Diamonds: Uncut

Rough Diamond vs Polished Diamond

Are you wary of diamond prices? Do you think buying rough diamonds might be smarter? Don’t be fooled! Rough diamonds are not always a better option. The value of a raw diamond does not consider a great many elements that give a diamond its cost value.

Rough diamonds do not sparkle and are known to be less expensive than a cut diamond. It is the cut of the diamond that will make it sparkle. In a significant way, the cut of the diamond determines its ultimate price because of the labor and skill involved in processing a raw diamond for purchase. So before you decide to spend money on a raw diamond, let’s take a closer look at the true value per carat of such a stone.

What is a Rough Diamond?

Rough diamonds, or raw diamonds, are diamonds that have not been cut or polished. Most rough diamonds on the market have been mined and are not lab-created. It is difficult to establish the clarity of such a stone, and process of having it cut and polished can be extremely costly.

Uncut diamonds might seem like a more economical purchase than cut diamonds, but that is usually not the case. It is pretty risky to buy uncut diamonds. There is no guarantee that the stone you want to purchase is worth the money. You cannot accurately determine its clarity, the shape it can be cut into, or whether it can be used in jewelry.

Rough Diamond Prices

Rough diamond prices are much lower than cut and polished diamonds, but when buying uncut diamonds, you should also consider how much it would cost to hire a diamond cutter and how difficult it is to judge the value of an uncut diamond.

Rough diamonds cannot be judged according to cut, so their price will depend on clarity grade, color, and carat weight. The shape of a rough diamond will also affect its final price. How a rough diamond is shaped will impact how it can be cut.


Rough diamonds are far cheaper than cut diamonds. The cutting process requires expertise and labor that are expensive and hard to come by, so an uncut diamond does not yet carry these costs.

Uncut diamonds are unique. An uncut diamond can be set in jewelry and create a unique piece, but remember that uncut diamonds do not sparkle. You can also rest assured that a rough diamond is conflict-free.

If you are willing to use an uncut diamond in your jewelry, like a ring or earring, then these stones can be a great option. It is uncut from the surface of the diamond is not polished, so you cannot see its flaws.


There are also several disadvantages to purchasing rough diamonds. A rough diamond is far more likely to be full of inclusions and to have a darker color. It is extremely difficult to accurately determine their quality.

If you want to have the diamond cut sometime in future, then there are further factors that you need to consider, and nearly all of them are disadvantages. You need to make sure that the gem you are purchasing is gem grade does not have internal fractures and few inclusions.

The diamond that you want cut will lose roughly half of its volume during the cutting process, and the shape of the diamond will have an impact on how it can be cut. You will also struggle to find a cutter. Reputable diamond cutters work for large corporations and do not do independent work.

If you do find someone trustworthy to cut your diamond, you will pay per carat, and that price can range from $125 to $400 per carat. The diamond cutter will need to cut the diamond in a manner that ensures the best end result for the stones, so you might not be able to get the shape or carat weight that you want.

Even if the stones look fine, remember that it is difficult to see flaws in stones that are in their rough form. So even stones with a hefty carat weight in their rough form can have fatal flaws hiding behind their rough surfaces. Also, remember that inclusions can weaken the integrity of stones, making them impossible to cut so that they can be used in jewelry, especially rings that receive quite a bit of shock.

Polished Diamonds

For the purpose of this article, we will not be providing individual prices because they fluctuate significantly depending on the economy and are not solely determined by carat (for example, stones with a hefty carat can have very poor clarity, which severely affects prices). We will remind readers that the price of diamond per carat weight jumps at certain points.

Tips for Purchasing Diamonds

Do not buy the first one you find; shop around and see if you can find the best balance between quality and price. Any diamond that you purchase must have a certificate issued either by GIA or AGS. When these certificates are ‘lost’, it often means that the diamond is lower quality than what it is being sold for, and the certificate was simply discarded so that it can be sold for more than it is worth.

When looking for the best deal, you need to prioritize things that can affect how the diamond looks to the naked eye. If a diamond looks perfect to the naked eye, it is far more economical to buy that one rather than a diamond that is higher quality. The price per carat of a diamond based on quality alone can vary as much as $74 000 per carat.

So if you find a gem-grade diamond that looks good to the naked eye, then that is a much smarter purchase than an actual high-quality diamond. Upon purchase, diamonds lose on average 30% of their value, so no matter the carat weight or clarity grade, you always pay more for a diamond than what it is worth.

Be wary of rough stones with high carat weights but low prices. They might look fine, but that does not mean that they are fine. If they have a lot of flaws hiding behind their rough facade, then they will not be suitable for your ring.

