Answers to Our Most Common Questions
ABOUT THE DIAMONDS
Here are Icecap’s Program Standards:
- Shape: Round, Brilliant Cut
- Carat Weight: .50 ct. up to 5 carat
- Color: D-I
- Clarity: Flawless to VS2
- Cut-Quality: GIA Triple Excellent (highest cut grade)
- Price-Point: Approximately $3,000 up to $300,000
- GIA Grading report
There are other gemological factors that a diamond may have (such as graining) that will disqualify a diamond from Icecap trading. Full specifications available on request.
One of the key benefits Icecap provides to investors is narrowing the bid/ask spread for diamonds. One of the reasons the spread is so high in the normal jewelry market is that there are so many things about a given diamond that must be checked, in person, by a gemologist, before a bid can even be made. This creates huge inefficiency. However, some diamonds require little if any of that, and diamond experts can bid on those kinds of diamonds “sight unseen.” Icecap’s program standards ensure that only those “easiest to sell” diamonds are part of our program.
Here’s an example: We only allow round shapes, because other shapes are more subjective, and often need to be seen in person to get a sense of how the light is reflecting. Also, round diamonds are the most popular and hence the most in demand.
In today’s market, any diamond of more than several thousand dollars in value should have a full grading report (“certificate”) from the Gemological Institute of America. However, that’s not good enough for Icecap’s diamond marketplace. GIA certificates do not deliver perfect quality control, and thus certainty. Jewelry buyers don’t necessarily care, but investors do. Investors can’t afford surprises when it’s time to sell.
Thus, Icecap subjects every diamond to secondary screening, beyond the GIA certificate, by GCAL (Gem Certification & Assurance Laboratory.) GCAL has the tightest grading standards in the industry, and guarantees their grading with an insurance policy. No other lab in the world provides such guarantees, not even GIA. Thus every Icecap diamond has two certificates, not just one.
Very few diamond suppliers have program standards as tight as Icecap. One of the few that does is Tiffany & Co.
Diamond e-tailers, in particular, often offer diamonds that may read well on the 4C’s of a GIA report (cut, clarity, color, carat-weight) but have many other properties—outside the 4C’s—that make them less desirable and difficult to sell. And even their 4C’s grades may be incorrect.
To put this in perspective, we believe few, if any, of the diamonds offered on the world’s largest diamond e-tail sites would pass GCAL verification or be eligible for trading on Icecap’s diamond marketplace. Diamonds that have passed such tight screening cost more on the wholesale market, but we consider this screening essential to make Icecap diamonds easy to sell, not just easy to buy—a critical factor for investors.
In theory, yes, but pragmatically, probably not. Here’s why:
- Icecap Program Standards.
Icecap’s program standards are the highest in the world. While we accept “I” color and above, and “VS2” clarity and above, all diamonds must have a GIA report, be rated triple X in cut, and the diamond must pass a secondary grading process by GCAL (to confirm the GIA grading) and have a GCAL certificate number as well. As you may know, GCAL grades according to original GIA standards, not the more relaxed standards of today. Most diamonds with a GIA report will not pass GCAL verification for color and clarity. Additional Program Standards are described in the answer to the above question: “What kinds of diamonds are allowed on the Icecap marketplace”.
- Pre-Verification Step.
If you believe the diamond(s) you’re interested in selling qualifies, you will still need to submit the diamond(s) to GCAL for pre-verification, and then leave the diamond(s) in our custody, until they are sold. This chain-of-custody ensures that the buyer will know precisely what they are buying, which is a critical factor in the Icecap marketplace.
If you are willing to incur these hurdles, then, yes, you can sell on the Icecap marketplace, and a five-percent trading fee is charged once sold. For more information on this process, please contact us with any questions.
ABOUT THE BUYING PROCESS
At Icecap, we only want you to invest in diamonds if it’s a good fit, and makes sense for your specific needs and portfolio. For many people it likely isn’t a good fit. Please read our blog post on this topic to help you determine whether diamond investment could make sense in your case.
