Loose diamonds are often overlooked, but we’re here to change that. If you’re keen on learning about loose diamonds and everything you need to know about loose diamonds, you’re in the right place.
Here, you’ll find out everything regarding loose diamonds, and even maybe develop a liking towards them instead of the diamonds found in jewelry.
So, before we dive into it, you should know that loose diamonds are diamonds that have been cut and then polished but aren’t embedded in any type of jewelry.
Have you ever seen those social media videos of people spilling a bag of little diamonds and counting them? Well, the diamonds in those videos are loose diamonds.
But, without any further ado, let’s jump straight in and see what we have in store for you when it comes to loose diamonds!
What Are Loose Diamonds?
As we’ve previously briefly mentioned, loose diamonds are diamonds that have been cut and then polished, but they haven’t been embedded in any type of jewelry.
But are diamonds that fall out of jewelry considered loose diamonds? Do any other diamonds fall under this category?
Well, these are all quite complex questions, but luckily we have all of the answers for you right here.
All of the diamonds that are cut and polished but outside of jewelry are considered loose diamonds. So, even if you do have a ring on which a setting came loose, and a diamond fell out, that diamond is now considered a loose diamond (or a lost one, depending on whether you find it after coming out or not).
Now, some dealers deal in only loose diamonds, and those are popular with people that like to pick their diamonds by diamond cuts, clarity, and everything else related to the diamond before they pick the rest of the jewelry (setting, precious metals, etc…), but more on those dealers later.
We’re telling you this just so you can get a better understanding that these diamonds aren’t unusual and hard to find. On the contrary, loose diamonds are very popular, especially amongst diamond enthusiasts and collectors.
It’s also crucial to mention that uncut and unpolished diamonds aren’t considered loose diamonds. These types of diamonds are called raw diamonds, and they’re a completely different category of diamonds.
So, the general rule is that loose diamonds need to be both cut and polished in order to be considered loose.
But, it’s not important whether the loose diamonds were once embedded in a piece of jewelry or not. The only thing that’s important is that they’re not surrounded by precious metal (embedded in a piece of jewelry).
One more important thing – these diamonds can be chipped or new, so their condition isn’t a requirement for the categorization of loose diamonds.
A Short History Of Loose Diamonds
We all know that diamonds have been popular with kings and queens when it came to the decoration of their crowns.
But, as we now know, loose diamonds don’t belong in a crown, nor do they belong in any kind of jewelry.
The question of loose diamonds in the past, especially during the middle ages when diamonds reached Europe, is a complicated one.
But, we’ve done all in our power to bring you all the interesting pieces of information about loose diamonds from the past, and here they are.
History says that Alexander the Great brought back the first diamonds to Europe in 327 BC. Funny enough, it’s speculated that the diamond was a partially polished and cut diamond, technically making it a loose diamond.
But that’s only the beginning.
In Europe, the demand for diamonds steeply increased, making them one of the most desired materials on earth at those times.
The majority of diamonds that came onto the European continent were loose diamonds or diamonds that became loose at one point.
What do we mean by that? Let us explain:
When dealers brought diamonds back to Europe, they would carry them loosely for the convenience of transportation. Even when diamonds were found in pieces of jewelry, they would often be removed from them, the precious metals would be melted and formed into ingots, and diamonds would be transported separately.
This is, of course, with some exceptions, so in cases of king’s crowns being taken as a trophy from the battlefield, the diamonds from that crown weren’t removed.
The loose diamonds that came into eastern and central Europe at the beginning of the middle ages were re-embedded into freshly made jewelry for the upper echelons of society at that time, so once loose diamonds became embedded in jewelry.
In some more recent times, diamonds have been transported in their loose form for the convenience of hiding them since in the 1700s and 1800s, especially in North America, bandits and thieves often robbed travelers of their diamonds.
So, loose diamonds have always been a popular option when it comes to long-range transport.
The only problem with that is that small diamonds that aren’t attached to anything are easy to lose, so this transportation method came with a bit of a risk to it.
In modern times, there are insurance companies that specialize in loose diamonds, and you can easily insure your diamonds in case they get lost or stolen in transport.
Related Read: What Is the Best Way to Transport Diamonds?
How Are Loose Diamonds Different From Mounted Diamonds?
Apart from the obvious difference in being or not being embedded, there are a few differences between loose and fixed diamonds that we’d like to inform you about.
