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Advice on stones for earrings!

claus10

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
35
Hello!

My fiance would like to purchase some diamond studs around 0.3-0.4 carats on each ear in total.

I don't know much about round diamonds in terms of their best proportions and am struggling using the HCA tool. How important is this tool?

Most of the diamonds which I have used it for are scoring between 3-4 which suggests they are suboptimal!

Are there any resources available which will enable us to set filters to enable a better choice?

Thanks,
Claus
 

Lookinagain

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
1,079
Have you tried the search tool on Pricescope? It shows you the HCA results for stones.
 

tuckie

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
192
The tool is a good guide to help you evaluate the cut quality of stones you're considering. There are also other ways to evaluate (e.g., AGS Ideal cut rating, proportions within certain specifications, opinion of a trusted and well informed jeweler, etc.)

Most PSers would say that cut quality is the most important element of the 4Cs, with cut being the element that really defines performance / sparkle / fire. For earring stones, I would want a great HCA rating.

You have a bunch of options if you'd like help with this project. For example:

1. You could buy super-ideal stones from a vendor like www.whiteflash.com and have 0 worries that the cut was best-money-can-buy
2. You could connect with PS-trusted jeweler who does not specialize in super-ideal stones (like IDJewelry) but can help you find a pair of great performing stones that are buget-friendly. This is the road I took personally on my earrings.
3. You can post your preferences and budget here and the amazing PSers might help you find a pair of loose stones via the many online vendors that meet your preferences.
4. You can read up on many threads here on PS that describe potential diamond parameters, educate yourself and do a solo hunt. Example thread: https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/cut-proportions-cheat-sheet.244508/


Happy hunting. I just love studs!
 

claus10

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
35
Thanks for your response!

Looking at carat weight of 0.3-0.35 for each ear and hoping to get it within a budget of £1400. I think this is around $1800 roughly. Hopefully this price includes the settings as well.

Ideally we want to get loose stones and have them set at a local jeweller, or alternatively we would consider using an online vendor to set the stones as well.

She wants a simple 4 prong setting. I have a feeling going past 0.35 will look oversized as she has a small ear lobe!

Is this a reasonable budget?

I think the cut is the hardest part of the stone to assess! The colour we would be happy with G/H and clarity VVS2 & above (traditionally/culturally this is what is expected! - I'll have to find out if it is ok to drop to VS1) & carat weight as mentioned above.

Thanks again, I will have a look at the thread you suggested
 

tuckie

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
192
Of course people vary in their preferences, and only you will know what's right for you and your partner. I will share mine, as I always find hearing how other people choose their pieces is extremely helpful to me.

I am a fairly small woman (5'1) and work in a corporate, professional environment (think: major law firm) in the US, but not in NYC/LA. I wear my 1.26ctw studs daily (.63ct each, each about 5.5mm in diameter). They're far from too big. I've considered upgrading. Of course a pair of .6ctw or .7ctw would also be lovely but I don't think it would be too showy to go beyond that size if it is what you want.

My stones are each SI1, and I cannot find the inclusions after 4 years of eyeball inspection. I can find them with my loupe. They have no impact on the brightness, sparkle or performance of my stones. I understand there is cultural significance to very-very clean stones, but I tend not to be interested in differences I cannot see with my own eyes.

My own preference hierarchy is as follows for earrings (it would be different for a ring)
1. Budget (firm)
2. Cut quality (GIA XXX AND HCA under 2 AND Trusted Jeweler evaluation)
3. Size (via diameter not carat)
4. Color (G-H)
5. Clarity (eye clean, at whatever spec)

My preferences are all about maximizing visual impact for price. Others are more interested in mind-clean pieces.

Simple four prong studs should be easily available from the jeweler who you purchase your stones from, and I think it would be far simpler to have them set the earrings for you.

So, trying to think through a pair that seem to solve for your preferences (as high spec as possible within budget) you could try something like the following:

.304 F VVS2 ACA cut
.301 F VVS1 ACA cut
+
four prong settings
=
$1863


These are extremely well cut stones. For me, they might be overkill on color/clarity, but they would be no doubt beautiful no further cut evaluation required. ACA is a branded super-ideal and basically best-money-can-buy type cuts.

Happy hunting. I might suggest asking many pricescopers their own preferences, I think you'll see a range of view points.
 

claus10

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
35
Thanks for the advice!

I think I may have to look at smaller/alternative stones to fit the budget due to VAT in the UK - it will add an extra 20% to the cost, so have to factor this in sadly.