Visit our Get Started page for some helpful tips to get started. When you’re ready, visit the marketplace to browse available diamonds, and complete a buy order form.
Alternatively, you can contact Icecap’s sales agent, Cloud Hard Assets at (800) 247-2812. They will be your guide and handle all aspects of the transaction. Cloud Hard Assets has been selling gold and silver to investors for over forty years, and has one of the best reputations in the hard asset industry.
Please note that there is also an on-boarding process that must be completed before you may begin buying diamonds for your portfolio. This involves standard KYC/AML checks, and recording of signature and other details to ensure security of your portfolio going forward. These steps are primarily for your own safety.
Icecap sells diamonds to hard asset investors at extremely low markup levels. Among other things this means that many of the services available to jewelry buyers are not available via Icecap, including any returns or exchanges. All sales are final and are deemed delivered upon receipt by buyer, or buyer’s agent. Note that Icecap does provide a two-way marketplace, and invites Icecap customers to use it if they ever wish to sell their diamonds. Learn more at www.icecap.diamonds/sell.
Good news, no prior diamond expertise is required. Icecap provides you its “Value Index”, a tool that estimates how “good of a deal” every diamond is, at a given price point.
Icecap determines a “par value” for every combination of color, clarity and carat weight. This is basically what a diamond would cost on the wholesale market, with mathematical adjustments to show how it would be priced on the Icecap marketplace. That number is “par.” Then every diamond is ranked by its asking price as a relationship to that par value. This allows a buyer not familiar with diamonds to know which diamond to buy: the one that ranks the best on the Value Index. Therefore no knowledge of diamonds is needed. The investor should typically buy the best priced diamond, and the value index shows which one that is. If more budget is available, then buy the next one, and so forth, until the budget is met.
Icecap’s Diamond Value Index™ is a patent-pending mechanism that brings what we call “virtual fungibility” to diamond trading. Unlike gold, which is fungible between units (every ounce is equal to every other ounce), diamonds have hundreds of permutations of color, clarity, carat weight and so forth. Even within Icecap’s narrow program standards, there are over 500 possible combinations.
Unlike jewelry buyers, who will have strong opinions on what kind of diamond they want, investors don’t really care if a diamond is, say, a one carat or a two carat. The difference is already discounted by the price. The investor cares that they are buying the diamond at the best possible “value,” meaning closest proximity to wholesale price.
That increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome when it is time to sell. Icecap delivers this information on every one of its marketplace diamonds, by comparing the offer price to what it considers “par,” which is a percentage relationship to a defined target value above wholesale.
An offer price lower than that number is—or can be presumed to be all other factors equal—a better “deal” or “value” than a diamond above that number. The lower the ratio the better. (Example: if there are three diamonds with value index rankings of -3.2%, -1.7%, and +2.2%, the -3.2% is presumably a better value.)
This lets the diamond investor essentially ignore the gemological characteristics such as VVS1 vs. VVS2 and focus instead on what the investor cares about: proximity to wholesale. In the same way, when it is time to sell, the seller knows what price they will need to offer, to appear at the top or near the top of the value index.
By thus converting hundreds of possible diamond quality and price combinations into a single metric (value) virtual fungibility is achieved.
The Diamond Value Index is one of the primary innovations Icecap has developed, which opens the diamond market up to investors by creating an efficient bid/ask marketplace.
If you’re ready to place an order go first to Icecap Marketplace to see the available diamonds. Remember to check the 2nd tab “Full Inventory” to view the maximum selection. When you’ve chosen which diamonds you’d like to buy, write down the GIA certificate number and the Icecap List Price for each of them. Then click on the Buy Diamonds link which will take you to the order form. Please follow the instructions from there.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact Icecap at any time.
