Diamond's ValueBefore purchasing, selling, or pawning a diamond, it's good to be familiar with the value of that clear, precious stone first. Here’s how a diamond’s value is determined. It’s more than just the carats.

The 5-Cs of Diamonds

Color, Cut, Clarity, Carat, and Certification. These are the five Cs that determine a diamond’s value. Diamonds start life as an unattractive, irregularly shaped chunk of rock mined from the ground. Once mined, immediately apparent is the color of the raw diamond. A transparent, colorless piece is most valuable which receives the highest rating D on a scale ranging from D to Z, and at the other end of the spectrum is the light yellow diamond. The more yellow, the lower the value. From there, a master craftsman cuts this raw chunk of diamond into individual pieces which are then cut into the shapes fit for an engagement ring. The quality of the craftsmanship is what affects the value of the diamond. Any chips, dings, or scrapes incurred by the stone during cutting will negatively affect the value. Once cut, the diamond is inspected for any particles within the final piece. There are flawless, completely clear diamonds, some with flaws invisible to the naked eye, some barely visible to the naked eye, and some that are easily apparent at a glance; again, the more inclusions, the lesser the value. Finally, the cut and inspected diamond is weighed to determine how many carats the diamond has. A carat is a unit of weight equivalent to 200 milligrams. Lastly, the diamond is registered and issued a certificate of authenticity. An uncertified diamond will go for less in the market than a certified diamond.

The Overall Combination

All these five Cs are taken into consideration when appraising the value of a diamond. A light yellow, 3-carat piece with slight particle inclusions could be less valuable than a colorless, flawless 1-carat diamond, even if the former was bigger. The overall combination is what counts. It is still best to consult a trusted expert to rate the diamond, but it is also important to understand just what they look for to determine its value to avoid selling under the actual value, getting ripped off, or not getting the diamond's actual worth when you pawn your diamond.