How Do The 4 C’s Affect the Price of a Diamond?

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Did you know that you can’t tell a flawless diamond from a diamond with VS2 clarity apart by looking at them with the naked eye? Unless you’re a trained jeweler, you might not even be able to see the flaws in a VS2 diamond under 10X magnification.

Although both diamonds would appear flawless in your diamond ring or other jewelry, the price difference between these two diamond grades can be quite astounding. This is why knowing the factors that affect the cost of diamonds is so useful.

Whether you’re only looking to buy a diamond engagement ring, or you’re also looking for diamond earrings or a diamond necklace, understanding the four C’s of a diamond—carat, cut, clarity, and color—is important before buying diamond jewelry.

To help you figure out what a diamond costs for different grades, we’ve provided an information guide on how to understand the 4C’s of a diamond’s grade, and how they affect its price.

How Carat Affects Diamond Price

Many people don’t know what a carat is when it comes to diamond grades. A diamond carat refers to the weight of a diamond, not the dimensions of its size. Although higher-carat diamonds are typically bigger, the cut shape can affect the dimensions of a diamond.
How much does a one-carat diamond weigh? One carat is approximately 200mg of diamond weight.

Diamond Carat Chart

Below, you can see a chart comparing the sizes of diamonds at different carats. Because a diamond’s shape can affect its dimensions, this comparison is only for round cut diamonds.

Diamond Carat Weight Range

Average Diamond Price per Carat

Less than 0.50 ct.

$2,311

0.51 to 0.99 ct.

$3,710

1.00 to 1.49 ct.

$6,288

1.50 to 1.99 ct.

$8.059

2.00 to 2.99 ct.

$10,775

3.00 to 3.99 ct.

$14,861

4.00 to 4.99 ct.

$17,822

5.00 ct. or more

$25,291

Diamond Carat Price Chart

Here’s a price chart showing how different diamond carats affect the price of a diamond:

There’s no simple math calculation to understand how carat weight affects the price of a diamond—the many other factors of a diamond’s grade can also affect the price per carat.

For example, the price of a 1-carat diamond can range from $2,500 – $18,000. This means that an exceptionally high-quality 1-carat diamond can cost more than the price of an average 4-carat diamond.

Furthermore, these estimates for diamond prices per carat will fluctuate as the market values of diamonds change. If 5-carat diamonds lose popularity, they can cost more per carat than in years where they were more in-demand.

Diamond Cut vs Shape

Although people tend to confuse a diamond cut with its shape, these are two different categories.

Diamond cut vs. diamond shape

Here are how the definitions of diamond cut and shape differ.

  1. Cut: refers to the quality of symmetry/faceting of a diamond. Higher-quality cuts will produce better internal reflections in a diamond, making it appear more brilliant (with no dark spots.
  2. Shape: refers to the look of a diamond’s outline or the external form of a diamond. A diamond can be pear-shaped, heart-shaped, cushion-shaped, etc. The most common diamond cut shape is the round diamond.

Both a diamond’s cut quality and shape can affect how much a diamond ring or other diamond jewelry costs, but overall, shape tends to have a bigger impact on the price of a diamond.

How Diamond Cut Quality Affects A Diamond’s Price

When it comes to diamond cut quality, there are five basic grades: Excellent (EX), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Fair (F), and Poor (P).

There is also another grading scale for diamond cut quality. The GIA cut grading scale applies to the standard round diamond, and has the following grades: Excellent Cut, God Cut, and Poor Cut.

  1. Excellent cut diamonds evenly display bright light reflections. It has consistent contrasting areas of light and dark spaces, with crisply cut facet patterns.
  2. Good cut diamonds are less shiny than excellent cut diamonds, with duller areas that may be uneven.
  3. Poor cut diamonds show numerous areas of darkness or dull facets throughout the gem. They don’t reflect light as beautifully.

Here is diamond cut quality chart to show how the different diamond cut grades affect the light play in a diamond.

As you can see, the excellent cut diamond has a much brighter light display. The poor-cut diamonds (either shallow or too deep) look much darker in appearance; its facets are less sharp.

As diamond cut grade goes up, so does the price. For a 1-carat diamond with the same clarity, color, and carat, here is how cut may affect it.

  • Poor cut 1-carat diamond price: $2,000
  • Good cut 1-carat diamond price: $5,500
  • Excellent cut 1-carat diamond price:$6,000

These prices aren’t set in stone—they’re merely averages. Depending on the other factors of a diamond, the price can be significantly more or less expensive for different cut qualities. Many jewelers, for example, don’t offer poor-cut diamonds for sale in their jewelry inventory.

How Diamond Shape Affects Price

In addition to diamond cut, the diamond shape can affect the price of a diamond. The most popular shape of diamond is the round cut diamond, which is the most brilliant. That said, it’s also one of the most expensive diamond shapes.

Some diamond cuts and shapes are more expensive than others due to the difficulty in achieving certain cuts. The diamond cutter will lose more of the raw diamond in the process of cutting some shapes and retain it in others. To cut a round diamond into a brilliant shape, the cutter will lose about 60% of the rough diamond while performing the cut.

Diamond cut shapes other than round diamonds are known as fancy diamond shapes. Some of these shapes are harder to achieve than others. An emerald-cut diamond, for example, is much easier to cut without losing so much of the diamond. This is why emerald-cut diamonds are cheaper than round diamonds.

