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south
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Hello first let me start by saying what a great forum that you have established here! I am a bit of a newbie when it comes to diamonds however, after some searching on this forum I have gained a great deal of knowledge, thanks!

 

 

Anyways, I am going to begin my hunt for an engagement stone and I have some basic criteria that I know, or at least I think I know I want the diamond to fall into.

 

 

Cut: Round

Weight: 1.2 thru 1.55 carat

Color: F, G, H

Clarity:?

Dimensions:? (Am I phrasing this right?)

 

 

Now here is where I seem to run into a few questions. I am not sure what other parameters I want to consider.

 

 

I am curious what some of the experienced members thoughts are on this issue. I would like to walk into a jeweler armed with some technical knowledge so that I not only get a fair price but I also get the most beautiful stone for my buck.

 

 

I am curious if anyone could provide a bit of direction of the clarity and dimension that I should look at. Is there an ideal parameter one should follow when looking at round cut stones?

 

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Edited by south
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I should have clarified that I have read over the tutorials online (many times) but I am a bit unsure how the metrics are related to each other. For instance, depth to table percentages should be in harmony but what is the ideal harmony? Of course my budget is not unlimited.

Edited by south
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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.

Edited by JohnQuixote
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John - thank you very much for taking the time to write up such a detailed reply. Being a vintage watch buff on quite a few watch forums I can understand how sometime newbie’s questions may not be the best; if this next question is unreasonable please let me know.

 

When I walk into a jeweler they will ask what I want to see. I tell them round cut 1.2-1.55 carat and F,G,H color however, I really want to make sure I am getting the best stone for the money. I want the most beautiful overall stone that I can fit into my budget (don’t we all!).

 

With a budget of 10-12k (for the stone alone) what should I be asking a dealer to show me? From your experience and personal opinions what should tell the jeweler I want to see?

 

I always seem to end up juggling weight, color and cut quality without any real direction. I really would love to walk in and know the specifications that will best capture the beauty of a round cut stone and remain within my budget. I know my budget, I know I want a round cut stone and I know it will be mounted in a classic, simple, platinum solitaire setting.

 

You advice is greatly appreciated.

Edited by south
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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.

Edited by JohnQuixote
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Alright, so here it goes. Any options on this stone?

 

Price: $14,000 USD

 

GIA Cert.

Round Billiant

7.36-7.41 x 4.53 mm

Weight: 1.50

Color: G

Clarity: VS1

Cut: Very Good

TBL: 58%

TD: 61.3%

CA: 34.0 degrees

PA: 41.4 degrees

ST: 55%

LH: 85%

Girdle: VTN to MED, F

Cutlet: none

Polish: Very Good

Semetry: Exceltent

Flourescenece: none

Key: Cloud Indented

Natural

Canadian Origin and Papers

 

Thanks you very much

Edited by south
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Hi South,

 

No one will be able to tell you very much just by looking at measurements from a GIA report.

The pricing is reasonable, but I agree with John you will find a better price online.

 

 

In terms of what you might want to look at, have you considered going down to an I or J color?

 

We've had many clients that did not mind what others perceive as a slight tint.

Of course there are buyers that would notice the slight tint in an H- those people need to stick with the real colorless grades. Have you looked at a J colored diamond?

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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.

Edited by JohnQuixote
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Thanks for getting back to me on those specifications.

 

I have not even thought to look at J colored stones. I will have to check them out.

 

John – You mentioned above that cut quality is what gives the stone its life. May I ask what role the clarity plays in the brilliance and fire of the rounds?

 

What would be the impact of going up 1 grade in clarity and going down 1 grade in cut quality? I am only asking because I am curious how these metrics are correlated.

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Thanks for getting back to me on those specifications.

 

I have not even thought to look at J colored stones. I will have to check them out.

 

John – You mentioned above that cut quality is what gives the stone its life. May I ask what role the clarity plays in the brilliance and fire of the rounds?

 

What would be the impact of going up 1 grade in clarity and going down 1 grade in cut quality? I am only asking because I am curious how these metrics are correlated.

 

This is a very common misconception. Given accurately graded VVS1 to SI2 Clarity, and brilliance are virtually unrelated. If the diamond is heavily imperfect, that might impact the brilliance. But the size of imperfections that G.I.A grades in these clarities is too small to affect overall brilliance.

So, an SI2 is not a dull diamond, by virtue of its clarity.

Edited by diamondsbylauren
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  • 4 weeks later...

Well I just got back from a few jewelers and was able to refine my previously wide range. I am looking at

 

 

 

Cut: Round

 

Carat: 1.5 – 1.75

 

Color: F

 

Clarity: SI1/SI2

 

Cut: AGS0

 

 

 

One problem I ran into is that many jewelers just don’t have AGS and they try to make a push for GIA Excellent stating it’s a “better†rating system. Is GIA a better rating system or are they unable to get these AGS0 stones?

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Is the AGS system better than the GIA system?

In my opinion, no it's not.

Is it possible that a jeweler will have a harder time finding a diamond with an AGS report as compared to a GIA report? Yes, that sounds very reasonable.

 

The reason I prefer a GIA's system, is that it is more inclusive. AGS has widened their standards to include stones that previously were considered not ideal. It is my position that those initial parameter were too narrow.

For example, a diamond with a 60% table was excluded from ideal cut before.

 

If you're looking for a small table stone ( as the previous AGS ideal standard dictated). You should be able to find one with either report.

Although GIA stones are easier to find, you should be able to find an AGS report

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South;

 

GIA grading speaks to external components of the diamond, not it's optical performance.

 

You can have a GIA Excellent/Excellent or an AGS Ideal and the optical performance can be lacking and differ visually compared to another diamond with the same Ideal or EX designations.

 

We see these variations erveryday as do the Consumers that come to our Showroom to look at "Ideal" cut diamonds with grading reports from both the GIA and AGS labs.

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Is it safe to assume a GIA "Excellent" cut is going to encompass the correction symetry and demensions to give the round stone maximum brilliance?

‘Maximum brilliance’ is a remarkably tough thing to nail down and it’s not the same as ‘maximum beauty’ even after you do it. Different people like different things.

 

A cut grade of GIA-excellent almost certainly means that a stones cutting will be pleasing. It’s their highest grade and (according to GIA) goes to the top 20% of the stones they see. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that it goes to more like the top 30-40% but this is heavily filtered by dealer behavior. Why, after all, would anyone send in a stone to GIA and pay good money to have it ‘certified’ as a Poor when they could send that stone somewhere else that leaves this information off entirely? Consequently, Poor and Fair cut grades are incredibly unusual in the marketplace.

 

Using the GIA-excellent cut grade as a basic requirement for your stone is a good policy but no, it doesn’t guarantee maximum brilliance.

 

The AGS system is significantly more specific and this is both it’s best feature and it’s biggest criticism. The critics are right that there are lovely stones that fall outside their proportion rules. At the same time, I’ve never seen an AGS-0 from the current grading system that wasn’t beautiful. The two systems overlap but are not the same. There are stones that score well with GIA and poorly with AGS and visa versa and this can lead to a fair amount of confusion. With an AGS-0 you are getting a more standardized product and the standard is pretty high. GIA-excellent leaves more room for the artistic genius of the cutter to work their magic and this too can result in some spectacular stones. Which stones are best? It depends on you.

 

AGSL isn’t anywhere near as widely distributed as GIA. Any store can use them but most don’t have much experience with it and understanding the cut system is remarkably complicated (so is GIA’s). AGS-0’s seem to sell for a premium over GIA-excellent and the cutters are well aware of this. Stones that would be eligible for both are more likely to have AGS paper for this reason.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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