Diamond Market Report: May 2023
Welcome to the Diamond Market Report, your monthly guide to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of diamond pricing and purchasing trends. In this edition, we delve into the comparison between the largest online stores in the United States with example pricing of natural and lab-grown diamonds in the most popular shapes and sizes. Our aim is to educate diamond buyers on the most purchased diamonds, their shapes, their qualities, and how to make informed decisions to ensure they get the most value for their money.
The diamond market continues to thrive, driven by an insatiable demand for these timeless gems. With countless options available, both online and in physical stores, consumers often find themselves overwhelmed and uncertain about where to find the best deals. In this report, we dissect the pricing strategies of the largest online retailers, providing you with valuable insights to aid your diamond-buying journey.
Comparing Online Stores
The advent of e-commerce has revolutionized the diamond industry, giving rise to numerous online platforms that promise convenience and competitive pricing on natural and lab-grown diamonds. By comparing these two options, we aim to shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of each, enabling you to make an informed decision based on your preferences and budget.
For this comparison, we have reviewed pricing from the three largest U.S. online jewelry retailers and compared them to Mikado Diamonds:
Diamond pricing is always changing so it’s important to compare options. Each company may offer something important to you like free shipping, the ability to see the diamond at a regional retail store, one-on-one consultation, the ability to view the diamond at 30x magnification, or one may have jewelry styles you prefer over another.
The Educated Diamond Buyer
Understanding the intricacies of diamond pricing and quality is vital for any buyer. In this report, we present an analysis of the most commonly purchased diamonds, focusing on specific shapes and qualities for comparison purposes. By examining the current market trends, we help you navigate the vast array of options available, ensuring you are equipped with the knowledge to select a diamond that meets your desires while staying within your budget.
We highly encourage diamond buyers to seek the assistance of a reputable jeweler for their purchase. While online options provide convenience, a skilled jeweler can offer personalized guidance and expertise that takes years to master. Jewelers often have access to a wide range of diamonds, including unique and exceptional stones that may not be available online. They can also provide valuable insights and recommendations based on your specific preferences and budget.
It is essential to understand that choosing a diamond solely based on the lowest price within a specific carat, color, clarity, and cut combination may not guarantee the best overall value. Factors beyond the 4Cs, such as hazy appearance, fluorescence, tints of color, and less optimal conditions within the diamond crystal, may not be accurately reflected in a grading report. A jeweler's expertise can help you assess these nuanced qualities and ensure that you find a diamond that truly meets your desired criteria and exceeds your expectations.
By consulting with a trusted jeweler, you gain access to their knowledge, experience, and the opportunity to explore a broader selection of diamonds. They can guide you through the intricacies of diamond quality, assist in finding the best deals available, and help you make a well-informed decision that aligns with your preferences and budget.
Natural Diamonds vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds
When it comes to diamonds, buyers now have a choice between natural diamonds, formed deep within the Earth over millions of years, and lab-grown diamonds, which are created in controlled laboratory conditions. In this comparison, we explore the differences between these two types of diamonds, specifically focusing on durability, visual appearance, and average pricing. By understanding these distinctions, consumers can make informed decisions that align with their preferences and priorities.
Durability is a key consideration for diamond buyers, as it determines the stone's ability to withstand wear and tear over time. In terms of durability, both natural and lab-grown diamonds possess the same exceptional hardness, scoring a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale. This indicates that both types of diamonds are highly resistant to scratching and are suitable for everyday wear. Whether you choose a natural diamond or a lab-grown one, you can be confident in their long-lasting durability.
One significant aspect that buyers often consider is the visual appearance of diamonds. In terms of optical properties, natural and lab-grown diamonds are virtually indistinguishable to the naked eye. Both types exhibit the same dazzling brilliance, fire, and scintillation that make diamonds so captivating. Under magnification, however, trained gemologists may detect subtle differences due to growth patterns and inclusions specific to each type. These distinctions are negligible and do not impact the overall beauty of the diamond.
Pricing is a significant factor when choosing between natural and lab-grown diamonds. Natural diamonds are formed through a geological process that requires immense time, pressure, and resources to extract from the Earth. Consequently, their rarity contributes to higher market prices. On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are created in a controlled environment, utilizing advanced technology, and significantly reducing production costs. As a result, lab-grown diamonds typically offer a more affordable option compared to natural diamonds, priced at a fraction of their naturally occurring counterparts.
It's important to note that while lab-grown diamonds generally have a lower price tag, prices can still vary based on factors such as carat weight, cut, color, and clarity. Additionally, market demand and availability of specific shapes and sizes can influence the pricing of both natural and lab-grown diamonds.