When placing an order, you will decide if you wish to take delivery of the diamond immediately—you can always do so later—or have the diamond vaulted. (See below, for details on the storage process.) In either case, here is what you now own, after placing an order. An asterisk shows which of these goes in the vault, if you choose that option. Otherwise, all these are shipped, or provided online as an ongoing service:
- Certificate of Diamond Purchase. This is a bill of sale showing precisely what you own, and with links built-in, giving you access to resources about your diamond(s), including the online versions of the two certificates.
- The best cut grade. All Icecap diamonds have earned the coveted “Triple Ex” designation from the Gemological Institute of America. (Excellent Cut, Excellent Symmetry, Excellent Polish.)
- *The Diamond itself, contained in industry-standard diamond paper, inserted into a plastic sleeve, and with the original GIA and GCAL certificates, included. Icecap diamonds are graded twice, first by GIA, and then a full audit and secondary grading is issued by GCAL—the only grading lab in the world that actually guarantees its grading, and backs it up with an insurance policy.
- A diamond “fingerprint.” Icecap diamonds receive a “Gemprint™”, which is a technology that uses reflected laser beams to record the exact identity of that diamond. This insures your diamond’s identity can always be confirmed. This Gemprint is embedded into the GCAL certificate.
- Insurance and storage-confirmation certificate. If you choose to leave your diamond vaulted, you will receive proof of its status and the insurance coverage that protects you.
- 360 degree video. Your diamond is photographed using a 3-D video technology. You can access this file, and control your diamond while you inspect it visually from anywhere in the world, via the Ownership Certificate. Example here.
- Online Portfolio Dashboard. You will receive a link to your diamond portfolio. Every diamond you’ve purchased will be listed, along with the details of its GIA and GCAL numbers, gemological details, purchase price, date of purchase, recommended asking price if offered for sale today, and percent appreciation/depreciation since purchase—just like a stock portfolio.
- Right To Re-Vault. If you take delivery of your diamond, you have the right to later re-vault for a $100 fee, plus shipping/insurance. This means you can enjoy having custody of your diamond as long as you want, but can then (assuming no damage) put it back on the market for sale if/when you ever wish to.
Icecap was envisioned as an NFT-based diamond marketplace. During launch, we found a better technology for the immediate needs of our customers. For now, we are making Icecap diamonds “NFT compatible” so the value of that technology can be re-introduced whenever desirable. For more details, please read our blog post on the topic.
ABOUT THE STORAGE PROCESS
Icecap’s sales process is only available for diamonds that are vaulted. If you have taken delivery of a diamond, and now wish to sell, it must first be returned to the vault. You will be charged the cost of shipping/handling, and also a fee for diamond-verification by GCAL in New York. This is necessary to ensure the diamond matches the grading certificate, and also that it has not been damaged while outside the vault. Contact Icecap for more information.
Diamonds that are in the vault can at any time be offered for sale. Visit icecap.diamonds/sell to get started.
You will be guided through the process by Icecap’s online tools. Specifically you will be able to list your diamond for sale, and can place it at the top of the value index if you wish—which will make it most-likely to be the next diamond sold. This is the “virtual fungibility” technology that is unique to Icecap’s marketplace.
There is no guarantee of how quickly your diamond will sell, but—again—it is likely to be the next diamond sold if it is priced at the top of the value index rankings.
Note that Icecap charges a 5% transaction fee, deducted from the sales price, when your diamond is sold.
This is a function of how good the value index price is on your offered diamond. And might vary between less than a day, to a month or more. Again, the lower the value index price, the faster it will sell. When the diamond is sold, Icecap itself will handle the processing of the transaction, and will remit cash to the seller.
ABOUT ECONOMICS AND TAX/REGULATORY FACTORS
The key word is diversify, which has always been an important principle when investing. But here are the three specific reasons diamonds make sense as part of a hard asset portfolio.
- Over the last fifty years, diamonds have out-performed inflation, yet generally without being as volatile as gold and silver.
