Tiny diamonds – also known as melee diamonds – can make a gorgeous addition to a bigger, center stone. They can take a simple, plain ring and make it sparkle. That begs the question: How much are tiny diamonds worth?
The price of tiny diamonds can fluctuate depending on their grade, but they usually cost a couple of hundred dollars. Melee diamonds with higher rates are more expensive.
What factors will dictate the price of these tiny gems, and where are they used? Answers to these – and more – questions can be found in this article, so be sure to read it till the end.
What Are Melee Diamonds?
Melee diamonds are tiny diamonds used in jewelry, usually accentuating a single, center gemstone on an engagement ring. The tiny diamonds you see in settings like a halo, channel, or pave are almost always the so-called melee diamonds.
The GIA defines melee diamonds as diamonds that are less than 0.2 carats. That’s the biggest a melee diamond can get, though. They can also be as tiny as 0.001 carats. As you see, melee diamonds are very small and thus not much to look at on their own.
However, a group of these tiny diamonds clustered together can surely add a magnificent sparkle to an otherwise plain engagement ring.
See Also: Are Diamond Cluster Rings Tacky?
Melee Diamonds: Cut
Melee diamonds are usually cut the same way as their bigger brilliant-cut counterparts. Many melee diamonds appear like a scaled-down version of the round, brilliant diamond used as a center stone.
Single Cut Vs. Full Cut
Most of the melee diamonds are cut in the same way as larger diamonds. That leaves us with a finished gem with 58 facets – a perfect downsized version of the type of diamonds used as center stones.
These are also known as Full Cut melee diamonds.
There is another type of melee gem, known as Single Cut, though. These are made through much simpler cutting techniques and only feature 17 facets.
Single Cut melee diamonds don’t have the sparkle and fire that a Full Cut brilliant diamond has.
Single Cut melees are rarely used today, though. Modern diamond cutting has advanced to the point where there’s no reason to make Single Cut melee diamonds.
Therefore, the majority of melee diamonds are Full Cut melee diamonds.
Melee Diamonds: Prices
Like with more significant diamond cuts, melee diamond pricing depends on the size of the diamond and the quality of the cut. As melee diamonds are much smaller gems, they’re not very valuable on their own.
That brings us to another point: Melee diamonds are rarely sold individually or commercially. They’re typically bundled in parcels containing hundreds of tiny diamonds and sold wholesale to the jewelry designers and repairers.
The price of these tiny diamonds is then calculated by the total carat weight of the parcel.
Melee diamonds usually cost around $300-400 per carat, provided that we’re talking about average-grade gems. Melees graded higher – such as those with VVS/VS in clarity and higher than H in color – can cost up to $1000 per carat, though.
Melee Diamonds: Ring Settings
These tiny diamonds are used in ring settings to deliver dazzling sparkle, brilliance, and fire to an engagement ring. Melee diamonds are excellent for adding all-around shine and volume without taking away from the center diamond.
Popular ring settings with melees include the pave, channel, and halo settings.
Pave Ring Setting
A pave ring setting is a type of ring setting in which the shank is lined with melee diamonds. These diamonds are held in place with prongs or beads, creating the appearance of a continuous line of tiny diamonds.
The pave setting adds extra sparkle to the ring while emphasizing the beauty of the central diamond in the center. Pave settings are available in a wide variety of styles – from vintage designs to modern settings.
Diamonds in this setting are set when they’re as small as 0.01-0.02 carats. Gems tinier than that are called micro-paves and are typically set in thin bands.
A jeweler usually drills holes in the band and delicately places tiny diamonds into the holes. Mini-prongs or small beads are formed around each diamond to keep them in place.
With a pave ring, the effect is one of continuous shine and sparkle.
The best part of a pave ring is that it pairs well with other types of settings, like halos, solitaires, and three-stone rings. No matter the style you prefer, you can almost always add the so-called pave detailing.
However, when choosing a ring setting, you should consider the style of the wearer and the level of maintenance required.
Let’s look at the major pros and cons of the pave setting.
- Adds overall brilliance and beauty to the ring
- Brings attention to the diamond in the center
- Offers extra sparkle to a less sparkly center stone
- Designs are available in vintage or modern style
- Sizing and resizing can be a bit difficult if the ring is pave set around the full band
- While it’s highly unlikely, there is a risk of losing side stones
Related Read: How To Prevent Pave Diamonds From Falling Out?
Halo Ring Setting
A halo ring setting is a setting that calls attention to the center stone surrounded by a loop of tiny gems. The concentric circle square or circle diamonds in a halo ring usually make the stone in the center appear bigger and more brilliant.
Halos are typically paired with pave bands but can certainly stand on their own with an unadorned band.
A double halo setting consists of two concentric circles of stones that circle the stone in the center.
Hidden halo rings are settings that highlight a complete loop of diamonds or other gemstones that sit below the center diamond. Hidden halo settings offer the ring extra brilliance and character.
On occasion, hidden halos can make the center stone look more prominent, too.
