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Are super-ideals worth the premium vs HCA <1 scoring diamonds?

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by JackBauer, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. JackBauer
    Rough_Rock

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    by JackBauer » Jun 25, 2019
    I can find diamonds on places like BlueNile or 77Diamonds which have a HCA score of 0.9 but they don't supply Idealscope or ASET images so there is no guarantee of light performance. For my specs, a diamond like this would cost me around £2400

    The alternative is buying something like a Crafted by Infinity, Whiteflash ACA, Brian Gavin Signature but their premium price and also cost for UK import tax and VAT costs would see me paying around £3300. Almost 40% more.

    What would you do? Is it not possible to buy a comparable light performing stone from Blue Nile? Is Blue Nile Astor their way of taking out these better performing diamonds, forcing you to pay a premium? Is Astor comparable for the other super ideals?

    FYI i'm looking for a F colour, VS2, 0.5 to 0.6 carat diamond on a platinum setting.
     
    


    


  2. Matthews1127
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Matthews1127 » Jun 25, 2019
    If you scour this forum, and you read the threads posted by those who have upgraded from a GIA XXX MRB to a CBI, ACA, our Signature AGS000 MRB, one common denominator stands out: “It was SO worth it”!!!
    I have yet to read a thread shared by any PSer who regretted their purchase, or felt let down by a Super Ideal vendor.
    I do not own any MRB’s, so I cannot share my own experience. However, if I ever were to purchase a MRB, I’d SEEK a branded, super ideal. CUT is king, and I want max performance for my money. It would be worth it to me* to pay the premium for superior cut & performance.
     
  3. MissGotRocks
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by MissGotRocks » Jun 25, 2019
    This. Buying a well vetted, super ideal cut stone takes all the guesswork out of it for you. You are assured that you are getting a stone with ideal light performance and never have to second guess that fact. They are indeed beautiful stones and for my money, well worth it!
     
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  4. the_mother_thing
    Ideal_Rock

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    by the_mother_thing » Jun 25, 2019
    @JackBauer “What would I do?” you ask? I’d look at Whiteflash’s Expert Selection options, which usually just narrowly miss “super ideal” ACA branding but are still outstanding performers with all of the benefits of buying from WF (great upgrade policy, returns, performance imaging, stellar customer service, etc.). Here are two that you might consider (although I’m not sure what the currency conversion rates work out to be from U.S. dollars). They are both within ideal performance ranges recommended on PS, eye clean, and you’d have the benefit of being able to talk to someone at WF who can look at both (or more) options since they have the diamonds in hand, and provide you with an actual in-person assessment/comparison, as well as additional pictures.

    https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/compare/?idnos=3964560,3994068

    FWIW, the diamond in my avatar image to the left is a WF Expert Selection (although a K color) and it’s an outstanding performer in person. While I appreciate those who appreciate the branded cuts, I am very much focused on the quality/performance for my buck, whether it carries a ‘branded’ label or not. My diamond delivered exactly what I wanted with a pretty substantial savings over a comparable ACA ($2-3K, IIRC). I’m not saying ACAs aren’t worth the premium; I think they’re worth the premium to someone who wants/needs that premium/brand/mind-cleanliness; I just wasn’t one of them. You can read about my journey to buy my WF ES diamond here: https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/tell-me-about-your-ideal-super-ideal-diamonds.238444/

    Hope that’s helpful! :wavey:

    ETA: Unless there is a strict/cultural reason for going with an F, I’d consider dropping down to a G or even H color to get even more bang for my buck and open up more options to consider for my purchase.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  5. Kaycee2018
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Kaycee2018 » Jun 25, 2019
    This.
     
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  6. OoohShiny
    Ideal_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Jun 25, 2019
    As above, the SuperIdeal route is an 'easy' way into guaranteed performance, which I felt was worth it for me, being inexperienced in buying diamonds and wanting to not get ripped off by local jewellers.

    There is fairly regularly discussion on whether the SuperIdeals are 'worth it' over unbranded cuts that have good HCA scores, but without seeing both options side-by-side, one cannot know if one is sensitive to the differences and, therefore, whether the SuperIdeal route is worth it.

    There was at least one thread I've read on here where someone looked at a number of SuperIdeals and also regular cuts, and they couldn't really tell the difference. In that instance, they went with the generic cut and saved the money, which is just fine :)

    As you are in the UK and appear to be able to get to London, you need to get to @Durham Rose in Stratford - they stock (or can order in) CBI diamonds, which would mean you can do your own personal comparison and see for yourself if they would be worth it for you :))

    Personally speaking, I never get bored of looking at my good lady's CBI, throwing coloured fire at me from across the room and looking bright and in virtually all environments, so I feel they are worth the premium, but I totally understand that getting 90% of the way there for a lower percentage of the price is an attractive option!
     
