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My mother has asked me to help her look for ways to sell, or at least price, a few diamonds that have been in our family for quite some time. I don't know anything at all about diamonds, however, we do have official papers from both the GIA and the European Gemological Laboratory. The papers are from 1978, 1979, and 1982 if that has any relevance. I'll list them in order and write down what information I have. The first one that I'll list seems to be of the poorest quality, and the third of the best.


Diamond #1


GIA Report 


1 transparent near colorless round brilliant 

measuring approx. 6.23-6.39 x 3.96 mm

weight: 1.01 carats


Depth %: 62-63.6%

Table %: 67%

Girdle Thickness: very thin to very thick, faceted

Culet size: Medium


Polish: Good

Symmetry: Poor


Clarity Grade: VS-2

graining: nil


Color Grade: G

ultraviolet fluorescence: none


Diamond #2


European Gemological Society


Natural Diamond

weight: 1.26 carats

shape and cut: Round brilliant cut

Measurements: Max 6.94 min. 6.82 x 4.28mm



depth %: 62.2%

table diameter: 65%

girdle thickness: thin faceted


Finish grade: good


Purity/Clarity: VS1

Colour grade: 0(E)

photoluminescence: slight


Diamond #3


Natural Diamond

weight: 2.05 carats

shape and cut: round brilliant

Measurements: approx. max. 8.27 min. 8.21 x 4.97mm

Proportions: very good

Depth %: 60.3%

Table diameter %: 59%

crown height: 13%

Pavilion depth: 43%

girdle thickness: medium faceted

finish grade: good

Purity: VS2

Color Grade: 0(E)

photoluminescence: moderate


Any information as to the best means of selling these diamonds, or really any comments in general to give me an idea of what I'm dealing with here would be greatly appreciated. Googling this stuff led me to some very commercial and rather sketchy advice, so having real people to talk to is comforting.


Thank you in advance

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It's a complicated question and it would really benefit you to visit with an appraiser. Where are you?


#3 is definitely the best. All three have their issues but there's enough value here that it's worth being a bit careful.

Edited by denverappraiser
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Don't worry about the topic title. :)


+1 to Neil's advice. You need to understand:


1. More about the diamonds (grading by EGS - or EGL? - is not very reliable, and in 30 years there could have been some damage or wear, plus you know very little about cut quality)


2. More about your options/channels for selling: outright sale to the trade, consignment, private sale. What would work for you and what to expect in terms of price and timelines.


3. Whether it is worth re-grading the diamonds or having any work done to them (ranging from repair/repolish to a complete recut e.g. for stone #1)


FWIW, you are dealing with quite a few $1000, even at rock bottom pawn shop type prices, which is why spending a couple of hundreds in hiring your own expert would be most sensible.

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A little history may be of value here.  I do not know the particular circumstances of your family and how they came to own these stones but having been in the industry for about 30 years, we have worked with a number of families, banks and trusts and their inventories of "investment" diamonds purchased during the mid-70's to early 80's.  During that time period diamond prices were shooting up on a weekly basis.  My numbers are not exact because they are from just before my time in the business, but any of my colleagues are welcome to correct me.  The benchmark 1ct D-IF went from a fairly stable $12,000 per carat to about $68,000 per carat between the early 1970's and 1981.  During that time, people were desperate to buy diamonds as just holding them for a few months was the best investment you could make.  Banks lent money to manufacturers based on the rising value of their inventories.  It was a pretty crazy period.  Private people were amassing inventories as were banks and trusts.  Manufacturers could not cut diamonds fast enough and nobody knew much or even cared about cut quality.  Round stones with extremely thick girdle, 65% tables or 66% depths were commonplace.  This was the origin of the "Israeli cut" diamonds that weighed 1ct but only had a 6.1mm diameter.  The GIA and other labs were hiring graders who were not fully trained just because they had to keep up with demand.

In 1981, the bubble finally burst and the 1ct D-IF came crashing back down to $8,000 per carat.  The industry went through a seismic event when this happened and a majority of the old firms did not survive.  What did survive were vast inventories of poorly cut and graded stones purchased at excessively high prices that were suddenly worth pennies on the dollar.  Some people bit the bullet and cashed out and many others held on, hoping against hope that prices would return to their previous levels.  This will likely never happen but the 1ct D-IF is now hovering around $24,000 and some of these stones have been coming out of buried vaults recently. 

All this to say that you do indeed need an appraiser working for you, who is not interested in purchasing or facilitating the sale of you stones.  You will likely want to get them regraded because the papers on them now are drastically out of date and pretty much useless.  I particularly like the depth range on the first stone (62-63.6)!  I can tell you now that if you want to maximize the price you sell these for, they will need to be recut.  There are very few appraisers who truly understand the art of recutting but there are a number of us in the diamond industry on this forum who might be willing to work with you.  My advice would be to work with both, an appraiser and a cutter.  The cutter can explain the different options and be able to give you estimated final weights before ever touching a stone to the wheel.  you can discuss this information with your appraiser and then make an informed and confident decision.


If I were to advise you as to the actual process, I would recommend finding an appraiser first and getting an idea of what you actually have.  Then I would talk to a cutter.  I would wait to submit the stones for grading by a lab (GIA is most highly recommended) until after the recutting has been done.  There is no need to get stones graded if they are to be recut.


Good luck!  Sorry if this was a little long-winded but I felt this was necessary knowledge to have given the dates of your grading reports.

Edited by GeorgeDI
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I'm a lot less bullish on cutting than George but a competent appraiser should be able to advise this too.  The problem is that you, as a private party seller, are going to take a hit on the back end anyway, and the fees for cutting are going to be higher to you than to a customer who does it regularly.  Double whammy.   There are no guaranteed results and it can be expensive, time consuming and emotionally draining.  If your end sale is going to be to a dealer, it may very well be best to leave that money 'on the table' for your buyer.  It's probably true that at least the first two are going to be bound for recutting before they end up on someone else's finger, but that doesn't mean that it's best for YOU to be doing it.  


Think of it this way.  Imagine you've got a car to sell.  It needs a new transmission.  You know it, your buyer knows it, and when it's done it'll almost certainly be worth more as a result.  How much more is the debate.  As it sits, your market is car dealers and mechanics who are prepared to deal with it.  If you fix it, then what do you do?  If you're in a good position to retail it, that may be the right choice (or not) but if you're going to be selling to that same car dealer it's a whole lot faster and easier to let them spend the money and do the work.  If you're not a car guy, this may not be the best use of your time. 

Edited by denverappraiser
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Fair point Neil.  I like the car analogy.  The stones are bound to be recut but you may choose not to deal with that aspect of things.  The upside is that it becomes an easier transaction.  The downside is that you will likely leave money on the table.  The decision is yours to make but if you don't get an estimate of the cost and outcome of the recut, then you will make this decision somewhat blindly.

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