Diamond Shape Chart and Prices

Below are pictures of the different diamond cut shapes. While there are cut variations within different diamond shapes, these are the basic diamond cut shapes for jewelry.

Here is a price ranking of the different diamond shapes, sorted into more expensive vs less expensive.

The Most Expensive Diamond Shapes per Carat:

  1. Round Brilliant
  2. Marquise
  3. Pear
  4. Heart
  5. Oval

The Cheapest Diamond Shapes per Carat:

  1. Asscher
  2. Emerald
  3. Princess
  4. Cushion

This ranking can change depending on the carat of a diamond. Larger diamonds may be easier to cut into a marquise shape, for example, than a .5-carat diamond.

The other thing that can affect the price of a diamond is its popularity. Asscher-cut diamonds are unpopular for engagement rings. This means a jeweler may offer them at a discount to sell old inventory, or they may raise the price to make the most out of an item that isn’t selling well.

Overall, most diamond shapes are going to be cheaper than a round-cut diamond. If you want to save money, an oval shape diamond is good for brilliance, while emerald-cut diamonds, princess-cut diamonds, and cushion-cut diamonds make the diamond look larger for its carat size.

How Diamond Clarity Factors Into Diamond Price

In addition to the cut and shape of a diamond, the clarity grade of diamond factors into its price. A diamond’s clarity grade refers to the visibility and number of its inclusions, also called its flaws. A diamond’s flaws can consist of clouded areas, dark spots, or imperfections visible even after faceting.

There are eleven grades to describe a diamond’s clarity grades. These are the following clarity grades of a diamond:

  • FL – Flawless No internal or external flaws.
  • IF – Internally Flawless No internal flaws. Slight surface flaws are invisible to the naked eye.
  • VVS1, VVS2 – Extremely slight inclusions Very minimal internal flaws that are very hard to see even under 10X magnification.
  • VS1, VS2 – Very slight inclusions Minor internal flaws barely visible under 10X magnification. These inclusions are not usually visible to the naked eye.
  • SI1, SI2 – Slight inclusions Slight internal flaws that are visible with 10X magnification and may be visible to the naked eye, depending on the type of flaws.
  • I1, I2, I3 – Inclusions Visible flaws to the naked eye. They may affect the diamond’s brilliance quite noticeably.

Diamond Clarity Chart

Here is a diamond clarity chart with pictures to see how the inclusions affect a diamond’s appearance.

How clarity can affect the price of a 1-carat diamond.

  1. FL: $9,800
  2. IF: $7,605
  3. VVS1: $5,520
  4. VVS2: $4,648
  5. VS1: $4,317
  6. VS2: $3,971
  7. SI1: $3,386
  8. SI2: $3,010

The more perfect a diamond’s clarity, the more expensive it is. That said, a diamond’s price can vary significantly depending on the other grades. As the diamond goes up in carats, the more visible its flaws will be, so a 2-carat diamond or larger will be more expensive for higher clarity grades.

For exceptional beauty without the high price of perfection, we recommend buying diamond jewelry with either a VS1, VS2, SI1, or SI2 clarity grade. You might not notice these flaws, especially if you’re not examining your diamond jewelry under a 10X magnifying scope.

How Diamond Color Influences the Cost of a Diamond

A diamond’s color is part of the 4C’s of a diamond that refers to the degree of tint a white diamond has. A diamond with a slight yellow tint will have a lower grade than a perfectly clear white diamond.

In white diamonds, less color is desirable. This is different for fancy colored diamonds, which are graded on a different color scale than white diamonds.

  • D, E, F: colorless diamonds—all appear colorless to most people’s naked eye
  • G, H, I, J: near-colorless—most common diamond color grade; they still appear colorless to an untrained eye
  • K, L, M: faint color tint, only slightly visible.
  • N, O P, Q, R: very light color— a more noticeable tint to the naked eye
  • S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z: light tint—brown or yellow color is very noticeable

Here is a diamond color chart (with pictures of real diamonds) to see what the diamond color grades look like.

The highest color grade for a diamond is D, which is absolutely colorless. Most people will not be able to tell the difference between diamond jewelry with a D grade, E grade, F grade, and possibly even G or H grade.

The choice of metal color can affect a diamond’s appearance. Yellow and rose gold metals can make lower color-grade diamonds look more white. White gold and platinum metals can make white diamonds look exquisite.

You can save money when buying diamond jewelry by opting for the lowest color grade that still looks white to you, or buying a diamond with a noticeable yellow tint but mounting it in a warm-colored metal, such as yellow gold.

Choose the Most Important Diamond 4C’s

Because each factor plays a role in the cost of diamond jewelry, you can save money by knowing which of the 4C’s are the most important to you. If you really value a colorless diamond but don’t care if there are inclusions that you can’t see with the naked eye, you can opt for a high color grade and a mid-range clarity grade, for example.

Knowing which of the 4’Cs are the most important to you in your diamond jewelry means you don’t have to pay a higher price for a diamond with grades that don’t make a difference in how your jewelry looks. All the diamonds here at Karina jewelry fall between G+ color and SI+ clarity, so you can choose which diamonds fit your budget and preferences. Our Karini diamonds do not show tinges of a brown or gray color.

For a wide selection of unique diamond jewelry, check out our diamond jewelry collection at Karini for unique diamond rings, meaningful diamond necklaces, personalizable engravings for diamond jewelry, and more.

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