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Cost of a flawless 5 carat diamond in the late 70s

diamondad

Rough_Rock
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The value is a value, it doesnt really matter if it was for investment or for jewelry creation..., the inflated value was pretty much world wide.

[/QUOTE]

hi.. great story and info... did you mean, "February - March 81'?

Also, was responding to the nyt article that said: "
Experts in the diamond industry agree that speculators caused the price of investment stones to rise dramatically when diamonds became a fad like stamps, coins or paintings as a hedge against inflation. From 1979 to 1980, a one-carat D-flawless stone rose in price from $10,000 to $65,000. (That's the time gold reached a high of $850 a troy ounce; gold has also plummeted nearly 50 percent since then.)

But the price of diamond jewelry has gone up much less. According to the Diamond Information Center, the average retail price for the average engagement ring weighing a quarter of a carat went from $585 in 1979 to $700 in 1980."


so I thought there the price might be different if this was simply an investment or a piece of jewelry.
if the price you mention for a 5ct is 4-600k, that would be too high for this story. might have to make it a 2-3ct... what would you say to a stone that size?
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
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What is “special” about this stone that makes it necessary to have it cut to order? Why doesn’t the jeweler who’s making the jewelry piece for the celebrity just buy a D FL diamond that’s already cut?
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
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i'm writing a short story set in 1979 and want to put a price on a diamond that would be realistic for that time--either a 5ct diamond as original, but if it winds up being too expensive, I might have to write in a 2-3ct diamond, but I need it to be a supurlative stone to fit the story. thanks!
IMHO....I love reading- and I greatly admire creative authors.....

Yoram and I were both very active in 1979...and we have differing recollections....
To me, this is part of what makes the diamond industry so fascinating is the lack of standardization......
For example- in 1980 Marquise diamonds were red hot- I believe ( not 100% sure) that Marquise were selling for more than rounds...for sure, they were selling at higher prices than ovals and pear shapes of the same quality.....
SO..... you really could make the diamond aspects match the numbers you need in the story. It might have cost $300k, but it also might have cost $800k. Things we discuss ad Infinitum here- like the cut quality have a huge bearing on the price. This was definitely true in 1979-1980 as well.
 

diamondad

Rough_Rock
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Common sense timeline...

Nov 79' looks like in the middle of the investment hype period as such diamonds began to skyrocket, I would estimate a 1ct at around US$40-50k which would translate according to my estimations to at least US$400-600k for a five carat.

The value is a value, it doesnt really matter if it was for investment or for jewelry creation..., the inflated value was pretty much world wide.

Dec 80' was probably still considered the summit for the high value period as only around February - March 80' diamond values began to deflate.
Based on the five ct D-IF marquise transaction that am aware of which sold for US$800k back then, I would be comfortable using these numbers for any related articles if I was their author.

on a side....

A short but true story from that period..., an EU diamond dealer visiting NYC for business (one of many such trips annually) sold a one carat plus D-IF for US$80k, that same evening he met a friend for dinner and told him about the transaction which was considered incredible by any means, his friend who worked as a real estate broker at the time offered him to purchase an apartment situated somewhere on the upper east side of Manhattan for the exact same sum. He didnt and the rest is history!

Just imagine the magnitude of such and other inflated bubbles...
great story and good info. thx.

I was thinking there was a difference between investment and jewelry because it stated so in the NYT article.https://www.nytimes.com/1981/10/17/style/consumer-saturday-diamond-prices-2-prices.html

what would you estimate a 2 and 3ct? can I just multiply US$40-50k by 2 or 3, or does the value not scale linearly like that? Based on your estimate of 400-600k for 5ct, that would be too much, so I'll have to depict a smaller stone.

R
 

diamondad

Rough_Rock
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Sep 24, 2020
Messages
17
IMHO....I love reading- and I greatly admire creative authors.....

