A major myth about diamond buying is that you have to spend a lot of money to get the best. Did you know that you can get an AGS ideal cut diamond starting at $500? Buying a diamond is a complex process. There are a lot of factors that go into pricing.
Although diamonds are rare and that certainly contributes to the price, you also must consider the labor that went into making it. Then there are the 4Cs, which drive much of the value of a diamond. Although each factor influences the price, cut is the biggest factor and can make up 60% of the price by itself. Carat weight, or size, is another important aspect.
To understand cost, it’s helpful to have a little more background on what goes into producing a diamond that is ready to sell.
The Mining Process
When diamonds are first mined, they are considered “rough.” They are then cut and polished so that they can be sold. You need approximately a 2.25 carat piece of rough diamond to cut a 1.00 carat polished diamond, since 50% of the weight is lost in the cutting process. It takes 250 tons of earth to find a rough diamond of that size!
Another thing to keep in mind is rarity. The youngest diamond on Earth is 100 million years old. That means we have a finite supply of diamonds.
Additionally, over 90% of diamonds mined are industrial grade quality. These diamonds are lower quality and have many inclusions (marks, smudges, and other imperfections that affect clarity). Many chain stores use industrial grade diamonds in bracelets and other pieces. That’s why they are able to offer these diamond pieces for such low prices; the quality is inferior.
Diamond cutting is a highly specialized job. It takes nine years of apprenticeship to learn how to cut a diamond - that’s longer than medical residencies! When you compare a well-cut diamond to a poorly cut one, you can tell the difference. A well-cut diamond sparkles, even in dim lighting. It has excellent symmetry, proportions, and polish.
Some chain stores will sell diamonds with high gradings in each area except for the cut. They will then offer this diamond for a lower price, and it seems to be a good deal. However, when you compare the poorly cut diamond to a well-cut diamond, you will be able to see the difference immediately in the way the diamond sparkles and catches the light. On the other hand, an excellent cut can make up for deficiencies in other areas.
Direct Buying vs. Brokers
Many jewelers buy diamonds from a third-party broker, and this drives up the price. When a jeweler goes directly to a diamond cutter, this extra cost is eliminated, and the jeweler is able to offer better prices to customers. Vanscoy, Maurer & Bash Diamond Jewelers has purchased diamonds from Fischler Diamonds in Antwerp, Belgium for over 35 years. We’ve built a relationship with Fischler so that we can offer you the best prices on the highest quality diamonds.
Consider the Markup
A lot of the mall stores and chain brands need to make a certain amount of markup on each sale. They are only worried about getting you to buy from them one time. Strong independent jewelers know that if they give you the best experience and the best product, you will likely return over the years because you value the relationship.
Expertise Doesn’t Cost More
A major misconception about independent jewelers is that they always cost more than chains or mall stores. Expertise doesn’t cost you more; it saves you heartache! In most cases, we are able to save you thousands on a purchase. In other cases, we offer a comparable price for a higher quality diamond.
We use grading reports from AGS and GIA, the only nonprofit organizations in the industry. Keep in mind that these reports are more accurate than other for-profit organizations, so it’s not a true apples-to-apples comparison.
You really need to see a diamond to accurately evaluate it. For example, a K color grade might sound bad on paper, but when you actually see a well-cut K color diamond, you will be totally amazed at how bright and full of sparkle it is. A perfectly cut diamond will do this. The grading report only tells half of the story. You need a trusted jeweler to help you navigate the diamond buying world.
At Vanscoy, Maurer & Bash Diamond Jewelers, we help you find a diamond in your budget. When you walk in the store, we get to know you and what you’re looking for. Then we guide you through the buying process, providing our knowledge and expertise to help you buy the perfect diamond for any budget and occasion. Stop in our store or browse our website to see what we have to offer.