How can two diamond rings that look the same be a different price?

How can two diamond rings that look the same be a different price?

There are a variety of reasons why two seemingly identical rings (see our jewellery section for example) may be different and it's really important to see how this is the case. 

The headlines...

There are typically 4 headline details many clients look at when comparing diamond rings.

The cut of the gemstones may be different. Initially the actual style of cut may be subtly different, an asscher cut or a princess cut for example are to the untrained eye similar. One commands a different price than the other though. Even if the cut style is identical, then the actual quality of that cut may be different. Two brilliant cuts may be subtly different, the perfect symmetry being what is know as ‘hearts and arrows’ and as such commanding a premium price. The better the cut the more light will reflect out of the table without leaking out of the pavilion. Additionally one ring may have an old cut diamond with the culet cut off which lowers the price when compared to a new cut gemstone.

Indeed, the size of the gemstones may be different but appear similar to the naked eye. Even the slightest size change impacts the price and indeed when moving from 0.99 to 1.00 carat the price will change relatively dramatically. 

The clarity of the gems may be different which is (unless they are markedly differing quality stone) is only visible under loupe. The difference between a flawless and a VVS1 gemstone may be almost impossible to discern without the assistance of a glass but will impact the price.

For the same reason better colour grades, D or E as opposed to G or H, will command better prices and require identification in a shop environment where artificial lights may make diamonds seem similar. 

Under the headlines...the devil is in the detail!

Beneath ‘headline’ characteristics, there are a number of minor details about diamonds – polish, symmetry, proportions, fluorescence that can affect the price by as much as 20%. These may seem small, however they really impact a diamond's ability to sparkle brilliantly. We often see diamonds with attractive top level specifications but lack the excellent minor details that just don't sparkle as much as they could.  

One of the rings may contain a certificated diamond – this process of official grading adds a cost to the price of a diamond and this is reflected in the price. Additionally, better and more reliable certificates are dearer than less reliable, in house certificates or even non-certificated diamonds. 

The rings themselves, in terms of metal 'settings', may look identical but may be different. For example a yellow gold mount may be either 9 or 18 carat gold – 18 being more expensive. Similarly, if it was a white mount it could be either white gold or platinum, the latter being around double the price. Similarly the care and attention of how the ring's been made and the physical setting of the diamonds may vary. 

One ring may be a second hand ring with less tax due to HM Customs and Excise.

The ring may be a designer ring as opposed to a more mass produced piece. Whilst looking similar, the designer ring would command a premium owing to its ‘brand’ image.

Consider comparing a car – a BMW and a Ford both have 4 wheels, an engine, seats and a steering wheel, though dig beneath the surface and the differences mount up.

Online vs. bricks and mortar shops

Often online internet sites may sell similar items to a shop. It's entirely reasonable for a website to be cheaper - simply put they don't offer the same level of service, care or reassurance. Offering a physical environment with appointments, browsing, product comparisons, easy exchanges, expertise and knowledge as well as a trained, dedicated person to look after you for such an important purchase: this is what bricks and mortar offers.  

It's also worth considering that when buying jewellery, investing choosing from a business with a trusted reputation, easily available after sales service, recognised qualifications and that can provide all needed information for insurance companies may be a better bet in the long run for your peace of mind.

Don't forget to check out our range of rings in our rings section.

If you'd like to know more, or would like us to help you with an enquiry, do make contact.

Ask Jacobs More

Article by Adam J

Adam J

Adam's been working at Jacobs since 2003, has a professional jewellers diploma and looks after the business as whole.

Book your appointment