What makes a diamond valuable - and valued? What makes it expensive? And what makes it treasured and prized? The answer is, like a brilliant diamond, multi-faceted. Monetary worth is, of course, far different from sentimental worth, but it is still important to have a solid understanding of the value of your diamond piece in terms of the market. Let’s take a look at the factors that do - and do not - influence value.
What Makes a Diamond Expensive?
There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to the factors that make diamonds valuable. Take the issue of rarity, for example. Many people are under the impression that diamonds are ultra-rare. This is not strictly true. In fact, when it comes to precious stones, diamonds are relatively common. Tanzanite, alexandrite, painite, red beryl, black opal, and other stones are far more rare, as are emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. A carat of Painite, for example, is worth as much as $60,000.
Many people also believe that “bigger is better” when it comes to diamonds, and that size equates to value. Well, this isn’t entirely wrong. It’s not entirely right either. Carat weight is one factor in value - and not even the most critical. Arguably, cut, color, and clarity are more important, but all four Cs work together to influence sparkle, brilliance, and value.
Now, there are some issues with supply that can influence value. For example, yellow and pink diamonds are in relatively short supply, and as it takes the Earth a good three billion years to produce these stones, there is a finite number to be mined. However, more mines are opening and there is a growing demand for recycled and reclaimed diamonds.
What really makes a diamond expensive - or valuable, depending on your definition - is not supply. It’s demand.
Unearthing the Value of a Diamond
Diamonds have been prized for millenia; Ancient Greeks, for example, believed the stones had mystical powers, and Austrian Archduke Maximillian showed himself ahead of the trend when he proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring in 1477. However, it wasn’t until De Beers began its intensive marketing campaign (“A Diamond is Forever”) that people began to truly associate diamonds with love. And the bigger and pricier that rock, the greater the love!
That is not to say that the value of diamonds is simply and solely a marketing ploy. They are of worth in their own right, formed over billions of years and possessing undeniable beauty. Factors that do influence the value and cost of a diamond? You guessed it: the four Cs.
Any finished diamond has value: how much is influenced by its cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. Not all diamonds are created equal (though we think all are created beautiful!), and these grade differentiators determine just how much.
The Question of Value - and Lab Grown Diamonds
But what about stones that are chemically identical but manufactured in just days or weeks as opposed to billions of years? How does this play into the value of diamonds?
In a recent debate at the Dubai Diamond Conference, panelists representing both the lab grown and natural diamond markets squared off. Amish Shah, president of Atlr Created Diamonds, argued that, “The value of the diamond is built when you package it and brand it in the consumer’s eye. The origin - i.e. whether it’s mined or made - doesn’t guarantee a value.”
In other words, yes, it is marketing that determines value. De Beers took issue. Stephen Lussier, the brand’s marketing guru, said “We can differentiate by origin because it’s a different thing scientifically, environmentally, in its social impact and in the consumer attitude. A natural diamond is inherently rare and precious.”
It’s inherently real. While there is an emerging resale marketing for lab grown diamonds, it is not comparable to that for mined diamonds.
Many factors play into the value and cost of a diamond. Not the least of which is the emotion and sentiment: whether it’s an engagement ring, an anniversary bracelet, or a set of earrings your gifted yourself to celebrate your promotion… worth is what we make of it. What makes a diamond valuable? Well, the value, the pleasure, the joy, and the love you derive from it.