How Are Diamond Prices Calculated?

Diamond prices include every step involved in creating a glamorous, desirable gem. Price setting begins with the cost of the rough diamond, takes in expert cutting and polishing, grading and certification, wholesale and retail mark-ups. All this happens before the design inspiration that transforms loose diamonds into jewellery masterpieces.

Mining for rough diamonds

The fact is, it takes around 250 tons of earth is mined to produce a single one carat diamond. The cost of these operations is high and rewards slim. The majority of diamonds (around 80%) are unsuitable to be further processed as gems. At this point, the diamond price is essentially set by the cost of mining the stone, which for all intents and purposes looks just like a pebble.

Cutting and polishing stones

After being traded for the first time, rough diamonds typically travel to a cutting and polishing centre. Of course, Antwerp in Belgium is well known as the city of diamonds. But today there are many other centres around the world where rough diamonds are sawed into and polished into loose gemstones in the deft hands of expert cutters. A great deal of the rough diamond is lost during this process, for example:

A 0.97 carat diamond started out as a piece of diamond rough weighing 3.24 carats and after being sawn the rough weight was 2.58 carats.

A 1.10 carat diamond started out as a piece of diamond rough weighing 3.32 carats and after being sawn the rough weight was 2.55 carats.

A 1.60 carat diamond started out as a piece of diamond rough weighing 4.25 carats and after being sawn the rough weight was 3.84 carats.

The next time these loose diamonds are traded, the price will take into account the initial cost of the rough stone, gem volume lost during cutting and polishing as well as the high security transport and diamond cutter’s fee.

Diamond grading and certification

The next step along the way is grading and certification. Only loose diamonds certified by a renowned organisation, such as GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) can be accurately priced. This is because diamond graders use an agreed set of measures to determine a loose diamond’s quality. Most buyers are familiar with the 4Cs of diamond grading, which are an important part of diamond certification.

Each stone receives an internationally recognised grading certificate stating its features and quality. The cost of grading, including a copy of the certificate is incorporated in the wholesale diamond price.

Wholesale diamond sales

Once graded, loose diamonds move to the global wholesale market. At this point, the gemstones that began life looking much like rubble are ready to become a lifetime investment. Perhaps as a gleaming diamond engagement ring centrepiece, desirable diamond earrings or a perfect pendant. Today, loose diamonds prices are typically driven by world markets but many wholesalers still carry stock at significant mark-up.

Retail diamond prices

Some manufacturing jewellers still design custom rings and other diamond pieces to order. But, after purchasing the loose diamond, jewellery retailers generally manufacture sale-ready pieces. These are the items you will see priced at full mark-up in the jewellery shop window.

So that’s how the price of your diamond is arrived at. By purchasing a diamond at Ice Envy, you will avoid the final and largest price hike in the process. Our online diamond search gives you access to wholesale diamond prices and stock available worldwide.

Explore our wide diamond collection and find your perfect stone at the perfect price. Arrange a consultation here.