Diamonds that are cut and polished for a jewelry piece are approached in a certain manner. Similarly, diamonds that are meant to be loose are approached in a different manner.
The beauty of loose diamonds is that even though a loose diamond has a lower clarity grade or is worse color-wise if cut and polished by a professional, it can look even better than a diamond that’s better rated but embedded in a piece of jewelry.
This is why loose diamonds are popular and why so many diamond collectors search for loose diamonds.
If you’re a diamond enthusiast, you want to be able to admire the diamond and look at it from different angles instead of being able to see only parts of it due to it being embedded in a jewelry piece.
So, there is a big difference in looks, but does that mean that these diamonds are graded better?
The answer is no, they’re not. The fact that they potentially look better than the embedded diamonds doesn’t bring their grading up in any way, shape, or form.
Also, these diamonds make it easier for diamond appraisers to appraise the diamond and see certain imperfections that would otherwise be hardly seeable on an embedded diamond.
These all may seem like minimal differences but trust us – in the diamond world, these differences change the game completely.
This leads us to the biggest difference – the keeping of the diamonds.
While loose diamonds have their advantages, they’re hard to keep intact. These diamonds are brittle and can easily chip or be damaged otherwise.
Mounted diamonds are safer since they’re protected from multiple sides and aren’t as likely to chip, break, or be damaged in any other fashion.
Don’t get us wrong, mounted diamonds do get damaged, just not as often as loose diamonds.
On the other hand, loose diamonds are often kept in very safe places such as safes, deposit safes, and glass safety boxes that are coated in soft materials that keep diamonds from ending up broken.
So, you can see why the manner in which you keep loose diamonds is much more different than the way you keep jewelry pieces that have diamonds in them.
Where Can You Buy Loose Diamonds?
Loose diamonds are in most cases bought from loose diamond dealers or jewelry stores that keep loose diamonds in their assortment.
Most of the time, you’ll find yourself shopping for loose diamonds from diamond dealers since they specialize in these kinds of diamonds and have a much larger supply to choose from.
This is also your safest and most reliable way of shopping for loose diamonds under certain conditions.
Those conditions are that the diamond dealer from which you’re buying your loose diamond is certified, that they have a certificate from a reputable source for a diamond you’re looking to buy, and that they aren’t a small dealer that has no reviews from previous customers.
By following these three conditions, you’re keeping yourself safe from all kinds of scams and sketchy deals, and dealers that may try to sell you a fake or an illegally obtained diamond.
Waiting to find such a dealer is a small price to pay in comparison to what you may end up buying if you just go ahead and go to the first dealer you find without considering these three very important parameters.
As we’ve mentioned just now, you can buy loose diamonds from the same place you buy mounted diamonds from – the jewelry store.
There are some jewelry stores and jewelers that keep loose diamonds in their supply in case someone who’s shopping for loose diamonds ends up in their jewelry store. But, these instances are rare, and you’ll most likely be met with a much smaller pool of diamonds to choose from.
If that’s something that you’re okay with, you can visit the nearest jewelry in your area and ask if they deal in loose diamonds.
Your safest bet is that you don’t buy any kind of diamonds, especially loose diamonds, from any unreputable source. Keeping away from them even though they are cheaper might even save you a few dollars.
How? Well if you buy a diamond from a “shady” dealer for a price that is 30% or 40% lower than at your regular diamond dealer, you’re risking buying a low-quality diamond, a diamond that has been stolen and needs to be flipped for a profit quickly, or even a diamond that’s not actually a diamond (diamond imitation).
Can A Loose Diamond Be A Blood Diamond?
We all know about blood diamonds, but can loose diamonds be blood diamonds? Well, actually the chances are low, but we do understand your concern.
Blood diamonds are often uncut and unpolished since they’re excavated and sold for a profit immediately by warlords that are looking to get some money to fuel their conflict.
So, a small number of blood diamonds are actually cut and polished which means that in 99% of the cases, you’re safe when buying loose diamonds.
But, that doesn’t mean that a loose diamond can’t be stolen or uncertified which can cause you as much trouble as a blood diamond might.
Also, the majority of blood diamond dealing today is met with hard resistance from the community of countries that have decided to put an end to the sales of blood diamonds.
This means that even if you wanted to get your hands on a blood diamond, it would be much harder than you’d think.
Blood diamonds are sold on the underground black market anyways, so if you’re buying from a credible dealer or jeweler, you have zero reasons to be afraid of your loose diamond actually being a blood diamond.
