A Newbie''s Puzzling Questions

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May 1, 2003
As a complete newbie to this business of diamonds, I am fascinated by all the information on this site! I would like to check some of the diamonds I am interested in with the Holloway Cut Advisor, however the sites we are using (Blue Nile, Mondera--more expensive, I know, but as a first-timer, my fiance says he feels more "secure" with these businesses, one of which is local to us) generally don''t provide crown and pavillion angles on their sites. How does one go about obtaining this obviously important information? Would it be a matter of record at the diamond seller''s?
Also, we are mostly looking at GIA ideal cut diamonds--I''m confused: would all such diamonds be highly brilliant by the definitions of this site, or is there variation within the group? Lastly, the girdles of many of the stones I''m finding are thin--some say these could be vulnerable to chipping (not good, I work with my hands), others say no...What do you all say?
Thanks for your help--wildly informed group here, congrats.

Rank Amateur

Feb 26, 2003
Welcome to PS Julia!

First of all, I'd feel comfortable with any of the dealers who contribute regularly here at PS. I've only first hand experience with one of them, but I'd buy from ANY one of them if I had it to do all over again. Personally I'd be more suspicious of the big guys like Blue Nile. I used an independent appraiser in conjunction with an online vendor to give me piece of mind.

Most diamonds don't have crown and pavillion angle measurements available. A few dealers have a Sarin or equivalent machine that gives this data, and a really motivated dealer without one could probably find one if he thinks it is worth his while. Most dealers I talked to did not offer angles standard or as an option. Many of them just stared at me or used visual approximations when I asked about a stone's proportions. If you insist on angles, you will be narrowing your dealer search down considerably! Maybe that's a good thing?

As you have probably read here, not all AGS 0 cut stones are created equally. Some are cut much better than others, but only you can decide if you can see the difference and are willing to pay for that difference. It's sort of like a videophile considering the differences between gold-tipped RCA cables and a gold-tipped S-VHS cable. Some can see the difference, some can't, and, like the emperor's new clothes, some SAY they can to aviod ridicule. Though I went for the super-ideal cut (because I generally am a snob), I don't think I could pick the super-ideals out from the "regular" ideals in a lineup. Table-side arrow symmetry in an H&A can be picked out with the unaided naked eye, but it is just a hint as to the fineness of the cut.

As for the thin girdle, it takes a pro to ascertain whether or not the extent of the thin portion combined with the setting type poses a chipping hazard, but even the pros will admit that it is not an exact science. There are lots and lots of stones out there, so if "thin" makes you the slightest bit squeamish, then by all means look elsewhere.

Good luck!



Feb 15, 2003
Something else to think about...

I'm not sure which vendor you live next to (Blue Nile or Mondera) or which state you live in, but you may want to consider the tax benefit of having something from a different state.

I live in Washington, and heard somewhere that Blue Nile is located around here??? I don't know if that is true, but I know that getting a diamond from a vendor outside of the state will immediately save me 8% or 9% in sales tax.

I was really apprehensive about buying a diamond online - but if you choose a reputable dealer with a good return policy you can make sure you are purchasing the diamond of your choice. You could even go so far as to order the diamond online from a good source (the vendors on pricescope seem to be good) and then take it to a couple local jewelers to see what you would prefer.
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