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A Cut Above or SuperbCert, which is better?

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Boston

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
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19
Does anyone have any type of comparisons between Whiteflash.com's A Cut Above diamonds and SuperbCert.com's diamonds? My guess is that you really cannot go wrong getting either, but I have found diamonds on both sites that I like. Objective/Non-Objective comments are welcome.

Thanks,

Boston
:wink2:
 

biscuit

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 2, 2002
Messages
67
Hi Boston!

All branded diamonds should be approximately the same in quality...they are definitely not the same in price. Many out here on the boards will say that EightStar are some of the best visual performers...the pricing *definitely* reflects this. If you're looking for the best bang for the buck, and have the time to do the research, look for a non-branded idea cut...Jan & Brad down at Diamond Brokers of Florida have them, as well as USCERTED and DirtCheap (many others too...those are just a few that come to mind). Brand name diamonds are similar to the "guess" and "Gap" of the jeans industry...yes, they are good quality, but you're paying something for the name. Check out the non-brand-name diamonds that are AGS Ideal...virtually the same quality, but lower price. I bought an AGS Ideal no-name and it outperforms almost all diamonds I see in local stores...my fiance gets comments on it all the time! Just my .02

Have fun shopping!! ~:praise:
 

RockDoc

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
2,509
Non-branded H&A's

All the stones vary. Yes, you can find a nonbranded H&A that will rival the branded ones and perhaps save a little.

However, our testing results show that this occurs less frequently than believed. It just depends on how many hairs you want to split. There are many stones that are not branded that are great appearing stones, a few very close, but a lot depends on the consumer's wishes and budget.

If there is a large price difference, it pays to get a branded one compared with another branded one, or even against a non branded one.

Rockdoc
 

hbright

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
40
Roc Doc, at what level of the trade do diamonds get branded? Eight star, if I understand correctly, is cut by the company and distributed to 8* dealers only. How about other brands such as superbcerts, HofA, etc? Aare there cutters like 8* that sell/distribute their diamonds already branded? Or are most brandings like a sticker that get's slapped on once a stone it is verified by someone other than the cutter? Also, do dealers, regardless of whether the sell branded cuts, buy from the same pool of cutters?

The reason I ask is because at local B&M that doesn't sell brands, every AGS ideal I saw had H&A symmetry as viewed with the ideal-scope. True the IS isn't a rigorous symmetry evaluating device, but it clearly shows what is at least in all outward appearances H&A or very very close to it. If this dealer was buying from H&A source, then you'd think they would commensurately sell for the brand premium, but they don't, which suggests branding is something that is slapped on by the reseller. Perhaps the reseller buys from certain sources that cut to their standards, but do the cutters necessarily sell only to that reseller? Could it be that resellers that are ignorant or unacknowledging of H&A buy from the same source but don't brand it?
 

hbright

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
40
Anyone in the trade have answers the previous post regarding branding??

I find this branding stuff confusing. It makes it seem like you can only buy a certain cut with a certain branding. Seems to me H&A is the result of quality cutting rather as AGS ideals in my experience are H&A even if not branded by a non-opportunistic and ill-informed dealer.
 

mimi

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2002
Messages
2
Hi. Last year, I bought a SuperbCert diamond (0.54, F, VVS1) from
usacerted and a Cut Above diamond (0.536, E, VVS1) from Whiteflash.com for my stud earrings.


Both are beautiful, but I personally like the one from Whiteflash.com because it has a dynamite kind of big sparkles which even my husband noticed when we compared these two side by side. I think the quality of these brands are superb, but each individual diamond is really different from another regardless the brand names. For example, my SuperbCert diamond does not have VH, VH, VH on BrillianceScope. The scintillation is in the range of H, rather than VH. So, you really should examine everything very closely.


Another thing is that Whiteflash.com has a wonderful life-time tradeup policy which I really like. On the other hand, since I bought the other diamond from usacerteddiamond.com, I'm stuck.


Have a happy new year!
:))
 

RockDoc

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
2,509
----------------
On 12/29/2002 12:16:15 AM

Anyone in the trade have answers the previous post regarding branding??

I find this branding stuff confusing. It makes it seem like you can only buy a certain cut with a certain branding. Seems to me H&A is the result of quality cutting rather as AGS ideals in my experience are H&A even if not branded by a non-opportunistic and ill-informed dealer.
----------------



Of course - you're confused. Reading what limited educational material is available on the net, won't answer all your questions.

In order to understand branding, one needs to evaluate the benefits of the brand. Essentially, branding helps develop consumer reliace and dependability as far a as the consumer's expectations are to be.

Each diamond cutter that does have a brand has made statements on their site as to what standards represent the minimum or dependable average of the proportions - so consumers know what to expect.

