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A Cut Above vs. Expert Selection - Whiteflash

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by ksomerville, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. ksomerville
    Rough_Rock

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    by ksomerville » Jun 11, 2005
    I''m hoping that someone can help me understand the difference between the two classifcations on Whiteflash''s: A Cut Above and Expert Selection. With my untrained eye, I can''t really distinguish much difference between the pictures and Idealscopes of a Round Ideal Cut versus a Hearts and Arrow diamond. They both look very similar to me. I guess what I want to know is what the actual performance difference between a Round Ideal Cut and a Hearts and Arrow diamond is. I want something with excellent light return, scintillation, and fire but is a true Hearts and Arrow diamond going to make enough of a difference to warrant only looking at those? Yes, I have read the tutorial on Hearts and Arrows diamonds. :)

    I''ve attached a file with two Idealscope images from Whiteflash. The top one is an Expert Selection from Whiteflash and the bottom one is A Cut Above Hearts and Arrows diamond. How do you think the performance differs between these two diamonds based on the Idealscope images? Also, on the top image should I be concerned by the small red mark at the bottom the circle?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    ExpSelectionvsHeartsArrows.jpg
     
  2. JohnQuixote
    Ideal_Rock

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    by JohnQuixote » Jun 11, 2005
    Hello Kathi.

    Here’s an overview on ACA and Expert Selection, as well as diamonds we can offer that are not on-site.

    “A Cut Above” Hearts & Arrows diamonds are cut for precise patterning, with optimum alignment of pavilion facets (Hearts) as the emphasis of their craftsmanship. ACA diamonds were designed by Brian Gavin, produced by our Antwerp-based sightholder and live in our vault waiting for someone to adopt them.

    “Expert Selection” diamonds are also in our inventory. Some are “A Cut Above” candidates that did not meet ACA criteria, but may closely resemble ACAs (the one you have posted is a good example). Others come from different sources; Brian hand-selects all of them to appear in the inventory. Though many ES diamonds are of ideal/top quality, not all of them are. The premise of ES is 'best value for the money.'

    The only difference you might detect between ACA and some of the ideal-cut ES rounds may be when viewing pavilion patterning through a H&A viewer (more on H&A here). You chose two nice diamonds, above. If you look at the ACA ideal-scope image you will notice a slightly crisper look in this arrows view.

    As for performance – opinions run on both sides of the line. Many will tell you that non-H&A diamonds can perform as well as H&A diamonds. Others will offer that over a broad range of lighting conditions the specific construction (esp of minor facets) and optimum alignment in a well-patterned diamond make some difference as you move through every possible illumination scenario (direct light to diffuse light to soft or distant light).

    Every ACA and ES diamond is on-site. The third option at WF is a search of the virtual diamond database, available to many vendors. Still, no matter where you find your candidate – on-site or somewhere else in the world – we do not sell it to you without first bringing it in for inspection and analysis.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to PM or call me if you would like further input.
     
  3. Giangi
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Giangi » Jun 12, 2005
    I think the E.S. you posted is an ACA that barely missed the grade. The idealscope picture looks mesmerizing. Can we have some more details? [​IMG]
     
  4. ksomerville
    Rough_Rock

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    by ksomerville » Jun 12, 2005
    Thank you both for your reply. I hate to post too much information about the diamonds because the last time I did the diamond sold the next morning. [​IMG]

    I have attached another file with the Expert Selection Idealscope that I posted early and another diamond we are looking at that''s listed as a Round Ideal Cut.

    I''m still trying to understand Idealscope images better and what minute details lead to a certain performance. I welcome anyone''s input on this...which diamond would you choose based only on the Idealscope images? By the way, I ran the numbers in the Holloway Cut Advisor and the top one has a score of 1.3 and the bottom 1.4. Thanks!

    ExpertSelectvsRoundIdeal.jpg
     
  5. aljdewey
    Ideal_Rock

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    by aljdewey » Jun 12, 2005
    Flip a coin - both look fine by the idealscope images, so pick whichever one is the better buy.
     
  6. JohnQuixote
    Ideal_Rock

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    by JohnQuixote » Jun 12, 2005
    As has been mentioned, both of those are very nice images.

    There will be a slight difference in the quality of contrast in these two diamonds: The diamond in the top photo has broad, fluid, colored flashes in its scintillation while the one on the bottom has a faster, sharp, on/off quality. Josh Rioux did a write up (here) on his observed differences in ACA diamonds with these slightly different footprints. These ES diamonds will have subtle differences along those lines.

