What comes to mind when you think of an uncut diamond? As the very name suggests, they are raw and unfinished. Most people also know that an uncut diamond is cheaper than a well-cut and finished diamond. Why?
Normally, the value of diamonds depends on 4 primary factors – color, clarity, cut and carat weight. When it comes to uncut or rough diamonds, these factors are reduced to 3 – color, clarity and carat weight of the stone.
Cutting a diamond is a very expensive process, and this is reflected in the price of the final cut stone. On the other hand, an uncut diamond has been freshly mined and brought to the surface. It is untouched by any procedure that gives the diamond its final fancy appearance.
So, how exactly is the value of an uncut diamond determined? In this article, we will be answering this question along with several others. But first, let us clearly establish what we mean when we speak of an uncut diamond.
What is an uncut diamond?
Uncut or raw diamonds are those that have not been cut, shaped, polished, or treated in any form. A natural or real uncut diamond is one that has just been mined out from below the earth’s surface. Only when an uncut diamond is found to be of high quality, it is then sent to professional diamond cutters and jewelers. Such diamonds are then cut and polished to fit into different types of jewelry.
Importance of cutting and polishing a diamond
It goes without saying that a diamond’s beauty lies in its cut. While an uncut diamond also looks precious and unique, it is the intricate cutting process that makes the diamond sparkle.
Cutting a diamond is the key to increasing its appeal and so, requires expert craftsmanship and skill. A common misconception is that a diamond cut refers to its shape. Whereas in fact, diamond-cut involves the proportions, polish, symmetry and depth given to the stone.
The cut of the diamond determines the angle at which light enters it. If the light does not enter at the best angle, the diamond will not reflect light properly. This will result in a dark and dull appearance, which in turn will decrease the diamond’s value.
In case a diamond is not unpolished or not polished enough, its facets cannot act as mirrors. So, light is not reflected properly, and the diamond appears dull and ordinary. Due to the distorted light reflections, any blemishes on the surface of the diamond become even more pronounced and make the stone look rough.
Before we look at uncut diamonds and how they are valued, let us understand the grade chart for diamond cuts.
You must have heard of GIA diamonds. Have you wondered why they are so valuable? The reason is that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the most trusted and reputed laboratory when it comes to assessing diamonds.
They have come up with a uniform grading system for diamonds with the following grade chart: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor.
Since GIA covers the most important factors to check the diamond cut quality, their system of grading is followed by most laboratories. As a result, diamond cut grade is assigned based on proportion, symmetry and dimensions that enhance the overall appearance of the stone.
When an diamond is cut, it is carried out in such a way that maximum light can be reflected off the stone. But diamond cut cannot determine the final look of the diamond all by itself. The color, clarity and carat weight have a major impact on diamond cut.
So, any professional and experienced diamond cutter will aim to enhance the clarity of the stone and simultaneously mask any inclusion or unwanted tint in the stone. They will also try to trim away as little as possible from the original diamond so that the final cut stone is big in size.
Now that you know how an uncut diamond is cut, let us move on to the burning question:
How is an uncut diamond valued?
An uncut diamond follows the same rules which determine the value of other diamonds with the exception of diamond cut. This means that three factors are considered while determining the worth of an uncut diamond. These are clarity, color, and carat weight.
Very often, naturally occurring uncut diamonds have internal or surface imperfections, flaws, and inclusions. This compromises their clarity of the stone. An uncut diamond with minimal blemishes is of high value. These can be masked when the stone is finally cut and given a flattering shape.
The color of an uncut diamond determines if it is suitable for jewelry or not. Uncut diamonds having a heavy yellow or brown tint are less desirable. On the other hand, if an uncut diamond has a very slight or even negligible tint, it is used for making jewelry. As a result, there is an increase in its value.
One metric carat is equal to almost 0.2 gram. One metric carat is divided into 100 points. Diamonds are weighed to a thousandth of a carat and then rounded up to the nearest hundred (or point). Due to the extreme precision required in weighing diamonds, even the fraction of a carat can make a huge difference in the diamond value. Thus, accurate weighing of an uncut diamond is of great importance.
But if a rough diamond of high carat value has a lot of blemishes that need to be cut out, then it won’t be of high value. On the other hand, a smaller but clearer uncut diamond is more desirable, and thus, fetches more money.
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You can also check our topic: What is the Best Diamond Cut for an Engagement Ring?