Are There Lab-Grown Loose Diamonds?
Actually, the majority of lab-grown diamonds are loose diamonds since they’re first grown, then they’re cut, and then polished.
This is all true if the lab-grown diamonds are for sale and not intended for heavy diamond-coated machinery.
So, if a lab-grown diamond is intended for sale, it’ll be cut, polished, and sent off to be embedded and become a mounted diamond.
In that process, the diamond is technically considered a loose diamond until the point of embedding, so almost every lab-grown diamond is, at the beginning of its “life”, considered a loose diamond.
Of course, some of these diamonds remain loose and are put up for sale like that since a lot of people find it “thrifty” to buy loose lab-grown diamonds and pick out the rest of the ring (or any other piece of jewelry they may like); and then put it all together for a fraction of a price that would be hanging off of a premade jewelry piece with a natural diamond.
Loose Diamonds – Price
The price of loose diamonds may vary from many different factors. Just to name a few crucial factors when it comes to loose diamond price:
- Polish method
- Country of import
These are all very important things when it comes to loose diamonds and their price, but let’s take a look at some general price tags you might run into when shopping for loose diamonds.
Let’s take a 1-carat diamond for an example that has a clarity grade of VS1 or VS2, color grade of G, H, or I, and has a very good cut quality. You’re looking to spend anything between $8,000 and $11,000 on it.
This price fluctuates and changes depending on your clarity, color grade, and cut quality.
Cut quality is something that’s often overlooked, but the fact that you see more of the diamond that’s not embedded just means that cut is even more important than with the mounted diamonds.
Just to make sure you understand – the price of a 1-carat loose diamond can vary from $2,500 all the way to $20,000 easily. That’s how big the gap is, and what you’re looking for will determine what you’ll pay for it (just like with regular diamonds).
- Raw Uncut Diamond Price List: Rough Diamond Prices Guide
- Lab-grown Diamond Price List: Natural Vs. Lab Diamonds Price
- Diamond Price List: How Much Is A 0.1 To 40 Carat Diamond Worth?
Loose Diamonds – Pros & Cons (In Comparison To Regular Diamonds)
Now that you know the majority of important facts about loose diamonds, it’s time to see what pros and cons come with these diamonds, and then we’ll let you decide whether loose diamonds are worth buying or not.
Loose Diamonds – Pros
Here’s the list of pros of loose diamonds:
- Cheaper than embedded diamonds
- Easy to carry around
- Much more beautiful
- Look better than their mounted counterparts
- Easier to sell
- Can save you money
As you see, there are quite a few pros to loose diamonds. First of all, they’ll be cheaper than the mounted diamonds since you don’t need to pay for precious metals surrounding the mounted diamond.
Second of all, you’ll find it easier to sell loose diamonds if needed, and you’ll be shocked by how much money you’ll save if you go for a loose diamond that you’ll embed in a piece of jewelry later.
Thirdly, these diamonds are much more convenient for transportation. Besides that, you can admire loose diamonds much better than mounted diamonds since embedded diamonds are covered by precious metals and other parts of jewelry that they’re embedded in.
Loose Diamonds – Cons
Here’s a list of cons when it comes to loose diamonds:
- Easily lost
- Can’t be found as often as regular diamonds
- Can be of lower quality
- Brittle and easy to damage
Although loose diamonds are better than mounted diamonds in some instances, they have their downsides.
For example, loose diamonds are lost much more easily. They are small, and if you don’t carry them in a proper container, chances are you’ll lose them.
Also, you’ll find loose diamonds a bit harder to find than mounted diamonds. This may not be as bad as you’d think, but if you’re urgently looking for a loose diamond – you might not find it in time.
And lastly, these diamonds can be of lower quality and masked with great polish and cut work. So, be careful when buying them and ask for a certificate for a specific diamond that you’re looking to buy.
Oh, and they’re also much more prone to damage if not stored properly.
Now you have all of the necessary information about loose diamonds. From technical knowledge, history, and all the strengths and weaknesses of these small things.
We hope that we’ve provided you with enough pieces of information so you feel a bit more knowledgeable when it comes to loose diamonds and that you’ll potentially find your new hobby in them.
If not as collectors, then as admirers. All in all, we wish you happy diamond shopping and further research!
Related Read: Can You Buy Setting And Diamond Separately?