How Well Do Consumers Know Their Diamonds?

Although diamonds are some of the more researched products on the market, there tends to be a significant gap between the information being shared and consumed versus it being used and understood.

Understanding an Official Diamond Report

Understanding an official diamond report

The 4Cs are the Ten Commandments of diamonds. Ask pretty much anyone who has looked into buying a diamond at some point in his or her life and they will know exactly what you’re talking about. The problem is that being able to repeat the 4Cs and explain a bit about the cut, carat weight, color, and clarity of a diamond does not necessarily mean that they have truly internalized these points in regards to their own jewelry. This could be because the diamond was bought for them, and since they love it, they couldn't care less about the technical aspects. It could also be that after all said and done, it boils down to the best looking diamond ring for the best price. In any case, here is a bit of interesting information regarding what diamond consumers do and do not know about their diamonds and more importantly what they should be looking out for.

Unclear About the Clarity

If one of the four Cs had to be chosen as the least understood, it would be diamond clarity. Carat weight is self-explanatory and easy to remember (and fun to brag about,) color is easy with color diamonds and fairly simple to grasp with colorless stones, and cut is summed up with an easy-to-remember word grade (plus many confuse cut with shape and will just tell you that). But clarity? That's a whole new ball game.

Louping a natural Argyle pink diamond

Louping a natural Argyle pink diamond

It is generally understood that the clarity of a diamond refers to how “included” it is. Other than that, memorizing the various clarity grades and their initials can be confusing, not to mention the many different types of diamond inclusions that exist. According to a survey conducted by The Wedding Report, only half of all diamond consumers are aware of their diamonds' clarity level! This is in comparison to much higher findings in regards to knowledge of their diamonds' carat size, color, and cut. Among those who answered, it was discovered that 23% claim to have diamonds with a Flawless, IF clarity grade, 25.7% have a VVS1 or VVS2 clarity level, 26.3% have a VS1 or VS2 clarity level, 20.6% have a SI1 or SI2 clarity level, and lastly, a mere 3.7% admitted to having diamonds with an I1, I2, or I3 clarity grade.

Our recommendation is to aim for an eye clean diamond you will be happy with. A VS1 or VS2 will likely be just fine, and if you see a nice SI1 for a good price, just ensure the inclusion doesn't disturb the appearance of the stone.

Clearer About Cut, Color, and Carat Size

Compared to the clarity level of their diamonds, most consumers knew a lot more about the remaining characteristics of their stones, including cut. Not to be confused with the shape of a diamond, which practically every diamond consumer knows like the back of their hand, the cut of a diamond refers to the way in which it was cut and the expertise used to do so. The cut grades range from Excellent to Poor, and 69% of diamond consumers were able to name the cut grade of their diamond. 35.6% reported the highest level, Excellent, whereas only 0.2% claimed to have diamonds with the lowest grade, Poor. In the middle we have 43.2% with Very Good, 18.0% with Good, and 2.9% with Fair. In short, the cut basically determines how well the light will reflect between the many facets of the diamond. If the stone is not cut well, the light, upon entering the stone, just won't reflect out and cause brilliance.

Cutting the facets of a diamond on a polishing wheel

Cutting the facets of a diamond on a polishing wheel

Although the four main characteristics of a diamond have equal weight, if you asked me, I would say that cut is most important because the more shine, the bigger the stone will appear. However, if you are going for a natural fancy color stone, focus on the color because the goal is to actually keep the light within the stone for as long as possible before enabling it to escape, to really show off a deep color.

Asking someone what color grade his or her color diamond is, including the intensity level grade, is like asking one what color the sky is. However, this survey did not include color grades specifically for color diamonds. 67% of diamond consumers knew their color grades and they are as follows: 52.4% with D,E, or F diamonds, 42.6% with G, H, I, or J diamonds, 2.3% with K, L, and M diamonds, and 2.8% with N to Z diamonds.

It was no surprise that a whopping 80% of consumers knew their diamonds' carat weight. It actually comes as a surprise that 20% did not know how large (or how small,) their diamond was! The findings were like this: Under 0.25 – 5.9%, 0.5 range – 9.3%, 0.75 range – 11.4%, 1-carat range – 23.9%, 1.25 range – 11.6%, 1.5 range – 9.3%, 1.75 range – 5.7%, and 14.3% with 2 carats or more.

Color Vs. Colorless Diamonds

Over the past decade, color diamonds have become more and popular. They bring a lot to the table including originality, individuality, and prestige. What percentage of diamond consumers is choosing color diamonds in the end for their engagement rings? Well, the survey did show that interest is on a consistent rise, and there is actually quite an impressive amount of people opting for a combination of diamonds and gemstones for a truly unique creation.

A natural yellow diamond next to a colorless diamond

A natural yellow diamond next to a colorless diamond

Online Vs. Offline Purchases

It is no secret that the Internet is taking over a large part of traditional storefront shopping. Though it is still behind in comparison to offline sales, if companies aren't taking care of their virtual store, they will soon start to fall behind.

Consumers are not the only ones who are (or should be) doing their homework. These types of surveys help inform the diamond industry of its customers ever-changing needs and wants. The round diamond shape is the current titleholder in terms of diamond shape, but its runner-up, the princess shape, could eventually surpass it down the line. Not to mention the increasing interest in radiants. The same goes for white gold being the leading metal choice, but get whatever you think will make you happy.

All in all, diamond consumers seem to be in the know for certain things relating to their diamonds, and slightly less informed or aware of others. There's always room for improvement, on both ends, which is why continuing to educate and be educated is always the key to a content retailer and customer.

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