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JohnQuixote

A-List Jeweler
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Everything posted by JohnQuixote

  1. Ok. The GIA jedi researched this stone and here's the story… Girdle thickness is what’s knocking it to VG. Although the verbal descriptor is STK, they use the actual value generated by the scan to decide gt percentage in the lab. In this diamond’s case the value was 4.3%. Although it’s still inside STK (verbal) tolerance, GIA says 4.0 gets EX and 4.5 gets VG…Since 4.3 is closer to 4.5 it got penalized. If the actual value had been 4.2 it would have gone the other way. Somewhat ironically, I think, the reason actual values are not used on these reports is because scanners in the trade are not completely repeatable. With that said, GIA must draw a line somewhere and in this case the verbal descriptor and actual value depart where they're usually in-sync. I’m told gt percentage is the only value where they have this kind of issue, and in most cases it wouldn’t be an issue because something else (depth/overweight/etc) would push it over. This is a rare case. Brad, your instincts were ultimately right since, technically, it was that 0.1% extra in the girdle (actual value) that triggered VG.
  2. I don't think anyone intends to be hard Leslie...it's just that stories by consumers who "happen" to just have the "luck" to run into the cousin, aunt or co-worker's boyfriend's uncle's preacher's third cousin who is a "wholesaler" often follow a similar cadence and end the same (unfortunate) way. To those of us who have watched these train wrecks in slow motion the announcement "I'm working with a diamond wholesaler..." is like fingernails on a chalkboard. If everything works out for you that's great. You may be the 1 in 100 example that works out well, but something you might appreciate is the people who post on this board are all dedicated pros, and we are tired of suffering the mistrust created by the other 99 finks who abuse the term to create a false illusion for end-users like you. By all means come back and post those specs; if they seem promising we'll tell you for sure. In the meantime let your instincts and logic guide you. Typically if something seems a little too good to be true...it is. Also, in the spirit of what others have offered, remember that when you buy a diamond there are usually benefits associated with it: Things like a week or so of guaranteed 100% return, and (from the dealers of high quality) a lifetime option to trade that stone in for most, or all credit towards a more expensive stone down the road. Such options - which create a bond with the consumer beyond a one-time "pay me and I'm gone" transaction - are promises which have teeth. It sounds like you have a heads-up. Keep your wits about you, have fun and let us know what you find out.
  3. You & Jan got better deals than I did, Judah - I had to trade hair for my wisdom.
  4. Here is the report check page. It says VG as well. Logically, facetware gives the basic proportions EX (graphic attached). A penalty for brillianteering would be noted on the report, the girdle is ok 'by the book' and it passed the overweight test - by my math anyway. You don't normally see this group scratching our collective heads so I fired off an email to a GIA jedi to see what he says.
  5. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find qualified independent professionals who would agree. Even most non-independents I associate with recognize the shortcomings and mass-marketing focus of the IGI in America. I do think your statement can be made as it relates to China: The Hong Kong IGI lab has made a sincere effort to enforce high standards and consistency. It's an attempt to overcome the perception of IGI in America, where they are (at best) a second-tier lab in both strictness and consistency.
  6. Diamond testers are notoriously unreliable...but sometimes so are foreign diamonds...but then sometimes so are jewelers. Fortunately an independent expert can clear it up rather quickly. Christine York is an appraiser on the W Loop South in Bellaire. You might call her at 713-665-1650 and see what she'd require to verify it for you.
  7. The proportion information will be on any AGS or GIA grading report. Even at that, I wouldn't advise buying any diamond that a seller advertises using only using a list of stats and a scan of the grading report. If they don't boast actual images and some form of proof of light performance like onsite ideal-scope photos they probably don't really have the diamond...they are just reproducing lists provided to them by supplier 'warehouses.' They may never see the diamond they are trying to sell you. Understood. There is a level at which it becomes like rocket science minutia, but you want the rocket to fly, right? For instance, do you think you will see the light performance difference between these two examples? On paper both have the same weight, spread and table% (they are sims, one was cut with premium crown/pavilion angles the other was not).
  8. As I read this I thought 'I bet Brad is right,' and pulled out my lab manual to do the math. Suggested weight for 7.3 mm = 1.45 (SW) Actual weight of this diamond = 1.51 (AW) AW-SW = 0.06 and 0.06÷SW = 0.041 So, according to GIA it's 4% overweight. They don't downgrade it from EX until it's 8% overweight. I thought we cracked it for a minute there.
  9. No way to form an opinion without more info. I presume these are rounds? What are their crown & pavilion angles, lower half% and star%? This will allow a better prediction, but still won't reveal actual light return or cut precision. Ideal-scope, ASET or other proof of light performance would be helpful. While it's possible to find attractive diamonds that have been sent to EGL, manufacturers will typically send top makes (cut especially) to AGS or GIA when they know the diamond is worthy of earning high marks. When a diamond isn't able to earn such high marks a softer lab may be chosen because it is less likely to 'expose' the diamond's shortcomings on paper.
  10. It could correlate to GIA, in which case it's around an H. A123 = DEF (colorless)? A4567 = G-J (near colorless)? B = K-M (faint)? C = N and below (very light)? Or it may not correlate at all. Or the grader may have different standards than GIA. Or it may be from Oz like David suggests. Or the ABC may be broad Wesselton, Crystal, Cape designations... Yep, you might want to ask your appraiser.
  11. I sent this image to a friend at GIA labs who can't tell me why it would be VG either (all surface aspects are within EX for cut). Do you have the GIA report number?
  12. JohnQuixote

