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Advice On 0.82Ct Round Brilliant Cut H Vs2 Gia Excellent Cut Diamond


AverageJoe
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Hi,

 

I bought my wife our engagement ring from a local trusted family jeweller. My wife and I looked at various diamonds and she picked the one that she liked. All the diamonds were GIA certified and it had it was 0.82ct H VS2 Excellent Cut diamond https://myapps.gia.edu/ReportCheckPortal/getReportData.do?&reportno=16104859&weight=0.82

 

Once it was set I had it appraised by a separate independent appraiser on Bond St. (traditional area for high-end jewellers in London). He said it was a good diamond and said it would cost about £1000 more at retail. Recently a friend has bought a diamond over the net and he showed me this HCA Holloway Cut Adviser tool. It gave a rating of 5.7 fair for everything light return, fire, scintillation and very good for spread for my wife's diamond. That seems very far from the GIA rating excellent. To our eyes the diamond looks good and my wife has received compliments on it. What's the deal with this HCA? Is the diamond 'good' or did we get conned?

 

 

Thanks

Haider

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I doubt you have been conned - you have an appraiser telling you that the diamond is worth what you paid; presumably you chose him/her because of his/her qualifications, and he/she has seen the diamond.

 

The HCA is not a particularly good tool for your situation, for at least three reasons:

 

1. It reflects the personal preferences of Garry Holloway, and these are for diamonds with a shallower pavilion angle than your diamond has (41.6°). You may well like steeper diamonds better than those 40.6-41.0° that Garry favours.

 

2. The HCA does not take into account a lot of things - for example it "knows" nothing about the symmetry or otherwise of the diamond, nor does it have any information about the so-called "minor facets" that represent over 60% of the diamond's surface (and thus reflected light). The GIA report has a cut grade of excellent that takes into account these factors and others, and although far from perfect is a much better assessment of the cut of the diamond than tha HCA.

 

3. The HCA was developed over 10 years ago to help consumers come down with a shortlist, never to help them assess whether diamond X is better or worse than diamond Y once you have X and/or Y in your hand. Visual observation (and personal preferences) always trump any model/software/grade assigned by a third party.

 

So far, so reassuring. Now the "bad" news. Looking at comparable diamonds to yours (0.80-0.85 H/VS2 GIA EX) advertised on the Diamond Finder on this site, prices vary from about $3750 to about $5000 - a variation of about 30% (even adding VAT @20% on these, it may still be cheaper than what you paid - but this is a different story). Why? Well, the details of cut account for a lot of this difference, and the most expensive diamonds are those that are commercially most in demand - the majority of which would score very well on the HCA. Yours would probably be in the bottom 25% of the pile, but remember that the pile is already super-selected. In practice, it means you got the diamond you prefer at a discount - because you prefer a look that isn't extremely popular at the moment.

Edited by davidelevi
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Hi Davide,

 

When I put up the post I was a bit spooked that we made a mistake. To put you in the picture we purchased the ring in May 2008. The diamond was £2900 the platinum setting was I believe £600 vat included. As we understood diamonds are like champagne houses and their respective house style. I'd rather have a glass of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame than Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon, that doesn't mean Dom Perignon is inferior just not to my taste.

 

You have put our mind at ease. I did speak to our jeweller and he said he only uses GIA excellent cut diamonds in engagement rings so that customers feel assured that the diamond is a top quality cut.

 

Thanks

Haider

Edited by AverageJoe
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Hi Davide,

 

You're welcome to use the comparison. A question came to my mind. How excellent is the GIA Excellent cut? Is it like Veuve Clicquot vintage or is it La Grande Dame or like a very special collectable year when all components came together to produce a very special champagne like Krug 1996?

 

I'm also attaching a photo of the diamond

6805994654_3e4b637af9_b.jpg

 

It was shot in the conservatory in on a grey dull overcast (soft diffuse light) day, I couldn't find a grey cardbox to push it in so brown has to do...

 

The setting

6805995040_96e735b4bf_b.jpg

 

 

I got the price slighly confused it was £2000 for the diamond and £700 for the setting.

 

Thanks

Haider

Edited by AverageJoe
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This is actually a deceptively complicated question, and it got me writing quite a lot. Feel free to skip!

 

The answer depends on what you consider as your reference "diamond universe". GIA "excellent" is quite common within the range of round stones currently presented to GIA for grading. I don't have precise statistics, but from what I see it's a little less than half. Of the other 55-60%, a vast majority (40-45%) are "very good", with "good", "fair" and "poor" making up about 10-15%.

 

Back to wines, and taking this as the reference, you could argue that it's like saying "sparkling". Which is apposite, if not particularly flattering.

 

However this is not the complete story. GIA introduced its cut grade in 2006; if you go back to then and look at estimated grades for stones submitted in 2005 or early in 2006, before the cutters had access to the "excellent" guidelines, "excellent" was far less frequent. In fact, the guidelines themselves may have caused the disappearance of some specific cutting styles because - although visually very appealing - they were considered to fall outside the guidelines because of excessive painting or digging (ways of cutting the "minor facets" and shaping the girdle)

 

So, from that point of view, the prevalence of high cut grades in GIA-graded stones is because stones that are likely to do well under the system are submitted to GIA; other stones find other ways to grading (and to market). Perhaps the oenological equivalent of using Grand Cru grapes for premium labels?

 

Another issue is that the GIA cut grading system is more inclusive towards different looks than the AGS one. This does lead to accusations of GIA not being selective enough, whereas only the "best" (whatever that means) get an AGS "ideal". It is true that whereas AGS ideals look very similar to each other, you can find stones with very different looks among GIA excellent, and they will appeal to different tastes - which is good on one hand, but on the other leaves the consumer wondering "what look am I going to get with this particular stone?".

 

The equivalent of any "Champagne AOC" in between other Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier/Chardonnay sparkling wines?

 

Final consideration is that of all the diamonds mined, only about 1% is gem quality. Of that 1%, more than half ends up in round cuts, and far less ends up in diamonds that are lab-graded (because large enough and of enough quality to justify the lab fees) - probably no more than 30% of the round cuts. So far, we are down to about 0.15% of all diamonds. GIA has a market share of about 70% among graded stones, so that brings it down to 0.1%. Get half of that graded as "excellent", and it's 0.05%. Recognise that GIA has only been awarding cut grades in the last few years, and it's a fraction even of that.

 

Bottle numbers 121-132 of 1995 Krug Clos d'Ambonnay?

 

Take your pick.

 

OT: if you love Champagne, have you ever tried Alfred Gratien?

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The photo is pretty good, actually. Diamonds are nasty little b****s to take pictures of. The issue is that one image cannot tell a lot, and having read the report I tend to find confirmation of it in what I see - but I cannot be sure how much of what I "see" is confirmation bias and how much is objectively there in the photo. What do I see? It's not the brightest stone, it has a good crown height and it is slightly asymmetrical in the way it has been cut (little to do with the "symmetry" grade, but more a comment on the regularity of the faceting). All of which give it a slightly "olde worlde" look, which I like. It probably looks best in candle/dim light, where it turns out quite a lot of fire.

 

I like the metalwork on the ring - it's neatly soldered and the low support means you get more light into the diamond without compromising security too much, though it does end up with the diamond pretty high in the air and prone to snagging into things. Setting is so-so: one of the prongs is twisted (have it checked, particularly if the stone rattles or moves). Finally, either your SO is quite hard on her jewellery, or the ring could have been better polished, considering it's only 4 years old.

 

If you don't agree with any of the above, you are right: you have the ring in hand, see it live and chose it with love. I have two pictures and a GIA report to go by.

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