Higher cut quality requires more rough material removal and leads to higher prices.
Diamond pricing involves a very complex mechanism that revolves around many different factors. At the heart of it, the carat weight of a diamond has the strongest effect on prices because that’s the factor that most consumers look at when buying a diamond.
Besides carat weight, one other factor that influences the price of a polished diamond is cut quality. In fact, the cut of a diamond can drastically increase or decrease its value.
In this write up, we will look at how cut quality affects the value of a diamond and give you some perspective of the price differences you can expect to see.
In general, you can expect the diamond’s cost per carat to increase as the cut quality improves. This is because more rough material has to be removed in order to achieve better cut proportions and symmetry when polishing the facets.
If you don’t know yet, diamonds are inherently priced by their carat weight. When more rough material is removed, the loss in carat weight for better cut quality has to be compensated with higher prices.
On top of that, there are additional costs for skilled labor and additional man-hours are required to polish an ideal cut diamond compared to a poorly cut diamond. Ultimately, economics and profitability are the main driving forces behind every cutting decision.
In the real world, it is not feasible for cutters to turn every single piece of rough into an ideal cut diamond because it will not be profitable to do so. This is the reason why the market is flooded with sub-par diamonds that are cut for weight retention and not for beauty.
And if you are wondering who on earth would buy stones with lower cut grades?
Well, the answer is definitely not me and hopefully not you as well – I want my diamonds to sparkle and be full of life. However, there are people in the market (both knowingly and unknowingly) who would still purchase poorly cut diamonds to fulfill their own budgets and carat size expectations.
The following price comparison chart is extracted using the search tool at James Allen. As you can see, there’s an incremental increase in prices when the cut rating of the diamond improves.
When buying an engagement ring, one of the most common mistakes beginners make is focusing their purchase entirely on carat weight. Don’t get me wrong, size does matter but it isn’t everything.
My take on this is; if a diamond is cut well, it will be visibly larger and more attractive than one that is cut badly. In most cases, a stone with a smaller carat weight can be a much better purchase than a larger one because of its visual appeal and costs.
Watch the following video of a diamond ring that was recently purchased. This diamond was handpicked for its superb proportions and symmetry. While it may cost a little more than the generic GIA 3Ex, the amount of brilliance and light return it exhibits is well worth the extra cost.
When diamonds are graded for cut quality in the gemological laboratory, you will notice that there are differences in cut quality even if the diamonds have the same exact rating. Take a look at 3 GIA graded diamonds below. They each have triple Excellent ratings in Cut Grade, Polish and Symmetry.
If you were only looking at the grading reports by themselves, these 3 diamonds would appear similar on paper. In reality, there’s a massive difference in beauty and performance. The better cut diamond on the right has better contrast patterning and will display much better sparkle than the other 2.
And as you can see, there is about a 10% price difference between a top of the line GIA 3Ex and a bottom of the barrel GIA 3Ex diamond.
As you can probably tell by now, I always highlight and preach the importance of cut to my readers. It is my personal belief most people will want a diamond that’s lively and not dull looking.
For people who are working with a tighter budget, my advice would be to go lower in color or clarity grades instead of compromising on cut quality. Bear this in mind, better cut will significantly improve the beauty of your diamond.
Ultimately, whatever buying decisions you make still boils down to your own preference and balancing of the 4Cs.
With all that said, I hope you had learnt something useful on the website so far. If you want to shop smart, it would require a proper analysis of a diamond’s cut quality and this goes beyond the information found in a grading report.
Take a deep breath, go for a 10 minutes break, grab a cup of coffee and then, return here to familiarize yourself with the rest of the 4 Cs. Once you are ready, I am going to reveal more insider’s tips and show you a step by step guide to choosing the best diamond within your budget.