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AGS color and clarity grading

missy

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Back to the title of this thread. Recently I’ve had 2 friends (PSers so you know they’re discerning) who received AGS diamonds only to send them back because in their opinion the color grade was off by at least one if not two comparatively speaking to GIA. This was my experience as well but not as recently as theirs. Anyway just be aware and do your due diligence and you should be fine. Each stone (GIA or AGS or another lab) needs to be evaluated on their own merits. Labs-more specifically the people evaluating and grading the stones are human beings and therefore fallible.

But it seems as at least some of the time AGS is soft on color as compared to GIA.
 

avalovesdiamonds

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Back to the title of this thread. Recently I’ve had 2 friends (PSers so you know they’re discerning) who received AGS diamonds only to send them back because in their opinion the color grade was off by at least one if not two comparatively speaking to GIA. This was my experience as well but not as recently as theirs. Anyway just be aware and do your due diligence and you should be fine. Each stone (GIA or AGS or another lab) needs to be evaluated on their own merits. Labs-more specifically the people evaluating and grading the stones are human beings and therefore fallible.

But it seems as at least some of the time AGS is soft on color as compared to GIA.
Are they in the D-E-F range? Do you think GIA or AGS have any difference in grading those colors? Most I've seen complain about the color grading is is in the G-K colors. Just want to know if anyone has ever thought the colorless range is a bit off.
 

missy

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Are they in the D-E-F range? Do you think GIA or AGS have any difference in grading those colors? Most I've seen complain about the color grading is is in the G-K colors. Just want to know if anyone has ever thought the colorless range is a bit off.
One of my friends got an AGS F and it was visibly tinted. In both our opinions.

I don’t want to paint with a broad brush but just sharing a few experiences. Each stone must be evaluated by one’s own eyes imo.
 

avalovesdiamonds

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One of my friends got an AGS F and it was visibly tinted. In both our opinions.

I don’t want to paint with a broad brush but just sharing a few experiences. Each stone must be evaluated by one’s own eyes imo.
Yeah it is subjective and prone to human error.
I just bought a D color AGS graded that's why I'm a bit curious. I haven't received it yet. I hope I'm not part of the 1% that got a stone that is graded softly by AGS. *fingers-crossed*
 

Big Fat Facets

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@avalovesdiamonds

i really wouldn't be too concerned. but if it bothers you enough then perhaps send it to gia to get another cert. congratulations on your new diamond, by the way!

i, too, have heard that agsl is softer on color than gia but i don't find that to be so, in my case. the stone i have that was certed by agsl and gia is f color. both labs graded it as an f color, 10 years apart

many people just repeat what they hear. that is how rumors get started.
 
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missy

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many people just repeat what they hear. that is how rumors get started.
I, for one, am speaking from personal experience but hopefully @avalovesdiamonds will be pleased with her diamond. AGS is superior re cut grade without question and we all know cut is queen. :bigsmile:

I just bought a D color AGS graded that's why I'm a bit curious. I haven't received it yet. I hope I'm not part of the 1% that got a stone that is graded softly by AGS. *fingers-crossed*
D color rocks Ava. Cannot wait to see your beautiful new diamond and I hope it is everything you hope it to be. Fingers crossed.
 

missy

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@avalovesdiamonds another important point to keep in mind which I stated before but bears repeating is that since humans are grading the stones there is subjectivity introduced and IMO that color/clarity can vary by +/- 1 grade at best but could be even more depending on the person and the day.

If I may quote @oldminer he once wrote:
Consumers should keep in mind that any lab hoping to take any business away from GIA cannot grade color and clarity more conservatively than GIA grades. To do so, would severely impact their chances of finding clients for their lab. They can hope to grade the same as GIA if they have the best motivations and they must compete with labs that grade a little bit softer than GIA at the same time.

In the best of circumstances AGS and GIA would grade the same. And they are sister organizations. But since this is a subjective measurement one must bear that in mind plus high vs low color within a specific color grade and you will see variation between grading under the best of circumstances. That's why evaluating it in person is critical IMO.
 

