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Greg Y

Do You Prioritize Cut, Clarity Or Color?

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I know this is highly subjective, but for a given carat size (say 3 carat), which of the remaining three C's do you prioritize highest, looking at it from appearance point of view? And would it make a difference if it was, say, 1 carat? Assume we're looking at a center, round stone for a wedding/engagement right.

 

The way I look at it, unless you're comparing it side by side, it wouldn't matter if color was D or I, I assume highly trained individuals, or those in the business might be able to tell with the naked eye.

 

Clarity matters if you're looking at the stone really really closely, from a distance, you wouldn't know if it was VVS1 or SI. At the same time, the more inclusions, the more it affects the light that passes through, and could affect brilliancy.

 

Cut, IMO, looks to be most important as a poorly cut diamond would cause less brilliance since light could escape through bottom.

 

So to me, it would be Cut, then clarity, then color.

 

Does that sound about right, or am I kidding myself based on my personal opinion, and it raelly depends on a combination of all three?

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For example, would you prefer:

 

H/SI1/Ideal

 

or

 

 

H/VS2/Very Good

 

 

or

 

I/VS2/Ideal

 

 

Assume price for above three are very close to each other.

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Greg, it is highly subjective in more ways than you have highlighted. Colour sensitivity and visual acuity vary a fair bit from person to person, and so does taste. My read on the 4 (or 6) C's:

 

1. Cut. It is what makes the stone look something more than a piece of glass (remarkable how a rough diamond looks like one, BTW) and to me it is by far the most important of the 4 C's. However, bear in mind that an AGS or GIA cut grade is not some sort of absolute indication of beauty to all eyes.

 

For example, I prefer some GIA-Very Good to some GIA-Excellent (and even some AGS-Ideal). Does that make me wrong? No, it makes me lucky, because they are cheaper. ;)

 

2. Clarity. Oddly put in at number 2, because to some extent it is - in my mind - the least important. However, it comes in at number 2 in the sense that a big black booger in the middle of the stone, reflected multiple times in the pavilion, really ruins the show. Once the stone is eye-clean and its integrity not physically threatened by the inclusions (and there are plenty of I1s that fulfil both conditions), I could not care less if it is called I1, VVS2 or IF.

 

From that point of view, I would look at clarity as a rarity factor, rather than an aesthetic one, particularly considering that diamonds are the only stones for which clarity is graded at 10x magnification - all the others are graded without magnification. This tells me something about marketing...

 

3. Colour. I think this is purely a matter of personal preference. I have - unfortunately for me - expensive tastes, and I can tell an E from an F in the right conditions. I cannot however tell a D from an E most times, and I don't willingly spend the extra money. Many people like best the softer white of H-I, and there are quite a few that like the faint yellow of M, N and O-P. My predilection for expensive things is reconfirmed because I love Fancy Vivid and the brighter Fancy Deep tones, but there is nothing wrong with W-X or Y-Z (or Fancy Light), which many prefer to the more saturated hues, finding them too garish.

 

In other words, let no-one tell you that a "D" is a better diamond than an "H". Whiter, yes. Better, no.

 

4. Carat. and 5. Cost. The inseparable twins who hate each other. My view could be summarised as "get the best cut, eye-clean diamonds in the colour you prefer, and buy the largest one you can afford".

 

Three point to remember in terms of size:

a. visual size depends on the area of the diamond in the direction of viewing (normally top-down), while weight depends on the volume, so a 10% heavier diamond does not look 10% larger;

b. price/carat increases significantly around certain thresholds (0.30, 0.50, 0.70, 0.90, 1.00, 1.50, 2.00, 2.50, ..., 4.00, 5.00, ...), so you can save money without sacrificing visual size by staying below the threshold;

c. the ability of the human eye to discriminate closely sized objects is limited. Hundredths of millimetre are not visible to the naked eye, and we are a lot better at comparing two objects next to each other (about 0.1 mm) than if they are far apart (0.2 - 0.3 mm), so don't agonise over tiny differences. Also, remember that the setting can do a lot to make the diamond seem larger (or smaller!).

 

There is a 6th C - what I would call Crystal, after Richard Wise, or perhaps transparency or limpidity. It is not the same thing as clarity, but it is related to it. There are SI or VS stones that have exceptional Crystal, and there are VVS or IF stones that don't. These photos capture the concept better than a million words:

 

Stone with exceptional Crystal (1.07 Fancy Brown-Yellow, VS2):

 

r2980g.jpg

stone with unexceptional Crystal, but fantastically well cut, and most likely a VVS (it does not have a GIA report, and it's a 0.24 ct side stone):

 

r2980g.jpg

to me it is the most important thing in determining a stone's beauty, together with cut.

 

Hope this helps!


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

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1. Cut

 

2. Color

 

3. Clarity down to VS-2. SI-1/SI-2's in the 3-ct sizes need to be evaluated as center inclusions might be visible depending on their size and coloration.


Barry
www.exceldiamonds.com
@Exceldiamonds on Twitter

Excel Diamonds on Facebook

sales@exceldiamonds.com
1-866-829-8600
1-212-921-0635

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So this sparks a question in my mind. These qualities area great basis for a solitaire stone but when surrounded by others in a halo setting, is the importance of these characteristics skewed?

 

For example, if I order a D color, flawless clarity, ideal cut 1 carat diamond and surround it by less perfect diamonds, which becomes more dominant? I guess this situation seems a bit extreme but should all diamonds on the ring be similar to the center stone? I ask because on a few of the websites on which I've been browsing, I pick the center stone but if there are any diamonds on the setting, they seem to be pre-selected.

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You can go with G colored melee stones in the halo; they will blend seamlessly with the D color center stone. There is not a visual improvement by going up to D-E color melle side stones.


Barry
www.exceldiamonds.com
@Exceldiamonds on Twitter

Excel Diamonds on Facebook

sales@exceldiamonds.com
1-866-829-8600
1-212-921-0635

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Also - bear in mind that melee is small. Colour and clarity become difficult to see in set diamonds of 2 mm diameter and smaller

 

Different issue if you consider larger side stones. Then a rough rule of thumb is +/- 1 grade in colour from the centre, unless you want to create a contrast.


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

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