A useful tip to know when shopping for loose diamonds is that diamond prices are always changing. Much like gold or antiques, prices for diamonds and gemstones fluctuate depending on market trends, seasonality, and other factors.
An unfortunate side effect of this knowledge is that many otherwise savvy diamond shoppers will take it to mean that there is no way to approximate an average diamond price. While a specific, catch-all dollar amount can be hard to pin down because of the changing market and diamond seller markups, a reasonable dollar range estimate is always possible. When you break diamond pricing down by carat weight, it becomes even easier to narrow down an average price.
Read on for some useful questions and answers about diamond prices, what affects them, and how you can figure out average diamond prices to help you shop.
How do the other 4Cs affect price?
Aside from carat weight, the other 4C grades – cut, color, and clarity – all have their own individual effect on pricing. A diamond’s cut has the largest influence on its cost, with clarity and color having slightly less of an impact.
An essential fact to remember if you are talking about average diamond prices is that all of the 4Cs must remain constant. For example, a 2 carat diamond with an Very Good cut grade, D color, and VVS1 clarity will be much more expensive than one with a Good cut grade, H or I color, and SI1 clarity. There is no way to get an accurate picture of average diamond prices without assuming that all but one of the 4Cs remains the same.
Does diamond shape affect price?
Shape does have an effect on average price per carat weight. Round cut diamonds, along with being the most popular shape by far, have the most expensive cost per carat weight. The emerald cut has the second-most expensive cost per carat weight, because most of its weight is concentrated towards the bottom.
On the other side of the spectrum is the princess cut. During the diamond cutting process, princess cuts waste the least amount of rough. Also, its shape makes it so that all of the weight of a princess diamond is in its table. These two features combine to give princesses the lowest cost per carat weight of all the diamond shapes.
Does certification affect price?
A certification report does affect the price of a diamond, but this does not mean that you should start seeking out uncertified diamonds to save money on your purchase. On average, a certification and grading report from the GIA or AGSL will add $150-$200 to a diamond’s price. In my opinion, a certificate is a necessary added cost. You can even see it as similar to insurance; the grading report verifies the diamond’s authenticity and justifies its price by detailing the stone’s 4C grades.
For some diamond jewelry pieces, however, it is difficult or impossible to obtain a certification report. Most pre-set diamond earrings and pendants do not come with grading reports, but you can get a detailed value appraisal (go to more than one appraiser if you want to be able to compare) to ensure that you are getting a fair price.
Where is the most dramatic change between carat weight prices?
The steepest drop-off (or jump up, depending on how you look at it) in price per carat weight occurs between 1 and 2 carats. 2 carats and higher is when diamond prices start to increase dramatically, even within the same carat range.
I will try not to spend too much time on the math lesson portion of this post, but it is important to know that diamond prices increase logarithmically. In short, this means that in the smaller carat ranges – say, from 0.1 – 1.00 carats – prices do not rise as drastically. However, the difference in price between a 1 carat diamond and a 2 carat is much larger. Once you hit 2 carats and above, prices climb higher and faster as carat weight increases.
See the sample graph below for a better picture of average diamond prices by carat:
This chart was based off of round cut diamonds with Very Good cut grades, E color, and VVS1-VVS2 clarity. You can see the steep climb between 1 and 2 carat diamonds, and how prices really start to jump up after 2 carats.
Do you have a certain diamond carat weight that you’re looking for? What’s the “perfect” carat weight or budget, in your view? Feel free to share photos and any further questions in the comments below!