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Ask Us Anything - Owners Of Enchanted Diamonds


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Hi, I'm Jonathan Las, one of the owners of Enchanted Diamonds. My business partner, Joshua Niamehr, and I, would like to make ourselves available to the members of Diamond Review to answer any and all questions you may have.

 

Ask us anything you want to know about diamonds, comparing diamonds, where to buy from, certificates, what to look for, how to find the best cut stone, how to find value sweet spots, about our business. Whatever you want! 

 

We will give our 100% unbiased opinion. We aim to offer assistance to ensure the Diamond Review Community avoids many of the missteps and misguidance we've seen in our experience in this industry. 

 

Ask us anything!

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100% unbiased?  Jon, you're a diamond dealer.  That's ok, there are several of those around here, but how is that not a bias?

 

That said, welcome to the forum.  Additional expert advice is always welcome (even if it IS biased).

Edited by denverappraiser
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Thanks Neil, you bring up a good point. Of course I have a bias towards my company because I truly believe we are better than our competition, offer customers a better value proposition, and will go through more hoops and turn over more rocks than any company or brand out there. But Neil, that's not the point of this post and discussion.

 

I'll clarify that we're offering our unbiased opinion regarding diamonds from any source a member presents it from. No sales pitches, no gimmicks. We will solely talk about the characteristics of each diamond.

 

Of course as Neil notes, members of the trade certainly have their own preferences toward specific proportions, angles, and criteria that they feel make a diamond present the best and display the best light performance. I'm happy to point out that all members should ALWAYS prioritize their own unique preferences over that of any "expert". Outside opinions from members of the trade should be treated as recommendations, NOT law. When looking at comparable stones, there are no strict rules set in stone (pun intended) that make one diamond better than another, that's subjective. In my experience, it's better to use outside guidance to help eliminate choices and narrow down your search. At the end of the day, all that matters is that YOU find the diamond gorgeous.

 

Neil, I'll also point out that we hold zero physical inventory at Enchanted Diamonds and never intend to. This ensures we never have any conflicts of interest in recommending one stone over another to our customers. We are completely price agnostic and will always recommend a lower priced comparable stone when possible.

 

I hope this helps Neil. Happy to answer any other questions or specific points you may have had.

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Again, your input is absolutely welcome.  This is a slightly touchy topic for me because, as you point out, much disinformation is out there in this industry and claims of ‘independence’ are right up there with claims of ‘wholesale to the public’ as red flags.

That said, I do have a question.  All, or at least many, of the stones you have listed here have a ‘cut score’ attached to them.  What is that?

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Thanks Neil and great question. In short, our Cut Score measures the light performance and cut quality of any GIA certified diamond. Allowing customers to evaluate diamonds on an apples to apples basis. The higher the score, the more sparkly, and better cut a diamond is.
 
For those that want the long-winded response:
 
Our "Cut Score" is the result of a 2.5 year labor of love. Our diamond experts and technology team analyzed millions of diamonds to determine what angles, proportions, measurements, and characteristics produce the best cut diamonds and yield the best light performance and sparkle. (We've debated changing its name to the "Sparkle Score".
 
We scrutinized the various light performance, cut grade tests and calculators available. The HCA, AGA, IealScope, ASET, Sarine, and countless expert opinions on ideal proportions and what makes an ideal diamond.
 
We picked and chose the best practices from these various evaluation tools and added our own, stricter guidelines and requirements from our many years of experience inspecting and evaluating diamonds. 
 
Our technology team was able to take this data and create the advanced algorithm you see on our site. Grading a diamonds light performance on a 0 - 100 scale, with 100 being a perfectly cut diamond. We are constantly fine tuning the algorithm to factor in as many data points as possible. 
 
We only give a Cut Score to GIA certified diamonds, as we view GIA as the most consistent and reliable certificate, ensuring the accuracy of the Cut Score. 
 
I welcome you to test out our Cut Score by using our calculator tool here - https://enchanteddiamonds.com/cut_score_calculator. Simply type in the GIA Certificate Number(s) of any diamond and get a Cut Score instantly. Regardless of whether the diamond(s) are in our inventory. 

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I'm all about long winded answers to questions like this and I'm pretty good at this sort of analysis (as are some others here).  I would love to understand the algorithm.  Please use as much space as necessary.  Please understand that I'm especially suspicious of opaque systems where we don't know the formula, what is measured, how it's being measured or what the resultant scale means (like the brilliancescope for example).  

