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Natural Diamonds At Their Cheapest - Clarity Enhanced

One of the main advantages of clarity enhanced diamonds is their significantly lower price (when compared to non-enhanced diamonds). Clarity enhancement, in fact, provides the best value for money for natural diamonds.

Diamond Price Comparison
Example Natural (Non-Enhanced) Natural (Clarity Enhanced)
1.00 carat E VS2 $3,825 $2,150
2.00 carat G SI1 $11,500 $6,210
3.00 carat H SI2 $13,200 $8,250
* prices are rounded and approximated based on trade price list from Jan 2010

Why Are Clarity Enhanced Diamonds Cheaper?

The logic behind the price difference is very simple. Let’s assume we want to manufacture a VS2-grade diamond. Normally, we would have to purchase rough diamond material with VS2 clarity area in them - making this rough diamond material quite expensive.

If we rely on the enhancement process to improve the original diamond clarity, we can use rough material with lower clarity - for example, rough diamond material that will normally be able to manufacture an SI1-graded diamond. This rough diamond material is of course less expensive, which lowers the manufacturing cost significantly. After the diamond has been cut and polished, we apply the clarity enhancement treatment and improve the natural clarity into VS2. The cost of the treatment itself is negligible (relative to the cost of the rough material), therefore, the overall manufacturing cost of the diamond was lower than expected. This obviously means that the diamond can be offered for a lower price.

The Rapaport Price List

A useful tool used in determining diamond trading prices, is the Rapaport price list. This price list is widely used in the professional diamond exchanges of the world, and sets basic guidelines in terms of polished diamond per-carat pricing. When using the Rapaport price list, it is common to represent the per-carat price of the diamond as a fraction of the list (as diamonds are normally not traded at 100% of the list price).

Let’s take a simple example. Assume the Rapaport list price for a round 1.00 carat E VS2 diamond is $8,500 (per carat). Let’s assume the diamond is traded at 30% “below” Rapaport. This means the diamond price is exactly 70% of the Rapaport list price, making it $5,950 (per carat).

Comparison Scenarios

In order to analyze the amount of discount the enhancement process provides, let’s review in detail 3 example diamonds:

We’ve chosen to take all diamonds as round because this is the most popular shape. It is safe to assume that non-round diamonds behave in a very similar manner. We’ve chosen 3 different popular colors and 3 different popular clarity grades in order to show the price discount is rather uniform across the grade scale.

Regarding all the other diamond characteristics not specified above, let’s assume we take an average diamond with Very Good cut, polish and symmetry ratings and fluorescence that is either Faint or None.

Since diamond prices change over time, let’s choose a specific date where our entire comparison will take place. We’ve chosen January 2010 as a reference point.

Testcase: Round 1.00 Carat E VS2 Diamond

A typical diamond exchange trade price for this diamond untreated will be 55% below Rapaport (grading based on the EGL scale). Since the Rapaport list price is $8,500 per-carat, this would make the trade price to be $3,825 per-carat (which is also the per-stone price since this is a 1.00 carat diamond).

If we chose a clarity enhanced diamond instead, we will be able to offer this diamond for 75% below Rapaport (at $2,150 per-carat). This will make the total stone price $2,150 - which is 44% cheaper than its non-enhanced counterpart!

If we examine this diamond at one of the top online diamond retailers, Bluenile, we will see it is offered for a total price of $7,050 (17% below Rapaport). Since Bluenile only deal with non-enhanced diamonds, this diamond is obviously untreated. The Bluenile price is of course higher than our untreated example because Bluenile is a retail store using the GIA grading scale. Nevertheless, if you decide to compare the enhanced price to the Bluenile price, you will receive a 70% discount.

Testcase: Round 2.00 Carat G SI1 Diamond

A typical diamond exchange trade price for this diamond untreated will be 50% below Rapaport. Since the Rapaport list price is $11,500 per-carat, this would make the trade price to be $5,750 per-carat. Since this is a 2.00 carat diamond, the overall diamond price will be $11,500.

If we chose a clarity enhanced diamond instead, we will be able to offer this diamond for 73% below Rapaport (at $3,105 per-carat). This will make the total stone price $6,210 - which is 46% cheaper than its non-enhanced counterpart.

If we examine this diamond at one of the top online diamond retailers, Bluenile, we will see it is offered for a total price of $18,800 (18% below Rapaport). Since Bluenile only deal with non-enhanced diamonds, this diamond is obviously untreated. The Bluenile price is of course higher than our untreated example because Bluenile is a retail store using the GIA grading scale. Nevertheless, if you decide to compare the enhanced price to the Bluenile price, you will receive a 67% discount.

Testcase: Round 3.00 Carat H SI2 Diamond

A typical diamond exchange trade price for this diamond untreated will be 60% below Rapaport. Since the Rapaport list price is $11,000 per-carat, this would make the trade price to be $4,400 per-carat. Since this is a 3.00 carat diamond, the overall diamond price will be $13,200.

If we chose a clarity enhanced diamond instead, we will be able to offer this diamond for 75% below Rapaport (at $2,750 per-carat). This will make the total stone price $8,250  - which is %37 cheaper than its non-enhanced counterpart.

If we examine this diamond at one of the top online diamond retailers, Bluenile, we will see it is offered for a total price of $30,200 (8% below Rapaport). Since Bluenile only deal with non-enhanced diamonds, this diamond is obviously untreated. The Bluenile price is of course higher than our untreated example because Bluenile is a retail store dealing with GIA graded diamonds. Nevertheless, if you decide to compare the enhanced price to the Bluenile price, you will receive a 72% discount.

A Note About Diamond Grades

It is not straight forward to grade the clarity of a clarity-enhanced diamond. The problem mainly lies in the fact that the inclusion in most cases is still there, but cannot be seen. Several gemological laboratories have adopted a policy where clarity is determined based on what it was prior to the enhancement, and other labs examine the current state of clarity as it appears after the treatment. For more details, read grading and pricing of clarity enhanced diamonds.

Summary

As you can see from the detailed examples above, the price discount that clarity enhancement achieves is very significant.

Since a clarity enhanced diamond is still natural earth-mined and behaves exactly like any other diamond - this is indeed a great way to achieve the best value for money.

Read about the other benefits of clarity enhancement.


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