Diamond Prices - How to Get the Value without the Cost?

1 carat diamond price is $6,000
2 carat diamond price is $21,000

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Well, the above is true - but only for a very specific 1 & 2 carat diamonds which I recommend (and will explain below along with more actual diamond prices). Diamond prices are complicated. Their true value is determined by dozens of factors. At least that’s what they often tell you. It’s true, but it really doesn’t have to be that complicated.

Diamond Prices

You are welcomed (and recommended) reading this 5 minutes pricing guide that will easily save you 20-30%. However, if you are in a rush you can jump directly to current diamond price chart.

Diamond Prices Explained

In short… A diamond’s value is set by its appeal. Trying to regulate the industry and create a standard for diamond comparison, a methodology of diamond grading was set by the GIA and it is called the 4 C’s of diamonds.

The 4C’s stand for - Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. As I mentioned above, in reality it is more complicated than that and as diamond dealers we look on dozens of factors but this grading system does do the trick in providing good estimates for the diamond’s value by enabling us (and you) to compare similar diamonds. The only thing missing is a chart that states how much is each worth and here to fill in the void entered Martin Rapaport who invented the diamond price chart…

What is the Diamond Price Chart?

The diamond price chart, also known as Rapaport Price List or just “The List” is a matrix that provides a benchmark to a diamond’s value based on its 4 C’s.

Since a matrix is two dimensional and there are 4 C’s then there are several price charts – each is of a weight group. Also, Cut, even though often considered as most important C is not in the chart but is given weight by discounting diamonds that are poorly cut.

Here is the Rapaport price chart for round diamonds weighing 0-5 carats:

Diamond Price ChartDiamond Price Chart

As you can see, each cube / each matrix represents a weight class. On the left you have the diamond’s color and on the top you have the diamond’s clarity. To know the diamond's value, find your weight class's matrix, crosscheck the row of your color with the column of your clarity and you get the result. Just note that the results are in hundreds. Meaning that 89 is actually $8,900. Also, more importantly, diamond prices are per carat! A system that has its own disadvantages, or advantages if you know how to use it (explanation below).

The Hidden Dangers in the Diamond Price Chart

The problem with the diamond price chart is not what’s in it but rather what’s not. People tend to rely too much on the chart not knowing its limits. Consider the following two diamonds below – which do you like better?

1 Carat Diamond Valued $7,500
1 Carat Diamond Valued $6500

Both diamonds above have the exact same certificate - both are 1 carat diamonds, G color, excellent cut with vs2 clarity and… The diamond price chart puts them both under the same value. However, given the black inclusion in the center of the table of the right diamond, I assume you’d prefer getting (or giving…) the one on the left. But, as you can imagine, you are not the only one to prefer the diamond on the left and therefore its value is indeed higher. The 1 carat diamond on the left costs $7,600 and the diamond on the right costs $6,500...

As seen above, not all VS2 diamonds are alike and priced alike. And this is a problem that was caused by something that does get representation on the chart. What about attributes that are not on the chart?

  1. Cut Quality
    1 Carat Diamond Valued $5,400 - Poor Cut
    Cut is interesting and many claim it’s the most important of the 4 C’s and for a simple and logic reason – you want a diamond for its brilliance and sparkle. If its poorly cut – who cares of its color or even size?

    When considering diamond cut, aside for its measurements like depth and table size, you should also take into account polish & symmetry. The difference between a poorly cut diamond and an excellent cut diamond can be 30% when all other factors are the same. The diamond here is yet again 1 carat, G color, vs2 clarity only this time with Poor cut grading. The value now is $5,400
  2. Fluorescence
    Diamond fluorescence refers to a bluish glow some diamonds reflect under UV light. Since it is considered a flaw, a defect, a medium to strong fluorescence reduces the price of 10-20%.
  3. Certificate / Lab
    A diamond’s certificate is often referred as a 5th C. All of the above are true only if you know what you have or what you are looking at – and you should not trust the dealers word or expertise. When it comes to the certificate, you should only consider GIA. To make the point clear, when it comes to EGL vs GIA certificates – an EGL diamond may sell for as much as half the price of an equivalent GIA diamond.

