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Newbie looking for advice - good deal ?


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Stone One -

GIA Certified

Carat : 1.85

Cut: Ideal

Color: G

Clarity: VS2


Depth %: 62.6%

Table %: 55%

Symmetry: Excellent

Polish: Excellent

Girdle: Thin to medium

Culet: None

Fluorescence: Faint

Measurements: 7.86 x 7.92 x 4.94 mm


Price $ 19,000




Stone Two

GIA Certified - Lazare Kaplan Cut


Carat : 1.86

Cut: Ideal

Color: F

Clarity: VS1


Depth %: 61.8%

Table %: 55%

Symmetry: Very Good

Polish: Excellent

Girdle: Thin to medium,F

Culet: VSM

Fluorescence: Faint

Measurements: 7.89 x 7.97 x 4.90 mm


Price $ 27,000


Please advise

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Grading issues are pretty important and I recommend against guessing.


There’s quite a bit of money involved and the difference between pretty good cutting and excellent cutting can be on the order of 25% or more. They may indeed be guessing, but you should ask. There are several different definitions of this term and they are not equally useful. In most cases, there is not sufficient information on a GIA grading report to make this determination (reports issued after Jan 1 2006 have more info) and GIA doesn’t use this term at all. Many will use an old AGS proportion set that was used as part of their system from the mid-90's until 2005. The dealer can, of course, make up whatever definition they want but I’m not sure I would consider it very helpful for shopping if they have their own special scale. It’s not all that unusual for a dealer to base this claim on nothing more than table and depth percentage for example. It makes a difference. 'Ideal' costs extra and you should understand what you're getting. The best dealers are thrilled to talk about this topic and get really passionate about why their stones are better than their competitors precisely because of it while others don't even understand the question.



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Past all of the terms and descriptions proferred by various vendors, the bottom line is that you're looking to buy maximum light performance so that the diamond ring will be oohed and aahed by everyone regardless of the lighting conditions you find yourself in.


This is impossible to decipher just from the few numbers given on the lab grading report.


Polish and Symmetry refer to external symmetry not optical symetry. You can have an Ex-Ex or AGS-0 Ideal with spot-on numbers that displays mediocre light performance due to slight mis-alignments or the cut-angle of some of the facets. This will NOT be picked up on the GIA or AGS report.

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#1 Determine your Objectives. It may help to write them down. What are the important attributes and how do they balance to each other? Here’s some choices to get you in the thought process:


Visual size


Apparent color

Brilliance (light return)

Fire (play of color)


Description (weight, color, clarity, etc.)

Appraisal value

There are others that will be different for each shopper.


#2 Examine each stone in a variety of lighting conditions. If possible, examine the stones together. Do you have a preference for either one? Can you tell the difference? Look over your list of objectives from #1 above and see if either one stands out.


#3 Ask each dealer to explain why you should buy their stone. If they are being offered from the same dealer, ask them for their advice and listen carefully to the answers. If you don’t understand what they tell you, ask for an explanation or take notes and ask us (or both).


#4 Get an independent appraisal for each stone. Hire an appraiser that is working for you, not the seller, and hire someone who is not in the business of selling diamonds. If possible, attend the appraisal session in person and ask specific questions about what concerns you. The purpose of this appraisal is not to provide a bottom line price, which you already know or even the weight/color/clarity, which you probably already know. It is to provide you with additional information about the stones that is not already included on the grading report or price tag. Ask the appraiser before you hire them what they do in this regard. Some do a lot. Some do almost nothing.


#5 If the stones are being offered by different dealers, compare the additional services being offered by each dealer that may be of interest to you. This might include financing, warranties, convenient delivery, trade-in policies, access to specific ring designers, prestige of brand or store, access to specialized grading equipment and techniques or anything else that caused you to choose that particular dealer.


Many of the dealers who advertise here and who participate in the forum have websites with sections for stones that they consider to be excellent cutting with GIA grading reports. You can fairly quickly look up asking prices on superficially similar stones to the ones you are considering. Storefront dealers usually cost a little more and offer a little better service and certain brands (like Kaplan) charge a premium so you need to be careful about how you make the comparisson but this is a pretty good way to start in deciding if you're paying an appropriate price.



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