    It's important to note that these distinctions are not something an untrained observer picks out without explanation. When customers come in they can see these slight character differences once we elaborate on them but for all purposes they are at equal levels of beauty.
     
  7. valeria101
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by valeria101 » Jun 12, 2005
    As far as I understand, this choice is not about minute details, really. WF set a very strict, narrow limit for the "A Cut Above" brand. This does not make the diamonds in the "expert selection" worse, or less desirable for you.

    Between those two, I could not choose based on cut quality - there simply is no difference [​IMG] In theory, yes, of course - you can choose to buy into a certain Zen concept of perfection, understand the decissions and choices of cut craftmanship behind "A Cut Above" and acquire the result of such subtle insight along with the story. [​IMG] The decission of what is worth what and what details add up to a desirable diamond remains up to you, as it should be.
     
  8. ksomerville
    Rough_Rock

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    by ksomerville » Jun 12, 2005
    Once again, thanks John! That article was REALLY helpful in explaining the differences in performance.
     
  9. JohnQuixote
    Ideal_Rock

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    by JohnQuixote » Jun 12, 2005
    Kathi, my pleasure.

    Josh is a very astute consumer who lives under the northern lights in Alaska.

    As I mentioned in my reply to your PM, these nuances are indeed subtle. It comes down to how far, personally, you choose to delve into this. I would agree with Ana about 'subtle insight' to a large degree - and agree with 'what details add up to a desirable diamond remains up to you' completely.

    On a casual level, any of the candidates you have chosen is going to be wonderful, plain and simple. For my part, when working amongst hundreds of these and studying minute differences in patterning & minor facet construction, one begins to make distinctions.
     
  10. sapphic
    Rough_Rock

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    by sapphic » Aug 19, 2005
    The difference is also evident in the AGS certification. All of the ACA diamonds are AGS000 whereas the ES diamonds are not, from the sampling that I saw.
     
  11. carrot
    Rough_Rock

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    by carrot » Aug 19, 2005
    John,

    What are the cues in the two Idealscope images that would allow one to predict these differences from the images alone?

    (Or can these subtle differences only be determinded by direct observation of the two diamonds?)
     
  12. belle
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by belle » Aug 19, 2005
    carrot,
    the ''cues'' are the the tips of white in an image as opposed to little or none.
    you can read more about it in the link that john posted here.
     
  13. JohnQuixote
    Ideal_Rock

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    by JohnQuixote » Aug 19, 2005
    Sapphic, correct. In the rounds about 70% of the current ES inventory meets traditional ideal proportions. The remaining 30%, though not necessarily ideal in proportions, were visually selected for excellent performance and good value relative to price.
     
  14. JohnQuixote
    Ideal_Rock

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    by JohnQuixote » Aug 19, 2005
    Carrot, every diamond is different. Much can be predicted from looking at proportions sets, minor facet configurations and the patterning - in H&A type diamonds like we are discussing. Even more can be assessed by combining that knowledge with the actual ideal-scope image - and in the future the ASET image.

    In general terms, 'new line' ACA are characterized by minimal light leakage in their ideal-scope photos. This creates a broadfire scintillation that has been described as fluid and colorful. 'Classic' ACA are characterized by slight leakage points along the girdle and at predicted meets between the table and girdle. This creates areas of pronounced contrast, resulting in a fast, sharp, on-off quality to the scintillation.

    Much like assessing numbers to death, the tangible differences are very slight. All ACA are cut with visual balance as a priority, so in terms of overall performance qualities they are identical. However, after handling, studying and playing with hundreds of ACAs one begins to make distinctions like these.

    The link belle provided is a good overview from a consumer who invested much time in discerning the differences for himself. Hope this helps.
     
  15. Mara
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Mara » Aug 20, 2005
    Also I think all ES images have the cherry symbol in the bottom right of the picture, aka ''cherry picked'', while the ACA don''t.

    I have seen some ES images where I really have a hard time understanding why it''s not an ACA. But then again the brand is not my baby, like it is for Brian, and he is VERY particular on what makes the grade.

    He has also told me, when I was comparing an ACA to a similar ES, that my eye would probably not be able to pick up the small nuances between the two which had the ES miss the ACA grade. So my eye would not have seen a difference in the cut/sparkle of the two stones. That helped me decide to go with the ES in that particular instance.


    For me many times it comes down to inventory. What does ES have vs ACA and I act accordingly!
     

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