So you have an antique diamond, but you are not sure how much it is worth? In this article, we have outlined the most important factors that affect the price of vintage stones, along with some suggestions on how to find out the price of your antique diamond.
Factors That Affect Prices of Antique Diamonds
Most of the factors that determine the value of an antique diamond are the same as those that drive the prices of regular diamonds: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.
In addition, a vintage stone may also have value as an antique.
Diamond Cut Quality
The proportions of a diamond’s cut determine how well the stone will return light to the eye of the observer.
The more light a diamond returns, the greater its brilliance.
Antique diamonds have old cuts that usually don’t maximize the stone’s brilliance as well as contemporary cuts do.
In general, the better the cut of a vintage diamond enhances its brilliance and sparkle, the more valuable the stone will be.
Diamond Clarity and Condition
How clean an antique diamond looks is another factor that affects the stone’s price.
The fewer visible natural flaws a vintage stone has (e.g., lines or black dots), the more valuable it will be.
The condition of the stone is also important. If it has external flaws on its surface (e.g., chips or nicks), its quality will be diminished, resulting in a lower clarity grade.
The better an antique diamond’s condition is, as evidenced by a lack of surface defects, the higher its price will be.
When diamonds are evaluated for color, it is important to see whether the stone has any visible yellow tints and how intense they are. The more colorless a diamond is, the more it is worth.
Any easily noticeable yellow hues in an antique diamond will detract from its value, and the stronger they are, the greater the drop in its price will be.
Diamond Carat Weight
Diamond carat is a measure of how much a stone weighs. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams.
Bigger diamonds are more valuable per carat because they are hard to find. Conversely, the smaller your antique diamond is, the less it will be worth, not only in absolute terms, but also per unit of carat weight.
In addition to the carat, cut, clarity, and color of an antique diamond, the stone’s value as a vintage piece can also affect its price. For example, some collectors may be willing to pay more for a diamond that was cut in a particular time period.
Antique value, however, is not something that can be determined according to well-defined pricing rules. This component of a vintage diamond’s value varies not only from stone to stone, but also from buyer to buyer, and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Using Diamond Appraisal and Grading Services
Unless you have expertise in valuing diamonds, it is recommended that you have your antique stone appraised by a certified jewelry appraiser who is also an expert in gemology. The appraisal should contain exact grades for the stone’s cut, clarity, and color, as well as an estimate of its value.
Having an appraisal for your antique diamond can help you when negotiating its price with potential buyers. In such cases, it is always best to have a document issued by a reputable third party that has established the quality characteristics of your vintage diamond.
You can also have the quality of your diamond graded by a gemological lab. The grading report you will get will contain information on the stone’s clarity, cut, color, and carat weight.
However, unlike an appraisal, a grading report does not contain an estimate of value.
Estimating Value: How Much Can You Really Get for Your Antique Diamond?
You should be aware that the value of your antique diamond as estimated by an appraiser is unlikely to be equal or even close to the price that you will get if you sell the stone to a jeweler or a diamond dealer.
In most cases, you won’t even get 50% of the price that diamonds of similar quality sell for at the store, and often, the actual figure will be around 20% or less.
If you want to make a conservative estimate of how much money you could get for your vintage diamond, look up stones of approximately the same carat weight, with the same color, clarity, and cut grades as your diamond.
Look at the average retail price for these stones, and assume that you would get around 20% of it.
(This method does not account for any vintage value your antique diamond may have.)
Additional resources: Prices for old miner cut diamonds.