As you probably already know, every setting has its advantages and disadvantages.
Halo rings are gorgeous choices in many designs and shapes – but let’s see their pros and cons.
- Boosts the appearance and size of the center diamond
- Smaller stones enhance the overall sparkle of the ring
- Securely holds and protects the stone in the center
- Complements a variety of diamond shapes
- Smaller stones may become loose over time
- Resizing can be demanding with a pave halo ring because of the tiny stones in the band
Channel Ring Setting
A channel-set ring is a ring setting in which tiny diamonds are set inside a specifically cut channel. Most channel-set rings have a small lip that extends slightly over the edge of the gemstones to keep them secure.
There are channel set rings that feature grooves inside the channel that also help secure the melee diamonds – or other gemstones – in place.
A channel setting matches a pave setting – but it uses thicker metal to secure the diamonds. And since no prongs are holding the gemstones, the channel setting is a snag-free design.
A channel design adds style and sparkle to your ring. Because of the additional diamonds, this setting tends to draw more attention than some solid bands.
Channel setting is also popular for wedding bands and stackable rings that feature tiny diamonds without a center diamond.
Look at the advantages – and disadvantages – before making a final decision.
- Securely holds diamonds and protects them
- Enhances the sparkle of the ring with side stones
- Maintains a sharp design without compromising its stability
- Very unlikely to snag on clothing
- Often requires more effort and time to clean as dirt can become trapped in the channels
- Can occasionally hide diamonds slightly more than prong settings
- Can be difficult to resize and repair because of the numerous channels
What To Look For When Buying A Ring With Melee Diamonds
There won’t be much opportunity to customize the melee diamonds when you’re buying a ring – in most cases, anyway. However, you should still make sure that the melee diamonds are of high enough grade.
Otherwise, it might end up detracting from the center gemstone’s value.
Grading reports are available for the center gem – but not the tiny diamonds encircling it. Because of this, some jewelers make false claims about the melee diamonds used in their rings or other jewelry.
Instead, they use low-quality diamonds to cut down prices.
You want to be sure that the melee diamonds don’t overshadow the center diamond, too. While an assembly of brilliant melee diamonds can give a magnificent shine to the ring, you want the eye drawn to the bigger diamond in the middle.
Additionally, consider the fact that melee diamonds are more prone to becoming displaced. There’s no better way for a ring to lose its appeal than to have an empty hole where a tiny diamond used to be.
A ring with plenty of melee diamonds may require regular maintenance.
Diamond chips are tiny diamonds that can be used in the same settings as previously talked about melee diamonds. However, these small diamonds aren’t fully faceted.
That means that they aren’t cut and polished the same way as diamonds usually are. That results in jagged, uneven shapes compared to a properly cut melee diamond.
Diamond chips usually come from tiny bits that come away when the jeweler is cutting a larger stone. These chips could also be small diamonds that simply haven’t been cut.
Regular diamonds that are professionally cut have more than 50 facets, which is what gives them their beautiful sparkle and shine. Without the facets, diamond chips just don’t have the same impact.
The only shine they emit is from the light reflecting off their surface, coming at uneven and odd angles.
Diamond Chip Prices
Diamond chips aren’t used that often today. However, if they are used, it’s usually a low-cost substitute for melee diamonds.
Since they aren’t cut and processed like other diamonds, they’re usually a lot cheaper.
If melee diamonds cost anywhere from $300 per carat, you can expect that diamond chips are much cheaper. However, if your ring is made with accent diamonds, it’s not worth cutting the price by using diamond chips.
They can easily depreciate the center stone, and the jagged and sharp shape can also be dangerous. Well-cut melee diamonds will make your ring stand the test of time.
Understanding Diamond Prices
Diamond pricing is set by diamond cutters and suppliers, as well as supply and demand conditions.
It all starts with the mines. As diamonds are collected in their rough form, they’re sold to diamond manufacturers at auctions. That is the first time a price is set.
A diamond manufacturing process is pretty expensive. The manufacturers deploy skilled labor and technology to precisely cut and polish diamonds.
The organization known as Rapaport helps with benchmarking diamond prices across markets. This organization meets with suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers to determine supply and demand conditions.
From here, manufacturers provide pricing for the diamonds they deliver within the market. These prices are usually either a premium or a discount to the wholesale pricing recommendation.
Diamond pricing has become very competitive since the standardization via GIA. So, it’s crucial to know that the average diamond margin is about 7%-12%.
Learn More: Who Controls The Price Of Diamonds?
You’re still wondering, how much are tiny diamonds worth? Well, let us break it for you one more time:
Tiny diamonds, also known as melee diamonds, are gems that typically accentuate the center gemstone. These small diamonds are defined as diamonds that are less than 0.2 carats. Melee diamond’s price is around $300-400 per carat, for melees with an average grade. Melee diamonds with higher grades can go up for $1000, though.
Melee diamonds are used in ring settings to bring more sparkle and brilliance to the ring. Some of the popular designs with melee diamonds are the pave, halo, and channel settings.