Yoram and I were both very active in 1979...and we have differing recollections....
To me, this is part of what makes the diamond industry so fascinating is the lack of standardization......
For example- in 1980 Marquise diamonds were red hot- I believe ( not 100% sure) that Marquise were selling for more than rounds...for sure, they were selling at higher prices than ovals and pear shapes of the same quality.....
SO..... you really could make the diamond aspects match the numbers you need in the story. It might have cost $300k, but it also might have cost $800k. Things we discuss ad Infinitum here- like the cut quality have a huge bearing on the price. This was definitely true in 1979-1980 as well.
where were you active? in NYC?
 

diamondad

Rough_Rock
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What is “special” about this stone that makes it necessary to have it cut to order? Why doesn’t the jeweler who’s making the jewelry piece for the celebrity just buy a D FL diamond that’s already cut?
that is a good question! I wasn't thinking about that. what's the difference between having a stone cut vs. polished?
 

molinePDG

Rough_Rock
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Just to answer your question --

Price per carat does not scale linearly. -

A 2 ct diamond of some random spec might be $5000/carat = $10,000

A 3ct diamond of the same spec might end up being $6500/carat = $19,500

The bigger a diamond becomes is a function of its rarity and thus the price per carat increases in a way that is not straightforward.
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
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thanks for this info... so what would you estimate then in November 1979? and what is D-IF? Is that what you would say is a top diamond?
I have no idea, I was not selling D-Internally Flawless diamonds back then. I do recall from that foggy long ago time that somewhere around Late January or Early February of 1980, a 1 ct D-IF with GIA diamond grading report sold at the Diamond Bourse in New York, between dealers for $65,000 per carat. Then came the crash and a few months later I could have bought 1 ct D-IFs for a listed price of 9k per carat and I am sure had I wanted two or three I could have negotiated a better price.

I still occasionally see a parcel of diamonds purchased by someone's father or grandfather from the boiler room dealers. These diamonds were usually (read always and usually grossly) overgraded by third and fourth tier laboratories, and in sealed plastic containers with a warning that all guarantees were void if the container's seals were broken. Even today, if the useless reports were accurate, and they weren't, the diamonds are still not worth what was paid for them. I and many others, such as Cap Beasley and Antoinette Matlins encouraged the State and Federal governments to take action against the fraudsters, and were rarely given the time of day.

Somewhere in the hundreds of pages of Pricescope is the story of my experience testifying against DeBeers Consolidated Mines, Inc (not the true DeBeers Consolidated Mines, LMT, but a rip off outfit out of Arizona). It is much too long to go into now, but it might be interesting for your story @diamondad.
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
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Well, I was privy to a five carat D-IF marquise shaped diamond transaction in Milan (1979) for approx. US$800,000.-- total., if this helps..
@diagem, am I correct in remembering that at that time, marquise diamonds sold for a premium over round brilliant diamonds?

Wink
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
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@diamondad , I think you're working backwards. If you tell the folks here, "In my story, a jeweler is creating a piece of jewelry using a diamond worth $xx in 1979. The jewelry piece is intended for a celebrity. What would be the diamond's characteristics, including shape, carat, color, clarity, cut?" I think the answers you'll get will be more useful. It would be helpful if you specify what kind of jewelry and what the celebrity intends to do with it. (Wear it to the Oscars? Present it to his wife? Throw it dramatically into the river?)

You might also want to ask how the jeweler would obtain such a diamond, how it would be insured, how it would be safeguarded, and so on. If those points matter for your plot, you might have to frame your questions carefully to get useful answers. For example, you said the diamond is going to be stolen. You might need to think about where and when it would be stolen. Is it stolen from the diamond cutter? From the diamond dealer? From the jeweler? From the celebrity? Who owns it when it's stolen? Is it stolen from a safe? From the celebrity's neck? Why is the thief after this particular diamond? etc.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
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I just saw your signature line, is there a way to private msg. on here? if you were on 47th in 1970s, maybe you know someone...
There’s no pm system here but like most trade members posting, there’s a link to my website - you can find our toll free number there. Please feel free to call and we can discuss it,
I was working in the NY market in 1979-1980...thankfully still in touch with buddies from back then
 

diamondad

Rough_Rock
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@diamondad , I think you're working backwards. If you tell the folks here, "In my story, a jeweler is creating a piece of jewelry using a diamond worth $xx in 1979. The jewelry piece is intended for a celebrity. What would be the diamond's characteristics, including shape, carat, color, clarity, cut?" I think the answers you'll get will be more useful. It would be helpful if you specify what kind of jewelry and what the celebrity intends to do with it. (Wear it to the Oscars? Present it to his wife? Throw it dramatically into the river?)