The choice between natural and lab-grown diamonds ultimately depends on individual preferences and priorities. Both types of diamonds boast exceptional durability, ensuring their longevity. Visually, natural and lab-grown diamonds are nearly identical, exhibiting the same breathtaking beauty. However, lab-grown diamonds tend to offer a more budget-friendly option due to their controlled production process and lower associated costs.
Whether you opt for a natural diamond, appreciating its rarity and connection to the Earth's geological history, or select a lab-grown diamond, valuing its ethical and sustainable attributes, the decision lies in aligning your desires with your budget.
As the diamond industry continues to evolve, buyers are encouraged to stay informed and explore both options, considering factors such as durability, visual appearance, and average pricing to find the perfect diamond that reflects their personal values and style.
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Diamond Grading Terms
Diamonds of similar quality are compared. Diamond details are commonly expressed, for example, as 1.05 ct. G/SI1/EX.
1.05 ct.The carat weight of the diamond is how the size is usually compared.
G- The color of the diamond is graded from D to Z where D is completely colorless, and Z exhibits noticeable color.
SI1– Diamond clarity refers to the presence or absence of internal and external characteristics, commonly known as inclusions and blemishes, respectively. These characteristics can affect the overall appearance and value of a diamond. Clarity grades are assigned to diamonds based on the visibility and size of these imperfections when viewed under 10x magnification. The most common clarity grades include:
- VVS (Very Very Slightly Included): Diamonds in this category have extremely minute inclusions that are rarely visible even under 10x magnification and are not visible to the naked eye.
- VS (Very Slightly Included): Diamonds in this category have minor inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification and are usually not visible to the naked eye.
- SI (Slightly Included): Diamonds in this category have slight inclusions that are noticeable under 10x magnification but are usually not easily visible to the naked eye.
- I (Included): Diamonds in this category have visible inclusions and/or blemishes that may affect their transparency and brilliance.
These clarity grades serve as a guideline to assess the level of imperfections within a diamond and can impact its price and overall desirability.
EX- The cut of the diamond. GIA grades diamonds from Poor to Excellent. IGI is the largest independent laboratory for lab-grown diamonds, and they add one grade above excellent referred to as Ideal.
Lab-Grown Diamond Pricing
The pricing shown for each is the current lowest-priced diamond matching the requirements.
Comparison #1: 1.00 ct. D/VS1/Ideal Round Lab-Grown Diamond
Blue Nile - $2,007
James Allen - $1,450
Brilliant Earth - $1,820
Mikado Diamonds - $960
Average Price: $1,559
Comparison #2: 2.00 ct. D/VS1/Ideal Round Lab-Grown Diamond
Blue Nile - $6,914
James Allen - $4,850
Brilliant Earth - $6,770
Mikado Diamonds - $2,020
Average Price: $5,139
Comparison #3: 3.00 ct. D/VS1/Ideal Round Lab-Grown Diamond
Blue Nile - $16,781
James Allen - $12,290
Brilliant Earth - $16,610
Mikado Diamonds - $5,380
Average Price: $12,766
Comparison #4: 4.00 ct. D/VS1/Ideal Round Lab-Grown Diamond
Blue Nile - $23,735
James Allen - $27,160
Brilliant Earth - $27,780
Mikado Diamonds - $14,760
Average Price: $23,359
The prices above are actual prices as of May 2023. The lab-grown diamond market is very fluid with a lot of activity as the popularity among consumers continues to grow. Competition from lab-grown diamond manufacturers to gain market share, combined with increased production, has led to lab-grown diamonds becoming much more affordable in the past 3-5 years.
Natural Diamond Pricing
Comparison #1: 0.50 ct. G/VS2/EX Round Natural Diamond
Blue Nile - $1,111
James Allen - $960
Brilliant Earth - $1,310
Mikado Diamonds - $1,340
Average Price: $1,180
Comparison #2: 1.00 ct. G/VS2/EX Round Natural Diamond
Blue Nile - $5,006
James Allen - $4,460
Brilliant Earth - $5,390
Mikado Diamonds - $5,660
Average Price: $5,129
Comparison #3: 1.50 ct. G/VS2/EX Round Natural Diamond
Blue Nile - $11,677
James Allen - $9,490
Brilliant Earth - $13,480
Mikado Diamonds - $11,710
Average Price: $11,589
Comparison #4: 2.00 ct. G/VS2/EX Round Natural Diamond
Blue Nile - $20,088
James Allen - $16,850
Brilliant Earth - $17,140
Mikado Diamonds - $19,255
Average Price: $18,333
The pricing for natural diamonds has shown a consistent upward trajectory over time, reflecting the enduring allure and demand for these precious gemstones. Factors such as rarity, quality, and market dynamics influence the pricing of natural diamonds. As global economies grow and consumer demand expands, the prices of natural diamonds have generally seen an increase. However, it's important to note that diamond pricing is also subject to fluctuations influenced by various market factors, including supply and demand dynamics, economic conditions, and changes in consumer preferences. Additionally, unique diamonds with exceptional characteristics or historical significance may command higher prices due to their rarity and desirability among collectors and connoisseurs. Understanding the dynamics of diamond pricing and staying informed about market trends can help buyers make well-informed decisions when investing in natural diamonds.
