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StriderZ

Diamond Inclusions

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Hi all, I am looking for an at least 1 carat round diamond, ideal/excellent cut, exellent polish and symmetry, at least SI2 and at least I color. I went online and view many GIA reports. But I am confused on which inclusions are acceptable because I worry that the inclusions can affect the brilliance/sparkle of the diamond or it may cause haziness which I really avoid. That's the disadvantage of buying online since I cannot compare and look with my own eyes. But I found the price online is much cheaper compared to mall jewelry store. Any advice? Seems to me that cloud inclusion should be avoided but then I am not sure. There is a diamond that I am interested in purchasing GIA 6137080208, but It has cloud and my question is will it make the diamond less sparkle?

 

Also some diamond has excellent cut rating and some are very good. Does that really make a difference while both have excellent polish and symmetry?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Unfortunately there is no way of telling, unless the vendor can take good quality, large size pictures. And even those are not a 100% guarantee, since the visibility of many inclusions changes (usually for the better) when the diamond is set in a ring.

 

Do NOT rely on the report plot; it provides very little information as to visibility, since it records only approximate section and not depth/size of the inclusion, and nothing about its colour. A crystal may be rather difficult to see if it is white (diamond, calcite), but it may jump up if it is dark (diopside, garnet).

 

Clouds are generally rather benign inclusions, but if there are a lot of them they may dull the stone.

 

Polish and symmetry are secondary considerations to the cut grade (and in fact are to some extent included in it; GIA will not award "Excellent" cut to a diamond that has "Good" polish or symmetry). Look at the cut grade first.

 

Can you see the difference between EX and VG cut? To some extent; and to some extent you may even prefer a "Very Good" cut to an "Excellent" one. It depends on your personal preferences and the reason why the diamond is graded VG rather than EX.

 

If I can give you one recommendation: most stones are available to most vendors, and what you are looking for is not uncommon (there are about 1000 I/SI2 around a carat listed for sale here, and if you go higher in colour and clarity there are more than 20000 diamonds). Choose a vendor that you feel you can work with first, make sure he/she is prepared to call stones in, take good quality photos or even video, and work with that one vendor to find the best stone for you.

 

And since I have started with unasked for advice, here is another one: if you are having trouble finding what you want with your budget, consider diamonds that are a little below 1.00 carats. It makes a large difference in price, for no visible difference in size.

 

Finally, a point about GIA reports: if you want people to check up a report, you need to provide the diamond weight, not just the report number. GIA requires both to look up a report.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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Allow me to suggest that you are NOT buying online. What you are doing is choosing which stone(s) you want to look at in person and from that you will decide which to buy. It's not so different from what you're jeweler does. They order in stones for you, you take a look and choose one, and they return the rest. Yes, there's somtimes some shipping involved, and this shipping is part of what you're saving by eliminating the jeweler from the loop, but it's not the whole or even the majority of the issue. What you're REALLY commiting to by choosing a stone online is the shipping to and from your location, which is usually under $100 both ways and a bit of time to do the process. Only after you look at it, show it to YOUR appraiser, show it to your mother or whoever and decide that it's really the one you want are you biting the cost of the stone. And that's definity NOT buying it sight unseen.

 

I agree with Davide, symmetry and polish have next to nothing to do with light performance and the plotting map has absolutely nothing to do with it. Most EX's are top performers, many VG's are as well. Add to that the fact that many people actually prefer things that I and others would not call a top performer. There's very much a component of taste here. Chances are good that you'll be happy with just about any GIA-x or GIA-vg but the minutia of which one is 'best' is a way more complicated question than what appears on the lab docs.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Thanks for the tips. I am really concern about the inclusions in the diamond that will affect the brilliance/sparkle of the diamond. I saw one in the store with excellent polish excellent symmetry (ideal cut) diamond and it looks hazy/milky. that's cuz the store lady said that the clouds are all over the diamond which makes it hazy. Any comments on that?

 

BTW, Has anyone ever purchased from www.brilliance.com? I am considering that vendor vs. www.bluenile.com. Brilliance.com offers lower price, but doesn't seem to be that popular compared to bluenile.com. Or I may consider other vendors.

Edited by StriderZ

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Stores have an annoying habit of showing stones for comparison purposes that have interesting specs but that come up short for a variety of reasons. Be careful. Often its as simple as a matter of cleaning. Was this stone you saw that was hazy being sold, or was it being used as a tool to sell something else?

 

I don't know much about that store, but that doesn't really mean much. It's a big world. I'm in Colorado and they're in Florida. Blue Nile is HUGE, and they have a huge advertising budget to match. The result is that nearly everybody has heard of them out of a pool of thousands of competitors. There's some comfort in that, but it doesn't make them any better. When you evaluate jewelers, both online and on the street, start by reading their terms and conditions. I don't see them prominently listed on the site for brilliance.com but I didn't snoop all that hard either.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Thanks, Neil. The hazy one is for sale. But the lady did not really want to show me that one because of the haziness. She had cleaned it so many times, she said.

 

So now my question is will inclusion make an excellent cut/polish/symmetry diamond less sparkle/brilliance? I am not an expert in diamond, still in learning phase. As long as it is eye clean, sparkle/brililiant, that'll be good enough for me. Also I don't think I like feather as I learn that it is actually crack in the diamond.

 

My preference is simple excellent cut/polish/symmetry, bright/sparkle, not hazy/milky, in terms of the color I can't be that picky (I color) since I am in budget limit.

 

From readying all of your, the expert's, responses, is my understanding right that SI2 with an excellent cut/polish/symmetry diamond will look bright/sparkle and as long as it is eye clean, I wont be able to see the inclusion with naked eye?

 

Please advise. Thanks a lot and for the patience.

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'Hazyness' is NOT a function of cut, polish or symmetry. Usually it's cleaning or damage, occasionally it's about clarity and very occasionally it's about fluorescence. The way to avoid it is to buy from a dealer you trust who can actually see the stone and reports it to be non-hazy and then to look at it yourself and/or show it to your OWN expert for an opinion.

 

ETA: A REALLY bad polish, like 'poor' could manifest as a hazy look. Obviously this doesn't apply to your situation but it might for someone else reading this thread.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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OK. ocassionally hazyness is about clarity. In my case, the IGI (the store that I went to) graded the stone as SI2 because of its haziness. for the GIA report, it should in the comment section, correct?

 

What about if in the GIA report comment section said, "additional clouds are not shown", what is that really mean? comment with NONE is good?

 

So what is the brightness/brilliance/spark has to do with? it is the polish or cut that make a diamond sparkle more?

 

I like to buy a diamond that has a laser inscribed. Doesnot seem that all diamond is laser inscribed. Any advantage and disadvantage of having laser insribed? i like to have the inscription so that I can see whether it is mine or not and whether the GIA report i got is referring to my stone or not. But what if they dont have that, should it make me not to purchase that stone? can I just go to any jewelry store and have them do the inscription for me?

 

 

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Haziness or transparency in general or in particular conditions (e.g. fluorescence) are not commented upon by GIA. Nor (as far as I know) by IGI. IGI graded the diamond SI2 because of the amount of inclusions it contains, not because of their visible effect - if indeed they have any.

 

You CANNOT determine if a diamond will be hazy for ANY reason by looking at its GIA report.

 

"Additional clouds not shown" means exactly that: the diamond has other clouds that are not plotted on the report. In general, these are smaller and less visible than the ones plotted, so you can ignore them.

 

The problem is that they are not plotted to avoid confusion on the plot; would there be confusion because there are so many? Again, you cannot know without visual inspection. You can do this (taking the "choosing online, rejecting when seeing" strategy that Neil suggests), or the vendor can do this (taking the "choose a good vendor" strategy that I suggest). Or you can do both, which in fact is best.

 

As long as polish is graded "Good" or above, it is entirely cut that determines how much the diamond will sparkle.

 

Laser inscription Pros: none. Cons: none. That's my view, at least. To read the inscription you need a 30x loupe, a steady hand and eye, and the setting needs to be done so that the inscription is not hidden under a prong or bezel, limiting its usefulness quite a bit. It can be erased very easily, and reinstated quite easily.

 

The jeweller on the corner is unlikely to have a laser inscription machine, but a large diamond cutter or diamond grading lab will have the tools needed. I certainly would NOT discard a stone because it's not inscribed.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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Thanks for all the valuable knowledge.

 

How much is the average fee to have a jeweler appraise if I were to buy online? Is it ok if the loose diamond has been place in a ring setting then have the jeweler appraise?

 

GIA report with Comments: None should be considered "better" compared to with additional comments?

 

What about twinning wisp inclusion? what is that exactly? What would you choose a "cloud" or "twinning wisp"? or "feather"

 

What about needle?

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1. If I were you, I would NOT use a jeweller to appraise the quality of what you intend to buy. They have a vested interest, and in many cases do not have the skills or training to come up with a sensible appraisal.

 

2. Fees - they vary, but you are looking somewhere between $70 and $150.

 

3. It's better to have the loose stone appraised, since the size, cut, colour and clarity grades can only be determined accurately on a loose stone, but it depends on what you want the appraiser to do. For insurance purposes, inspecting the finished ring may be enough.

 

4. Comments: it depends on what the comment says; in general, it makes no difference.

 

5. Twinning wisp: it's a wisp-like inclusion that is created where two diamond crystals are growing next to each other. In general it's pretty difficult to see, but so can be a cloud. Or a feather. Or a needle. Once again - YOU CANNOT ASSESS THE VISIBILITY OF INCLUSIONS SIMPLY BY LOOKING AT A GIA REPORT. One small, dark crystal right under the table may be much more visible than 5 diffuse clouds and 3 large transparent feathers all located towards the sides.

 

FWIW - a feather is effectively a fracture in the diamond, which often looks like, well, a feather. A needle is an elongated inclusion whose nature at 10x cannot be determined precisely. It looks exactly like a needle.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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Thanks David. I am still deciding whether I need to spend money for having an appraiser appraise the diamond ring that I am going to purchase online. My thinking is that as long as my finished diamong (in ring setting) has a laser insription which match the GIA report, then I'll be all set. That's why I really want to have the laser inscription for and I can just buy a small loupe to ensure the # matches the report. I dont plan to resell this ring or anything like that. I am not an expert in this thing but I want to ensure that the price that I paid is worth the quality. that's all.

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Well, the question is how do you assess if the quality of what you bought is reasonable for the price? Taking my initial example of the 1000 or so diamonds 1.00-1.20 carat I/SI2: they range in price from about $7200 and $3300 (including GIA-graded stones only, so at least we have consistent colour and clarity). How do you know if the stone you paid $5000 for is "worth" 5000, or it should have been priced $3500 (or 6000)?

 

That to me is a more complicated problem than knowing that the stone that was described to you is the one the vendor sent - as long as you pick a vendor with a reasonable reputation (like all those that advertise here), that is pretty much guaranteed.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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I got it. Thanks again!

 

I know that you have emphasized that I can't just look at GIA report. But in general (as high risk/concern), which inclusion would you rank to be avoided first (as 1 to be avoided first, and 5,6...avoided last) among clouds, needle, crystal, twinning wisp, feather, etc...assuming these inclusions (same quantity) are plotted on the table instead of the side/gridle.

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Thanks David. I am still deciding whether I need to spend money for having an appraiser appraise the diamond ring that I am going to purchase online. My thinking is that as long as my finished diamong (in ring setting) has a laser insription which match the GIA report, then I'll be all set. That's why I really want to have the laser inscription for and I can just buy a small loupe to ensure the # matches the report. I dont plan to resell this ring or anything like that. I am not an expert in this thing but I want to ensure that the price that I paid is worth the quality. that's all.

I'm unlikley to be your appraiser anyway so I have no vested interest here but the usual reason for having new items appraised is to inspect for quality issues in both the diamond and the mounting, and to document it in a way that makes it possible to replace it in the case of a loss. Additional questions usually revolve around whether the stone has any undisclosed attributes that are important (like the questions you are asking now) and whether or not the piece was priced appropriately. How does a girdle inscription help?


Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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So again GIA report does not mean anything then? Then what is GIA report for particularly? thanks.

 

Thanks David. I am still deciding whether I need to spend money for having an appraiser appraise the diamond ring that I am going to purchase online. My thinking is that as long as my finished diamong (in ring setting) has a laser insription which match the GIA report, then I'll be all set. That's why I really want to have the laser inscription for and I can just buy a small loupe to ensure the # matches the report. I dont plan to resell this ring or anything like that. I am not an expert in this thing but I want to ensure that the price that I paid is worth the quality. that's all.

I'm unlikley to be your appraiser anyway so I have no vested interest here but the usual reason for having new items appraised is to inspect for quality issues in both the diamond and the mounting, and to document it in a way that makes it possible to replace it in the case of a loss. Additional questions usually revolve around whether the stone has any undisclosed attributes that are important (like the questions you are asking now) and whether or not the piece was priced appropriately. How does a girdle inscription help?

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So again GIA report does not mean anything then? Then what is GIA report for particularly? thanks.

 

The inspection from GIA gives you the weight, clarity, color, cut (on round brilliant cuts), polish, symmetry, treatments, and fluorescence.

 

What it DOESN'T give you is condition, cut (on anything else or on any other scale), details of proportions, origin, details as relates to the symmetry, any discussion of where it falls within the various grades, value, anything at all about the mounting and next to no explanation of anything, even the things that ARE included.

 

The girdle inscriptions provides a useful thing to look at to match the stone to the report. In general, yes it's worth the $16 they cost. I'm definitely not objecting to it, I'm just saying it's not a substitute for, nor does it serve the same purpose as an appraisal.

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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I got it. Thanks again!

 

I know that you have emphasized that I can't just look at GIA report. But in general (as high risk/concern), which inclusion would you rank to be avoided first (as 1 to be avoided first, and 5,6...avoided last) among clouds, needle, crystal, twinning wisp, feather, etc...assuming these inclusions (same quantity) are plotted on the table instead of the side/gridle.

 

It really is an impossible question. It's a bit like answering in general terms "which is worse on a car's body: a ding, a scratch, a chip or orange-peel paint?" It depends on the extent, the place, the orientation of the damage, doesn't it? And some colours are more prone to showing damage than others (e.g. black).

 

In very very general terms, needles and pinpoints are usually invisible with the naked eye.

 

As to the rest: Feathers are of all sizes and colours (or rather, transparent, whitish and blackish), and may be good or bad depending on colour, extent and orientation; some feathers are almost invisible but can be a threat to integrity. Cavities can be OK, unless they are large or breach the surface (in which case they are called knots). Twinning wisps are usually invisible, but if the orientation of the twinning plane is parallel to the table they can be bad news; equally bad news if there is some other mineral or amorphous carbon captured in the twinning, because then the wisp is dark. Crystals can be innocuous or pretty visible depending on their colour and orientation; also, if very large or diffuse they can also be a threat to integrity. Clouds are aggregation of pinpoints(minute crystals or cavities); they can be very diffuse (good) or highly dense (bad), and can be white/transparent good) or dark (bad) - again, no way of telling without seeing.

 

Once again - you CAN NOT make decisions on clarity based on a GIA report. You MUST see the stone, or have an "expert" (dealer, appraiser, your grandmother or her favourite astrologer) see it.

Edited by davidelevi

Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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Thank you all for being patient and tried HARD for answering my "may be insane for you" questions. :D

 

I talked to one of the vendors online and he said that 50% of SI2 is not eye clean. While 90% of SI1 is eye clean. Is that a true statement?

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It depends on your definition of "eye clean", but it's not an unfair statement. I'd rephrase it more qualitatively as "most SI1" and "many SI2"...


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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I am deciding between SI1 and VS2 in a price range of <$7K, over 1 carat, I or better color, triple excellent. Which one do you think is better for a long term investment to keep? Or it is not much different. Thanks.

 

 

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Neither. Go with a mutual fund.

 

OK, witticisms aside, I'd pick the VS2, because it will be easier to resell, but don't ever buy a diamond in the hope that it will work as an investment. The exceptions may be rare stones over 5 or perhaps 10 carats, and high-spec fancy colours, particularly in rare colours, but "normal" diamonds aren't likely to ever show a return.


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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No. There isn't even a commonly agreed definition of H&A.

 

And no - it may cost more, but it's only "worth" what you decide is worth. And some people are not prepared to pay extra while others will insist that unless the heart is pulsing and the arrows moving it ain't worth the name H&A (j/k).


Davide - Specialised Consumer Information and Assistance,
Diamonds by Lauren (http://www.diamondsbylauren.com)
davide@diamondsbylauren.com

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H&A is a particular pattern in the symmetry. It is not necessary to have XXX in order to show it and it's not necessary to have excellent cut or polish to show the pattern. I don't recall seeing a claimed H&A that didn't at least have excellent symmetry.

 

Usually it costs more and it's extra work for the cutters to do it. That's not quite te same thing as saying it's worth more. As Davide points out, it may or may not be worth it to you. For some people it is, for others it's not. I sort of like it. 'Value' is a curiously complicated question that includes a significant number of non-gemological properties and I would not blanketly say that H&A stones are worth more than stones without it.


Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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