April 28, 2021

What makes a diamond more or less valuable than another? From marriage proposals to birthdays, these brilliant gemstones are widely given as gifts in rings, earrings, necklaces, and more. But relationships change, priorities shift, and it’s not uncommon to decide to sell jewellery.

However, most ordinary people won’t know where to even begin evaluating their gold, silver, and especially precious gemstones. If you have unwanted jewellery, you want to know what it’s worth before you go to sell it.

Here, we’re going to walk you through the qualities that impact the value of a diamond. Before you sell a diamond ring, you should know what it’s worth and how an expert will come to that conclusion.

The 4Cs of Diamonds

Unlike other valuable materials often used in jewellery like gold and silver, a diamond’s value is based on more than just its weight. There’s an element of craftsmanship, natural imperfections, and the way light passes through the stone. The quality of a diamond is defined by four qualities: cut, clarity, colour, and carat weight. These qualities separate stones by rarity and cost.

#1 Cut

Diamond cutting is the process of turning the rough stone into the faceted gem you’ll be familiar with from rings and earrings. When it’s first mined, it comes out rough and unshaped. The raw stone can be graded based on its colour, clarity, and the presence of inclusions (other materials trapped within), but it’s then cut and polished by highly-trained specialists both by machine and by hand.

The cut determines how light interacts with the diamond. A diamond cutter’s job is to find different proportions and polish that will make a stone brighter and more colourful. They create contrast between light and dark, enhancing the stone’s optical effects.

There are three such effects. Brightness is the reflection of white light through the crystal, fire is the flash of colour from the stone, and scintillation is the contrast of light and dark on its surface.

#2 Clarity

Clarity grades how well light passes through the stone based on its transparency, surface blemishes, and inclusions. A gemstone inclusion is a material trapped inside the stone while it forms, such as crystals, gas bubbles, or liquids. Gemologists identify inclusions with a microscope, and it takes a skilled eye to identify all of the details of these inclusions.

As a rule, higher clarity diamonds are more valued. Geologists and gem collectors are often fascinated by intriguing inclusions, as they may provide insights into the Earth’s formation hundreds of millions of years ago, and some are simply fascinating to look at. However, high clarity is prized in jewellery.

#3 Colour

When talking about diamond colour, there are two distinctions to make. Most of the time, if you’re talking about white diamonds (the kind most commonly found and advertised), the absence of colour is highly prized. They’re graded on the D to Z scale, where each letter represents a bit more hue moving from crystal-clear to a faint yellow or brown.

  • Colourless: D, E, F
  • Near Colourless: G, H, I, J
  • Faint Yellow: K, L, M
  • Very Light Yellow, N, O, P, Q, R
  • Light Yellow: S through Z

#4 Carat Weight

Finally, there’s how much the diamond weighs, measured in carats. A carat is 200 milligrams (or 0.2 grams) and can be subdivided into 100 points. For example, a diamond that is 0.25 carats would weigh 50 milligrams.

This often causes confusion because carats are also used to describe gold, but the term means something different. In gold, it refers to the purity of the metal, not the weight.

When all other factors are equal, a larger diamond is rare and worth more, but the other 3 Cs mean diamonds of equal weight can vary widely in worth.

Before you sell jewellery in Toronto, have your diamonds evaluated by an expert so they can grade all of these four qualities.

selling jewelry

Credit: kadofx via Freepik

Different Types of Diamonds

The popular image of a diamond is a crystal-clear gemstone that reflects light brilliantly but is colourless itself. Commonly found in engagement rings, earrings, necklaces, and all types of jewellery, these are often touted as the most valuable stones, but that’s not necessarily true.

Coloured diamonds are among the most expensive and valuable gems in the world. These include pink, blue, green, purple, violet, and pure orange diamonds, and they are often sold at auction. They have much more intense colour than white diamonds at the Z end of the D-Z scale and are graded differently.

Among them, pure red diamonds are the rarest. The world’s largest source for them was Australia’s Argyle Mine, which only produced 20 carats of “fancy”-grade red diamonds between 1987 and 2017. With the closure of the mine in 2020, they are set to become even harder to find. Their colour is the result of plate tectonics creating high temperatures and stress transforming the crystals. The deformation alters the way light passes through the stone, creating the selective absorption and transmission of wavelengths of light.

The colour grading or intensity of the colour strongly affects the value of these rarer diamonds. There are nine colour gradings, in ascending order: faint, very light, light, fancy light, fancy, fancy intense, fancy vivid, fancy dark, and fancy deep.

Where to Sell Jewellery in Toronto?

The best place to sell jewellery is somewhere that will evaluate the item and find the best possible market for it. In some cases, its value may be based on gold and silver content, the size and quality of precious stones like diamonds, and in other cases, its value as a collectible or antique piece is even higher. At Muzeum, we have a database of tens of thousands of collectors. If your piece has collectible value, we can find the perfect buyer who will pay the most for valuable items.

If you’re curious about what makes jewellery expensive, there are many different answers that depend on your unique piece. In some cases, the brand and design of a piece of jewellery can make it a desirable collector’s item. In other cases, you’ll be looking at gold and silver content or the value of gemstones like a diamond.

In addition to jewellery, we buy gold and silver coins, bullion, tea sets and cutlery sets, and other types of precious metals. Learn more about the gold and silver items we buy if you have valuable items you’re interested in selling.

Bring your gold and silver jewellery in for a free evaluation. Our on-site specialists will help you understand what you have and find the best avenue to sell it.

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