Unfortunately, no one has gone far enough in my opinion in this aspect. This is because diamonds are not of a consistent nature. Often cutters have no choice as to the way the stone wants to be cut. Facets won't polish sometimes at the angle the cutter wants to cut them. Orientation of the crystal, strain, and other factors all affect the cutting process in such a way that many cutters feel that tightening up their stated standard might result in their not being able to brand some of the stones.

Sometimes, exacting detail of tolerances and variants represent "splitting" hairs. Some say too much hair splitting isn't practical. I've found that most consumers want as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision.

I suppose the most understandable way to say this is that there are many very nice unbranded stones, and when the diamond lends itself to being cut as prescisely as most of the branded ones, consumers can save money and get virtually the same quality product, but my experience has shown me this is more often not true than true.

The varying tolerances of facet lengths and angles are usually tighter and more closely accurate in the branded stones... but all the stones vary, it just depends how much, and how much information the consumer wants to compare while making their choices.

Hope this helps clarify this for you.

Happy New Year.

Rockdoc
 

hbright

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
40
You haven't answered my questions...

Where in journey of a diamond does it become branded? Does it occur from the cutter or from the reseller? For example, when I buy from superbcert, am I buying a superbcert cut diamond or a superbcert branded diamond that perhaps came from various sources? Also, do cutters always sell to just one reseller or do they supply various sources?

Perhaps you could flatter me and divulge the journey of a diamond from cutter to reseller.

If it turns out the same cutters are supplying brand name resellers and non brand name resellers alike, why go brand other than the convenience of foregoing the search. Why not seek out those non-branded bargains?

Well, I had a hard search... Not! I asked for AGS ideal cut diamonds. Each time I looked at one with my IS it had H&A symmetry. Hmmm... I thought searching out superideal non-brands was hard...

I guess, promoting brands in this forum is rather ironic if truly the purpose of the forum educating consumers and not pushing branding.

Until I have a hard time finding non-branded superideals, I'll stay away.
 

optimized

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 28, 2002
Messages
306
Hi Boston,

First things first, I'm NOT a diamond "expert," but I have done a TON of research and looked at an awful lot of diamonds in my nearly year-long search for an engagement diamond (thankfully, that's all over with now). What I can tell you for sure is that there are great diamonds to be found in both branded and unbranded varieties. A branded diamond basically just allows you to sort of feel easier about your choice, as the major brands do seem to provide consistently good performers, although each brand will always say theirs is the "best." For the record, I recently had a very satisfying experience purchasing a SuperbCert from Barry, so if you're cynical you may want to keep that in mind. :)

I can also tell you that the presence of a hearts and arrows pattern definitely does not guarantee a diamond that performs well in brilliance, fire and scintillation. The only thing a hearts and arrows pattern is a concrete indicator of is the exacting symmetry of the facets, and is usually an indicator of the quality of workmanship that went into the cutting. I think one of the reasons people think of good optical performance when they think of hearts and arrows (other than the massive marketing dollars that go into the promotion of the cut) is because any diamond that has hearts and arrows will tend to be a diamond that was cut with great care and attention to the finer points of diamond geometry, thus is likely to be cut using proper angles. But, the hearts and arrows themselves don't guarantee good angles and proportions, which have quite a bit more to do with performance than the presence of perfect symmetry. This isn't to say that the pattern should be discarded as bunk, but be aware that there are great diamonds that aren't H&A, and there are mediocre performers that display the pattern.

As far as the origins of these diamonds is concerned, I think it varies from brand to brand. I know "SuperbCert" (SC) and "A Cut Above" (ACA) do have their own cutting facilities. I don't know if SC exclusively deals in stones they cut themselves, but I know that, according to the ACA site, Whiteflash sometimes does bring in outside diamonds, but that all outside diamonds are hand inspected by Brian Gavin, the cutter behind the ACA cut. EightStars, another very respected super-ideal brand, are interesting in that all of their diamonds are previously cut stones that they acquire and re-cut to achieve their "perfect" light return. That practice really confuses the issue, eh? :)

I don't think I've ever heard anything from anybody stating that any of these "branded" diamonds is anything less than spectacular (here or elsewhere). There is sometimes an amazing amount of rivalry and bickering among them (all too often exhibited on these boards), but in the end they all seem to provide wonderful diamonds and their quality controls help set a lot of people's minds at ease. This is certainly one of the big benefits of branded vs. unbranded diamonds. I know I took solace in buying a branded diamond and in the end I don't really think I paid much more (if any) than if I'd gone through a local jeweler or even a high-volume online retailer like BlueNile. I know I paid less than if I'd bought one of the other super-ideals, but that doesn't mean that there isn't merit in buying one of them instead. For me, it was a matter of feeling reasonably confident in the performance of my diamond using tools that more or less negated the need for me to take a jeweler's "word for it" (I'm pretty cynical about salespeople) and staying within the strict budget limitations I had. If I had an unlimited income I probably wouldn't have sweated the details so much and probably would have looked more at the really pricey brands (the EightStars seem really nice, but way out of my budget), but the combination of information and price swayed me in Barry's direction.