 

I looked at a few more-or-less random stones.

 

Here's one that you gave 38.2 and GIA gave 'very good'.  Assuming you're scale is anything like linear, that means you think it's towards the bottom and GIA puts it in the top third or so.  That's quite a difference.   Can I assume you're using GIA provided data (and only GIA provided data)?  That is to say, no one actually looks at the stones to assign this grade?

 

https://enchanteddiamonds.com/diamonds/view/R100-1EUXYU?cid=diamondreview

Edited by denverappraiser
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Neil and David, we're not ready to share the exact math and variables that go into calculating our cut score. This is a "secret sauce" for us and we view at as a significant competitive advantage. Once we feel the algorithm has been perfected (ie. better accounts for clouds and imperfections), and there is no fear of of relinquishing our competitive advantage, we fully plan to publish and make public our cut score.

 

The best answer for now is that we are a MUCH stricter version of the AGA cut class grader. While Neil, you are correct that we calculate primarily based on the GIA provided data, we also rely on our suppliers to provide us with richer and more complete information (ie. crown height, etc.). 

 

And yes Neil, there sometimes are glaring discrepancies between our Cut Score and the GIA cut grade. Neil, as I'm sure you'd agree, we believe that while the GIA cut grade is a good guideline to use, it doesn't take into account enough factors to truly determine light performance and sparkle. Our definition of a "good make" as we like to call it, is a diamond that is full of life, fire, and sparkle. In other words, what we all think of when we see a diamond that as my mom says so eloquently "WOW! LOOK AT THAT ROCK!!".

 

Neil, here is our scoring system with the appropriate categories we assign to each. Important to note that we created the cut score to help customers identify the best makes and differentiate between Excellent and what we refer to as Super Ideal.

 

Hope this helps. All follow ups are welcome. 

 

 

CUT SCORE CATEGORY Above 95 Super Ideal Above 90 Ideal Above 85 Excellent Above 80 Very Good Above 70 Good Above 60* Poor Below 60* Bad

*Never Recommended

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I’m not all that fond of the GIA grading scale and I suspect you're not either but they are what people are most familiar with, at least when we're talking about modern round brilliants. 

 

I certainly understand the desire to have and maintain a competitive advantage but I assume you also understand that an opaque system is of little use to shoppers trying to interpret which stone is better than which beyond asking for an act of faith in the grader, in this case you.  Only you can make the balance between these two so just let us know what you're willing to include and what you're not.

 

If you’ve got extra data about stones you’re selling that’s not present on the GIA document, why don’t you include it?  Surely that’s not proprietary.  Is it?

 

In your grading system, clouds affect the CUT score?  Can you explain that please?  Wouldn't that normally be a clarity characteristic?

Edited by denverappraiser
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Neil, I understand your reservations. I'm happy to continue the conversation and hopefully add some clarity to this dialogue.

 

First, I agree completely with your stance on the GIA. The point that I must contend, or highlight rather, is the "act of faith". For better or worse, many of the standards for evaluation in this industry require an "act of faith" as you call it. We blindly trust 5 gemologists at GIA to grade a stone accurately each time we send one over. While Gary Holloway let's you see the inputs for his HCA, and if you choose to read the entire patent filing you can learn a bit more detail, the actual "magic" that results in one diamond being a 1, and another being a 3.5, isn't clear cut. 

 

We wholeheartedly agree with you that this industry has and will always be in need of  more transparency and higher ethical standards. We ALWAYS present our customers with the most and richest data available to us. We always provide our customers with any and all data  we have access to that might not be presented on a GIA certificate. 

 

To clarify on your point about clouds. Yes, that is absolutely a clarity characteristic. However, in our years of experience, and as I'm sure you've witnessed Neil, clouds and other characteristics can and will affect the light performance of a diamond. While we weight the actual cut characteristics much more heavily, we've been fine-tuning small weighting of certain clarity characteristics that most certainly will affect the sparkle and light performance of a diamond. It's how we help differentiate between one ideal cut G VS2 and another. 

