Buying uncut diamonds: What you need to know | BNT Diamonds
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Buying uncut diamonds: What you need to know

11 Oct 21

When we think of diamonds, we imagine the sparkling, luxurious gems set in high-end jewellery. However, there is another, less talked about type of diamond: the uncut diamond. In this guide, we explore everything you need to know about buying uncut diamonds, including:

  • Cut vs uncut diamonds
  • What to consider when buying an uncut diamond
  • The advantages and disadvantages of buying uncut diamonds
  • Three famous uncut diamonds

Cut vs uncut diamonds

Uncut diamonds (otherwise referred to as raw or rough diamonds) are mined and cut but only into a general size and shape. The diamonds are not cut to maximise brilliance, nor are they polished. Instead, the end result is a dynamic and ‘rough’ looking surface, which adds a unique and exciting quality to its appearance.

Cut diamonds, on the other hand, are the diamonds you typically see in jewellery stores. The way diamonds are cut determines the proportions, which in turn impact the way the stone reflects lights. Diamonds that are cut with better proportions exude more brilliance, making the dazzling stones perfect for jewellery.

Compared with cut diamonds, uncut diamonds are usually cheaper, given that cutting and polishing diamonds is a complex and expensive process. However, their affordability does not strictly mean they are the best investment option.

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What to consider when buying an uncut diamond

If you’re thinking about buying an uncut diamond, there are certain things you need to keep in mind to ensure you make the right choice.

Firstly, although purchasing a rough diamond will be less expensive than buying a polishing diamond, it may not be the best option for investment purposes. If purchased correctly (from a reputable supplier), an uncut diamond can provide you with a high return on investment — but unfortunately, there is no guarantee.

It is difficult to assess the potential quality and value of an uncut diamond as a polished stone, meaning industry experts consider there to be a greater risk involved. In addition, on average, diamonds can lose up to half of their carat weight during the cutting and polishing process, which will affect the final value of the diamond.

If you do decide to buy uncut diamonds, it may be possible to purchase directly from the companies that carry out the mining. In such a case, make sure that the company you are buying from can guarantee that their operations are run ethically and sustainably. Ethically sourced diamonds have fair humanitarian mining practices when it comes to wages and working conditions.

Advantages of buying uncut diamonds

They are more affordable

As previously mentioned, uncut diamonds are a lot cheaper than polished, cut diamonds. Without the processing (carating, cutting, polishing), uncut diamonds are vastly more affordable than their cut counterparts.

They are unique

Uncut diamonds are an even rarer beauty than cut diamonds, as they scarcely adorn jewellery store windows. If you are buying a diamond as a gift, or to embed in jewellery, an uncut diamond, with its striking appearance and shape, may be the perfect option for those craving something different.

Disadvantages of buying uncut diamonds

A riskier investment

Cut and polished diamonds are known to be a secure investment – with supply low and demand high, they represent a strong investment opportunity. Uncut diamonds, however, are riskier in that you must polish and cut the diamond before selling it, which can be costly and decrease the carat weight of the diamond.

Darker, duller appearance

The luxury that a sparkling diamond exudes is breathtaking, making it perfect for jewellery and investments. An uncut diamond, while unique, lacks the eye-catching shine of a cut diamond. The colours of uncut diamonds can also impact the appearance of the stone, with too many yellow and brown tints spoiling the overall look of the diamond.

Three famous uncut diamonds

We rarely see diamonds in anything other than their final, polished form. However, there have been various famous rough diamonds garnering the attention of industry experts over the years:

The Cullinan diamond

The world’s largest diamond, Cullinan weighed a massive 3,106 carats when it was discovered in South Africa in 1905. Three times larger than any other gem-quality diamond that had been discovered, the mine’s manager allegedly believed that the diamond was fake and discarded it. The Cullinan was eventually gifted to King Edward VII, who had it cut into nine stones – many of which are now found in the British Crown Jewels.

The Sewelô diamond

In 2019, the mining company Lucara recovered a 1,758-carat rough diamond from the Karowe mine in Botswana. It was the second-largest found in 100 years. Louis Vuitton, the 166-year-old French luxury house, surprisingly emerged as the stone’s buyer and has presented the near-gem to various VIP clients around the world since its purchase.

The Excelsior diamond

Recovered in 1893, the Excelsior diamond was a blue-white stone weighing 995 carats. Royal Asscher was commissioned to transform the stone into 21 smaller stones, ranging from less than one carat to more than 70. Three of the stones were purchased by Tiffany & Co for their New York flagship boutique.

Maximise your return on investment with BNT Diamonds

At BNT Diamonds, we sell certified cut diamonds that we purchase straight from the source to ensure you maximise your yield. If you need personal guidance to help you choose the right investment diamonds, please contact the experts at BNT Diamonds.

With this article, BAUNAT strives to inform you thoroughly about investing in diamonds. No investment can be guaranteed to be without risk or fully according to your expectations. That is why we recommend to research the risks and aspects of investing in diamond properly to ensure that you make the right choice for your portfolio.