Tips for Maximizing Value
At the heart of this report lies our commitment to providing practical tips for maximizing the value of your diamond purchase. Whether you choose to buy online or visit a brick & mortar store, we offer valuable insights on negotiating prices, identifying reputable sellers, and understanding the factors that influence diamond prices. By leveraging these tips, you can confidently navigate the diamond market and secure a diamond that represents both exceptional beauty and exceptional value.
- Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn about the 4Cs of diamonds (carat weight, color, clarity, and cut) and how they affect a diamond's quality and price. Understanding these factors will empower you to make informed decisions and prioritize what matters most to you.
- Set a Budget: Determine a realistic budget before starting your diamond search. This will help you focus on options within your price range and prevent overspending. Remember that value is not solely determined by carat weight; other factors like cut and clarity can significantly impact a diamond's appearance and price.
- Prioritize Cut Quality: The cut of a diamond directly affects its brilliance and overall visual appeal. Opt for a well-cut diamond that maximizes light reflection and showcases its sparkle. A diamond with an excellent cut can appear more beautiful and valuable compared to a larger diamond with a poor cut. Since only round diamonds have a cut grade it is best to consult with a jeweler for fancy shapes.
- Consider Diamond Shape: Different diamond shapes can vary in price. Round brilliant diamonds tend to be the most expensive due to their popularity, while fancy-shaped diamonds like princess, cushion, and oval may offer better value for their carat weight.
- Optimize Clarity and Color: Choose diamonds with slightly lower clarity and color grades that still appear eye-clean and colorless to the naked eye. This allows you to save money without compromising on the diamond's visual appeal.
- Explore Lab-Grown Diamonds: Lab-grown diamonds often offer better value compared to natural diamonds. They can be priced up to 30% less while possessing similar physical and optical properties. Consider lab-grown diamonds as a viable option to maximize your budget without sacrificing quality.
- Buy from Reputable Sources: Purchase your diamond from a reputable jeweler or online retailer with a track record of trust and customer satisfaction. This ensures that you are getting an authentic diamond with accurate grading and fair pricing.
- Consider Alternative Settings: Opting for a unique or custom-designed setting can add value to your diamond purchase. A well-crafted setting can enhance the beauty of your diamond and create a personalized piece of jewelry.
- Seek Expert Guidance: Consult with a trusted diamond professional, such as a gemologist or experienced jeweler, who can provide expert guidance tailored to your preferences and budget. Their knowledge and insights can help you navigate the market and make the most informed decision.
- Remember, maximizing value doesn't always mean finding the lowest-priced diamond. It means finding a diamond that offers the best combination of quality, beauty, and price, aligning with your specific preferences and budget.
The Diamond Market Report serves as your trusted companion, guiding you through the intricate world of diamond purchasing. By comparing natural vs. lab-grown diamonds, providing trends in diamond pricing, and sharing invaluable tips for maximizing value, we empower you to make informed decisions and embark on a journey to acquire the most exquisite diamond for your budget.
Stay tuned for our comprehensive analysis and recommendations in the upcoming sections of this report, as we delve into the intricate details of diamond pricing and present you with the tools to become a savvy diamond buyer.
Disclaimer: The diamond prices shown in this article are based on market data and industry insights as of the date of writing. These prices are provided as examples for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect the current market conditions or pricing trends. Diamond prices can fluctuate over time due to various factors, including supply and demand dynamics, economic conditions, and changes in market preferences. Therefore, the prices mentioned should not be considered a guarantee or representation of the actual prices at the time of reading or future diamond purchases. It is essential for readers to conduct their own research, consult with reputable diamond professionals, and stay updated on the current market conditions before making any decisions related to diamond purchases or investments. The information provided in this report is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice.