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Which Diamond Would You Choose That Has Better Table, Depth, Symmetry?


Alex Lee
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I am in the middle of choosing two different diamonds?

 

One of them is:

 
Type Virtual Inventory  Product ID: 1083622DI  
Shape: Round  Report: GIA  Carat: 1.220 Color: G  Clarity: VS1
 Measurements: 7.00 x 6.96 x 4.13  Lab Cut Grade: Excellent  Polish: Excellent  
Symmetry: Excellent    Table %: 59.0  Depth %: 59.2  Crown %: 13.0
 Crown Angle: 32.5  Pav Angle: 40.8  Pavillion %: 43.0  Fluorescence: Faint  
Girdle: -

 

 

And the other one is:

 

 
Type Virtual Inventory Product ID: 53702604 Shape: Round
Report: GIA Carat: 1.310 Color: G Clarity: VS1
Measurements: 7.00 x 7.05 x 4.34 Lab Cut Grade: Excellent
Polish: Very Good Symmetry: Very Good   Table %: 57.0 Depth %: 61.8
Crown %: 15.0 Pavillion %: 43.5 Culet: None Fluorescence: Faint
Girdle Min-Max %: - Girdle: Medium-Slightly Thick

 

Which one would you go for? 

They are about $800 difference.

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First, the #1 stone may not be available any more.  B2C Jewels has a listing, but the link says "sold".  The number you furnished above is the Brian Gavin listing.

 

The second stone is offered by Brian Gavin, B2C Jewels, and Union Diamond.

 

The first stone has a better cut grade.  The first one has an unremarked girdle, meaning there's no extra weight hidden there.

 

Before I found these on the Diamond Finder, I would have guessed the second stone was more expensive simply because of the weight. This turned out to be true.

 

Stone #1, if still available, represents a better value.  Personally I'm not as bothered by a shallow, spready cut as are some of the professionals here.  This stone fits easily within most metrics for excellent light return.

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Wow thank you so much for the informative post!! Love this forum already!

Getting that right diamond to make sure it sparkles is tough.

 

I started reading an online blog that kind of went over what table% and depth % i should be going with.

 

Thoughts on this one?

 

Stock number: LD04491789 Price: $9,829 Bank wire price: $9,682 Price per carat: $8,123 Carat weight: 1.21 Cut: Ideal Color: G Clarity: VVS2
Depth %: 61.3% Table %: 56% Polish: Excellent Symmetry: Excellent Girdle: Medium Culet: None Fluorescence: Medium Measurements: 6.88 x 6.93 x 4.23 mm
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The first stone has a better cut grade.  The first one has an unremarked girdle, meaning there's no extra weight hidden there.

Um. No. And No.

 

I heartily disagree.

 

1) Both stones have the same cut grade: "GIA Excellent". The first one has better finish (polish and symmetry) grades, but they are not "cut grades" - and they may or may not matter, though it's very unlikely they do in any visible sense without a loupe.

 

2) GIA would measure and grade the girdle regardless. The fact that the vendor has not uploaded the information means you don't know what it is, not that it's fine. Again - unlikely to be a source of trouble, but it's not quite the same thing.

 

Stone #1, if still available, represents a better value.  Personally I'm not as bothered by a shallow, spready cut as are some of the professionals here.  This stone fits easily within most metrics for excellent light return.

I disagree here too. The fact that you prefer a shallower, spready stone does not make it better value to Alex. For example, I may prefer (on paper) the second one, even if it's more expensive, IF it had a good pavilion angle. I don't know if it does.

 

Which way do Alex's preferences lie? We don't know, and possibly neither does Alex, unless (s)he has gone out and looked at diamonds specifically with the intent of understanding whether (s)he prefers smaller or broader tables, shallower or more pronounced crowns (and steeper or shallower pavilions).

 

Then again, none of us has seen the two stones in question, and they may look quite different in reality from what their respective "on paper" descriptions say - see Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII and Hans Holbein for an amusing story in that regard.

 

Alex - don't worry about the bickering: both are fine stones.

 

I started reading an online blog that kind of went over what table% and depth % i should be going with.

 

Thoughts on this one?

 

Stock number: LD04491789 Price: $9,829 Bank Wire Price $9,682 Price per Carat: $8,123 Carat Weight: 1.21 Cut: Ideal Color: G Clarity: VVS2 Depth: 61.3% Table: 56% Polish: Excellent Symmetry: Excellent GIrdle: Medium Culet: None Fluorescence: Medium Measurements: 6.88 x 6.93 x 4.23 mm

I don't know what the online blog is - but it is seriously out of date. Table and depth % are on reports because they are relatively easy to measure for a variety of shapes, and thus to use for identification of the diamond, not because they provide particularly insightful information about the cut of the diamond. Using a lab-assigned cut grade (from a respected lab) is far better guidance at this point in the proceedings.

