How to Know what Diamonds are Worth?

February 28, 2020 - Jewelry & Luxury Items

Diamonds truly are forever.

If you have a family heirloom, bridal diamond, or custom-made jewelry it’s important to know the value of your diamond. Knowing what diamonds are worth is especially important if you’re thinking about selling, buying, or pawning them!

You can find a reputable and certified pawnshop to do business with using PawnGuru! Yet it’s always useful to know the basics before walking into a shop to do business in something as valuable as a diamond. Since all diamonds are unique, a pawnshop diamond appraiser will assess your diamonds’ rarity to gauge its value.

Read on to know exactly what your diamonds are worth!

The Basics of Identifying a Diamond’s Value

Diamonds are naturally made with the combination of the heat & pressure of compressed carbon. It takes 725,000 pounds of pressure for each square inch of compressed carbon to transform into a diamond.

There are dozens of variables in this process that eventually lead to the rarity of a diamond. A diamond’s rarity translates into how much the diamond is worth. Essentially, rarity boils down into the four Cs: carat, cut, clarity, and color.

The Geological Institute of America (GIA) is the organization responsible for establishing scales and defining points for diamond value. Many pawnshops that deal with diamonds will have their jewelry appraisers certified by the GIA.

Breaking Down the 4 Cs


When diamond appraisers refer to carat, they are referencing a diamond’s weight. The word comes from carob tree seeds which were used on balance scales in ancient trade routes. The carat is the industry standard unit to measure a diamond’s weight.

A single carat equals 200 milligrams, 1/5 of a gram or 0.007055 ounces. The industry also uses a standard system of metric carats which divides into 100 points. So, a 100-point diamond is 1 carat while a 50-point diamond is a half carat.

The rule of thumb is the heavier the diamond, the more it’s worth. Meaning, the higher the carat of your diamond, the heavier your diamond is so the potential value of the diamond increases.


A diamond’s cut derives from the expertise of the craftsman who originally cut the diamond. The tapered section (what looks like an upside cone) of the diamond is known as the pavilion. Directly above the pavilion is the girdle which leads into the crown. As with all craftsmanship, there can be good cuts and bad cuts.

The cut establishes the relationship a diamond has with light reflection. To measure a diamonds performance with light, keep three questions in mind:

  1. How much light reflects off the surface?
  2. How much light enters the diamond?
  3. What form does light take when reflecting off the diamond?

Answering these questions breaks down into three further distinguishing features. The first is brightness, which refers to the white light that beams from the surface and interior of the diamond. Next, is fire, which describes the scattering of light into a spectrum. Scintillation is when a diamond, observer, or light moves, and flashes of light will sparkle from the gemstone. Like wine, these industry terms are the formal way of discussing the factors that define a diamond’s value.


Clarity is another way of citing a diamond’s purity. As a diamond forms, several flaws can form along with the gemstone. These flaws are called blemishes, external markings, or inclusions depending on the impact the flaw has on the diamond’s clarity. The stronger the purity of the diamond, the higher value it will have.

Clarity is measured by an 11-point scale system provided by the GIA. Your diamond will be placed under 10x magnification to be graded and plotted along the GIA Clarity Scale. The scale ranges from flawless to I3. Of course, the further the diamond is graded away from flawless, the more it’s worth lowers.


The most prevalent diamond is the colorless or white diamond. However, diamonds do come in various colors like blue, pink, yellow, and black. Even colorless diamonds will have tints of color which make truly colorless, white diamonds rare and thus more valuable. With less color, comes more passage of light traversing the diamond which makes the diamond sparkle through light dispersion.

A white diamond’s color is graded and judged against a master set forming the GIA Color Scale. This 23-point scale ranges from D to Z with D being colorless. As a diamond’s tint or color becomes more noticeable it’s scaled closer to Z. Tints of brown, gray, or yellow will lower the diamond’s value and push a diamond’s grading closer to Z.

A Quick Way to Find How to Know What Diamonds are Worth

If you’re looking to pawn, buy, or sell a diamond use PawnGuru to separate ‘sketchy’ pawnshops from professionals. Using PawnGuru’s aggregation software, you can make a free listing with no obligation to do any business. Your listing is broadcasted to every jewelry in your local area. Within minutes, dealers will email you back their offers.

After sifting through emails, pick the best offer with the fairest terms. Then visit the shop in person for an appraisal. From here, certification from 1 of the 5 certifying laboratories can be discussed, the shop’s certified diamond inspector can help educate your decision-making process, and then you can make your final decisions.

Don’t deal with diamonds blind! Know their worth and use PawnGuru!

David Stiebel
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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