What to Focus on When Comparing Diamond Prices
The factors that affect diamond value the most are the four major quality characteristics of diamonds, also known as the 4 Cs: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
When comparing diamond prices, you should therefore pay the most attention to how the stones you are considering differ on these attributes.
Only Compare Prices for Certified Diamonds
A diamond certificate, or a diamond grading report, is a document that describes the most important quality characteristics of a particular diamond.
These certificates are usually issued by independent grading labs and serve as third-party verification of a stone’s quality.
You should always compare prices for stones that have been certified.
Unless you are an expert in diamond grading and can analyze an uncertified diamond yourself, there is no way to tell what a stone’s exact level of clarity or color is, for example.
And without knowing how the characteristics of a diamond are graded, you won’t be able to compare its quality with that of another stone.
Try to Compare Diamonds with Certificates from the Same Issuer
When comparing the prices of certified diamonds, it is preferable that their certificates are issued by the same grading lab.
Each certification authority uses its own scales to grade diamond color, clarity, and cut, and it is hard to compare prices of stones that are evaluated using different standards.
It is true that some grading scales can be easily compared – for example, the color grades used by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society) correspond very closely.
However, this is not true of all grading scales, and very often, a certain grade on one scale will not have an exact match on another scale.
If you do need to compare the prices of diamonds with different certificates, make sure you understand how their grading scales relate, and be aware that such a comparison will have some margin of error.
Choosing a Vendor: Compare Prices for Diamonds of the Same Quality
If you are trying to compare the prices of diamonds sold by different vendors, it’s best to look at stones with the same quality characteristics, i.e., color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
Otherwise, you won’t know which seller offers you the better deal.
For example, if Store A sells a diamond for $500 more than the price of another stone you like at Store B, this price difference doesn’t tell you whether the cheaper diamond is a better buy if it’s also of lower clarity.
However, if the two diamonds you are comparing are of the same quality and one is cheaper, then you know that one of the sellers is offering you a better deal.
Note: Whenever there is a substantial difference between the prices of diamonds with the same quality characteristics but sold by different sellers, investigate what the price difference is due to. For example, one of the vendors might offer more favorable warranty terms.
Comparing Diamond Quality: Only Vary One Characteristic at a Time
It doesn’t make much sense to compare two diamonds whose color, clarity, cut, and carat are very different.
You will see that the stones have different prices, but you will not know how much each characteristic contributes to that difference.
A better approach is to compare the prices of diamonds that differ only on one characteristic but are equal in terms of all others.
This way you will know how much more or less you will have to pay for a higher or lower grade of that characteristic.
For example, to figure out how much a better color grade would cost you, compare two diamonds that have the same clarity, carat, and cut, but whose color grades differ.
The difference in price you will observe will be largely due to the difference in color.
If you do this comparison for all 4 Cs – color, clarity, cut, and carat – you will get a better idea of how much additional money you would spend or save if you raise or lower your requirements for each of these characteristics.
Consider Sale Policies and Warranties
When you compare prices, don’t forget to factor in the terms and conditions that come with the purchase of a diamond from a certain vendor.
Some diamonds might seem more expensive, but they might actually come with a more generous service plan or exchange policy.
Conversely, other stones that are cheaper might have a more restrictive return policy, for example.
Whatever you do, just make sure you also consider the terms of sale before you decide whether to buy a particular diamond over another.