale market is stated in Dollars (Pesos, Dineros, Shekel, Italian Lira...) per Carat. This figure is multiplied by the number (or fraction) of carats being bought.

Example 1:
Jeweler buys 40 carats worth of diamonds from dealer at $2,000.00 per carat =
$2,000 X 40 carats = $80,000 (for 40 carats-worth of stones).

Example 2:
Consumer buys 0.50 carat Diamond from Jeweler at $3,000.00 per carat =
$3,000 X 0.50 carats = $1,500 (for 1 stone).

Sometimes Jewelers will quote to retail customers a per carat price or sometimes they will quote a price per stone. So a 0.50 ct. diamond can be quoted as $3,000.00 per carat, which comes to 0.50 x $3,000.00 = $1,500.00 for the diamond, or it can simply stated as $1,500.00 per stone. When buying a piece of Jewelry which may contain one or more type of gem, the price will always be per piece.

Total Weight

When you see "T.W.", or "Total Weight", it will refer to the total carat weight, per gem type (at least they should and usually do break it down by gem-type). So a ring with emeralds and sapphires and diamonds could say:

Example 3:
Emerald t.w. = 0.25 cts., Sapphires t.w. = 0.31 cts., Diamonds t.w. = 0.75 cts.

This refers only to the weight as measured when the gems are loose and unmounted. It has nothing to do with the number of gems contained in the Jewelry. The above example could mean there were 5 emeralds, 7 sapphires and 50 diamonds as easily as it could mean that there were 2 emeralds, 2 sapphires and 2 diamonds.

QUICK CARAT COST QUESTION:

Which would be more valuable? 100 diamonds with a t.w. (total weight) of a carat? Or 2 diamonds with t.w. of a carat?

Answer:
Two diamonds!
Why? Because "carat", which is the Second C, is more valuable the bigger it is. One diamond of 1 carat is worth more than 2 Diamonds of 1 carat.

Anecdotes from the Lab:

Cost is such an important factor that when a customer doesn't like a grade, they will often ask for a recheck. Some labs are more lenient than others when it comes to rechecks. There can be a fee if the lab stands by the original grade. If the lab made a mistake, the fee will be waived and a new report issued. There have been some cases where a dealer will submit a borderline stone to two different labs and work with the report that offered the best grade. In the old days, they might polish a girdle a little bit extra to change the dimensions of the diamond a bit in order to be able to resubmit a stone to the same lab in the hopes of getting a better grade. At GIA this will no longer work, as there is a computerized system that takes multiple measurements and properties of a diamond that it's very difficult to fool.

Next let's talk about shapes - Round Brilliant Cut -------------->



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