How Much is That Ring on Your Finger Really Worth?

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Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, they say. It’s easy to see why. They’re beautiful gemstones that look great when worn as jewelry. They’re quite expensive, too, so they also double as status symbols.

Interestingly, diamonds aren’t expensive because they’re rare. There are huge mines all over the world, resulting in demand exceeding supply. Part of what makes diamonds costly is the extensive labor needed to extract them from the mines. Also, diamonds need to be cut and polished before they end up on a ring or a necklace. The amount of workmanship that goes on rough diamonds to transform them to valuable gems has a corresponding cost that adds to their price tag.

This brings us to a very important question: Just how much does diamond jewelry cost? It depends on four factors — cut, clarity, carat, and color.

natural fancy colored diamonds

Newly mined diamonds look like sea glass, not the beautiful and sparkling gems that they are known for. They get their distinctive shine only after being cut and polished by a skilled craftsman. A masterfully cut diamond has brilliant facets that glint under the sun or any other light source. Cut refers to the symmetry of the diamond’s proportions, not to its shape.

The clarity of a diamond determines its purity. Imperfections get in the way of light going through the diamond, which in turn affects its brilliance. Thus, it’s ideal for a diamond to be flawless, or at least, to have very few blemishes. Flaws visible under 10 x magnifications lower the clarity grade of a diamond. The higher the clarity grade of a diamond is, the more expensive it costs.

Diamonds are not measured by size, but by carat weight. For easy measurement, a carat is equally divided into 100 points where one point is equal to 2 milligrams. Thus, a one-carat diamond weighs 200 milligrams. The heavier a diamond, the more expensive it is. However, two diamonds of the same carat weight may differ in value depending on the rest of the other Cs (cut, clarity, and color).

Although typical diamonds seem to be white or transparent, many of them have hints of colors, usually brownish or yellowish tones. In general, colorless diamonds are considered the most common, and prices fluctuate. They are well-liked because they let light go through them very easily, resulting in a beautiful rainbow effect. Natural fancy colored diamonds are the rarest of all gemstones. The more color saturation, the more expensive and rare they are.

If you’re planning to buy diamond jewelry, don’t forget these four Cs!  Whether you prefer colorless or natural fancy colored diamonds, the four Cs play a big role in determining their final tag price.

For more fashion pieces by Jillian Johnson follow her @MissWritey.