(Closed) "Diamonds aren't rare" question

posted 6 years ago in Rings
Post # 16
Member
76 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

From my research, not rare.  Also, the lab created ones are as pretty or prettier in my opinion (they are “perfect” and “flawless”, they also don’t have any blood diamond related issues).

Of course, I’m not much of a jewlery person to begin with and I love that my Fiance custom designed my, very simple, engagement/wedding ring (I only want the one, wearing two rings would be too much for me).

Does it matter if they are rare or not?  Do you just want them for rarity or you like them for their look or…?

Post # 17
Member
2233 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I share your frustration in trying to get an evidenced answer to this question. I did find a good research paper a while back which I’ll try to dig out tonight. 

De Beers market share has decreased significantly over the past 20 years and they no longer have an effective monopoly. I know that. However there may be a degree of oligopolistic indirect price control via supply by the industry in general, I believe that sizeable diamonds capable of being cut and polished to excellent gem grade diamonds are rare, the vast majority of diamond mines are destined for industrial use, but I need to check my sources. 

People also forget the huge capital and labour costs of mining and processing diamonds, it’s like saying that there are X number of years oil supply left in the seabeds if the world,  the cost and logistics of extracting is key.

I’ll share what I find here. 

Post # 19
Member
4682 posts
Honey bee

Based on the WB ring board, more guess no. We see larger, good quality stones all of the time.

Post # 20
Member
1629 posts
Bumble bee

The Atlantic article is great and precisely on point with great information. It’s still the best writing I’ve ever seen on the subject. But it was written in 1982 and things have changed a bit; at this point DeBeers doesn’t have the monopoly they once had (fascinatingly, this did not drive prices down the way everyone said it would). The short of it is that diamonds were VERY rare, until the motherlode was discovered in South Africa in the late nineteenth century — and at this point they aren’t really all that rare at all. Sure, the larger ones of higher clarity are going to be rarer, but there are plenty of them stockpiled. 

As far as how many are mined per year, I saw a 2010 article that states 163 million diamonds are mined every year. I’m guessing, with the competition there is now, more than that are mined these days. But, the stockpiling still happens. If you are a seller you have to control the supply of luxury goods if you don’t want your prices falling. 

Post # 21
Member
3936 posts
Honey bee

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alamana:  ” The short of it is that diamonds were VERY rare, until the motherlode was discovered in South Africa in the late nineteenth century — and at this point they aren’t really all that rare at all. “

 

Same with amethysts. One of the cardinal stones, precious, highly valued, and then those pesky Europeans landed in Brazil and found a bunch more. Now amethysts are as plentiful and inexpensive as CZ. Still lovely, though, so I keep getting them. Purple rocks! (pun intended)

 

Post # 22
Member
5521 posts
Bee Keeper

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Worried9887:  the fact that there is only x in x million of something does not make that something rare.

Now, if there were only 5 million diamonds in the world, and only 1 in 1 million of those diamonds was a high quality 1 carat stone, that would indeed make a high quality 1 carat stone exceptionally rare: there would only be 5 in existence.

But if there are billions and billions of diamonds, then suddenly, that high-quality 1 carat stone is much less rare.

Basically, what you’ve quoted is a clever way of making something sound rare, when in fact, it does not give you any real idea as to its actual rarity.

Post # 23
Member
122 posts
Blushing bee

You are correct—diamonds of larger, very good quality are a truly rare gift for our enjoyment.  Sapphires and rubies of very good quality are more “rare” than diamonds, and a ruby of very good quality will out price a diamond of equal quality.  I have a natural, untreated blue sapphire for my center stone and it was quite a bit more expensive than most of my friends diamond engagement rings due to the rarity of an unheated/untreated gem.  Having said that most of my friends have still questioned my choice of a sapphire–LOL!  Diamonds are rare, and beautiful, and sparkly, and all things lovely. Hope you find exactly what you are looking for!

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by sapphireblue.
Post # 24
Member
411 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Rare is not binary. It’s only meaningful in relation to something else. So good quality diamonds are rare compared to, say, trees, but not compared to, say, white rhinos. 

Post # 25
Member
3075 posts
Sugar bee

You asked about other gemstones. Yes, a Ruby is more “rare” than a diamond. I have a danburite, it is very rare because they are mined in two places. I also have a Paraiba Tourmaline that is only mined in two places and one of the mines is closed. My danburite is basically worthless but rare, my Paraiba is worth far, far more than diamonds and also rare. It just depends of if people want the stones to give them value. 

I think it also depends on where you live. I am from NC and live around emerald and garnet mines. We have such an excess they are ground down and used in pavement here. You can see big chunks of them in my driveway. 

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by Ukulele4You.
Post # 26
Member
8601 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

As far as what’s being purchased in the marketplace- yes, high quality is rare. Most people buy I1 and I2 at Kays etc. and in terms of what’s mined most is just industrial quality. In terms of whats actually “rare” that’ll be just semantics- dependent on your definition. 

The debeers monopoly hasnt existed for decades though… That’s really dated info. Prices are dictated by the market now- but the prices consumers see will stay the same by and large. It’s not like gold where there’s an official public cost listed everyday. Although, if you have a diamond district source and will pay cash you can get wayyyyyy less than regular retail because the market price is low right now. As in… the place I go you pay cash, you get high quality GIA stones for seriously half of James Allen, Blue Nile etc. 

The marketing argument is also moot to me- the marketing picked up when all the sudden diamonds were available for sale to the common folk. Before the explosion in diamond mining and production you had to have a kings wealth to own them. Everything under the sun is marketed to us- But only things that deliver stick around and don’t become fads.

Post # 27
Member
1629 posts
Bumble bee

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NFLwidow:  I LOVE amethysts! 

Post # 29
Member
1629 posts
Bumble bee

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Worried9887:  Okay … I’ll cite my source. Not sure why it matters so much…

“Five Myths About Diamonds,” T. Zoellner, Washington Post, 2010. (Google will find it, I’m having trouble linking on my phone).

Post # 30
Member
2156 posts
Buzzing bee

diamonds – even large, clear, good ones – are not rare. out of all the diamonds mined, the percentage of diamonds that fits this description is very small, HOWEVER, the number of diamonds that are mined is SO VAST that though it’s a small percentage, it’s still a very large number, and thus not rare.

that said, there is a difference between natural or actual rarity, and market-created (artificial) rarity. those kinds of diamonds are rare from a purchasing perspective, as DeBeers controls how many of those kinds of diamonds actually hit the market. so from a buying perspective, those diamonds are rare (and thus can demand a very high price tag). but this is an artifically created rarity.

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