 

Perhaps you make an excellent point as to why we should refer to our cut score as the "sparkle score" or something of the like. The score is about helping customers quickly and easily identify diamonds that will physically present the best based on each diamonds unique characteristics, proportions, and angles. We never claim or aim to reinvent the wheel. We've simply taken what others have done and combined that with our combined years of experience. We've chosen to be more rigid in our scoring system as well. We've taken extra consideration to ensure that all possible combinations of proportions and characteristics are properly factored. Ie, as you slide up and down the various combinations of depth and table %'s, there are many combinations that provide optimal results that some of the evaluation tools don't properly account for.

 

To shed more light, the following are the most heavily weighted variables in our Cut Score calculation. This is for Round Brilliants:

 

Table %
Crown Angle
Crown Height %
Pavillion Depth %
Girdle Thickness
Girdle Range
Total Depth %
Total Depth Range
Cut
Polish
Symmetry
 
As always, I welcome any follow ups and am happy to dive deeper. Thank you Neil for your enthusiastic and inquisitive posts. You undoubtedly are a major asset and omnipresent gatekeeper (like Gandalf in the LOTR "You Shall Not Pass!) of this forum and community. 
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We blindly trust 5 gemologists at GIA to grade a stone accurately each time we send one over.

Not quite. Grading standards are publicly (if not always freely) available, as are master stones and reference environments. What "we" (all of us) end up trusting is a process, but the procedures within the process are documented and relatively transparently available. This said, I understand if you don't want to disclose more at this point; I think you are caught between the need to differentiate yourselves and the need to be believed; GIA managed it successfully, over 50+ years with (relative) openness; ISEE2 didn't.

 

[C]ertain clarity characteristics [...] most certainly will affect the sparkle and light performance of a diamond. It's how we help differentiate between one ideal cut G VS2 and another.

Perhaps a badly chosen example? I very much doubt that anyone would see any difference whatsoever in sparkle and light performance between any VS2s due to inclusions - particularly if the call is made sight unseen, and therefore not knowingmuch if anything about colour, reflection and precise position of the inclusion. Even if those were "known data", they may make a difference to "beauty" (whatever we choose this to mean), but not - I would argue - to light performance in a VS2.
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David, thank you for clarifying my point on the GIA. As you correctly pointed out, the process is what I was referring to, as there still is a level of subjectivity in why GIA gemologists can grade the same stone differently.

 

I'll agree with you that a VS2 may not have been the best example here. I apologize, as I'm currently doing a search for G VS2's and I suppose it resonated with me. 

 

We always STRONGLY convey the "Eye-Clean" concept with our customers very early as possible. For better or worse, as I'm sure you've experienced, people have a hard time understanding that their eyes don't see in 20x, 15x, 10x, or even 2x magnification. We apply this concept constantly to help customers evaluate their options and maximize their value.

 

What we have witnessed using the Sarine Light machine is the differences clarity characteristics can have on the light performance of an SI2. The point here is, the clarity characteristics are factored lightly, and can be at most the difference between one diamond getting a 93.7 and another stone getting a 93.6. 

 

To your point, we evaluate each and every diamond we sell before sending to our customers. We NEVER drop ship. If something doesn't meet our lofty standards and expectations, we inform our customers immediately. 

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Light Performance is a tricky concept.  It’s not a phrase used at all by GIA and although AGS uses it and has decently defined it, it’s decidedly cryptic and it’s apparently rather different than how you’re using it.

 

Both the GIA and AGS cut grades are based purely on the external geometry of the stone that is then subjected to a modifier by a gemologist in the form of the symmetry and polish grades.  Both are done 100% by computer using data that comes from a Sarine/Helium scan.  Transparency plays no part in either one, even though it’s obviously part of the beauty (and price) of any particular stone.  The GIA approach, by the way, is deliberately opaque and I have the same criticism and for the same reasons that I’m pointing out here.  They feed data into the facetware program and it produces a score.  It’s actually part of the GIA user agreement that you don’t attempt to deconstruct their algorithm.  They deliberately make it difficult to do, just for the benefit of people who violate that user agreement or don't bother to read it.

 

By the way, the HCA algorithm *IS* completely transparent, just like the AGA charts.  Anyone who wants to can look up what is going on.  Whether or not that's useful to you is an entirely different question.  

Edited by denverappraiser
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To shed more light, the following are the most heavily weighted variables in our Cut Score calculation. This is for Round Brilliants:

 

Table %
Crown Angle
Crown Height %
Pavillion Depth %
Girdle Thickness
Girdle Range
Total Depth %
Total Depth Range
Cut
Polish
Symmetry

That’s an interesting list.  Thanks.  It’s curiously different from the list of parameters that either GIA or AGS consider to be most important.  You’ve added a few and deleted a few.   If it’s not proprietary, would you care to comment on why?