Anyway, I would never go so far as to proclaim any of these diamonds "better' than another, but what I can tell you with some reasonable confidence is that when I was shopping for a diamond (a three month period that ended last month), SuperbCert had significantly lower prices than the others we've mentioned for comparable stones. A super-quick unscientific comparison of the two sites a moment ago yielded these prices (using stone characteristics as similar as I could find without exhaustively combing the respective sites): (SuperbCert Item# 1505 - 1.01 ct. G, VS2, $6429) (A Cut Above Item# AGS-3287004 - 1.00 ct. G, VS2, $7035). Not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, but it's the kind of difference that was make-or-break for my budget.

Anyway, I hope this all helps in some way.

-Tim
 

hbright

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
40
>

Thanks for that info Optimized.

I agree that H&A symmetry does not necessarily mean great visual performance if a lot of leakage occurs. I'd go for better visual performance over perfect H&A. As long as the pattern is somewhat symmetrical and has a good balance of black and red, good contrast, scintillation and fire is reasonably to be expected. Symmetry patterns rather than pristine symmetry should be under scrutiny. The size, pattern distribution, darkness, etc. of the arrows and hotspots will correlate to the type/amount of scintillation and fire (learned from GOG). The dark arrows and spots are highly reflective areas that reflect and refract light from face up angles. The reds show light return and have more an effect on brilliance. In diffuse light lighting the red areas appear white and dark areas add contrast (gives it a crisp look) while in point lighting some of the dark areas will refract and reflect bursts of bright colored and white light while the red areas will be overshadowed these bursts of intense light. I'm not an expert, but this is what I've witnessed.

The AGS ideals I saw also had low leakage and excellent HCA scores as well as excellent symmetry.
 

gg

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 25, 2002
Messages
18
----------------
On 12/31/2002 2:59:44 AM

EightStars, another very respected super-ideal brand, are interesting in that all of their diamonds are previously cut stones that they acquire and re-cut to achieve their "perfect" light return. That practice really confuses the issue, eh? :)
----------------


Optimized,

Are you sure that ALL Eightstars are re-cut diamonds? I have read that they are now using Canadian rough.
 

optimized

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 28, 2002
Messages
306
GG,

at ProfessionalJeweler.com. After reading your question I dug up the article and see that it first appeared in December of 1998, so I suppose it's entirely possible that the information is now a bit dated. I know that EightStar still recuts some diamonds (several articles scattered about mention the practice), but I don't know if they still exclusively deal in previously cut stones that they tweak for performance, as mentioned in the article linked above.

-Tim[/u]
 

barry

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2001
Messages
441
Tim;

Thanks very much for your kind words
about out SuperbCert product and services.

Best wishes to you for the New Year.

Barry
superbcert.com
 

StevL

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 31, 1999
Messages
598
GG,
Your are correct sir. Eightstars are cut from Canadian rough. They do still do recutting and custom cuts from prior cut diamonds. There are still some of these in stores inventories and always will be with there buy in policy, but all their diamonds are not recuts by a long way.
 

Boston

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
Messages
19
This has been a very informative thread, thanks to those who replied.

Boston
 

jcdiamonds

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2003
Messages
24
Hello,

Branding is done, in most cases, by the reseller.
The cutters job is to cut the diamond to their buyer’s specifications or by their own skill & experience in knowing how to cut it into a H&A.
Going with branded or unbranded in no way affects its specs and appearance- just price.
Branding is just a marketing tool used to increase its value as well as promote its own name.
Take for example the Lucida cut from Tiffany.
A high quality cut diamond backed with the Tiffany name equals $$$.
A similar, yet better quality of cut, which exhibits a Hearts & Arrows appearance, called the Lucere', is about 1/2 the cost.
All in all, there are many stunning diamonds out there- you just have to utilize all of your resources to determine which is the best cut for its value.
And that's what we're here for.
:))
 

pricescope

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 1999
Messages
8,266
Jcdiamonds,----------------
A similar, yet better quality of cut, which exhibits a Hearts & Arrows appearance, called the Lucere'...
----------------I didn't know Lucere diamonds have H&A pattern.

Usually H&A diamonds are round. There are also Hearts on Fire Dream and Regent cut square modified diamonds that shows H&A pattern.

Lucere: http://www.cutbygauge.com/lucere.html

american_lucere.gif
 
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