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  7. Lykame
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Lykame » Jun 25, 2019
    I like this thread, I think there's a lot of different views represented and all of them are right for the people who are making those decisions.

    I think you need to ask yourself some questions:

    Let's say you buy the BlueNile option and you know you got good value for money, you like the way the stone looks in person a lot - will you be happy? Or will knowing there are these 'super ideal' brands out there be something that bothers you?

    Are you willing to be more flexible in your requirements? Like G SI1 for example? That might help with a reduction in price closer to what you want but may not be so 'mind clean' (an important issue for some of us). As I said in your other thread, you may not notice any difference between these stones in person/reality if they're well cut. Really to make comparisons you need to see like-for-like - the tinted G in Hatton Garden may have had an HCA of 4, may not have been GIA certificated etc (equally it may have been a GIA certificated, beautifully cut stone with an HCA of <2).

    Are you willing to go through the 'hunting' stage to save money? Some people love that, it works really well for them. Some people would rather pay a bit more and not have the difficulty of trying to figure it out themselves.

    Pricescope is an excellent resource and I feel sure if you want to hunt through options you can post them here to get opinions. However you already appear pretty well educated on what angles the stones need to fit into and unless you can get additional information like ASET scope and Idealscope it can be more difficult (and I think you're discovering this is nearly impossible in the British market).

    It appears to me you would really rather have a super ideal cut but not the price - which is fair enough. The super ideals are priced high because they're excellent stones and a lot of the guess work has been removed for you. Whiteflash expert selection may be exactly what works for you in that case even including import tax. Worth investigating.

    As @OoohShiny has mentioned, Durham Rose can call in a couple of diamonds for you if you're serious about buying a CBI. Note beyond that they will likely charge you to see more as unlike America, these diamonds have to be shipped in via Antwerp to come here and there's a cost for that. They'll buffer that up to a point. :geek2:

    Have a really careful think about these issues and what feels 'right' for you. Once you know what you're comfortable with we can definitely help you find the right diamond for you. But you need to decide on that first because they're very different journeys. I would hate for you to get a ACA/CBI etc and then feel regretful for the cost (and certainly you should never put yourself into financial hardship for this purchase). Equally if any stone from elsewhere wouldn't be good enough - that would be a shame too.

    @Matthews1127 is right - haven't seen really anyone here who has been disappointed with their super-ideal diamond or who ended up feeling like the cost wasn't 'worth it', if that helps. :geek2:
     
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  8. OoohShiny
    Ideal_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Jun 25, 2019
    FWIW (probably not much ;-) :lol: ) I feel that yes, the SuperIdeals do carry a premium, but as someone much wiser than me once said, cost is soon forgotten over the long term, and instead one is left to enjoy the quality :)

    My money management is terrible, though :lol: so although I would say stretch oneself to get a SuperIdeal if it's not going to put you under great financial strain, there is also a lot to be said for the 'buy what you can actually afford' mentality :)

    You can always upgrade the superideals! but I am aware that us in the UK have a 'once and done' mentality towards engagement rings, hence pushing the boat out now can make sense over the longer term :)
     
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  9. marymm
    Ideal_Rock

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    by marymm » Jun 25, 2019
    I've bought several beautiful GIA XXX (equivalent to AGS 000) with HCA less than 2.0 and with AGA Cut Scores of 1A, from Blue Nile and from James Allen.

    I've also bought more than a few super-ideal diamonds from WhiteFlash and Brian Gavin Diamonds.

    For me, personally, when it comes to Modern Round Brilliants, super-ideal is the only way to go. Yes, I can see an appreciable difference in performance and in appearance, and, yes, I am more than willing to pay the price.

    Whether you can see a difference and whether you are willing to pay for it is something only you can determine. If time permits, find a smaller (0.30-0.40) diamond at BN that meets your specs, and then buy a similar size/color/clarity super-ideal from BGD, and compare them in hand. If you can perceive a difference in quality at that size, you will see a difference in larger sizes as well. And if the difference is worth the extra money that super-ideals cost at that size to you, it will be definitely be worthwhile in larger size.
     
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  10. Swirl68
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Swirl68 » Jun 25, 2019
    There's something else to possibly consider (opening a whole new can of worms here). You are paying a premium for that F color you want as well. Most super-ideal stones are graded by AGS, and AGS is known to be a little soft on color at times. Their F color grade may be considered a G by GIA. (But then again, it might not.) I prefer G-J colored stones, so this softness in color grading really doesn't matter much to me. But if you are set on an F color, you might want to research this color grading issue a bit. There are some informative threads about it on this board.
     
