Diamond is a natural gemstone that is mined from the ground. Because diamond comes from the ground and is not man made like some other gemstones, each diamond is unique and comes out of the ground with its own qualities that no other diamond has. The color, the clarity and the cut of the diamond all differ from diamond to diamond, there are no two of the same diamond. Completely clear diamonds with no color whatsoever are extremely rare and therefore cost a crazy amount of money to purchase. Most people looking to buy a diamond are not able to afford a rock that costs as much as a car. So we will be talking about the high quality diamonds that are available at a reasonable price and what the best option is at each price point.
What makes a diamond cost so much?
Diamond color grading starts at D, being the best option; completely colorless. And then goes from D down to Z being very yellow. Anything from D-J should satisfy most customers.
Diamond clarity is graded from FL/IF which stands for “flawless” or “internally flawless” and goes to I3 which stands for “inclusion” which means there are many inclusions in the stone. Inclusions can be a cloudy spot inside the stone or a mark or anything that is visible to the eye that is included in the stone. As long as it's not “I” (Included) most people are happy ok with some sort of inclusion in their diamond as the stone shines all the same and will be significantly less than a diamond with no inclusions.
The grading for diamond cut is either “ideal” or “excellent” being best, down to “very good”, “good”, and lastly “poor” or “fair” cut.
Ideal cut is when the diamond is cut to reflect the maximum amount of light entering the stone so that no light enters and leaves the stones and is wasted, it is all reflected, which looks best. This accounts for the top 3% of diamonds that are on the market. Very good cut is known to have practically the same amount of reflection as ideal and is cut just about as well. But the price is significantly lower, this accounts for 15% of the diamonds on the market.
Good cut is about 25% of diamonds and reflects most of the light that enters the stone. This is the most important factor when selecting a diamond. The cut determines how much the stone will sparkle and shine and get people’s attention when being worn so this is when it's wise to buy on the higher end.
The last factor when selecting a diamond is:
This refers to the size of the diamond. Round diamonds are cut to really small sizes such as a few millimeters to as big as several inches in the case of the biggest stones. For engagement rings the range is anywhere from half a carat to 5 carats some people going even larger than that. The average total carat weight for the center stone of an engagement ring in the US is 1 carat.
The best diamond for the best price
Most people don't need their diamond to be perfect. They don't need the best diamond that will cost an insane amount of money. Most people are happy with a diamond that looks clear and white and does not have noticeable inclusions. And is cut to shine a good amount after all that is what diamonds are known for… their shine and brilliance. So a one carat, K color, SI2 clarity, good cut goes for about $2,500.00. A half carat option with the same qualities goes for $500.00. When it comes down to it the most important factor is not size. A big stone that has bad color and bad clarity and bad cut won't look good sitting on your finger. So money is better spent on those factors rather than the size of the stone.