Are diamonds like fine wine? Do they become more valuable as they age?
There is no simple answer to this question. The oldest diamond will not necessarily be the most valuable one. Quite the opposite, diamonds are incredibly prone to depreciation, and most of them will lose their value over time.
Still, some antique or ‘old’ diamonds that are unique or have a rich history will cost more than the modern pieces. Maybe you are lucky! Can you predict how much your old diamond is worth? How is the value of old diamonds determined?
If you continue reading, you will find out all there is about old diamonds, including the answer to the ever-burning question: Are old diamonds more valuable?
All You Need To Know About Old Diamonds
In this section, you will find out a little bit about how diamonds come to be and how people assess their quality and set their value. We will also tackle the diamond resale value.
Diamonds are forever, they say, and it is true. So, the good news is that no matter how old your diamond is, it will always have some value.
If you are fortunate, and your antique diamond is highly uncommon, features a rare cut style, or has a unique, breath-taking history, the chances are that it will be worth a fortune too.
How Old Should A Diamond Be To Be Considered An Antique Piece?
All the diamonds in the world are technically old. After all, it takes one to three billion years for any diamond to form. In essence, diamonds are pure carbon that has been compressed by high pressure and intense heat for millions of years.
After the diamonds are mined, they need to be cut and polished before their quality and value can be determined. The ones that are of gem-quality will most probably end up on a ring, necklace, or earrings. Diamonds that are of poor quality won’t be wasted either. They will be used for different applications in various industries.
In reality, only a few diamonds make it into the realm of luxurious goods. The majority ends up being used for industrial purposes. A diamond thus has much more chances to be used as a drill tip or a cutting blade than a piece of jewelry. It is all thanks to their unmatched resiliency.
Even though most people believe diamonds are very rare, that is not actually the case. Diamonds are pretty common – millions of them are pulled from the Earth every single year.
Of course, gem-quality stones are much harder to come by. Their final value can be partially assessed as soon as they are mined. If a diamond is not remarkable and unique when it is mined, it cannot have a massive value later on, no matter how it is cut, treated, or polished.
How Is The Value Of An Old Diamond Determined?
The old, “second-hand” diamonds are usually worth far less than what was initially paid for them. We have already warned you of the sad fact that diamonds are highly prone to depreciation. As a result, your diamond will most likely be worth a fraction of its total retail price tag once you decide to sell it.
As we have already implied, some diamonds are the exception to this unfortunate rule. What makes these diamonds so different? It can be a number of things or a combination of a few qualities. For example, a diamond can feature a rare hue or extreme beauty. Abnormally large stones are highly valued as well and can reach an excessive price whenever they are put on the market.
There is no definite list of qualities that boost the value of diamonds. Sometimes even a minor feature such as an outdated style of cut adds value to a stone since such diamonds are rare and hard to come by.
It might come as a surprise to you, but almost all the most expensive diamonds in the world at this moment have been mined during the last hundred years. It is incredibly unusual to find a diamond worth an enormous amount of money that is older than a century. Such diamonds usually have a storied past that raises interest in them and makes them famous and sought of.
In the last couple of decades, only a few diamonds have changed hands for a jaw-dropping amount of money. Most of them had a unique feature such as a highly unusual or even one-of-a-kind color or considerable size.
You probably heard of a Hope Diamond, which was mined in India around four hundred years ago. It is perhaps the most famous diamond in the world. Unfortunately, it is believed that it comes with a curse too.
This unique gemstone has traveled the world and has undergone numerous changes. It was stolen and recut, but that did not diminish its original value. Quite the opposite, today, this diamond is worth a whopping quarter of a billion dollars.
Does this make the Hope Diamond the most expensive in the world? No, one diamond is worth double that.
The diamond that is currently considered to be the most valuable in the whole world is called Koh-I-Noor. It originated in India, where it was mined about seven hundred years ago, but it was stolen and ended up in Great Britain.
The most expensive gem in the world is now an integral part of the British Crown Jewels. Even though it started as a 186-carat stone, it now measures around 105-carats. It did not diminish the stone’s value since the original has been cut down to improve its brilliance and increase its value.
So, how much is Koh-I-Noor worth nowadays? It has not been officially appraised yet, considering that it is highly unlikely it will ever be sold. Still, this diamond is expected to cost about half a billion dollars if that ever does happen.
Why are these two diamonds so pricey? Is it because of their age? To some extent, yes, but most of all, they are valued for their uniqueness. Size is also a significant factor since both of these gems are enormous.
This fantastic-looking gem was mined in South Africa in 1999 and was auctioned in 2017 for an incredible seventy million dollars. Its value had nothing to do with its age, though, which confirms a notion that diamonds can be thousands of years old and worth nothing or only a couple of days old and worth millions.
A unique, impressive diamond will be worth a fortune no matter its age.
See Also: Will Diamonds Lose Value?
How Do The Grading Agencies Determine The Value Of The Old Diamonds?
Reputable diamond grading agencies such as the GIA or EGL consider the old diamonds as valuable as the ones made today. If you take an old European cut to be appraised by one of these primary diamond grading agencies, they will grade it impartially and based only on the four c’s:
Both GIA and EGL grade both vintage and new gems using the completely same standards. They do not even take age into consideration.
If you have two different diamonds, one that has just been made and one that you have inherited from your grandmother, and they both get certified with I color and VS1 clarity – their value will be the same. Their age will not make any difference.
Does The Demand For Vintage Diamonds Influence Their Value Too?
Only a decade earlier, old cut diamonds were seen as out-of-fashion and were mostly recut into modern cuts such as the brilliant-cut. If you were to offer an old diamond to a dealer, they would immediately cut the price too by about 20 to 30 percent. It has been done in order to compensate for the weight loss during the recutting process.
In time, the demand for antique diamonds grew bigger, and their price followed the same trend. Nowadays, the prices of new and old cut diamonds are most often comparable. Yet, sometimes the old diamonds cost far more than the new ones.
Why Has The Interest In Old Diamonds Increased?
There are several reasons for this new trend:
- First and foremost, vintage diamonds are becoming increasingly rare.
- Second, these antique stones are earth-friendly and have nothing to do with controversy regarding the so-called conflict diamonds of the modern age.
- Finally, fashion is changing and taking a turn towards the old days.
No one wants the huge, blingy brilliants that were ever so popular during the late ’90s. Such jewelry is now passed. People are now interested in subtler, understated gems. The old cut diamonds are precisely like that – beautiful in their simplicity and are thus making a shiny comeback.
A lot of people nowadays will choose an antique stone rather than a big and brilliant modern one.
Related Read: Do Diamonds Get Better With Age?