Whiteflash looks like a good starting point for the stones - is it possible to find similar quality on slightly cheaper sites like Bluenile?

The only other concern from there is the stones are not certified by GIA - I've been advised that this certification is essential for diamond purchases. I've not really heard of AGS before. Should I be concerned about this?

How do these diamonds compare with the ones linked to above:

Thanks again!
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
834
Thanks for the advice!

I think I may have to look at smaller/alternative stones to fit the budget due to VAT in the UK - it will add an extra 20% to the cost, so have to factor this in sadly.

Whiteflash looks like a good starting point for the stones - is it possible to find similar quality on slightly cheaper sites like Bluenile?

The only other concern from there is the stones are not certified by GIA - I've been advised that this certification is essential for diamond purchases. I've not really heard of AGS before. Should I be concerned about this?

How do these diamonds compare with the ones linked to above:

Thanks again!
WF have what are called “super ideal” stones, which are stones that have been cut with an extremely high degree of precision with huge attention to optical symmetry. They also offer a lifetime upgrade program. Both things means WF naturally commands a premium, and since you are based out of the UK, you will have to pay even more.

In practice, it is my personal opinion that ACAs are a bit overkill for studs since you view them at a distance. Also at the 0.3-0.4ct each size you can’t really appreciate that level of optical symmetry, again in my opinion. There are some good options to be found on Bluenile, though I’ll reserve my comments about your choices since I’m not hugely knowledgeable about diamond cut and leave that to someone who knows better than I do.

AGS is also a highly reputable lab and is highly regarded in the US, but is fairly unknown outside of there (changing in some areas around the world). AGS is supposed to be stricter on cut (so requires a better cut to be deemed “ideal” as compared to GIA “excellent”) but some believe can be softer than GIA on color and clarity. So you can trust that the grade given by AGS will be reasonably consistent with the GIA grade, but if you plan to resell your AGS diamonds in the UK you might find lower acceptability compared to GIAcerts.

In summary, I think trying to find the right pair using Bluenile is a good idea since you’re based out of the UK. I’d personally be okay with a lower clarity and color given the smaller size and the fact that it’s earrings but that obviously depends on your/your fiancé’s preference. If you want really superlative cut check out Crafted by Infinity (they’re a cutter, but they sell with dealers and I believe they have a retail presence in the UK). You will pay a price premium over BN (similar to buying from WF) but at least you’ll save import duty etc.
 

tuckie

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Messages
192
Yes, I totally agree with AllAboard that there are more budget friendly ways to get to a great pair of studs than going ACA + high color + high clarity. Its all about preferences. Like I said above, I would not do "highest specs" for studs personally.

On the set of BN stones you posted:
Stone one is 60/60 style which are not poor performers per se but not everyone's taste. More about 60/60s: https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/strictly-super-ideal-numbers-vs-60-60.254473/
Stone two is not a great performer. HCA 5+

Digging through the UK BN set, I actually am not liking any of the pairs they suggest within your parameters. In most cases at least one of the stones fails HCA. In some cases, the HCA is unavailable as the GIA cert isn't uploaded (so I can't see crown or pavilion angles). I've looked through all the pairs in your budget that are at least .30ct and D-G, VS or VVS.

I found one stone I like, performance wise, but no match for it
.30 F VS1

I'd just keep scanning the inventory until I found a match I liked. Also, it seems the BN tool will only pair stones that have the exact same specs like F VS1 and F VS1. I would say most of us are comfortable with one grade different, especially given that these stones will be in different ears. So I think you could easily match an F VS1 with an F VVS2 or a G VS1
 

Snowdrop13

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
2,152
Definitely don’t need F VVS imho for earrings. Nobody is going to be that close to them. You need a great cut for max sparkle, but G,H or I and Si1 should be fine in this size. Also don’t forget that most of the traffic on PS is from the US where size standards are different.

Blue Nile is pretty good as they include VAT in their prices. Try the following parameters in the search boxes

table: 54-58
depth: 60-62.3
crown angle: 34-35.0
pavilion angle: 40.6-40.9 (sometimes 41.0)
 

Lookinagain

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
1,079
I think the cut is the hardest part of the stone to assess! The colour we would be happy with G/H and clarity VVS2 & above (traditionally/culturally this is what is expected! - I'll have to find out if it is ok to drop to VS1) & carat weight as mentioned above.
OP said G/H and VVS2 and maybe he could push to VS1 so it sounds like he can't go to an I color.
 
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