Big Fat Facets

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@avalovesdiamonds

the diamond you acquired is d color agsl graded. color ranges within colorless d, e, f are very narrow. by comparison i, j, k on down are HUGE. the lower the color grade, the wider the range.

i think the fact that i have a double certed diamond graded f color by both agsl and gia, a decade apart is plenty evident how these two facilities grade, comparatively

gemologists grade diamonds against master stones. that is how the trained professionals grade stones

karl is one of the forum's well regarded professionals and inventor of the octavia cut

The f range is very narrow either its an f or not.
Same with D and E
By comparison the I J K ranges are huge.
 
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missy

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I am enjoying the discussion. Thank you @avalovesdiamonds and @Big Fat Facets for sharing and participating.

A well-cut diamond will mask more color than an average or even poorly cut stone. I think that is a fact we can all agree upon.

IMO (and there is no universal large study proving either POV and anything anyone says is from their experience and opinion ) GIA is generally a slight bit more strict on color than AGS. However I'd say this is true mainly at the margins. When you have a stone that it between the color set ranges. A D-color will look white in either system. Another fact to note is that diamonds have one of three body colors: yellow, brown or grey. That body color can influence the look of the diamond and detection of color. In high colors (DEF and maybe G) the body color is pretty meaningless IMO. It becomes more important as you move down the color scale. So this wouldn't influence your specific diamond in any way.

And I can find posts on the forum arguing either way. I won't link them here unless you are interested. Basically it is just an exercise in reading other's points of view and the only POV that matters here is yours. It will come down to your eyes @avalovesdiamonds and I have a feeling you will love your D and it will be super bright and gorgeous because the cut is ideal and well it is a D color! :)

And if I may quote @oldminer one last time :)

" it's my understanding that AGS utilizes a master set of stones identical to GIA. "
This reveals the problem, since every early official master set was graded by human eyes in comparison to the GIA Mother set. Now, there are many sets which have been created in comparison with other random, but well controlled GIA master sets. The eyes are not the very best color discriminators for the fine gradations found in diamonds. You will find inconsistencies in master sets if you look at many of them and I have. My findings are not alone, but in agreement with several other long time gemologists who have seen quite a range of colors assigned as master diamonds. It is a bit like telling a secret to one person and having the secret retold down the line to the tenth person in line just to laugh at the strange way our perception and senses may alter transmission of data.

No doubt the Mother set at AGS is highly similar to GIA's Mother set. However, no regular lab employee uses either Mother set for grading other diamonds. The sets used are one or more generations away from the original Mother set and contain nuanced differences. The labs may use very slight different levels of tolerance to set the change point from one color to the next and this does create differences in outcome.

D color has an extremely very narrow range of possible color tint, but there is some range within even at this top color. Even if your eyes or my own can't see it, the range is there and may sometimes have some tiny meaning in the overall scheme of diamond grading.
 

MamaBee

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Back to the title of this thread. Recently I’ve had 2 friends (PSers so you know they’re discerning) who received AGS diamonds only to send them back because in their opinion the color grade was off by at least one if not two comparatively speaking to GIA. This was my experience as well but not as recently as theirs. Anyway just be aware and do your due diligence and you should be fine. Each stone (GIA or AGS or another lab) needs to be evaluated on their own merits. Labs-more specifically the people evaluating and grading the stones are human beings and therefore fallible.

But it seems as at least some of the time AGS is soft on color as compared to GIA.
:shifty: @missy This is a little concerning...ugh
 

LLJsmom

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Yeah it is subjective and prone to human error.
I just bought a D color AGS graded that's why I'm a bit curious. I haven't received it yet. I hope I'm not part of the 1% that got a stone that is graded softly by AGS. *fingers-crossed*
I am crossing my fingers for you ava. My gut says you will be fine with the AGS D. I do think the "range" for a D is very narrow (if there even is one). Please let us know how it goes.

I do agree with @missy that there can be a high/low on an F. I also have seen G and H be hard to distinguish. I once chose an H that was very close to a G, and I chose the H, due to cut, and honestly from the top down, I could not tell the difference in color, and the H was just more lively than the G.
 

Snowdrop13

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Interestingly, this article from WF suggests GIA and AGS use the same master sets for colour determination,

 

Karl_K

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Interestingly, this article from WF suggests GIA and AGS use the same master sets for colour determination,

The parent master sets are the same.
AGSL uses GIA graded master sets.
Now if that means all the master sets are graded by GIA or just the master set used to create the working master sets is not clear.
 

missy

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FYI: Info about Master Stones and grading ranges.
This link might be helpful.

https://www.gia.edu/doc/Coloring-Grading-D-to-Z-Diamonds-at-the-GIA-Laboratory.pdf


Locations of Master Stones in the Grade Ranges.