You might also want to ask how the jeweler would obtain such a diamond, how it would be insured, how it would be safeguarded, and so on. If those points matter for your plot, you might have to frame your questions carefully to get useful answers. For example, you said the diamond is going to be stolen. You might need to think about where and when it would be stolen. Is it stolen from the diamond cutter? From the diamond dealer? From the jeweler? From the celebrity? Who owns it when it's stolen? Is it stolen from a safe? From the celebrity's neck? Why is the thief after this particular diamond? etc.
these are all great, intelligent questions, some of which I did not consider. I'm not sure what to do though as I've already posted w/ a more vague headline.

So, I'll try to answer here:
The situation is based on a real event in the 70s whereby a diamond finishing company in the diamond district in manhattan was robbed by an armed robber... a number of diamonds and cash was stolen from the safe, including this celebrity diamond. I didn't consider the reason it was originally cut/polished (not sure of the difference), but I assume for jewelry of some kind, not pure investment. In reality there was no special celebrity diamond in the safe, but it's integral to the story. I need to invent a diamond of enough specialness/value, but not too expensive as the total amount of the theft can't be over a certain amount, around 500,000, could be a bit more...

thanks!
 

diamondad

Rough_Rock
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There’s no pm system here but like most trade members posting, there’s a link to my website - you can find our toll free number there. Please feel free to call and we can discuss it,
I was working in the NY market in 1979-1980...thankfully still in touch with buddies from back then
will try you today.
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 17, 2002
Messages
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@diamondad I believe "cut" and "polished" are synonyms (I'm sure the folks in the trade will correct me if I'm wrong).

I don't think there would be a diamond that already belonged to a celebrity in the safe of a diamond finishing company. I think their diamonds would be sold to a middleman, or possibly several layers of middlemen, and then to a jeweler, who would then sell it to the celebrity. Again, folks in the trade will correct me if I'm wrong. I hope they do, because it seems like it matters for your plot!

What if the diamond in question was special because of its provenance and was sent to the finishing company to repair damage? Would that be possible (this is a question for the folks in the trade)? And would it work for your story (this is a question for you)? Maybe the special diamond was an heirloom in the celebrity's family or belonged to Marie Antoinette or something like that, and it had a little chip in it, so the celebrity's jeweler sent it to the finishing company for repair? Otherwise I don't see why the celebrity can't just buy a different diamond from somebody else after that company gets robbed.
 

diamondad

Rough_Rock
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@diamondad I believe "cut" and "polished" are synonyms (I'm sure the folks in the trade will correct me if I'm wrong).

I don't think there would be a diamond that already belonged to a celebrity in the safe of a diamond finishing company. I think their diamonds would be sold to a middleman, or possibly several layers of middlemen, and then to a jeweler, who would then sell it to the celebrity. Again, folks in the trade will correct me if I'm wrong. I hope they do, because it seems like it matters for your plot!

What if the diamond in question was special because of its provenance and was sent to the finishing company to repair damage? Would that be possible (this is a question for the folks in the trade)? And would it work for your story (this is a question for you)? Maybe the special diamond was an heirloom in the celebrity's family or belonged to Marie Antoinette or something like that, and it had a little chip in it, so the celebrity's jeweler sent it to the finishing company for repair? Otherwise I don't see why the celebrity can't just buy a different diamond from somebody else after that company gets robbed.
these are all very interesting points...thank you for your thoughts... also curious if anyone has a comment from the trade folks as you mention.
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
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@glitterata makes some interesting points.