- Diamonds are the most lightweight, compact, and portable form of wealth. For example, if you’re having to flee in times of war or unrest, a million dollars of diamonds can easily fit in a shirt-pocket. (Preferably one without holes in it.) No other asset can deliver this kind of portability, which hopefully you’ll never need, but if you ever do, you’ll likely need immediately.
- Unlike, say, gold bullion, diamonds can be enjoyed as jewelry while serving as part of your hard-asset portfolio. They don’t need to stay unseen in a vault.
Generally, diamonds have outpaced inflation while being less volatile than metals.
As we know, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But given the state of the world economy, where the U.S. and the EU in particular have engaged in heavy deficit spending as a result of Covid lockdowns, in Icecap’s opinion most hard assets will fare better than currencies which are having to be inflated by central banks. The next five years are likely to be volatile as the economy is pulled between recession, inflation, and difficult-to-predict interest rate changes. Now is arguably the best time to expand hard-asset portfolios, and diversify them as well.
Price-wise, the diamond market is segmenting rapidly, much as did the market for natural pearls, and cultural pearls after the latter was invented. Lab-Grown (synthetic) diamonds are dropping in price so rapidly, thanks to improved technologies, that increasingly the common wisdom is that they will take their place next to diamond simulants and costume jewelry. In particular, the market for consumers to sell lab-grown diamonds is almost non-existent.
To date, Lab-Grown diamonds have failed to maintain value over time. Recently, industry leader Martin Rapaport raised the question in a keynote speech (JCK Show, June ’22) whether jewelers had an ethical obligation to let their customers know that if they bought lab grown diamonds, they would essentially become worthless very quickly. Meanwhile, the demand for natural diamonds continues strong, and prices have—over multi-year time-periods—been increasing.
Icecap’s business model is the selling of diamonds on a platform designed around the needs of hard-asset investors, and providing liquidity options not generally available in the normal consumer-jewelry market. However, Icecap is not offering securities, and is not engaged in activities subject to CFTC regulation, for example.
Icecap does comply with all relevant laws and regulations, such as KYC/AML and various anti-money-laundering statutes. Thus the onboarding/screening of clients in the United States and elsewhere is taken seriously, and customers in some countries may not be able to take advantage of Icecap’s services.
When you purchase a diamond from Icecap, you will choose whether to (a) have it delivered to an address you specify, or (b) have it delivered to the Malca-Amit vault in Wilmington, Delaware. If the sale does not take place at the vault in Delaware, it may incur sales tax, VAT, and/or import duty depending on your geographical location. Please contact Icecap for more information.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Icecap’s founders and officers bring together some of the most well known, experienced, and reputable people from both the diamond industry and the blockchain sector. These include William Boyajian, the 20-year past president of the Gemological Institute of America itself, Jacques Voorhees, the founder of Polygon and inventor of online trading marketplaces in the diamond industry, and Michael Terpin, founder of Transform Group and part of the founding team of Ethereum and over forty other blockchain initiatives. Read capsule resumes of the full team here.
Icecap is a Delaware C corporation, with a principle office in Denver, Colorado, and is thus governed by those jurisdictions. Icecap also maintains a subsidiary corporation in Dubai, UAE, inside the DMCC freezone, and is regulated by DMCC and UAE law.
Unlike various other diamond investment “schemes” that have been tried in the past and which require the company itself to stay in business for its product to have value, an investor in diamonds under the Icecap model is investing in diamonds, not incurring third party risk from Icecap itself. Buyers receive full title to specific, GIA-certified and GCAL verified diamonds, and are buying them as close to wholesale price as is generally feasible. They are also buying diamonds that—by virtue of tight program standards—are very desirable and liquid in the marketplace.
If Icecap were ever to completely disappear for some reason, it would cause little inconvenience or consequence for Icecap customers. Per terms and conditions, in that event any vaulted diamonds would be shipped directly to customers, or other arrangements made with the vaulting agent. And sell channels would continue to exist for customers via multiple diamond industry buyers. See standard Terms and Conditions for more information.