 

For those who are following this, here’s the GIA list.

 

www.facetware.gia.edu

 

AGS’s isn’t so easy to link to because they use the entire Sarine file, not just the summary results.  They don’t have a page you can just key numbers into to get their results.  It exists, but you have to pay for the software to do it and the input is a Sarine file, not just a few results. 

Edited by denverappraiser
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While I agree with you Neil, that light performance is in fact a tricky concept, we believe that light performance is what both the average and discerning diamond buyer cares most about, regardless of whether they fully understand the concept or not. It's the difference between an underwhelming, dull, lifeless stone, and a sparkly, beautiful diamond, full of life and fire. We really love David Atlas's philosophy and contributions on this subject.

 

Our unique definitions of light performance and cut quality derives from what we've learned is most important to all diamond buyers, the physical presentation of a diamonds beauty to the naked human eye. We created this algorithm for our most discerning customers, as well as appraisers worldwide. 

 

I never said our formula wasn't proprietary. Our methodology, weighting system, and dynamic range combinations are unquestionably unique to us. What I meant by not reinventing the wheel is, that all the data points we're using, are, and have been widely available to members of the trade for at least the past decade or so, and more recently to the average customer. 

 

Neil, let me highlight that these are the most heavily weighted characteristics used in in our cut score for Round diamonds, not the only variables. We've found that the variables listed play the most significant role in evaluating cut quality and light return of a round brilliant diamond. Many of the additional characteristics and variables used in both the GIA and AGS are represented in our score. I can't speak to what degree we all differ in the weighting of these factors.

 

I would add another great tool for buyers to use is the AGA Cut Grading Chart created by David Atlas. A simple google search will find it, as I haven't figured out how to link on here (if I'm able to).

 

At this point I'd love to shift the conversation and open it up to those who might be following this discussion. Your thoughts, questions, or comments are welcome. Thank you Neil and David for making this a lively conversation.

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Here's the chart from David Atlas.  Like all such things it's varied a bit over time but I'm pretty sure this is the current version.
 

http://datlas.com/do-it-yourself-aganaja-cut-class-grader/

 

If you send a message to Hermann, the admin of the site, he'll make you an 'A list' member, something I'm pretty sure he would be happy to do.  That'll give you a few more rights and you should be able to put in pretty much any links you like.  Inserting links is restricted for the general public because it encourages too much spam. Just click the 'report' button at the bottom of any one of these posts to reach him.

Edited by denverappraiser
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I think the fact that some dealers are trying to establish software that enables consumers to better buy well cut diamonds is great; But NOT if they are using software that is antiquated & obsolete. Yes, the cut grading system you have works for triple X and AGS 000 related goods. But NOT for everything else which requires: skill, experience, loupe, training, and good taste! 
 
I would still prefer using my eyes, Sarine or Helium report, and a highly vetted lab report to make those calls. Not the so called “cut score†“sparkle score†you have described above.
 
Happy Holidays to all that celebrate! :)

Edited by ronk15a
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I think the fact that some dealers are trying to establish software that enables consumers to better buy well cut diamonds is great; But NOT if they are using software that is antiquated & obsolete. Yes, the cut grading system you have works for triple X and AGS 000 related goods. But NOT for everything else which requires: skill, experience, loupe, training, and good taste! 

 

I would still prefer using my eyes, Sarine or Helium report, and a highly vetted lab report to make those calls. Not the so called “cut score†“sparkle score†you have described above.

 

Happy Holidays to all that celebrate! :)

 

Hi Ronka!

 

Joshua here! Another Enchanted Diamonds co-founder.

 

Happy holidays to you as well! We do offer our clients Sarine and/or Helium reports on request, but the average or above average customer has no idea what to make of them, what is it in the Sarine report that stands out to you as something that is useful for diamond assessment?

 

Why do you say our algo doesnt work for non triple ex goods? 

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Hello Joshua:

 

Yes you are absolutely correct the average and even “above average†consumer has no idea what they are looking at in regards to a Sarine or Helium report. In regards to what I mentioned above I was speaking as a diamond dealer not the average un-educated consumer.

In regards to your algorithm: If you take a superbly cut (IMO) GIA graded stone cut recently to OEC specifications your system would deem it poorly-badly cut. Which is simply not true. Why? Not all high performance stones are cut to/like: GIA XXX and AGS 000 modern standards.

