Size Matters: Tips for Finding a Big Diamond

All the popular advice columns insist that size does not matter, and in some areas this can be true. It can even be true when it comes to choosing between diamond size and diamond quality, when a better-quality diamond trumps a large but poor-quality example. But if you can guarantee that the quality of the diamond remains high (good color, excellent clarity and the best possible cut) then the bigger the better! But how can you find a big diamond?

Myth vs Truth

Much is made of the diamond industry’s so-called manipulation of the market, artificially keeping supply low and demand high to keep up the ‘illusion’ that diamonds are really rare. In fact, the diamond mining industry struggles to keep up with demand for large, high quality stones, because these are really very rare indeed! Millions of carats per year are indeed produced by the world’s diamond mines, but many of them are small and even more of them are only good for industrial purposes. Commercial grade diamonds over three carats are special finds, even for busy and profitable diamond mines.

A Brief Geology Lesson

Diamonds are – or we should say ‘were’ – formed deep in the earth, in kimberlite clay tubes, billions of years ago, under the intense hot and pressurized conditions of a subterranean volcano. Over time, these clay tubes have risen closer to the surface (or the surface has eroded down to them), bringing with them their multi-million-dollar prizes.

The deeper the tubes formed, the larger the diamonds grew, and Botswana is currently enjoying a run of uncovering very large (500-carat plus) stones of astonishing clarity and color. One has been cut into a square emerald-cut stone rated D and weighing just over 300 carats – an immense and beautiful stone that was mined in its rough state in late 2015.

There are other diamond mines all over the world and even a mine better known for poor quality industrial diamonds can strike it lucky and find a rare large and high-quality stone.

Look to the Dealers

If you are looking to buy an exceptionally large stone, you are best off speaking to diamond cutters – who sometimes buy rough diamonds, cut them, and then sell on the now immensely more costly cut stones to their customer list. Diamond wholesalers and middlemen buy diamonds in bulk from the cutters, and most will avoid exceptionally large stones as being too expensive and therefore too difficult to sell on for a good, quick profit.

The above-mentioned emerald cut stone was a full eighteen months in the cutting alone (its sheer size meant that much of the scanning and cutting equipment had to be custom made to handle it!). Therefore, if you are not on the list of a selling cutter or two, you are unlikely to hear much about the larger stones that come onto the market from time to time.

If, however, you are looking to surprise your partner with a nicely hefty stone that weighs anything from three carats to twenty or so, why not just browse diamonds online? Many reputable online diamond dealers do carry stocks of such stones, and will be happy to offer a good price to a serious purchaser.


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