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How Can a Smaller Diamond Be Worth More?

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How Can a Smaller Diamond Be Worth More?

September 3, 2019

When it comes to diamonds, most people think bigger is better. The commonly held view is that a smaller diamond is less valuable, and a larger diamond is more valuable. However, this isn’t always the case. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to grading a diamond and determining the price. If you’re in the market for a diamond ring, make sure you know these diamond facts before you pick that special stone!

GIA-Certified Diamonds are More Expensive
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the most trusted diamond grading lab in the country, and most savvy consumers want to make sure their diamonds come with a GIA report. Depending on where you’re purchasing from, if your chosen diamond is GIA certified, it may cost more than a similar stone that’s a little larger.

Expect some online retailers and jewelry stores to charge more for a GIA-graded stone. After all, there are costs associated with producing a GIA lab report, and the proof of authenticity and a high-quality grade will allow that diamond to command a higher price.
Excited newly engaged couple take selfie. They are showing off the woman’s new diamond engagement ring.

Excited newly engaged couple take selfie. They are showing off the woman’s new diamond engagement ring.

A Diamond’s Color Plays an Important Role
Typically, most consumers shopping for a diamond want their special gem to be as colorless or near colorless as possible. Of course, fancy yellow to intense yellow, brown, black and other colored diamonds have their place in unique engagement rings as well.

The GIA color scale runs from “D”, which stands for a colorless diamond, to “Z”, which has an immediately visible yellow hue. However, the least in-demand on this spectrum are generally the “Very Light Color” diamonds with grades “N-R”. Smaller diamonds graded in the middle ranges from colors “G-J” and reaching the higher levels of clarity will likely command a higher price than a diamond that’s a little larger but graded “N-R.”


Interestingly, the more fancy to intense yellow the diamond is, the higher the price becomes. After grade “Z”, the presence of a more intense yellow hue can make the diamond be considered as “fancy to intense yellow”, and oftentimes these diamonds can be worth more than a colorless stone. If you’re looking for extremely rare, natural colored diamonds, such as red, orange and pink, they will be exponentially more expensive and are on a different color scale than a colorless gem. As a reference, some smaller fancy red diamonds can be worth upwards of $500,000 per carat!

A Smaller Diamond Can Have Higher Clarity
As with color, another element of the “4 C’s”, diamond clarity, can play a big role in determining the final price. “Clarity” refers to the presence of any inclusions in the diamond. These are flaws in the diamond’s structure that affect its appearance. While most inclusions are subtle and can only be seen under a 10x microscope, too many flaws in the diamond can lower its perceived beauty (and price).


Diamond clarity is graded on a scale from the highest-quality FL-IF to the lower-quality I1-I3. For most consumers, the middle spectrum VS to SI quality is the best choice. Although these diamonds do have small inclusions, they are not visible to the naked eye. Larger diamonds graded I1-I3 can still cost more than a smaller diamond with a better clarity grade and color. The smaller, higher-quality diamond would likely only cost more if there was a slight difference in carat weight.

As you can see, there are a lot of elements at play when it comes to pricing a diamond, not just the stone’s size! Aside from these differences in diamond quality, some e-commerce retailers will also give you sizeable discounts on your diamond. If you’re buying a used diamond, expect a lower price as well. Whether you’re looking for a lar

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