Every individual grade designation on the D-to-Z scale is actually a range of colors within that grade. The GIA master stones are located at the highest boundary of each grade range (figure 9), that is, at that end of their respective grade range that has the least color. Therefore, a diamond with less color than the G master stone (but not less than the F) would receive a grade of F. If the diamond appears to have the same amount of color as the G master, it would receive a grade of G. When a diamond has



come to the same color grading results. Within a given set (up to about one carat), master stones should not vary more than 10 points from one another. There can be no eye-visible inclusions, and they cannot exhibit “off-colors” such as having a subtle brown or gray cast.

Fluorescence is also an important consideration. For the E-to-J range, GIA only accepts diamonds as masters that have no observable (reported as “none”) fluorescence. For K and lower, a “faint” fluorescence reaction is acceptable. While a more strongly fluores- cent diamond might be used as a master if strict labo- ratory conditions were always to be used (i.e., stan- dardized methodology, lighting, and environment), GIA has no way of determining whether client master stones will be used in these conditions. With regard to the acceptance of faint fluorescence for masters K and lower, our experience has shown that, as the amount of color increases, the impact of faint fluorescence on color appearance is less noticeable. Also, we have found that diamonds in the lower color grades com- monly fluoresce, so it would be difficult to locate stones with no fluorescence in this color range.

A diamond selected as a master stone is not neces- sarily an exact duplicate of the GIA master of the same color grade designation. A diamond is an accept- able master when it falls in the range of repeatable visual tolerance as established by the laboratory over the years. Consequently, a diamond may be acceptable as a master if it is very close to the GIA master, but is very slightly to the higher or lower side. Our research has shown that skilled graders reach a point of visual tolerance (i.e., the range of repeatability) for D-to-Z color discrimination at slightly less than one-fifth of a grade at best. While this fraction may appear large, it is important to remember that even between whole grades the differences are extremely subtle. For exam- ple, it is common for untrained observers to see no dif-

slightly more color than the G master stone but less than the H master stone, it will be called a G color. Any diamond, no matter how colorless in appear- ance, receives a D grade if it appears to have less color than the E master stone. Thus, no D master stone is necessary.







Instead of trying to match the color of a diamond with a reference color, the GIA system involves placing or bracketing the color between pairs of master stones, which for most observers is an easier task. In general, the grading process is one of pro- gressively narrowing the range until the diamond fits within a single grade (i.e., more color than the master stone on the left, and less color than the master stone on the right).






After the diamond to be graded has been wiped clean with a lint-free cloth, it is initially placed at one end (far left—the colorless end—by laboratory convention) of the tray on which the master stones are set in the viewing box. Using a pair of rubber- tipped tweezers, the grader moves the diamond along the set of master stones until it appears to be





one to two grades past the estimated color grade. It will, at this location, appear to have noticeably less color than the master stone to its left. The grader then moves the diamond back by placing it consis- tently to the right side of each master for compari- son. When the diamond being graded appears to have less or the same amount of color as one master stone, and more color than the next master stone to its left, it has arrived at a single color grade range. Its grade is associated with the least colored of the two diamonds, since each master stone represents the highest (least colored) boundary marker in the range.






Some color grades in the D-to-Z scale may not appear to be different at first glance (for example, D, E, and F diamonds all appear virtually colorless). Therefore, it can be challenging for a grader to clear- ly place the diamond being graded between two master stones through the bracketing process (it may be located much closer to one of the masters). In this situation, it is common to identify the closest mas- ter stone, and then determine to which side of that master the diamond being graded should be placed.


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 4.47.27 AM.png




Additional Considerations for Color Grading. Color Grading Diamonds that Differ Significantly in Size from the Master Stones. Overcoming the visual effect of size differences between the diamond being graded and the master stone is an additional chal- lenge even for the most experienced grader.

And though we are discussing higher color ranges here this is interesting.






Color Grading at the Lower End of the D-to-Z Range. Color grading at the lower end of the scale (below N or O) can present special challenges for graders. As the color becomes more noticeable, so do the differences between color attributes. In deter- mining the relationship of a diamond to a master stone, an observer must contend with subtle differ- ences in tone (lightness or darkness) and hue (as opposed to the predominance of saturation in the decision making for other areas of the scale).

