Purchasing raw diamonds has become a popular trend these days because it saves the buyer quite an amount of money. If you have decided to take this route rather than going for the cut, polished varieties sold in the jewelry store, you may be wondering, “How much is a raw diamond worth?”
Well, knowing the true value of raw diamonds can be a little difficult because there are dozens of factors involved. But we have done the research for you (so you don’t have to) and prepared this guide that explores raw diamond and the factors influencing its price. Ready?
What Is a Raw Diamond? What does It look like?
Also known as uncut or rough diamond, a raw diamond is a diamond that has not undergone any form of processing.
While many retailers and jewelers will mostly prefer their raw diamonds created in the lab, these gems are also available naturally; there are more than thirty countries where diamonds can be mined in the world.
Because raw diamond is not industrially processed, it is also less costly. Cutting, polishing, and all the other processing methods used to make diamond sparkly is what raises the price of this precious gemstone.
So, can you make an engagement ring out of raw diamonds?
Yes, you can. However, since uncut diamond retains so much of its original shape, it tends to be non-uniform in nature. As such, rings are often designed in a manner that matches the individual gemstone.
To change raw diamonds into faceted, polished stones, more than half of the original uncut stone is removed. The process can take more than ten hours for an experienced lapidist to perform, and will usually require special equipment. This is partly why a polished diamond will usually cost more in comparison to its raw counterpart.
Factors Influencing the Price of Raw Diamond
Raw diamonds don’t have the shine we see in cut, polished diamonds. Regardless, there are several factors that affect their quality and, therefore, their price. These include:
Carat is the unit used to measure the weight of diamonds. It differs from karat in that the latter is used to measure gold purity. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. Ideally, the more the weight in carat, the higher the diamond will cost.
But this theory will only apply if all the other qualities remain the same. A small-sized raw clear diamond could come with a higher price tag than a large-sized raw diamond that has lots of flaws.
Raw diamonds aren’t perfect; many of them come with inclusions (flaws), and how big or small an inclusion is will influence how much the diamond will be worth.
Usually, the fewer the flaws a piece of diamond has, the higher it will be ranked in terms of clarity. A raw diamond that is flawless may be more expensive than a cut, polished diamond that has low clarity.
The shape of the raw diamond becomes a factor if you plan to have the diamond cut. As we mentioned, cutting and polishing a diamond often takes more than fifty percent of the stone.
A large, raw diamond that has a funny shape will require more cutting to produce the desired shape. As such, you may find that it costs less than a smaller diamond with a nice easily workable shape.
The majority of diamonds come with a brown or yellow tint in them. If a diamond has more tint, it will tend to be a little dull. Colorless raw diamonds are rare to find, hence the more colorless or white a raw diamond appears, the more pricy it will be.
Are Raw Diamonds A Better Buy Than Cut Diamonds?
In some ways, yes. For instance, a raw diamond will cost you way less than a cut diamond. You can actually get a raw 1 carat diamond ring for just a few dollars while a cut ring of the same settings may cost you a couple hundred dollars.
Also, uncut diamonds are conflict-free. All uncut diamonds must have some paperwork that shows they were mined from a war-free zone. This documentation, also known as the Kimberley Process Certificate, must accompany all diamonds that are exported or imported to any country.
However, once the diamonds have been cut and processed for industrial use, the certification becomes invalid.
Apart from being pocket-friendly and conflict-free, raw diamonds are also unique. If you are looking for a diamond ring but don’t fancy the traditional colorless/white color of diamond, a raw diamond can be a great alternative. The unique quartz-like appearance of the rough stone will certainly make your ring stand out.
But almost every good thing has a downside, and uncut diamonds are not an exception. Even though you will end up with exceptional jewelry for much less, there are a few things that may make you think twice before making your purchase.
For starters, raw diamonds don’t sparkle, so if you need something that shines bright, you may want to consider other options like white topaz or moissanite.
It’s worth mentioning that raw diamonds are usually full of inclusions too. Generally, once diamonds are mined, the good ones are sent off for cutting and polishing and those with lower potential are left uncut. These are the ones you will mostly get when you go to buy rough diamonds.
It can also be difficult to pick the right diamonds especially if you have no experience buying raw diamonds. It usually takes an expert to figure out if a raw diamond has the right shape for cutting. However, if you don’t plan on having your diamonds cut, then you really don’t have to worry about the shape of your diamond.
When all said and done, raw diamonds are a great way to add some pizzazz to your engagement ring on a budget. But you will only get the best value for your money if you will be using the stone as it is.
If you plan on cutting and polishing the diamond, a raw diamond may not be the most viable option because some jewelers can charge up to $ 400 per carat! Plus if you pick a poor-quality diamond to start with, all that hard work will be for nothing.
Things You Should Know Before Buying Raw Diamonds
Where Your Buy Your Diamond Matters
Since rough diamonds are not processed, chances are they won’t come with Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certification, meaning, you should be more vigilant when buying them. The GIA certificate grades the cut, color, carat, and clarity of processed diamonds to ensure that customers know what they are buying.
Do your homework to make sure you can trust your seller. Importantly, buy a stone that can be traced back to the place it was mined.
Your Raw Diamond Is Probably Not Processable
Not all raw diamonds can be cut. If you plan on upgrading your engagement ring someday by cutting and polishing the raw diamond in it, you will probably not be able to do it.
Your uncut diamond may have some flaws that may prevent the jeweler from cutting and polishing the stone. Not just that; depending on the quality of the diamond, processing it may affect its durability.
Also, if the diamond is too small, smoothening down the edges may leave you with a stone too small for your ring. If you want to have your raw diamond processed, have it analyzed by a professional before you buy.
Raw Diamonds May Be a Little Difficult to Maintain
This is particularly true with raw diamonds that have a non-uniform shape. If it is not set properly on the ring, accidental knocks and bumps could easily push the stone out of place.
Over time, the diamond may become too loose and fall off. The non-uniform edge also means that the gemstone is more likely to scrape and chip other things too.
How To Identify Raw Diamonds
Count the Sides
Diamonds are cubic. So, if you look at a crystal from one point and count four sides, there is a possibility that what you are looking at is a diamond. Quartz, a similar stone often mistaken for diamond, usually has six sides.
Use a Diamond Tester
Dimond testers can be purchased online. If you want to find out if a piece of raw diamond is indeed diamond, simply hold the tester tip against the crystal in question. If it beeps and lights up, the crystal is likely a diamond. If no sound or light is produced, then the mineral is a different gemstone.
Use a Lope or Microscope
Any of these devices can help you examine a crystal to figure out whether it is diamond. A lope is actually what most jewelers use to assess gemstones.
Place the crystal in question under the device and check for rounded edges with small indented triangles. A real uncut diamond should also appear to have a layer of Vaseline over it.
Would you like to learn more about the pricing of a raw diamond? Let us know in the comments section below.