    Newbie Here

    Hi again South. You should definitely have the VTN portions of the girdle checked. It may be one small position, but if a sizable portion is VTN it could be a durability/chipping concern. That girdle range prevented the diamond from being EX in cut. If you want nit-picking, I'm not wild about a 41.4 pavilion (though it may be nothing to worry about) and the lower halves could be as much as 87% (GIA rounds some numbers). You'll have more balanced scint qualities in this size if they are closer to 80%. I think this is an improvement, and could be a nice stone. David's right about pricing.
  13. JohnQuixote

    Newbie Here

    Happy to help South. Your budget should easily allow you to achieve your goals. Since cut quality is what gives the diamond its life that should be the priority in my opinion. Highest cut quality is not common though. You will have to look to find it. Find a jeweler who carries GIA and AGS graded diamonds. As I mentioned above, the AGS 'Ideal' cut grade (known as AGS0) is highly coveted among enthusiasts. GIA graded rounds also have a cut grade and most top-rated GIA stones are beautiful, but doing research is warranted since the 'Excellent' cut grade does allow a few not-so-top combinations in. Be aware that pedestrian sellers may try to distract you from seeking AGS Ideal or GIA EX cut grades. Most likely this is because they can't get them. Don't let it dissuade you; those diamonds are out there and in your budget. Once you've found a jeweler who specializes in top cut quality your budget is well-matched to your desires. You should be able to get a 1.5ct H/VS2 with AGS Ideal or GIA EX cut - or - you could go with a G color and SI1 clarity (same size and cut quality) for nearly the same money. If you find suitable candidates in a live store feel free to post the details here and experts will comment... For the most part when you're dealing with GIA/AGS and top cut grades you're going in the right direction. Internet prices are generally a little bit lower - if you choose to work with an internet seller be sure it's someone who has the diamond in-hand (is not selling from a list) and will send you actual photos/proof of light performance and backs the diamond in the short and long term with 100% return period and lifetime trade-up option.
  14. My 5-yr girlfriend was stoked when I proposed, so I feel you. Please work with a jeweler who actually has the stone in hand - or will bring it in and do a full workup on it. Fancy shapes must be seen to be evaluated/appreciated. Anyone willing to 'drop ship' a stone to you is just looking for you to 'drop' your money. Sellers who will send you photos, demonstrate light performance and back the diamond up with generous return periods and lifetime trade-up policies are serious about consumer protection. (stepping off soapbox) The first stone's depth could easily be explained by the girdle, but I feel like a blind man swinging at a pinata in a blimp hanger trying to speculate on unseen fancies.
  15. David you remember correctly. AGS no longer gives range limits; the parameters are judged all-together. It has been a breath of fresh air to 60/60 lovers (know anyone like that?) because many diamonds with 60% tables now qualify as AGS Ideal as long as they have appropriate performance values. In fact, diamonds with tables from 47% to 62% can now theoretically earn AGS Ideal depending on how all 57 facets work together. It's actually a stricter system than the old one, just more mature as it doesn't 'cut off' diamonds for going over a line in any one parameter...it's looking at how all the parameters work together.
  16. Leslie, Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I strongly suggest you avoid this diamond. A 2.00 carat round should have a spread of around 8.15 mm. This diamond is cut so deep that it faces up at only 7.83 mm. In effect it will look like a 1.75 ct stone in a ring. What's worse: It will perform poorly away from bright jewelry store lights. Those crown and pavilion percentages translate to appx 36.7/41.5 angles. GIA would give this diamond a 'Good' in cut (which is not so good) and on a scale of 0-10 (0 being the best) AGS predicts it to earn a grade of 7. In short, there was a reason this diamond was not sent to a first-tier lab: A buyer seeing either of the above evaluations would never purchase it. It's possible to find GIA graded I-J, SI-I1 diamonds in the range of your original budget at/near 2cts. I suggest this path would bring you better value for your money.
  17. JohnQuixote