The difficulty in making grade distinctions between single color grades in this range limits the usefulness of all the individual color grades in the O-to-Z range.



Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 4.50.24 AM.png
 

Big Fat Facets

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Interestingly, this article from WF suggests GIA and AGS use the same master sets for colour determination,

thank you so much for linking this article! it was very help and relevant.
 

free-user

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I had two H color close to super ideal if not super ideal round brilliant. GIA in person and in video looked more colorless. I kept the GIA. Hope this helps.
 

Texas Leaguer

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The thing to keep in mind is that assembling authorized master sets is done according to same strict GIA criteria, whether for their own labs (GIA has dozens of masters in use across their many locations), or for other labs such as AGSL. Accuracy and consistency is actually more of a challenge for a network of labs using a large number of different sets, rather than a single lab using a few. Whatever small variances might be introduced in the process of vetting master sets would likely impact a large network more than a smaller one.

This is a regular topic of conversation on pricescope and in all my years here I have never seen any statistically significant evidence sited to demonstrate that one lab is “softer” on either color or clarity than the other. There is only anecdotal evidence of a stone here or there that show grading variance. And that variance almost always falls into the understood and acknowledged (by all labs) tolerance of a one grade differential.

We deal in both AGS and GIA graded diamonds and have extensive experience with both labs. We have never seen any evidence of consistent grading differences. Every dealer has occasion to question a color or clarity grade at the lab from time to time, and re-checks are a very common process in both labs (and a revenue center because they charge for it!). And once in a while a borderline grade is changed by the process of escalating to a more senior grader. This is just more support for that one grade tolerance inherent in human grading.

Automated color grading is now being done by GIA on a subset of diamonds submitted to their labs. Eventually it may be possible to do all color grading by machine, which would eliminate the human factor. But then there will still be instrumentation deviation to consider!
 

Big Fat Facets

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The thing to keep in mind is that assembling authorized master sets is done according to same strict GIA criteria, whether for their own labs (GIA has dozens of masters in use across their many locations), or for other labs such as AGSL. Accuracy and consistency is actually more of a challenge for a network of labs using a large number of different sets, rather than a single lab using a few. Whatever small variances might be introduced in the process of vetting master sets would likely impact a large network more than a smaller one.

This is a regular topic of conversation on pricescope and in all my years here I have never seen any statistically significant evidence sited to demonstrate that one lab is “softer” on either color or clarity than the other. There is only anecdotal evidence of a stone here or there that show grading variance. And that variance almost always falls into the understood and acknowledged (by all labs) tolerance of a one grade differential.

We deal in both AGS and GIA graded diamonds and have extensive experience with both labs. We have never seen any evidence of consistent grading differences. Every dealer has occasion to question a color or clarity grade at the lab from time to time, and re-checks are a very common process in both labs (and a revenue center because they charge for it!). And once in a while a borderline grade is changed by the process of escalating to a more senior grader. This is just more support for that one grade tolerance inherent in human grading.

Automated color grading is now being done by GIA on a subset of diamonds submitted to their labs. Eventually it may be possible to do all color grading by machine, which would eliminate the human factor. But then there will still be instrumentation deviation to consider!
im sorry the facts must be re-presented, each time there is this "chatter" about agsl being "softer" on color than gia. and to patiently do so, time and time again is quite the feat. especially, when zero, first hand documented evidence, is even bothered, to be presented to validate and substantiate such "chatter". ive found when the chatter is repeated enough, without correction, it becomes rumor, negatively affecting both consumer and vendor/business. new members/new diamond purchasers, seem to be the most susceptible and fall prey to those ongoing rumors.

as an example, a new member asked about her d color whiteflash aca diamond. she was concerned with ags being "softer"... because i have recent, first hand experience with a dual certed diamond that is f color, along with the cross validating lab reports, i decided to share my experience... well, that was enough to set off the "chatter" by an ancient member.... (and as a newer member, my attempts to present the facts was met with covert "gang ridicule")

its no wonder more people with dual certed diamonds do not come forward to present the facts to lay the rumor to rest

in my personal first hand experience i find that agsl and gia grade comparatively.

another member's agsl and gia experience with yet another set of documents, featuring cross validating color grade of h color

 
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missy

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FYI. Interesting results.


