Diamonds – What is selling now and why?

Abe Mor Diamond Cutters & Co. hosted a free conference call with more than 100 pawnbrokers to discuss diamond buying, grading, evaluation, and market trends. Below are a few of the questions and answers from the call.

Q: Which diamond shapes are most popular now? How does this effect diamond prices?

A: Most stores claim 70-80 percent of their sales are round diamonds. The other shapes make up about 20 percent. When it comes to non-rounds, or fancy shapes, the most popular are princess cuts, followed by cushions, radiants, and emerald cuts. Ovals are making a comeback. Most retailers report that marquis cuts (popular in the 80’s), pear shapes, and heart shapes are not selling well.

There are regional differences. In the New York City area larger cushions over three carats are just as popular as larger rounds. Also, in parts of the country with larger ethnic populations we are seeing occasional sales of heart shapes (Asian clientele) and marquis cut diamonds. The bottom line is that, when selling your fancy cuts, make sure the dealer has a demand for the shapes.

Q: When buying diamonds other than round shapes, what should I keep in mind?

A: The outline, or proportion, of non-rounds, or fancy shapes, is absolutely crucial when pricing them. When these stones fall outside of desirable proportions, dealers discount them drastically because they are difficult to sell. Keep in mind that each shape has a look that consumers desire. For example, almost all princess cut requests from consumers are for square cuts. The slightly rectangular ones are much harder to sell. For a list of measurements and proportions for each shape, contact Eric Mor at [email protected], and he will send you the guidelines.

As a general rule non-rounds trade 25-35 percent less than rounds. When non-rounds are out of proportion, the discounts can be an additional 20 percent or so.

Q: What are the major differences between the most popular diamond grading labs and how do they affect pricing?

A: Almost all dealers will agree that GIA’s labs are the strictest, followed by AGS, IGI, and EGL. EGL is for U.S. only, so it’s very important to keep in mind that the EGL reports not stamped “USA” tend to be two to three grades less than the ones that are stamped “USA”! These need to be discounted heavily when being evaluated.

Q: What exactly does the term “ideal cut” mean and how does it relate to GIA’s cut grades?

A: Ideal cut is a broad term and is defined differently depending on whom you ask. It is supposed to refer to a diamond that is cut ideally and very brilliant.

The term was proposed by Marcel Tolkowsky about 100 years ago. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what makes diamonds brilliant and attractive to the human eye, but one thing has not changed; a diamond’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In other words, 5 expert gemologists might have differing opinions on which diamond appears to be the most brilliant and attractive.

In 2006, GIA established their cut grade system: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. Most stones a casual observer would perceive as very bright and attractive fall into the excellent or very good cut grades. In the past five years or so, higher end consumers will do research online before they buy, and most will demand better proportioned stones.

Eric, Lisa, and Alon Mor are the owners of Abe Mor Diamond Cutters & Co, a New York based, 50-year-old diamond cutter and wholesaler started by their father Abe, who is still very active at 75 years old. With over 35 years in the diamond industry, Eric’s specific expertise is in diamond grading and evaluation. Visit AbeMor.com for more information or email Eric at [email protected]