 

There are three (and a half) pieces of information that are missing from this last one to even begin comparing it to the first two:

 

1. Which lab has graded the stone?

1.5 Who has attributed the cut grade of "Ideal" to it? If AGS, it is one thing; if EGL or Blue Nile quite another.

2. Pavilion angle

3. Crown angle

 

ETA: Finally, one note about "symmetry": it does not mean exactly what it says on the tin. It is a rather arcane definition of symmetry, more concerned with how the facets join than whether the result is visibly symmetrical to a human being. A high symmetry grade is necessary but not sufficient to have visual symmetry.

Edited by davidelevi
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Davide>> I disagree here too. The fact that you prefer a shallower, spready stone does not make it better value to Alex. For example, I prefer (on paper) the second one, even if it's more expensive, because I think it's a more balanced diamond, and it will look better.

 

This second stone also received Union Diamond's "Select Ideal" endorsement, which you can "only find on their website".  ;)  (Apparently it's a random honor.)

 

I didn't actively dislike stone #2, but we were asked "Which one would you go for?", so I expressed a preference.  Here it's a judgement call -- aside from the cut grade discrepancy I erred on, there were downgrades for polish and symmetry, as you noted. I wish I could access the GIA report to show girdle data for stone #1, but it's no longer available. (Thought I saw it earlier in the evening from BG.)

 

Stone 2 is 7.37% heavier, but on one of the two top-down axis, it's only 9 hundredths (or 1.3%!) of a millimeter larger.  Substantially all the increased weight is depth.  Does this result in increased fire and brilliance?  Even if the answer is yes, somebody at a pay grade much higher than mine is going to have to say whether this is worth an extra $800.  You can have two excellent-cut GIA stones that still look radically different, but I don't think that would be the case in this comparison.

 

 

Stone #3 ... if it's AGS ideal, buy it at that price, of course.  The stone would be normally 40% higher even without knowing the specific angles.

 

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Actually, the weight goes in all 3 dimension: the cube root of 1.07 is about 1.02... so a 2% increase in diameter is what you'd expect if both stones had exactly the same proportions. They don't, because a fair amount of weight has gone in the crown... as well as possibly the girdle and the pavilion. "Substantially all the increased weight is depth" is correct, but inconclusive. There is good depth and useless (or even detrimental) depth, as far as optics are concerned.

 

Re: stone 3: from the way the data was listed, I suspect it's a Blue Nile listing, which means "Ideal" could correspond to GIA Excellent or (far less likely) AGS Ideal.

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WOW! Thank you both for responding.

 

I had no idea it would get this technical. When I was first shopping for a diamond, i thought it was only about the 4C's. Here is mine ideal 4C:

 

1. 1.2c and above

2. G color and above

3. VS1 and above

4. Excellent and above cut

5. GIA 

 

Anyways,

I started reading this blog (http://www.prosumerdiamonds.com/how-to-pick-diamond/)

It told me to look into this measurements:

Table: 53-57%
Total Depth: 59.5 – 61.5% (Max 62.5% for a 4% girdle)
Crown Angle (CA): 34 – 35 degrees
Pavilion Angle:
- For CA = 34, pavilion angle = 41 degrees
- For CA = 34.5, pavilion angle = 40.6 – 40.8 degrees
- For CA = 35, pavilion angle = 40.6 degrees
Lower Girdle: 75-80%
Star Length: 50-55%
Girdle: thin to medium preferred

 

Anyways, 

 

The third diamond I listed here was GIA certified from bluenile. It fell within the table and depth guidelines of what I saw above. I read tons of articles regarding both GIA and AGS and it sounds like both are highly regarded. But my friend told me to just get any GIA diamond because it will sparkle no matter what. I dont know if I believe her. Which is why I found it more useful to ask strangers on the internet for advice which I found to be a lot more helpful and accurate. Way too much misleading information out there. 

 

How often do these websites update their inventory listings?  

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I got an Email regarding Item 3:

 

I'm afraid this diamond too steep a crown angle and way too steep of a pavilion angle. With such a steep pavilion, there is going to be a lot of leakage under the table and with such a shallow crown, there is a danger that the diamond can chip easily. On top of that, because the star length is also short, the upper girdles are likely overly shallow and that would lead to very little contrast at the edges of the diamond. The diamond is also small for its carat weight.

 

In regards to:

Stock number: LD04491789 Price: $9,829 Bank wire price: $9,682 Price per carat: $8,123 Carat weight: 1.21 Cut: Ideal Color: G Clarity: VVS2
Depth %: 61.3% Table %: 56% Polish: Excellent Symmetry: Excellent Girdle: Medium Culet: None Fluorescence: Medium Measurements: 6.88 x 6.93 x 4.23 mm

 

 

What are your thoughts?