The vast majority of diamonds we submitted to AGS for secondary grading received the same color and clarity grades as their first grading. When AGS differed from IGI or GCAL, the results were only off by one (E vs F color, VS1 vs VS2). More often than not, AGS was looser/easier on the diamonds than IGI/GCAL!

Automated color grading is now being done by GIA on a subset of diamonds submitted to their labs. Eventually it may be possible to do all color grading by machine, which would eliminate the human factor. But then there will still be instrumentation deviation to consider!
That would be amazing notwithstanding the machine calibration issue. Humans can and do make mistakes. Thanks for the info @Texas Leaguer.
 

missy

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Yeah it is subjective and prone to human error.
I just bought a D color AGS graded that's why I'm a bit curious. I haven't received it yet. I hope I'm not part of the 1% that got a stone that is graded softly by AGS. *fingers-crossed*
@avalovesdiamonds I hope you are over the moon happy with your D diamond purchase! Please share photos if you are so inclined. :love:
 

Texas Leaguer

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im sorry the facts must be re-presented, each time there is this "chatter" about agsl being "softer" on color than gia. and to patiently do so, time and time again is quite the feat. especially, when zero, first hand documented evidence, is even bothered, to be presented to validate and substantiate such "chatter". ive found when the chatter is repeated enough, without correction, it becomes rumor, negatively affecting both consumer and vendor/business. newer members seem to be the most susceptible and fall prey to those ongoing rumors.

as an example, a new member asked about her d color whiteflash aca diamond. she was concerned with ags being "softer" and conerned. because i have recent, first hand experience with a dual certed diamond that is f color, along with the cross validating lab reports, i decided to share my experience... well, that was enough to set off the "chatter"... (and because i am a newer member, the "gang ridicule")

in my personal first hand experience i find that agsl and gia grade comparatively.

another member's agsl and gia experience with yet another set of documents, featuring cross validating color grade of h color
Ha! All the regular posters here are well acquainted with the need for repetition! (AMIRITE y'all?)
It's all part of the education that is provided here. As the saying goes "repetition is the Mother of learning".

First, there are new people coming here all the time with the same questions and who have heard bits and pieces of that chatter that they seek to have confirmed or refuted.

Second, there are a number of myths that get perpetuated down through the years. Part originating from simple lack of knowledge and part from industry members with particular agendas.

I am sure this happens in every industry. It's important to just have patience and do your best to provide the most objective understanding of the issues possible. Then let folks make of it what they will.

As you allude to in your own case and the other thread you reference, if we were to have a competition of individual examples of grading variance between GIA and AGS, the number of examples in agreement would swamp the exceptions. But it is human nature to focus on the outliers. The variances make news while the agreements are taken for granted.
 

Big Fat Facets

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Ha! All the regular posters here are well acquainted with the need for repetition! (AMIRITE y'all?)
It's all part of the education that is provided here. As the saying goes "repetition is the Mother of learning".

First, there are new people coming here all the time with the same questions and who have heard bits and pieces of that chatter that they seek to have confirmed or refuted.

Second, there are a number of myths that get perpetuated down through the years. Part originating from simple lack of knowledge and part from industry members with particular agendas.

I am sure this happens in every industry. It's important to just have patience and do your best to provide the most objective understanding of the issues possible. Then let folks make of it what they will.

As you allude to in your own case and the other thread you reference, if we were to have a competition of individual examples of grading variance between GIA and AGS, the number of examples in agreement would swamp the exceptions. But it is human nature to focus on the outliers. The variances make news while the agreements are taken for granted.
yes, i do very much agree with you that agsl and gia grade comparatively, even factoring in the *human aspect*. perhaps, the nature of some, to focus on the exception and outliers

yes, a lack of knowlege, a lack of evidence ...

it hadn't occurred to me, that it could also be industry members with particular agendas ...hhmmmm

i'm curious how the colorimeter factors into diamond color grading, on a small scale, and how effective it is at it??
 
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oldminer

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When major labs someday harmonize color grading between labs when done by automation, there still will be instances of borderline diamonds which are so close to both grades that there will be determinations based on an arbitrary set of rules to grade those in a sane and logical way. Maybe a borderline E/F will be actually grade "E/F" or E/F borderline". Either would be accurate and truthful. There will be no appealing color grading by dealers. There may be a revolution over that situation.