Industrial Diamonds

Diamonds with too many inclusions or cracks, or other impurities will be used in industry. They are often used in drills or abrasives and are sold at greatly reduced prices. Any diamond that is not gem quality is an industrial diamond.

These stones are available at very low prices per carat, often in their rough form. They are not suitable for use in jewelry, least of all rings. Stones used in rings need to be more durable because they often get bumped and rubbed against things. Rings also come into contact with chemicals more often.

Other Factors that Determine Diamond Price

There are some measurable factors that can affect the price of a diamond. For example, colorless diamonds are more expensive than colored diamonds. Salt and pepper diamonds have little black or gray spots in them that are called inclusions, and this will affect the price.

Lab-created diamonds are cheaper than mined diamonds, even in their rough form and regardless of carat, because they require fewer resources to acquire. The cut of a diamond can also impact its price. Asscher, Princess, and Brilliance cuts generally have higher prices than other, less popular cuts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a rough diamond be used in an engagement ring?

You can use a rough diamond in an engagement ring if you like. There are rings available on the internet that contain uncut diamonds and can be used as an engagement ring. The way that trends are going these days, people are exploring endless varieties of alternative stones in their rings, so if your partner is up for something different, then a rough diamond might be just the thing for you.
It might be better to keep your stone rough as you will save on processing prices and keep the original carat count. Through processing, a rough diamond loses a lot of carat count, and the prices for cutting and polishing can be extremely high.

Why are colorless diamonds more expensive?

While diamonds without color inclusions are often more expensive than colored diamonds, this is not always the case. Some color diamonds are extremely rare, like red diamonds, and this can mean that they end up being more expensive than their colorless cousins.
Generally speaking, colorless diamonds are more expensive because they are in higher demand. Because carat is the only measurement of stone prices, colored stones are not held to the same standards as colorless stones. Buying a rough colored diamond is fine, but we need to remember that color is caused by contamination, and even a high carat rough diamond could have so many flaws per carat that it weakens the structure of the rough stone to such a degree that it cannot be cut.

How can I save money on cut diamonds?

You can save some money by prioritizing visual clarity over higher clarity ratings just for the sake of them. The same went for color. There is very little difference visually between a G-color stone and an H-color stone, but a G-color stone will be more expensive per carat regardless. The same applies to clarity.
Also, remember that although diamonds are priced per carat, there are certain carat weights where the price makes a significant jump. The price per carat for a 0.01 and 0.99-carat diamond is fairly similar until it reaches the jump point where the cost per carat will go up significantly.

How can I guarantee that the rough diamonds I want to buy are high-quality images?

Rough diamonds have no guarantees. It is fairly easy to determine factors like clarity, color, etc. But this is very difficult to do with rough diamonds. While you can weigh carat for a stone that has not been processed, carat is not the only indicator for price.
It is also extremely difficult to tell when a rough diamond is completely colorless or when it has a slight yellow tint. This sometimes only becomes apparent during cutting and will impact how the polished diamond is then priced.
Furthermore, if you want the rough diamond cut later, the shape and inclusions of the rough diamond will greatly impact how it can be cut. An excellent cut is highly unlikely, and you lose at least half of the total weight of the rough diamond during cutting.
A polished diamond with an ideal cut is often less than 50% the carat weight of the uncut diamond it came from.

Can other diamonds be used in jewelry?

No, it is not advised that industrial diamonds be used in jewelry. They are not gem-grade stones and are not suitable for use in jewelry. They will break more easily and can be unsightly. They also cannot be cut the way a gem-grade stone can be.

What is a Kimberley process certification?

This is a certificate that assures you that the cut diamond you want to purchase is not a conflict diamond. In certain parts of the world, a cut diamond is exchanged to fund civil conflicts.

If rough diamond prices are lower than cut diamond prices, then why is it not cheaper to buy a rough diamond?

Basically, rough diamond prices are lower because they have not been cut. Cutting is an extremely resource-intensive process. Cutting a 1-carat diamond can take up to eight hours, and this is one of the major reasons why rough diamond prices are so much lower than a cut stone.
The value of time and other resources are considered when you pay for a rough diamond. The time of an expert diamond cutter is extremely valuable in and of itself. So in simple terms, an uncut diamond is less valuable because it has not been subject to the valuable time and resources than a cut diamond has been.

Are there any famous rough diamonds?

Sergio is a rough-colored diamond that weighs 3167-carat.
The Cullinan diamond is a rough stone that weighs 3106.75-carat.
At 995.20-carat, we have the Excelsior stone
The Millenium Star weighs 777-carat
The Golder Jubilee was a rough color stone weighing 755-carat
The Sewelô stone weighs 1,758-carat


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