    Newbie Here

    The clarity grade is a measure of natural characteristics external and internal to the diamond that formed during the millions of years of crystalization. If strictly graded, grades in the VS, VVS and IF/FL range indicate diamonds where no blemishes or inclusions will be visible to the naked eye when viewed in the face-up position (these diamonds command a higher premium). Diamonds in the SI1 and SI2 range are all different. Some will have visible characteristics, some won't - depending on the diamond and the observer. Diamonds in the I1 and below grades typically have visible inclusions, but if a diamond is extremely well cut the performance can 'mask' inclusions to a degree in certain lighting. You can read clarity tutorials for an overview on the subject. Cut: I suggest you look for diamonds with GIA or AGS grading reports. Both of these labs grade cut, just as they grade color, clarity and finish. GIA's top grade of 'Excellent' is largely a good indicator of performance (with some exceptions at the steep/deep end). AGS' top grade of 'Ideal' is a little bit stricter, so AGS reports are harder to find. Diamonds earning a top cut grade will have passed tests for weight ratio (depth/spread), durability and finish. Many top-performing diamonds would receive the top grade from either of these laboratories. Any report you look at should have the proportions on it. If you like, you're welcome to list examples here for feedback, but the cut grade is going to be a pretty good 'on paper' indication and what your eyes like is most important of all.
  18. Beautiful photo. Buying a fancy shape involves trust in the dealer. You want someone who has the diamonds in-hand and will work with you to balance your desired criteria with the best possible cut and performance (and price of course). The most reliable dealers offer strong exam/return periods and extend long-term guarantees such as a trade-up benefit; indicating they're standing behind this sale in the short and the long term. For extra piece of mind you could include a respected independent appraiser in the transaction. The cost is usually a small percentage of the total investment and will put another expert set of eyes on the stone, give you an unbiased opinion of its pedigree and provide full insurance documentation.
  19. Straight answer: Every SI diamond is different. An SI1 could have one dark grade-setting inclusion that is eye-visible. An SI2 could have a dozen tiny transparent inclusions that are not eye-visible. This is regardless of lab.
  20. Great summary Neil. Experts focused on consumer protection get a little crazy at the drop-ship concept. We're just very protective and we want to crawl all over any diamond we intend to sell so we're 100% familiar with it on behalf of the buyer. These are natural crystals from the earth and letters and numbers don't do one of these precious snowflakes justice. A data stream will not reveal possible shortcomings (the reason many of us warn against drop-shippers) but even if there were no possible shortcomings I think those of us who have a passion for diamonds and diamond-lovers want to see & feel what it is we're sending to the hopeful guy or gal on the other side of the counter, or other end of the phone line. Certainly there's risk in buying from a drop-shipper. I think the negative reactions you see from tradesmen (and women) who reject that model go deeper than risk though.
  21. This is a question concerned consumers often ask. In North America you can buy with high confidence; large and small sizes. The Kimberley Process is to be applauded for dramatically reducing the scope of the issue. Some estimates put rough touched by conflict at less than 1 percent today. But the global diamond industry is vast. Greed is not exclusive to Africa, and rogue elements trade rough of dubious origin where they can. Kimberley Process fraud was uncovered in Brazil and Guyana in 2006 and by November of that year NGOs were calling for expulsion of Venezuela from KPCS participation. They have continued to have issues. Border