I have many times written that no lab which competes with GIA can be a long term player in the diamond grading business if that lab grades color or clarity harsher in any way than GIA might grade the same diamond. AGSL grades Cut harsher than GIA and it has become a niche business for them. GIA grades softer on a broader scope of diamond cut and it has become a huge business. Whose CFO is happier? But, happiness is not just made of money, is it. Doing the best job and finding a successful route to compete with a far larger entity is quite a good trick. These labs are friendly toward one another, but they are competitors, too. Their color and clarity grades are very close to one another and AGSL has to be a tiny bit softer on color or clarity on occasion or it will cease to be in business. It isn't a frequent problem, but more one of perception. The financial facts of business life dictate what is happening. I believe AGSL is doing a great job of keeping to high standards while serving a far smaller niche market that GIA does not serve nearly as well.


Not that it is important to this thread, but GIA Master Diamond sets are specially graded just for use as Master Color Grading tools. GIA rejects most diamond submitted to become Master stones. They only accept those which either meet one of two criteria of color situations. One, the color of each diamond in the set is at the high end of each grade. Such stones are named D-E-F-G, etc. Or two, diamonds near the bottom of a grade are issued split grades. This means they are graded D/E, E/F, F/G, etc Basically split grades are just above the border to the next lower color. The best and most desired Master Diamond sets are single color graded sets. Split grades work fine out in the field, but are far less useful to the precision that major labs demand.
 

Big Fat Facets

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actually color grading master stones was not a concern to this thread until post #39

when avalovesdiamonds had concerns about her, recently purchased, d color whiteflash a cut above diamond due to the rumors she had heard about agsl being softer on color. i decided to share my recent experience with a double certed diamond with a set of cross validating reports from both agsl and gia

i brought up diamond color grading master stones in post #39 because i wanted to not only reassure avalovesdiamonds, but to impress upon avalovesdiamonds, that the certified trained professionals grade stones with a set of master stones. due to the "chatter" of agsl being softer on color and some people's 'uncanny" ability to determine a certified agsl f color stone to be "one if not two color grades off" ... without the aid of master diamond color grading stones

the reason this thread was even resurrected was because like the original poster, avalovesdiamonds also heard the rumor that agsl is "softer" on color. just as i had heard the rumor. recently my diamond came back graded an f color from gia which corresponds to the f color from agsl, ten years previously

until more people come forward with diamonds having been sent to both agsl and gia, returning with differing color grades, i will defer to the evidence i have in hand.

i am just a mere consumer, i have nothing to gain or lose whichever it is. but i detest the spread of misinformation, where consumers and businesses alike are done a disservice.
 

oldminer

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I hope you don't think I am spreading misinformation. Since your response followed my post, one might think you are directing this at what I wrote. Nothing I wrote is a disservice to anyone or to the truth. In the face of misinformation, I hope to always be one who cuts through it and adds some truthful clarity. Probably, you feel much the same in this regard.

Threads tend to lose their initial context in long sets of responses. As long as the submissions are educational and well written, someone is going to learn a little and be helped.

We wouldn't want anyone to fear adding their outlook or their opinion. We must be very careful not to discourage participation when the original subject slowly turns into a somewhat different subject, especially when everything fits into a larger, and reasonably correct learning experience.
 

Big Fat Facets

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i encourage you re-reference the thread. it's all there for all to see and read. from post #24 on is where this thread got resurrected.

was my past discourse on this thread with you?? i don't believe so. although, you were quoted, plenty, by those that choose to focus on the exception and outliers

if you wish to take it upon yourself, then that is your choice
 

Texas Leaguer

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@oldminer is speaking truth from his perspective, which is one of steeped in exceptional knowledge and experience.

I have a slightly different perspective regarding the assumption that AGSL for business reasons wants to be slightly forgiving (or at least not more strict than GIA) on color and clarity. I think the desire is to be in alignment, and they go to great lengths to maintain alignment.

As much as AGS and GIA collaborate and have a close shared history, there will never be perfect agreement between their labs in every case. When there are variances AGSL grades are sometimes stricter. But dog bites man is not news. Man biting dog gets all the play!

AGSL is and always will be a specialty lab. They are not trying to overtake GIA. Their value add is to be on par with GIA in basic grading and provide a superior cut analysis. And I believe they do that exceptionally well.
 
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