Current Diamond Prices

Below you’ll find a list of actual diamond prices. These prices are of diamonds of the highest value, diamonds that are:

  1. Excellent Cut
  2. Excellent Symmetry
  3. Very Good / Excellent Polish
  4. No Fluorescence

I chose these attributes both because in it is the only way to truly compare diamond prices and because in today’s market you may not want to waive these qualities. With that in mind, you can always reduce the price by waiving a few of the above, the easiest and least affecting on appearance that does impact the price is the fluorescence. Going to a faint to medium fluorescence will reduce the price by 5-15% and at the same time, may actually cause the diamond color to appear whiter (a positive side effect of fluorescence).

You should also remember that these are prices of loose diamonds. A price of a ring will set you back by another $400-$1,500 depending on whether you are going for the classic solitaire or a more expensive mount like a double halo and whether you go with gold or platinum.

1 Carat Diamond Prices

1 carat diamonds are as classic as it may get when it comes to engagement rings. In fact, considering that the average engagement ring for the last few years is just beneath $6,000, 1 carat diamonds are probably as high as you can go.

D $17,250 $14,750 $12,000 $10,500 $9,750 $7,400 $6,250
E $12,750 $12,000 $10,350 $9,500 $8,500 $7,000 $5,750
F $11,000 $10,500 $9,750 $9,250 $8,000 $6,500 $5,500
G $9,000 $9,000 $8,800 $8,000 $7,250 $6,000 $4,900
H $8,000 $7,800 $7,800 $7,250 $6,750 $5,800 $4,900
I $6,750 $6,400 $6,250 $6,000 $5,500 $5,000 $4,500

The marked cell of a 1 carat diamond for $6,000 with G color and SI1 clarity is my recommendation for best value for money diamond. It provides a good white diamond color that will work with both white gold and yellow gold and is basically as good as the eye can see.

The affordable alternative to a 1 carat diamond would be running a wider search of diamonds weighing 0.90-0.99ct that are still cut very good to excellent but may include fluorescence. This search will get you a very similar looking diamond for approximately $4,350! And if you are going for yellow gold setting you can drop to H color diamond at $4,000.

2 Carat Diamond Prices

In recent years with the economic depression and the drop in demand for luxury goods, prices of diamonds declined - especially in such in bigger more expensive diamonds. As a result, the prices of 2 carat diamonds has decreased dramatically, in some cases 30% (though still very expensive) and they have become far more common.

To answer the question of how much a 2 carat diamond costs, check the chart below:

D $67,500 $57,500 $48,000 $41,500 $32,500 $25,500 $21,000
E $50,000 $48,000 $41,000 $35,000 $29,500 $25,000 $21,000
F $47,500 $41,000 $37,500 $31,500 $28,000 $22,500 $18,000
G $40,000 $33,500 $29,500 $26,500 $25,000 $21,000 $16,000
H $32,000 $28,000 $26,000 $23,500 $22,000 $18,000 $15,500
I $28,000 $21,000 $20,000 $18,500 $17,500 $15,500 $13,500

In order to make it easier, the above price chart is of total diamond prices and not per carat. Since these are 2 carat diamonds and the price steps are HUGE price wise, I’ve recommended three options. For $21,000 you get 2 carat diamond G SI1 - again the best value for money. However, due to the differences you may very well consider H SI1 or G SI2. Keep in mind that the SI2 diamond may not be “eye clean” – especially in a 2 carat diamond. This needs to be verified.

On the affordable side of 2 carat diamonds, dropping to 1.80-1.90 carat diamond and allowing fluorescence may get you a G SI1 for $14,000-$15,000!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but my recommended 2 carat diamond costs more than three times than the equivalent 1 carat diamond. There is a reason for that. For even better bigger savings, an advanced course if you will, if you are willing to break the mold of buying a perfectly weighing 1 carat diamond or a 2 carat diamond and buy slightly smaller carat diamonds like 0.90 carat or a 1.90 carat for an extra 10-20% discount - keep reading!