controls are tighter in North America, especially post 9/11, but the possibility of corruption in the system exists, even in Canada where “conflict-free†is a national marketing slogan (CDCC). The good news is that Kimberley and Global Witness have estimated that 99%+ of the world’s diamonds are conflict free. Still, unless you walked the diamond yourself from mine to sorting to trading house to cutting factory to parcel buyer to retail outlet, nothing can be 100 percent certain. As responsible retailers we do our utmost to protect our clients and ourselves. We select our partners with great care. We know the leaders of our primary trading houses and their commitment to the process of certification. Every diamond we bring in is accompanied by written conflict-free guarantees and certification from people committed to the process. We have joined hands and done everything in our power to guarantee our diamonds’ conflict-free provenance for you, just as our conscientious peers do. As a consumer I suggest you don't just be cautious, be proactive. You can test a retailer’s awareness and commitment to the issue. These four questions are suggested by NGOs Amnesty International and Global Witness: 1. How can I be sure that none of your jewelry contains conflict diamonds? 2. Do you know where the diamonds you sell come from? 3. Can I see a copy of your company’s policy on conflict diamonds? 4. Can you show me a written guarantee from your diamond suppliers stating that your diamonds are conflict-free? Most importantly, remember that "conflict-free" just scratches the surface of the issue. The industry works hard to ensure conflict-free provenance for the end-user and for many consumers that is enough. The only drawback is that it overlooks the real issue, which is those who still suffer in parts of Africa. As jewelry companies and consumers we can’t change governments or politics, but we can create commerce and benevolence to help those people. UNICEF is active in Africa. Development diamond initiatives like Rapaport Fair Trade are evolving. Our company’s chosen charity partner is the WCCCI and we have a program funding relief for African children called Dreams of Africa. Beyond the protectionist work Kimberley Process, the Patriot Act, NGOs and the CRJP are doing, we believe there must be people-centered answers to help actual humans without industry or red tape in the way.
  22. To you too, Judah. Ditto the kudos - and a great '08 to all.
  23. Steve - ahhh. '02 Vette, yes? Awesome year and car. Speeding ticket red. Me like! Whatever happened to that Indian Scout you were restoring a few years back? Also, weren't you in pilot training? Ever get that Mig? Adylon - The T-Rex is intimidating. I can't decide whether it looks more like something from Star Wars or one of the Arnold 'Governator' movies. It's a head turner for sure. Are you rolling with thunder or lightning? PS: Either way it makes the thread better than Lab Wars IMO.
  24. There is simply no way to answer without more information. Cut quality is what determines a diamond's light performance. You likely won't see a difference in G to H color or in VVS2 to VS1 clarity, but this again depends on cut, which will influence how a diamond faces up. For example, especially in rounds (but to a degree in all shapes), light will get in and out of a well-cut diamond with more intensity. This means less entrapment of body color. Ergo, near-colorless diamonds (G-J) may 'face up' better than the lab-assigned grade when well cut. The opposite is also possible; a poorly-cut diamond in the near-colorless range may face up with more yellow or brown than its lab assigned grade. So to your question; if both are cut and priced identically and you see no difference in appearance with the naked eye I'd go for size. However it's unlikely that they are cut identically.
  25. Boy howdy! M'lady shot this after my fortnightly homage to cleanliness a while back. I suppose it's only 1.5 G/VS by Carrera standards, but I'll vouch for ideal polish.
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