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The Value of a Diamond


The Value of a Diamond

Each diamond is unique – a gemological marvel formed billions of years ago under extraordinary heat and pressure.

The hardest natural substance on earth, diamonds signify the ultimate. For centuries diamonds have been used to mark the most important moments in people’s lives. Celebrating meaningful moments – emotion, gratitude, attachment, commitment, and  love. Diamonds are universally admired, appreciated and desired.

The modern diamond market grew out of the major diamond mine discoveries of the 1870s in South Africa and was effectively managed as a monopoly until 2001. Today, Botswana, Russia, and Canada are the world’s top three diamond producing countries by value respectively. Ninety-nine per cent of natural diamonds are used in jewellery, with only one per cent used for industrial purposes.

Dominion Diamond Corporation receives rough diamonds from its controlling ownership interest in the Ekati Diamond Mine and its 40 per cent ownership interest in the Diavik Diamond Mine, both located in Canada's Northwest Territories. The Ekati Diamond Mine is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine and is renowned for the premium gem quality diamonds it produces. The Diavik Diamond Mine is Canada’s largest diamond mine and has some of the highest grade diamond ore bodies in the world.

The value of a rough diamond is calculated using four criteria:

By Carat Weight (Size). Originally the carat was the weight of a carob seed which ancient lapidaries used to balance their scales, as the seeds in a carob pod are very uniform in weight. This weight was standardized to the metric system as 1 carat = 200 milligrams (one-fifth of a gram). A carat is further divided into points, with 100 points to a carat. In general terms, rough and polished diamonds are weighed to two decimal places.

By Cut (Shape). A rough diamond can be classified into several main shapes. Stones (octahedron, dodecahedron), cleavage (broken stones), maccles, and cubes. Each of these main categories has a multitude of sub-categories and variations.

By Clarity (Quality). Quality is determined by how clean the diamond is inside. Very few diamonds can be described as "flawless”; most have inclusions which may be caused by carbon spots (piques), mineral inclusions (olivine), bubbles or cracks (gletz). The positioning of the inclusions within the diamond influences its value, as some inclusions may be polished out during the manufacturing process. Some diamonds may be so heavily included that it is almost impossible to see into them (Boart).

By Colour. Generally, the closer a diamond is to being absolutely colourless (white), the more valuable it will be. As the diamonds become more visibly yellow or brown, their value decreases. However, diamonds saturated with colour can be more valuable and are known as “fancies.” Diamonds can be almost any colour of the spectrum, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink. Impurities and different degrees of heat in which diamonds are formed cause various colours in diamonds.