 

If there was finite algorithm or set of black and white standards: then yes a simple piece of software can determine cut quality. But because there is a broad range of beautiful cuts it’s literally impossible unless you have: good taste and a human eye!!!

Computers and current algorithms cannot compensate for this.

P.S. I have never seen a GIA triple X or AGS 000 (like cut goods): that were Dogs! So then; why use your current “cut score†“sparkle score†software: just read it off the reports…

Edited by ronk15a
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We use lab equipment and computer vision to fine tune the algorithm and we dont follow GIA or AGS standards, we have our own spec. The human eye is great but it would take years upon years to come close to grading as many diamonds as we do hourly. The approach is mathematical but the execution is highly scientific. 

 

I dont know anyone who has taken our approach to this topic. We've had our round cut score verified by submitting diamonds to review with the Sarine light, independent appraisers, AGS labs

 

Many diamond dealers have come to us asking us to license our algorithm and we happen to use it in trade ourselves. 

 

The algo is very very critical of cut and light return.

 

You've never seen a GIA triple excellent that was a dog? Then you must not have the most discerning eye? I have seen plenty.

 

Not all diamonds are cut equally - this is a pretty common understanding. The cut score is designed to find the brightest/best performing diamonds. 

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Still your algorithm does not compensate for all the broadly cut beautiful diamonds. Period.

Just based on the premise that your system only takes GIA report numbers to come up with scores means unequivocally it’s only taking what is on the report to come up with a score. Right?

FWIW: We all know that the report alone is way too little information to determine cut quality, especially for fancy shapes. So then how can your system work effectively?

Is it that “proprietary sauce†your partner alluded to earlier, or that overly opaque system going transparent that does the trick?

Yes I will say; whole hardly I have never seen a GIA triple X that was a dog! You have… really (A DOG)!

Your right: I don't need a Sarine report, or the GIA report, but I do need to see the stone which obviously based on your partners previous response you guys at “Enchanted Diamonds†don’t.

The Quote:
“Neil, I'll also point out that we hold zero physical inventories at Enchanted Diamonds and never intend to. This ensures we never have any conflicts of interest in recommending one stone over another to our customers. We are completely price agnostic and will always recommend a lower priced comparable stone when possible.â€

Edited by ronk15a
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ronk15a, I recommend you reread the entire thread. Your posts seem to conflict, remove, or not provide context for my previous posts you are alluding to.

 

First, I stated several times that we use more variables than the data solely provided on a cert. Second, as I also stated a few times, we restrict the score to only GIA stones because we've found it to be the only consistent and reliable data.

 

Yes, we have seen triple X GIA's that aren't full of life and fire.

 

I also stated that we inspect each and every stone we sell, and never drop ship. Yes, we have a virtual inventory for the benefit of our customers. Yes, we physically see and examine each stone. That's how we know and have confirmed over and over again, that our score is accurate. 

 

I welcome you to provide the certificate number of any diamond that your discerning and educated eye deems gorgeous, but our cut score grades poorly. 

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There is the flaw or misconception we set out to solve when we designed our algo - the need to see a diamond in person - we have solved this problem using algo's.

 

Most of our diamonds do pull data from a sarine report actually. We started with GIA because it made sense to start there as a product. We arent telling the world what data we use as its a trade secret.

 

We hold 0 physical inventory this is correct - thats why our bias is only towards the absolute best cut diamonds (round and fancy).

 

I have certainly seen very poor performing triple excellent diamonds when compared to better makes. I.e. put a triple excellent GIA cert'd stone with a 70 cut score next to an 85, 93, 100 and there is a major difference. Ill work on a video to show this later in the week. 

 

Thankfully many of our customers have come into our showroom in Manhattan and have seen this for themselves.

 

Further we have physical lab hardware that has confirmed the accuracy of our cut score. So you say you need to see a diamond in person, but if the data or performance is quantifiable, why is this the case?

 

Could you tell me what kind of diamonds we cant account for? We are able to sort through all diamond data on a highly granular level. Also we are the probably the only online retailer who actually takes a true stance on make and the variations of make (read our reviews) i.e. cushion modified vs cushion brilliant... 2,3,5 chevron princess - and we allow select clients to sift through this data in beta. 

Edited by Joshua Niamehr
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