If your diamond was purchased in 1970, and it was a D color, and flawless, and weighed 1.00 carat, you probably paid around $3500.00 for it. If you purchased that same diamond in 1980, you would have paid $63,000.00 for it. The same diamond, if purchased today (2007) would be around $23,000.00. These prices are based on the purchase being made in a retail jewelry store and not from the internet.
Looking at the above prices, you can see that there has been a steady increase in prices since 1970 with the exception of 1980. From $3500.00 to $23,000.00 is about a 650% increase. This is about the same increase as gas prices for the same period in the US.
If we look at 1970 to 1980 we see a jump of around 1800%. What happened? From 1979 to 1981 diamonds were being sold as investments. Consumers were being told that top quality diamonds were in short supply and would continue to rise in price. This was not true. However, consumers continued to purchase them at a record pace and a record price. In 1981 the bottom fell out and the market collapsed. Over the next few years there was an up and down cycle and finally the market settled back to where it would have been had there been no so called investment craze.
Millions of dollars were lost during this crash and many were left holding diamonds that they would never recover their money from. I still do appraisals today on diamonds from that period, and many hope they can recover their $63,000.00 on a stone that is now worth around $23,000.00. And some of them still want to shoot the messenger. (Appraiser)
During this period most of the diamonds were sold with Diamond Grading Reports, or what became known as “Certs”. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) issued most of these. However, other laboratories started to spring up around the world. The top labs issuing grading reports today are GIA, AGS, EGL, and IGI. In my opinion the two that set the world standard today are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS).
When you purchase a diamond in today’s market, whether it is from a retail jeweler, or an internet seller, it should have one of these Grading Reports. Buying on the internet has its advantages. Let’s take the $23,000.00 diamond that we discussed above. This diamond can be found on the internet for around $18,000.00. That’s quite a savings. All you need to do is find the stone that you want, place your order, and in about 2 to 3 days it will be delivered to your front door. If you don’t like it, or it is not what you wanted, most companies have a 30 day return policy.
When buying from a retail jeweler you usually have several choices of stores in your local area which allow you to visit them, and talk to a salesperson face to face. The salesperson should be able to show you several diamonds that meet your criteria and thoroughly explain them to you.
I asked at the beginning if diamonds were a good value in today’s market. My answer is “yes” as long as you’re buying the stone for all the right reasons. The right reasons will be different things to different people. It might be for you to wear yourself, or give as a gift, or the most special of all… to give to that special person as an engagement ring. Just keep in mind that a diamond is bought as an investment in beauty and not as a financial investment.