Are big diamonds rare? When you look at celebrities, it seems like massive diamonds are in short supply! But out of that rarefied realm, are these outsized stones more scarce than their smaller counterparts?
Are Big Diamonds Rare?
First, let’s answer the more basic question: are diamonds really that rare? Not particularly, no. But as with any question in the diamond world, the answer is a bit more involved. Diamonds as a substance are not all that uncommon; in fact, stones like rubies and emeralds are far more scarce.
However, to produce just one carat of diamonds, a mine unearths about 200 - 250 tons of ore. When they sift through that, only about one-fifth of the diamonds are “gem quality.” The other 80 percent, which lack the color and clarity needed for jewelry, are used in industrial applications from computer chip production to construction machinery manufacturing.
An oft-cited statistic is that the average size of a stone coming out of a mine is just .10 carat. So, yes, there is most definitely an element of rarity there in that large diamonds are not popping up out of the ground, ready for the next celebrity engagement!
Rarest of the Rare
Take the unrivaled 102.34-carat brilliant big diamond cut stone recently auctioned by Sotheby’s. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), it is the “largest round-shaped, D color, flawless diamond ever graded.” Imagine a diamond that sits, cool and dazzling, in the palm of your hand. And taking up quite a bit of space - if anything could make Liz Taylor’s stone seem small, it’s this!
The diamond, which was sold to a private buyer at a price that significantly exceeds that of any other colorless diamond ever sold at auction per carat, is absolutely pure. It contains just carbon, which imbues it with startling clarity.
An interesting note: the diamond, which goes unnamed, was mined in Botswana and weighed in at 425.40 carats. It took over six months of meticulous, exacting study, mapping, cutting, and polishing to transform the rough stone into 25 diamonds, including, of course, the awe-inspiring 102.34 flawless beauty. (Another interesting note: while Sotheby’s has kept the price under wraps, it is expected to be north of $34 million.)
Does Rarity Influence Cost?
In a word: yes. Of course, it does, to some extent. However, rarity is just one of the influences involved with a diamond’s cost. Carat weight, while important, is also just one factor in the equation.
As mentioned, the other three C’s also contribute. In fact, many experts argue that cut is even more important when it comes to the beauty of a stone than its carat weight. For example, an exceptional cut with great clarity maximizes brilliance, fire, and scintillation. In other words, it gives the stone the attributes that are prized in a diamond: shine, sparkle, and a lively, dynamic interplay of light and reflections. Even if the carat weight is smaller, the diamond appears more magnificent.
That said, external factors - those outside the hands of even the most skilled, painstaking cutter - hold sway over cost. One of these is the often remote location of mines. They are located on the frozen terrain of Canada and Siberia to the hard-packed soil of Australia and Africa. Simply put: it costs a lot to transport equipment and labor to these spots, and it creates complex logistical challenges requiring equally complex (and pricey) technology.
All of these issues aside, the answer to the original question is that, yes, big stone diamonds with exceptional color and clarity are quite rare.
That said, you can find larger carat stones that will help elevate your business in the eyes of your clientele. They may not be 102.34 carats - but they do not have to be! A “smaller” large diamond (18 ct or so has a nice ring to it!) has the potential to transform your offerings and inventory.
Learn more from the experts at K. Rosengart.