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Difference Between Clarities


FreshlyFresh
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Hi, I'm new to this, I've been researching the 4 C's and everything to know about them online for the past two months... I'm basically trying to get the most bang for my buck...

 

I've read through the tutorials here, as well as other sites, and I'm just stuck between a few different things; but could please someone help me with this.

 

I'm looking at a budget of about $5000;

 

I'm going to go with an Ideal cut diamond (as from my research I've taken that this will provide the most to do with the sparkle of the diamond, and really make it shine)...

 

i'm looking for a diamond no smaller than 1 ct; preferably in the 1.15-1.20 range (I'd like to go as big as possibly while staying under $5000 and making sure it shines and has no clear flaws...)

 

So, my basic question... if I have a ring of this size; say 1.25 to be safe; would the naked eye be able to see a difference between a VS2 and an SI1? I realize it says that VS2 there are few noticeable flaws under a 10x scope and that SI1 will have noticeable flaws under 10x scope... Well.. how about not under a 10x scope?

 

Also, is there such a difference, and if my absolute number 1 concern is the sparkle... would there be any difference between VS2 and VVS2 with that size diamond??

 

Last question... I'm most likely going with color H... but if I wanted to go most bang for buck... would I be better of going with a slightly bigger ring at Color I... or would there definitely be enough of a difference to go slightly smaller and stay at H?

 

 

I really appreciate anyone's help they can give... like I said, I'm new to this whole diamond buying thing; never really seen any up front... I have every intention of looking in person at some ring's when I'm finally ready to buy (not quite yet... couple months)... but for now... I'd like to do as much preliminary research as possible...

 

 

THANKS!

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HI Fresh,

let me see if I can answer some of your questions.

 

You have mentioned "ideal cut" diamonds. For the purposes of this conversation, how about we talk about diamonds that GIA has graded "Excellent" cut grade. The reason it's important to make this distinction, is because many sellers call their diamonds "ideal" with nothing to back it up.

 

 

Going to your main question, visual differneces between the clarities.

It's a common misconception, that people confuse clarity, with the overall quality of the diamond.

 

For example, if we were to compare two diamonds- one is internally flawless, the other is an eye clean SI2. The flawless is better, right? Not necessarily.

If the SI2 diamond has a better cut than the internally flawless diamond, it will sparkle more. In our example, the SI2 has no imperfections which are visible with the eye... which would make it basically equal to an internally flawless, looking at it with your naked eyes.

Of course, in addition to "eye clean" Si2 diamonds, there are SI2 diamonds that have spots you can see. Although the imperfections are generally not large enough to impact the sparkle of the diamond, seeing the spot certainly devalues the diamond.

 

Your question about color is a common one as well. It really depends on how sensitive you, or the person you intend to give this diamond to, are about the color of diamonds. Some people can easily see the difference between a D, and an F, for example.

 

Other, some people feel that H has too much color, while others see J color as white.

 

If you are among those who likes the way J. color looks, you're going to get a much bigger diamond for your money. Size, by the way, is one thing that everyone notices

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A lot of high street jewellers seem to specify SI or lower grades and offer 1ct bargains - people think that's a huge stone for little money and don't even consider the quality.

 

If you are buying a diamond I would always recommend you go for a lower weight and better quality stone. There can be quite a price jump from a 90 point diamond to a 100 point but you would not be able to tell the difference visually. A lot of contemporary jewellers specify VS as a minimum grade with a good colour such as G (or better) because this provides real diamond sparkle. I'd always pick a better colour grade over clarity - for example a D SI rather than a H VS1.

 

Yes size is nice but quality is the real key to set alight the fire within the stone. Always choose the best quality you can afford and unless you are an expert go for a certified stone from an independant lab such as GIA.

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Okay, so I think I'm getting there (thank you very much for your helpful responses, I appreciate them!!)

 

So, to try and polish up exactly what I want to look for I have a few follow up questions...

 

basically, I will look for GIA graded stone... with top notch cut (so GIA's top cut is Excellent??? If yes, I will go with excellent...)

 

but like I said originally, my number 1 priority in this is sparkle; my girlfriend has a small hand, and she knows I don't have a ton of money, I don't care to get a huge rock... I'm fine with something smaller, and as you said HeBe; I want the absolute best quality stone in my price range... I'd at least prefer around a 1.1 ct; but best quality is number 1...

 

I think I'll settle for VS2 or SI1 knowing that to the naked eye you really won't be able to tell the difference that much...

 

but anyways I'm not getting to my follow up... sorry... here it is; so like I said before from my understand Cut is the number 1 C when it comes to sparkle; after reading what you said HeBe... is Color the second most important???

 

So if I really want the most sparkle... should I go Excellent cut with a color G, SI1; over a Color H VS2??? Sparkle my main concern here?

 

Thanks again for all your help!!!! I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate it!

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Yes, GIA’s top cut grade is ‘excellent’. I would include in your search the possibility of AGS grades stones as well. Their top grade is ‘0’, also called ‘ideal’. As David points out, there are other labs who use this term far less precisely so watch out for that word.

 

Sparkle is not a function of clarity except on the very low grades. You will not see a face up visible difference between an SI1 and an IF with normal vision and under normal lighting without magnification.

 

Sparkle is also not a function of color but changes in color do have a visible affect on the stone. The usual reason people buy lower colors is because it brings down the price or allows them to bring up the size while staying within a budget. Where to draw the line is up to you. Most Americans seem to end up in the G-H-I range but, for example, my wife’s wedding ring is a J and no one has EVER commented that they see any color, even up close. Maybe I just have nice friends but she’s very happy with it and it was on the order of half the price of an otherwise similar D/E color . When I bought it I was pretty price sensitive (I still am) and I really wanted to get a bigger size. I don’t regret it.

