A Guide to Rapaport Diamonds Prices – Make Sure you Don’t Overpay!

The Rapaport Price list was created by Martin Rapaport, an affable and bubbly version of Bill Gates. A genius with an economics background, he grew up in a diamond family and rose to fame by reporting wholesale diamond prices during the 1979-80 commodity boom when 1.00ct D Flawless reached a dealer price of $36,000 (twice today’s list price).

He has since built a substantial diamond information and service business, and like Gates, he is loved and hated but never ignored.

Most diamond business agreements and dealer sales are based on Rap or List prices. Buyers want him to lower the prices and sellers want him to raise them!

He is more powerful than De Beers yet Mr. Rapaport handles this power without any sign of corruption. He understands his responsibility and is of devout
religious and philosophical character.

People argue whether Rap reports prices or sets them, but it doesn’t matter, the fact is every dealer and diamond merchant uses Rap. In the trade we ask “how much back?” Asking for the price per carat, or worse still, the price of the stone shows you are a beginner. Only at the last stages of haggling would you work out the stone cost if it was say $5013 you might demand “OK, round it to $5K!”

HOW DOES RAPAPORT WORK

 

Rap lists diamonds in separate grids of carat weight, with prices in $100’s per carat in rows from D to M for Color and separate columns for each Clarity grade (including SI3 which is a split of SI2 and I1).

Subscribers receive weekly updates of round prices and a monthly update including fancy shape prices (in the center pages of an informative magazine).

Price rises are printed bold and rare falls are in bold italics. Please see the Rapaport Diamond Price List Report below, also known as a diamond rap sheet:

Use of Rap has evolved over time. Traders establish discount levels by agreement between cutters, dealers, retailers and e-tailers that depend on payment terms and volume etc. Because Cut, Fluorescence and many other features like Symmetry and Polish are not included on the list there can be big variations in discounts. Some branded cuts change hands ‘above’ not ‘below’ Rap.

Do not believe stories of consumers making a killing using Rap. They probably never found out what or how many things were wrong with their stone!

Professionals spend decades buying and selling thousands of diamonds and learn nuances of this simple list. If a dealer wants to sell you an old dog rejected by the trade you have no hope. Some diamonds with great looking certs can retail for 50% back. That is why we recommend an appraiser look at your purchase, even before you do.

TRAPS WITH RAPAPORT

 

Suppose a jeweler shows you a “Rap” sheet and says “this is the secret industry bible and I will sell you this diamond for 10% below the prices on it!” Shop hard enough, especially on 47th street in the Big Apple and it will probably happen to you.

The Rapaport Diamond Report and The Diamond Price Report are trade price market analysis and indicator tools of HIGH CASH ASKING PRICES. Price reports do not factor in higher prices for better proportions and finish or lower prices for poor proportions / cut, etc.

Price lists are designed for diamond industry professionals. Would you expect to be able to use say a doctor or a pharmacist’s professional tools? So remember if you want to use these lists, or do a deal with a jeweler based on the pricing info in them then be prepared to be ripped off.

Most stores who claim to sell “at or below Rap” or “10% Under New York Wholesale” are simply offering poor ‘makes’ or dogs that the regular trade can’t move. Also watch out the vendor who misrepresents the quality of an uncertified diamond. Keep in mind that certified diamonds always
cost more than uncertified diamonds, although there are many reputable and trustworthy jewelers who also deal in uncertified diamonds.

Let’s give you an example.

Diamond #1

Diamond #2

Shape

Round

Round

Carat

1.0

1.0

Color

G

G

Clarity

SI1

SI1

Report

GIA

GIA

Measurements

6.45-6.47×3.95

6.17-6.25×4.11

Depth

61.1%

66.2%

Table

56%

58%

Girdle

thin – medium

very thin – very thick

Fluorescence

None

Very Strong

So you see what can go on? To a sucker these two diamonds are pretty close to the same. But one is beautiful and looks fantastic and the other is a shocker.