    


    


  11. whitewave
    Ideal_Rock

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    by whitewave » Jun 25, 2019
    You can find a good one at blue Nile without buying the Astor premium.

    You are getting better service with a branded super ideal from the jeweler as well as generous upgrade policies.
     
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  12. Johnbt
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Johnbt » Jun 25, 2019
    " haven't seen really anyone here who has been disappointed with their super-ideal diamond or who ended up feeling like the cost wasn't 'worth it'"

    We certainly aren't disappointed - just the opposite in fact - but she's had her WF ACA since April of last year and heard nothing but rave reviews from family, friends and strangers at work. She loves her ring.

    Now she wants matching earrings. :doh:
     
  13. Lykame
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Lykame » Jun 25, 2019
    @Johnbt that made me laugh, that is the problem with such awesome diamonds. :lol:

    @JackBauer, I personally don't think the Astor Ideal brand is worth it, they are much more expensive but I don't think I would consider them super ideals myself. I'm not sure what the others think. My memory of the last time I looked at them was that many of them don't fall into the classical range of angles recommended here - or well certainly having just looked I see a lot of crown angles of 35.5 paired with pavillions if 40.6. My memory from reading on here is that this combination has the potential to work (very well, in fact) but is also very risky as GIA angles are rounded - it doesn't take much to throw off the balance at this level. Looking at the Gemex certificate it's not an ASET image, it's just pictures of the diamond under very bright single point lighting. Many diamonds under that light look great. I've just gone to gemexlive.com and looked at an example on there and again, it all seems to be under single point lighting. I'm a bit confused. Maybe in person they are a diamond better than the 'average' but if I'm paying that markup I want more for my money and I know I can get that elsewhere. Having said that if my only option was BlueNile I might be persuaded.
     
  14. JackBauer
    Rough_Rock

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    by JackBauer » Jun 25, 2019
    lol so much insight I love it!
    I'm convinced!
    I'm going to go for a CBI diamond! Money is no object for a lifetime of happiness and I'd be extremely annoyed at myself for not buying a ring that performs as best as possible. I'm spending thousands anyway on the whole marriage process, what's another one or two lol.
    Besides, there is something quite romantic about conducting so much diamond research and picking the best available for the soon to be Mrs. Hope I win some brownie points with her for it. :lol:

    Will keep you updated on how it goes!
    Thank you all for your input! Must appreciated! =)2
     
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  15. Lykame
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Lykame » Jun 25, 2019
    Oooh oooh oooh so exciting!!! Please please please share the finished product with us!!! :D Your future Mrs sounds very lucky to have such a thoughtful future Husband. :geek2:
     
    


    


  16. the_mother_thing
    Ideal_Rock

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    by the_mother_thing » Jun 25, 2019
    Although it sounds like OP has made a decision to go with a CBI (great choice btw!:appl:), I would agree with the statement above. I don’t believe BN publishes any real quantifiable details about what stones are/are not ‘Astor-worthy’ except they are GIA graded and have a GemEx report; that doesn’t explain what the Astor criteria are. For example, to be called an Astor, must a diamond be GIA 3X and have all high or better ratings on GemEx, or only Very High and above? Does that mean if they had an AGS 0-ideal graded diamond with outstanding GemEx results, it wouldn’t be ‘Astor-worthy’ because it’s not GIA? Too much ambiguity for me to rely on their Astor ‘branding’ solely; just my opinion. Doesn’t mean I don’t like BN; I do and have bought from them happily in the past. But when someone charges a premium for a ‘branded’ stone, I want to know why it’s worth the branded price tag. Another big factor that sways me away from the Astor sales pitch is that BN doesn’t own the cut criteria/process to my knowledge; rather, it seems they select diamonds that have (enter whatever the Astor criteria is) and slap the brand label and price increase on top of it. That doesn’t assure me of a consistent expectation in cut quality should I want to match or upgrade the diamond.
     
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  17. Lykame
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Lykame » Jun 25, 2019
    You said it better than me. :lol-2::kiss2:
     
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  18. pinklemonadegurl
    Shiny_Rock

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    by pinklemonadegurl » Jun 26, 2019
    I've had my Whiteflash ACA for two months. At the pool this past weekend, even the college girls were oohing and aahing at the snack window-they said they couldn't wait until I came back(to grab more grub for the kiddos...) so that they could STARE. fyi I don't think college aged kids generally care much about (genuine) bling. It astounds me every time I look at my stone-your future Mrs. will always appreciate receiving the very best. Keep us updated, please....
     
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