 

Play with the database at the top of the page titled ‘find online jeweler’ and test it with different parameters. You’ll get a good feel for how the various attributes relate to each other and to the price. If you haven’t visited jewelry stores yet, you really should go. You need to get a feel for what you think of the various colors, what clarity characteristics you can see and what you can’t, what you consider to be ‘big’ and the like. These elements play an important role in the whole process. The store might even have what you want. It doesn’t hurt to look and most salespeople don't bite. :rolleyes:

 

I agree with the advice of moving up in color before you move up in clarity.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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A lot of high street jewellers seem to specify SI or lower grades and offer 1ct bargains - people think that's a huge stone for little money and don't even consider the quality.

 

If you are buying a diamond I would always recommend you go for a lower weight and better quality stone. There can be quite a price jump from a 90 point diamond to a 100 point but you would not be able to tell the difference visually. A lot of contemporary jewellers specify VS as a minimum grade with a good colour such as G (or better) because this provides real diamond sparkle. I'd always pick a better colour grade over clarity - for example a D SI rather than a H VS1.

 

Yes size is nice but quality is the real key to set alight the fire within the stone. Always choose the best quality you can afford and unless you are an expert go for a certified stone from an independant lab such as GIA.

 

 

There's no question that jewelry stores make recommendations like the ones you mention. But I must say, as the seller, I find it to be self-serving for jewelers make these recommendations.

For example, a lot of jewelry stores will tell people "You don't want a J colored diamond- that's a tinted diamond- stick with a G or better"

To me, that's like a car dealer telling somebody "You don't want a Chevrolet, what you need is a Cadillac"

 

While you may be able to easily see the difference between a J and an H- many people cannot.

We have had many clients that did not mind a little spot in the diamond, they just wanted a big rock. Neither view is "wrong"- it's a matter of personal preference.

 

PS- even if one IS an expert- the GIA report is an essential aspect of buying a fine quality diamond.

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Fresh

 

I buoght a stone recently, SI2, color E. cut grade is excellent. when my fiance wears that ring, it sparkles great and people alwasy look at it and are amazed at the sparkle.

 

i say if you can find a eye clean SI2 with an excellent cut, go for it. you will spend considerably less money then a VS stone (no one will tell the difference when its on the finger)...so in essence you can get a larger stone for the same price.

 

good luck!

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Color doesn't have a play in the sparkle of the diamond. If you want a diamond that really sparkles you need to find a stone with the optimum cut. The problem with just going off the paper with ideal or excellent, is that there is a large range of sparkle within these grades. We test each diamond individually for over 9 years using some of the technology available today. I can tell you that sometimes a stone with an excellent or ideal cut grade can be a dud. I've seen many over the years. To learn more about measuring the sparkle of a diamond you can go to

 

www.gemex.com

www.isee2.com

Edited by jan
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We test each diamond individually for over 9 years

Wow Jan, it takes you 9 years to anylize each diamond? Talk about thorough.

 

GIA's cut grade has been around for about two years. In that time, I have not seen the stone graded "EX" which was a "dud".

 

I'm not a big believer in machines telling me which diamonds are better

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  • 1 month later...
We test each diamond individually for over 9 years

Wow Jan, it takes you 9 years to anylize each diamond? Talk about thorough.

 

GIA's cut grade has been around for about two years. In that time, I have not seen the stone graded "EX" which was a "dud".

 

I'm not a big believer in machines telling me which diamonds are better

 

I wouldn't call them duds, like there's no fisheye or anything. But I've also seen GIA EX cut stones that are nice but not breathtaking. I've also seen very nice GIA VG's that looked better then some GIA EX's.

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The bigger the diamond the more obvious the color grade. As for clarity, there is no huge difference between an SI1 and a VS2. With that said, I would advise you to get a lesser carat between 1.5 - 1.15, Ideal or Excellent cut and get away with an H SI1.

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Outside of its setting and side by side, you can easily see the color difference between an E and a J colored diamond. The difference between, say, a G and an I is not so easy to see. Once the stones are in a setting its even harder to tell the difference. If a layperson just looks at the stone with no master stone to compare it to, you don't notice the hue on a near colorless stone. Color also has no impact on scintillation. Ironically, color is the most heavily marketed diamond attribute and has, by far, the biggest impact on price.

 

When I was diamond shopping I saw a lot of SI1's that weren't eye clean from the bottom of the stone. I only saw one SI1 that wasn't eye clean from the top. That said, its difficult to say how a large inclusion will effect the light performance. I stuck with VS2 and above as the price difference isn't very large between the two.

 

I would definitely spend 90% of your time learning about cut characteristics and looking at different stones to understand the difference. I was able to find an otherwise exemplary princess cut stone in an I clarity for about $4500. The same stone in a D, E, or F would have cost me between $8k and $10k. I'm overjoyed with the value I got.

 

Good luck.

 

If you are looking at Princess Cut diamonds I can tell you what cut parameters/certification I looked for to find the best stone. If you are looking at round brilliants or any other cut I don't have any idea what is best.

 

Also, for your budget I might consider trying to get the best diamond over 1ct I can find. There is definitely some kind of social appeal to having a 100 point rather than a 90 point diamond. You can't really say the same thing about a 110 point vs 100 point stone (and it shows in the relative price changes from one to the next). The only caveat to this is you have to pay close attention to symmetry, proportion, and measurement. A lot of diamond cutters will hide weight in the pavilion or by leaving asymmetries in the diamond. The price difference from .97 to 1.0 is sometimes worth the degradation in quality (for the cutter not for you!).

Edited by mmath
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