If you think the deal is too good, then it probably is!

HOW TO USE THE RAPAPORT AND RAPNET DIAMOND CHART/LIST

 

At its simplest level the price list is used by buyers and sellers as a price list of market values for various sizes colors and clarity qualities. There are price guides published by organizations that may well reflect the goings on in local markets. In the international industry and the big end of town, the
Rapaport list reigns supreme.

Mr. Rapaport was the first to run a business-to-business electronic diamond price-comparison service. We will help you to understand how it all works, but because professionals use this service there are many complex interpretations and methods that short of you becoming an expert through years of trading, you will never really understand the nuances of this constantly evolving market place.

Let’s consider each of the headings in a price listings search.

Diamond Shape– prices for round brilliants are higher than other cuts. Emerald cuts and heart shapes are generally the least expensive (emerald cut’s yield from rough is usually quite high). Round brilliants have the highest demand and so they turn over faster.

Diamond Size – each weight range has its own price per carat range, however ‘over-sizes’ can attract premiums of 5% to 10%. For instance 0.60ct to 0.69ct range generally cost 10 per cent more per carat than 0.50ct to 0.59ct, even though they are in the same price grid.

Diamond Color and Clarity are self evident, although there are often combinations that are locally hot. For instance the white wave made high color and medium clarity center stone sizes more sought after. Sometimes Rapaport choses not to over react to short term variations, and the result is firmer prices or lower discounts on these goods.

Diamond Prices on a trade sights are not listed in total stone price, only in prices per carat ($/Ct) and % below the list price (Sometimes stones are listed ‘above’ Rap; common for very large stones of say +10ct because the largest listed stones are 5ct.). All fancy shapes are listed against the pear shapes
price sheet, even though today the price sheets are published in other shapes as well.

The grading institute or laboratory is listed. Rarely a stone has no certificate and this usually indicates a vendor has pre-listed a stone that has been sent off for grading to a laboratory, this alert’s his customers that this diamond will soon be available. By far the majority of better quality stones have GIA certificates; there is better demand in USA for GIA certs. The grid below shows the common variances in prices from one lab to another, but be warned, comparing certificates is more complex and then you could imagine.

Generally the smallest discounts apply to AGS certificates, but this that does not mean that the market values AGS strictness more highly than GIA grading. Diamond cutters are more likely to send the AGS stones that will make AGS 0 or at least one AGS 1. As long as the GIA have no cut standard they will miss out on this business. But just because the GIA are not given diamonds that falls within the AGS ideal proportions does not mean you should always pay a premium for AGS graded diamonds, because as we have discussed previously many AGS 0’s score quite poorly on HCA.

The most important cut information in Rapaport listings is total Depth% and Table%. The diamond trade has historically believed the quality of diamond cut can be assessed using just these two pieces of information. You know better because you have read the 60:60 section in the tutorial.

Diamond Girdle information is listed in a confusing way because vendors use different nomenclature when they abbreviated the information from the certificates. Girdle has a big impact on a diamonds spread and its value and the industry recognizes this, although it has less impact than it probably
should because it is not written in terms that are easily interpreted.

Diamond Culet is generally listed as small to none, and again you will encounter a variety of descriptors. Rarely will you encounter culet large enough to reduce the value of a diamond.

Diamond Polish and Symmetry have a considerable influence on the value of a diamond (see the chart below). This is largely because the terms used are simple and easily understood. Excellent or good, which would most people prefer? The fact is it is usually impossible to tell the difference without a microscope. Because there is so little cut information on diamond certs, consumers jump on any indication of quality, and so these terms have more
significant effects on value than they probably should.

Price difference for Round diamonds
1-1.49ct, F-H, VS1-SI2, GIA and AGS
58%-63% Depth, 53%-58% Table

Data for April, 2004

Polish & Symmetry

% Price difference

Ex/Ex or Id/Id

0%

Ex/VG

-6.5%

VG/VG

-8.3%

VG/G

-9.8%

G/G

-11.6%

Diamond Fluorescence is also listed with a variable abbreviation and as you know blue fluorescence reduces the price of high colors and raises the price of lower colors.

