Diamond Chips

What They Are And What They’re Worth

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What Is A Diamond Chip?

Not to be confused with chipped diamonds, a diamond chip is simply a nicked piece of diamond. These small diamonds may have broken off larger diamonds, been fractured diamonds were cut, or they were mined that way.

Regardless of their origin, diamond chips are very small diamonds that are asymmetrical, not cut, and not finished as thoroughly as faceted diamonds. Real diamond chips are uneven and jagged but can make for beautiful diamond jewelry nonetheless.

Diamond chips are rarely faceted and are usually small stones used as accent stones around the bigger and more prominent cut and polished diamonds and center stones. Diamond chips are not polished. Thus, they appear a bit rougher and rawer than higher-graded diamonds.

What Is The Value Of Diamond Chips?

Diamond chips are significantly cheaper per carat compared with a quality diamond. Although the small size of a diamond chip contributes to its decreased price, it will still be cheaper than a regular cut and polished diamond of the same size.

The primary reason for the low price of diamond chips is that these diamonds are not faceted. Because of the lack of facets, diamond chips don’t reflect light and sparkle to the same extent as faceted diamonds.

Stones that are cut with facets have much higher brilliance than diamond chips. Furthermore, a diamond chip is not polished, which contributes to its rough surface and inability to refract light and sparkle as a result.

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How to Evaluate Diamond Chips

Despite the lower value of diamond chips, they can still serve as accent diamonds for a beautifully designed engagement ring, everyday diamond ring, or unique vintage jewelry.

Many jewelers are willing to evaluate the value of a given diamond chip, but if you prefer assessing your jewelry by yourself, here is what you should be considering:

The Color Of The Diamond Chip

You can assess the contribution of color to the price of a diamond chip just as you would with cut diamonds. A stone’s color is majorly involved in its price value. A clear and colorless diamond is always worth more than a stone with a yellow color.

If you plan to arrange a collection of smaller diamonds around a larger stone, it is essential that all the diamond chips in the setting have a uniform color. If not, it might look like patchwork consisting of odd stones of all different shades and colors.

As commonly seen in engagement rings, if your setting has a center stone, the surrounding tiny diamonds should match its clarity and color.

The Clarity Of Diamond Chips

The clarity of diamond chips affects their value in the same way it affects the price of diamonds in facets. The fewer inclusions a stone has the higher its value.

That being said, the clarity of diamond chips isn’t as incredibly significant as in larger cut diamonds because it isn’t always as visible and noticeable in small diamonds. The flaws in a chip can easily be overlooked if it forms part of a larger piece of jewelry with an appreciable center stone.

That said, jewelry with prominent shortcomings in the chip should be discounted, as you could likely find diamonds of better quality and a comparable price.

The Cut Of Diamond Chips

This characteristic is not relevant to diamond chips because they are not faceted nor cut diamonds. However, uncut chips are less valuable than other stones of average grade and similar size.

Diamond Chips And Carat

Needless to say, a larger stone is more costly per carat weight than any smaller stone.

Larger diamonds are much rarer than small diamonds, leading to increased prices.

The same principle applies to diamond chips. Bigger chips will always cost more per carat compared to small chips.

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Diamond Chips vs. Single-Cut Diamonds

Back when cutting technology wasn’t as accurate and precise as it is today, diamond chips were frequently used in jewelry. Jewelers would simply use diamond chips because it was impossible to cut small diamond pieces to form faceted diamonds perfectly. These days, single-cut stones are frequently used instead.

What are single-cut diamonds? They are simply faceted small stones. The number of facets is just smaller than that of large diamonds.

Single-cut diamonds frequently come in around 16 to 18 facets, whereas a large diamond typically has approximately 58 facets. These stones are referred to as full-cut diamonds.

Single-cut diamonds are alternatively referred to as melee diamonds. Many jewelers call them “accent diamonds” as they are used to emphasize the center stone in popular settings.

Jewelers often use the term diamond chips to refer to both single-cut diamonds and chips, so you should always clarify whether the stones are uncut or faceted.

Melee Diamonds

What Are Melee Diamonds?

As mentioned above, melee diamonds are the faceted versions of diamond chips. They are tiny diamonds often used to accentuate a center stone on diamond jewelry, such as an engagement ring.

If you look at popular pavé, halo, and channel settings, you will likely notice the tiny stones, which are ordinarily meleed diamonds.

The Gemological Institute of America defines diamonds that are less than 0.2. carats as melee diamonds. This carat weight is also the largest melee diamond you’ll find, but they can also be as tine as 0.001 carats, depending on the size of the stone.

A single melee diamond does not leave much of an impression, but collected groups of melee diamonds make for beautiful pieces of jewelry. They add just a little extra sparkle and distinctiveness to an otherwise plain pair of earrings or ring.

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The Cost Of Melee Diamonds

As with any other diamond, the cost of a melee diamond will depend on the size of the diamond and the quality of the cut. They are not very valuable as individual diamonds due to their small size, but they are rarely sold that way.

A jeweler would typically buy hundreds of tiny melee diamonds at wholesale prices and sell them to designers who commonly use them for engagement rings. The price is then calculated based on the carat weight of the entire collection.

Average grade Melee diamonds commonly sell for between 300 and 400 dollars per carat, whereas higher grade diamonds could go for up to $1000 per carat.

Melee Diamond Cuts

Melee diamonds are commonly cut in the same way as larger stones and comparably yield a finished product containing around 58 facets. This is the case with full-cut melee diamonds.

Single-cut melee diamonds, in contrast, are cut using much less complex methods and result in the use of only 17 facets. However, single-cute melee diamonds lack the brilliance and exquisite allure of a full-cut diamond.

The vast majority of melee diamonds are full-cut melees, as technological advancements have deemed it unnecessary to produce single-cut melees.


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