I don't think there would be a diamond that already belonged to a celebrity in the safe of a diamond finishing company. I think their diamonds would be sold to a middleman, or possibly several layers of middlemen, and then to a jeweler, who would then sell it to the celebrity.
This is an excellent point. Site holders will be polishing thousands of diamonds per month. In normal times they attend sites once every five weeks and must pay for the goods purchased when they are purchased. They will not normally be holding finished diamonds a minute longer than necessary, as they need the cash to pay for the next site's purchase.

Of course, an exceptional diamond might well be held until an exceptional buyer is found.

What if the diamond in question was special because of its provenance and was sent to the finishing company to repair damage? Would that be possible
Absolutely. Although it is rare that a diamond is damaged, it does happen. An important diamond might well be returned to the original cutter if possible, or to a cutter who is highly acclaimed in both the public and the trade. That cutter and the repaired damage then becomes a part of the story and the provenance of the diamond.

Maybe the special diamond was an heirloom in the celebrity's family or belonged to Marie Antoinette or something like that, and it had a little chip in it, so the celebrity's jeweler sent it to the finishing company for repair? Otherwise I don't see why the celebrity can't just buy a different diamond from somebody else after that company gets robbed.
Good points. I have sent diamonds to cutters to be repaired or improved during my decades in the trade. In these cases the diamond is already owned by the client and should be insured for theft while in the possession of the cutter. Most likely, the diamond is at the cutter as a result of the insurance company wanting an insured diamond repaired rather than replaced. In such a case, the insurance would cover the cost of the repair and the loss of value due to the reduction in weight during the repair.

Glitterata, you have opened up some nice plot twist possibilities for the OP. He should only have to spend an extra three to four months to bend his mind around the trade practices and terminology in order to make the chapter about the cutter sound right to an educated reader...

(I say that as I once read a book where the "hero" was supposed to be in the trade and the egregious errors stated as facts ruined the whole book for me.)

Thank you, Glitterata for making me think during the early morning hours.

Wink
 

diamondad

Rough_Rock
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@glitterata makes some interesting points.



This is an excellent point. Site holders will be polishing thousands of diamonds per month. In normal times they attend sites once every five weeks and must pay for the goods purchased when they are purchased. They will not normally be holding finished diamonds a minute longer than necessary, as they need the cash to pay for the next site's purchase.

Of course, an exceptional diamond might well be held until an exceptional buyer is found.



Absolutely. Although it is rare that a diamond is damaged, it does happen. An important diamond might well be returned to the original cutter if possible, or to a cutter who is highly acclaimed in both the public and the trade. That cutter and the repaired damage then becomes a part of the story and the provenance of the diamond.



Good points. I have sent diamonds to cutters to be repaired or improved during my decades in the trade. In these cases the diamond is already owned by the client and should be insured for theft while in the possession of the cutter. Most likely, the diamond is at the cutter as a result of the insurance company wanting an insured diamond repaired rather than replaced. In such a case, the insurance would cover the cost of the repair and the loss of value due to the reduction in weight during the repair.

Glitterata, you have opened up some nice plot twist possibilities for the OP. He should only have to spend an extra three to four months to bend his mind around the trade practices and terminology in order to make the chapter about the cutter sound right to an educated reader...

(I say that as I once read a book where the "hero" was supposed to be in the trade and the egregious errors stated as facts ruined the whole book for me.)

Thank you, Glitterata for making me think during the early morning hours.

Wink
Dear Wink,

Seems you have a very insightful insiders view. would you every be up for a short phone conversation? or other means of having a quick conversation?
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
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Yes,

I can be reached from my website, which is in my signature below,

Wink
 

Karl_K

Super_Ideal_Rock
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@glitterata

Of course, an exceptional diamond might well be held until an exceptional buyer is found.
Or put in the retirement account.
Back when I was jewellery shop crawling and learning about diamonds I made friends with a few owners and they broke out their retirement stones.
They are stones they saved for their retirement and kept in the back of the safe.
 
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