Diamond Measurements are listed to within 0.01 mm.

Comments listed on the report are sometimes supplied such as laser drilled, as well as suppliers comment like ‘pair’ AGS 0 (which is an unsubstantiated Sarin or Ogi report), H&A’s, inscription, eye clean etc.

RAP DIAMOND PRICES AND INTERNET DIAMOND DEALERS

 

Question about RAP Diamond Prices:

How is it possible for you to sell diamonds so cheap? When running a Pricescope 
search for diamond prices, I see excellent quality stones (clarity + cut + color) going for like 20% under RAP; (I have access to the current RAP sheets so I’ve compared).

Now, don’t get me wrong, you’re doing a great job, and my hat is off to you for providing such great prices to the consumer, but if you’re selling so much below published RAP diamond prices I can’t even imagine what you picked them up at wholesale, and ‘still’ are able to make a profit.

Obviously it’s a business, and like any other you wouldn’t be ‘in’ business unless you can make some sort of profit. So, either your margins are ‘razor’ thin, or you’re getting incredibly great deals on quality diamonds from your suppliers.

If you ‘are’ able to buy say at 40% back, that still gives you a 20% margin, which I guess is ‘okay’, but that’s nowhere near what the mall stores are making off the general public with their inflated prices.

This inquiry was instigated by the fact that I have recently made a diamond ring purchase (engagement ring to be presented Christmas Day), and even though I have been on this board for a while and learned plenty, I had to go with a big name ‘Mall Store’ because the return policy was 90 days vs. the 10 days most online retailers allow. (Not to dive into the personal issues here, but the reason I need the 90 days is because we have geographical location issues that I am hoping we can resolve (east coast/west coast), but we need time, more than 10 days, to figure all that out.)

So the stone I got was a 2.02 ct Princess, G, SI2. I wanted the 2ct size in a good color, so I decided to save money by allowing inclusions that I can’t see without a loupe, (She ‘really’ wanted a 2 ct).

It’s a beautiful diamond, but of course they wanted a fortune for it at the Mall store. After I pulled out my Price Scope printouts of all similar stones for sale online, and pulled out my PScope Princess quality cut chart, and the RAP Diamond Pricesc sheets, they nearly fell over.

So the VP / district manager had to come out to renegotiate the price and close the deal. but not before knocking $4K off their original price of the diamond. I still can’t believe people actually pay those ridiculous prices.

Now I settled for the Rappaport diamond price, knowing I still could have saved another few thousand on-line, but like I said, I didn’t mind paying more knowing I had a few extra months to work on our geographical issues.

So in conclusion, thanks to Pricescope for being here, great job to the vendors. But, back to my original point; how do you guys do it for so cheap?

Answer:

Rap Diamond Prices on the Rap sheet are a fiction and not technical in some mysterious way. While these numbers relate to diamonds of the particular color and clarity there are several other factors which greatly affect the value of any individual diamond which Rap only vaguely mentions or does not address at all. Regardless, these factors are quite complex, and they lead to a huge actual range of values for any given stone of a specific color, clarity, weight
and shape.

For consumers the Rap Sheet prices are way more misleading than useful. Reliance upon those numbers without a whole lot more knowledge is going to burn anyone, dealer or consumer, who buys or sells based solely on them.

Martin Rapaport helped to bring a needed and useful degree of order to the diamond market in a time of rapid price change 25 years ago. Over time the Rap sheet has proven worthwhile to diamond dealers and has become highly misused and misunderstood by many, including consumers. I still subscribe to Rapaport and make use of the Rap sheet, but in a careful way, not blindly. I almost never tell consumers what it says about their choice of diamond because it means so little about any single stone. It is a market monitor, not a value calculator.

Get a quote for a diamond from multiple trusted vendors here as well as discussing your diamond with our community here.