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Alex Lee >> The third diamond I listed here was GIA certified from bluenile. It fell within the table and depth guidelines of what I saw above. I read tons of articles regarding both GIA and AGS and it sounds like both are highly regarded. But my friend told me to just get any GIA diamond because it will sparkle no matter what. I dont know if I believe her. Which is why I found it more useful to ask strangers on the internet for advice which I found to be a lot more helpful and accurate. Way too much misleading information out there.

 

Hi Alex,

 

I want to respond to this non-technical part of your questions (and hope the pros deal with the percents), because I think we're still in overview mode here.

 

Blue Nile is a very large, profitable, online retailer.  This is a mixed blessing.  All their stones are "fully priced", meaning you won't find deals.  OTOH, you can be pretty sure their pricing is almost the definition of online industry standard.  They have exclusive arrangements with their suppliers, meaning you won't see their stones offered by other retailers.

 

Of the 4 diamonds I bought online this year for earrings, two were from BN.  I did not wind up getting any from the three online premiere / premium vendors, the ones who specialize in superior cut stones.  (Those would be Whiteflash, Brian Gavin, and James Allen.)  The reason I went with a more standard cut is that these stones were intended for earrings, where requirements for maximum fire and brilliance are not as stringent as for a ring.

 

There are two issues with BN stones.  One, the website doesn't give much information to make your decision on. Two, they occasionally, arbitrarily fluff their descriptions, using terms like "ideal", when that is a specific technical description used by AGS grading (and thus should be reserved for their use -- otherwise it's misleading to consumers.)

 

On the positive side, although you're not getting any deals, you are getting essentially accurate descriptions (except for the superfluous adjectives) and you're looking at unique inventory that's not similarly listed by other vendors.

 

One of the better ways to understand the pricing of diamonds within a specific class is to look at the James Allen photo/video animations of actual stones.  It should be obvious why one G / VS1 sells for $8K and another is listed at $14K. 

 

Then you have to decide how much pain to inflict on your wallet. :)  Seriously, it comes down to your personal choice, and you might deliberately want a lower / standard stone for specific purposes -- not always related to budget -- and/or sometimes, you only want the best.

 

If you want to choose among the best, then on the Diamond Finder program on this website, select one or more tabs from the "Exclusive Collections" listings.  These are mostly AGS ideal stones, and the pricing will reflect that.  Even if your budget is less, it's worthwhile to study these to understand why they command premium-tier pricing.

 

Alex Lee >> How often do these websites update their inventory listings?  

 

There's always a lag ... they try to keep up in real time, but practically it's hit-or-miss with a stone being pulled for a sale from virtual inventory by up to a dozen different vendors.  No one's deliberately listing stones that are already sold, with the possible exception of "USA CERTED", but once a stone is sent to a customer, it may still re-appear online in several weeks (if that stone is rejected and returned to inventory).  Since there's always an influx of fresh stones, if one you like has been removed from inventory marked SOLD, you'd better give up hopes for that one.

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The third diamond I listed here was GIA certified from bluenile. It fell within the table and depth guidelines of what I saw above.

As mentioned above - and as you can see in the blog post you referred to - table and depth are NOT critical. Angles are.

 

But my friend told me to just get any GIA diamond because it will sparkle no matter what. I dont know if I believe her.

I know I don't (believe her). Most cut diamonds will sparkle - then again, well cut lead crystal sparkles too, and so do a lot of other things. Being graded by one lab or another, or none at all, doesn't matter. The reason the lab grades matter is because they have to do with price; they can also provide guidance as to how well a stone is cut, but once you get beyond the cut grade (particularly with GIA, who in my opinion does not differentiate sufficiently with its 5 cut grades), personal preferences play a very significant role.

 

I got an Email regarding Item 3:

 

I'm afraid this diamond too steep a crown angle and way too steep of a pavilion angle. With such a steep pavilion, there is going to be a lot of leakage under the table and with such a shallow crown, there is a danger that the diamond can chip easily. On top of that, because the star length is also short, the upper girdles are likely overly shallow and that would lead to very little contrast at the edges of the diamond. The diamond is also small for its carat weight.

 

What are your thoughts?

If the email comes from the vendor... not much to add. Presumably someone (they or their supplier) has seen the stone and doesn't like it - whether they rationalise their not liking in the way they have done or in another way, the fact remains that someone who has seen the stone does not like it.

 

If the email comes from someone else, that someone else has access to more information than you have provided - such as pavilion and crown angles, as well as star length. Whether you then count their opinion as reliable depends on who they are and what they know.

 

One point on which I flatly disagree with the statements above is that a shallow crown (how shallow?) means that the diamond can chip easily. I would also take exception to the claim that the diamond "is small for its weight"; at 6.91 average diameter for a 1.20-1.22 carat, it's actually larger than average. On the rest... maybe, given more data.

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