The Price Disparity Between Diamonds & Other Gems
Colored: Adj. Having color [Within the nine (9) cosmic colors, viz., red, orange, yellow, green, light-blue, indigo, violet, and ultraviolet to infrared].
The color of each gem is first considered in relationship with it's related Graha (Planet). Next, when we have perceived what is the visible color of each gem, then each gem color will fit into one of the four categories of human beings: 1) Priestly, 2) Political, 3) Mercantile, and 4) Labor. All this information is clearly available within my new Vedic Gemology book, "Ancient Astrological Gemstones & Talismans."
As with diamonds, we must consider the purity of color in every gem. So far there are several internationally accepted 'systems' of color, including the World standard by Munsell. At AGT we purchase only 'clean' gems with color in the range of 1) Priestly, 2) Political, 3) Mercantile ('Political' being the most expensive color in all gems).
Just as diamonds with eye-visible flaws are rejected, so should all other defective so-called gems be rejected as undesirable and, therefore, 'worthless'. Gems with visible flaws should always be rejected as both defective and inauspicious. Flaws in color are: uneven coloration, mixed-colors, and, tones which are too light or too dark. The most perfect (EXPENSIVE) color for each gem is the 'Political' color, like blood-red for flawless rubies, pink for flawless (natural) pearls, royal-blue for blue sapphires, and so on.
Because the ancient Sanskrit Vedas (and common sense) dictate that only 'clean', fine colored (or colorless) gems can be used as 'auspicious' Talismans, so that rules out as much as 95% of many natural, colored-gem material available. Once we have located a 'clean' gem then we can consider color quality. The truth is that flawless, natural gems are hard to find in this world (at present), at any price! Such "Jewels" are considered sacred and most auspicious "wonder's of God." Also, please recognize the fact that eye-clean (F-Vs2) diamonds are plentiful in comparison to all-most all other gemstones (ruby, natural, yellow sapphire, emerald, blue sapphire, and on down the list).
Clarity: Noun. The condition of being clean and free from contaminants.
In spite of some of today's jewelry and gem dealer's 'glorification' of gem inclusions (as "natural, proof of ID, and acceptable"), the fact of the matter remains, that a flaw is a defect, an impurity, a contaminant!!! Think of a gem material as a particular and perfect combination of atoms. These "like atoms" fit perfectly together during the formation of the Earth, to be revealed, at a later date, as jewels for humankind to treasure. We are speaking about "flawless" jewels. Other gems, which were not so lucky, formed in a "diseased" condition. Thus we have good (clean) gems and bad (flawed) gems (primitive grading system).
In ancient Asia, gems were always valued according to the quality of their "Fire" and "Water," i.e., COLOR and CLARITY. To determine clarity, the specimen was tightly encircled by the thumb and forefinger, then held up to the Sun, and viewed from behind with the light passing through the material. If the material was opaque or semi-translucent, it was considered to be completely flawed. Such "bad" gems were not useful as amulets nor for medicine, and they were, in fact, considered to be evil and harmful. If the material was translucent to transparent, then flaws were taken into consideration to determine identity, quality and value. Only in very few cases (such as coral, pearl, agate, and jade, etc.) were translucent gems ever considered for any auspicious purpose. Transparent, "single-unit" gems provide us with a "look inside," and allow us to further determine a clarity grade. The main consideration has always been "purity" of BOTH color (or it's absence) and clarity.
In today's market, diamonds with visible flaws (SI1 and down) are not
even considered by discerning buyers. Such gems are ugly and inauspicious.
Fine diamonds are free of flaws visible to the naked eye. Within this
category of "gem quality" diamonds, modern man has found the need (?!?)
to further subdivide the 'clean diamonds' clarity grade into another
six (6) divisions as follows: VS2 (very slightly included 2), VS1 (very
slightly included 1), VVS2 (very very slightly included 2), VVS1 (very
very slightly included 1), IF (internally flawless) and F (flawless).
These excessive gradations are based on viewing the diamond at ten to
eighty (10-80) times magnification, while using dark field illumination
(side lighting). All these grades are impossible for any ordinary person
to discern using the naked eye in natural light, as they are all free
of eye-visible defects. Still, through extensive advertising and promotion,
even the basic diamond buyer knows that there is a huge price difference
depending on clarity. Practically every person who buys a diamond today
will insist that the diamond be eye-clean, at least! Who wants a visibly
flawed diamond? Certainly not the leading ladies of cosmopolitan cities
around the world! Still, these same "discerning" buyers think nothing
about clarity when purchasing colored gems; and they will even purchase
and wear rubies and other gems of such low quality that a clarity description
would sound like the condition of Berlin after World War II. Completely flawed! Like a so-called ruby that is dense, and no better than a brick. Such a flawed quality of "red corundum" is never accepted as a ruby; and the Vedas speak ill of such flawed red stones. If flawed gems are understood to be 'unlucky' then what is their so-called worth? Even completely flawed diamonds are called "bort" and are only used for 'industrial' purposes.
Now to the issue of price discrepancy between diamonds and colored gems (including red coral and natural pearl). According to a Rappaport Diamond Report dated July 26, 1991, the value of a one (1) carat, top white (D grade), and flawless (at ten power in dark field illumination) diamond, with good proportions, was about US$17,500 ("The approximate cash asking price indication"). On the Bangkok Gem Market, the price for a one (1) carat, top red colored ruby which is "loupe clean" under ten power magnification and well-proportioned, is also about US$17,500...WHEN AVAILABLE! According to the GIA text books and other gem industry sources, flawless ruby (of fine color) is at least forty (40!) times rarer than a comparable diamond. Why then is the ruby not more valuable? There are two factors to consider:
1) The 'artificial price control' of clean diamonds (they are not really worth that much because they are so common); and
2) The knowledge provided to the public by the diamond cartel about diamond clarity (in contrast to the public's ignorance about clarity in colored gems).
The fact is that clean diamonds are hoarded, and then slowly sold to the public at a greatly increased value, thus creating an artificial rarity. Flawless, one carat diamonds are always available, everywhere if you have the money; but flawless, one carat rubies are hardly ever available, anywhere, at any price. Why then is the price rated as about the same?
We offer the following:
1. Diamonds should be re-valued according to their availability (as mined), with the price set accordingly. This will then bring the clean diamond price index in line with clean colored gems.
2. The public should be made aware of the undesirability of flaws in fine colored gems just as with diamonds.
3. The public should be educated about the price difference between flawless and defective colored gems just as with diamonds.
....But in the meantime, AGT will make do with the current
market realities and the endless scarcity of 'perfect gems.'