What Does Diamond Price Per Carat Mean?

Price per carat is the price of the diamond divided by its weight

The practical explanation is that if you see a diamond that is priced $5,000 per carat and it is half a carat what you'll need to do is 0.50 * $5,000 = $2,500 for the diamond. And if the same diamond that costs $5,000 per carat weighs 1.50 carat then it means 1.50 * $5,000 = $7,500 for the diamond.

Comparing Prices of Apples to Apples and Diamonds to Diamonds

It may sound confusing or you may wonder why diamonds are priced this way but this is basically the same as fruits and vegetables are priced per lbs… This is extremely important because not all diamonds are the same and therefore should not be priced the same and the price per carat method allows you to better compare between two different diamonds.

Consider the following example - A man walks to the store looking for an engagement ring to his future wife. He sees a beautiful classic solitaire ring with a center diamond weighing 1.10 carat with D color and VS1 clarity for $10,200. Later, as he walks down the street he sees another store with the same ring only that the center diamond is 1.02 carat and they want $10,000. Assuming that all other factors are the same, if we'll ignore the cost of the ring itself (which should not cost more than $500) we will see that while the first diamond is about 8% "bigger" it costs only $200 more which is equivalent to 2%. This means that the bigger diamond is the better deal. He pays a bit more and gets a lot more…

Weight Matters!

Price per carat drastically increases with weight incrementPrice per carat drastically increases with slightest weight increment

It is important to know and understand that prices of diamonds increase with their scarcity. The rarer the diamond the more expensive it is. A high diamond color diamond costs more than a low color diamond not just because it is better color - but also because these are extremely hard to find. Same goes for large diamonds. It is by far harder to find a gem quality diamond weighing 2 carats than a similar diamond weighing 1 carat.

As a result, the price per carat of a 2.00 carat diamond is higher than the price per carat of a 1 carat diamond. In other words, two 1 carat diamonds cost less than one 2 carat diamond - in fact - far less...

How to Reduce Diamond Prices using the Price Per Carat System?

Let me ask you the following question – Would you rather buy a 1.00 carat diamond or a 0.99 carat diamond for 1% less? Same question regardng a 2.00 carat diamond and a 1.99 carat diamond for 0.50% less?

Most people would rather walk the extra mile (or pay the extra 0.50%-1%) to get a round weight number diamond or more correctly not to get the "just below" carat weight.

This is why ontop of what we mentioned above about the scarcity of diamonds causes higher prices, while diamonds are in fact priced per carat, the price per carat changes between weight steps or weight classes and as a result the prices of diamonds are not increasing linearly but rather exponentially - supply and demand. Meaning, that the price per carat of a 1 carat diamond is higher than the price per carat of a 0.99 carat diamond and thus the increase in total price is more than the 1% of the weight - much more.

Example with actual diamonds…:

At the time of writing these lines a 2 carat D VS1 diamond costs $40,000-$42,000 total, approximately $20,000 per carat.

A 1.90 carat D VS1 diamond costs $30,000 - which is $15,800 per carat - more than 20% less per carat and more than $10,000 total!!!

And in case you wonder, I doubt if you could find a 1.95 carat diamond because the price difference is so HUGE that the diamond manufacturer would rather settle on the cut quality than dropping from 2.00 carat to 1.95 - this "drop" will cost him $10,000... And the diamond cutter's goal is not the brightest and most brilliant diamond but rather the most valuable one.

Carat Does NOT Mean Size!

Heavy men are not necessarily bigger. On the same note, heavy diamonds are not necessarily bigger! Just keep this in mind that "settling" on a diamond that is slightly lighter does not mean that it is smaller.

And therefore - my advice to you, if you are on a budget (and we all are), instead of settling on other factors of the 4 Cs (such as diamond color), you can step a little below the weight class that you had in mind and save A LOT of money. The weight steps which have an effect on the price per carat are: 0.50 carat, 0.75 carat, 1.00 carat, 1.50 carat, 2.00 carat, 3.00 carat, 4.00 carat, 5.00 carat and so on.