The price of diamonds has been on the rise as the precious stones gain popularity over the years. But experts say it's hard to calculate the real value due to the lack of transparency when pricing this gem

SINGAPORE: The price of diamonds has been on the rise as the precious stones gain popularity over the years. But experts say it's hard to calculate the real value due to the lack of transparency when pricing this gem.

Industry players say the price of diamonds have been increasing by about 10 to 15 percent in the last few years. But even as these precious stones continue to gain popularity, analysts say diamonds are unlikely to overthrow gold or silver when it comes to investing in the precious metals.

Mr Torgny Persson, chairman of BullionStar, said: "The reason why gold and silver is valuable is because of its metallic characteristics and its rarity, and diamonds are not as rare and they are controlled in terms of supply. The value for gold and silver is set on a global market, so you have very transparent pricing, whereas for diamonds it's based on a few different private price reports and they are not widely accessible to the public. Besides, it's also a very illiquid market. It's very difficult to sell a diamond back to the retailer. They don't usually buy it back."

Ever wonder how much a diamond really costs? Or why a one-carat diamond is priced at S$5,000 at one store and more than S$20,000 at another store? A new mobile app by Syddall Diamonds aims to help its customers understand a little bit more about the value of diamonds. Still, experts say there should be more price transparency for the diamond industry.

Mr James Syddall, managing director of Syddall Diamonds, said: "The perceived value of diamonds come from their retail stores. From their own marketing plans. They have made diamond buying in Singapore very confusing. The new app is not meant to increase sales. It's more for my customers, more transparency because every time I go to an event, people ask me the same question. James how much is a one carater?"

Caraters' app lets customers calculate the price of the diamond based on stock that's available. Another similar app - DiamPrice - allows customers to price diamonds on the go.

With synthetically made diamonds, it's also a little harder to differentiate the real carats from man-made stones.