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branded diamonds (for the average consumer)

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glt4392

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
31
For those who own, have seen, or work with branded diamonds
Are these diamonds really worth the premium for the average consumer? More precisely, are they noticeable better than an ideal, excellent polish/symetry holding color and clarity the same (I know it can not be done because of diamond differences but indulge me, let say 2 CZ one cut to ideal proportions and another to one of these standards) I was happy and truthfully busy enough looking for a great diamond on the online market without throwing them into the picture. The Supercerts and eightstart cut above, etc command prices that are almost comparable in price to those found in the mall jewerly stores....are they really that much better than finding an ideal cut diamond with excellent polish and symetry and MORE IMPORTANTLY is the average person going to see a difference even if put side to side to another ideal stone without all the claims of "hearts and arrows" and such. The average person does not carries a heart an arrow viewer or a device to meassure brilliance. These stones look amazing online but I have never seen one therefore I ask the experts...or those who have gone through similar decision making. I know they are perfectly cut but is the average person going to see a difference compared to a "normal" ideal cut with excellent everything and for which you don't have to pay a premium for the brand name?

thanks
 

caratgirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2003
Messages
634
I couldn't see paying the premium for a branded H&A stone, so I searched for an ex ex GIA, ended up with the crisp perfect hearts & arrows by accident (unbranded H&A stone), and paid a good 2K less. I did get lucky, though. I wasn't even looking to get such great symmetry. It does sparkle up a storm, though, and if you like to see the arrows with the naked eye in different lighting situations, do the H&A route.

I probably would have been almost as happy not getting a H&A, but just reading this forum and everyone's focus on the perfect cut, it is hard to settle after a while. Then again, if I had all the money in the world, I would have gotten a D color instead of F and a VVS1 instead of VS2! Where do you stop? LOL
 

glt4392

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
31
Caratgirl, I think you summed it up when you said:
"where do you stop.."
I have learned so much since I started reading from this forum. I looked for 2 months, found what I though was good and it turned out that it was not good enough when put to the test here. I have read several posts about certain heart and arrows stones which ARE amazing. My concern, keep in mind I have never seen a branded stone described in this forum other than by a picture which I am sure does not do justice, is like you describe, that for the premium you pay for a stone with a brand you can probably get an ideal cut stone either much higher in clarity and/or color. Now the reason I asked originally is because if there is not that big of a difference then the average Joe who does not have any diamond dealers as friends or partners may be better off looking at just ideal cuts. And, if there is a big difference how often will a normal person have his fiance or himself compare side to side an ideal cut diamond that is excellent on every scale to one of these diamonds? When I started looking 2 months ago, I thought cut was just set in stone and that an ideal stone was just that. But, I have seen many AGS 000 stones I have looked at score a "1B" in the www.gemappraisers.com cut tool which comfused me a lot because a stone I posted here was put down that scored the same but was GIA certified. I KNOW cut makes the biggest difference but are these stones worth it when it comes to the regular non-pricescope.com reader? I am not doubting any stone, I am just asking because I just don't know and would like to. before I spend the money I would like to know I don't have to refer anyone who sees my dimaond, including my fiance, to this site to justify my purchase....
hope everyone is great and thanks for having this forum,
 

Rhino

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 28, 2001
Messages
6,272
H&A ideal cut diamonds ARE DEFINETELY AND MARKEDLY DIFFERENT than the crap you'll get in a mall. I'm down here in Texas on a mini vacation and spent some time looking in various jewelry stores to see what was being offered for the $$$.

One example that comes to mind is a 1.01ct H SI1. NO cut data whatsoever except for basic diameter & depth measurements and even that was atroscious. 6.18mm average diameter for their 1ct stone. You can get .8xct diamonds that look equally as large except 100x more brilliant if cut is right on. These are differences we demonstrate to people daily and why we beat cut to death in our tutorial on the subject with many photos.

Rhino
 

glt4392

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
31
Rhino, you are missing my question and I am sorry if it was not expressed clearly in my previous posts. I never compared any branded stone spoken of here to a mall diamond other than in price. I just stated that there are almost if not more expensive in carat weight than the "signature" dimaonds in some stores. That was the statement. Now, many people go to the internet to find a great deal. If they pay as much or more online then it would discourage most UNLESS these diamonds are that much better. Most of us normal people have never seen a heart and arrow diamond so there is nothing to compare it to. The one thing I would like to know though to judge their worth to ME and my preference from a consumer point of view is, and lets take goodoldgold as an example since it is on your post;
will a GIA excellent symetry and polish diamond which fall within the AGS 000 cut parameters that is not "branded" pail heavily in comparison to one that is branded? and if there is a difference side by side, how much of a difference can be expected if color and clarity are held constant?
Rhino, you most likely and probably know 100 times more than I do on when it comes to diamonds and I wish I could make sense of it all at times like you guys do. I am just trying to see if for anyone who is never going to show off his diamond under a "heart and arrow" scope or have his light reflection charts available at all times it is acceptable to spend a couple of thousands more just to say "my diamond is a XXX diamond" and it is perfect even though you can not tell. Just trying to figure the ralationship of branded cuts to actual look in comparison to non-branded ideal cut. Now again, keep in mind I am asking this compared to an ideal cut, symetry and polish that is just not labelled and whether it is THAT much better.
Thanks for educating the rest of us,
 

glt4392

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
31
and please do keep in mind I am only asking a comparison between the braded diamonds and the non-branded ideal cuts with excellent polish and symetry, not anything else. I think it is clear that Cut is the most important of all factors. I am just trying to get an idea of what the visual effect would be.
thanks again and have a great weekend!
 

hoorray

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2003
Messages
2,798
Hi glt...

As a consumer who struggled with the same issue you are asking, I concluded that the issue boils down to how "tight" the cut is. The ideal cut parameters are a pretty wide range and variations within the range will impact the actual light reflection and brilliance of the diamond. I don't believe that there is a difference between branded and unbranded diamonds with similar cut parameters, other than the implicit guarantee/safety factor. Once mounted, H&A really means a very symetrical cut, which, as I understand it adds to what I call the overall "sparkel". Some people like to look at the arrows since you can still see them, but I don't thinnk that's the real point. EXPERTS ARE WELCOME TO COMMENT ON ALL THIS.....

I'm in marketing. A Branded diamond is designed to give you a level of confidence that the cut is a "super-ideal" cut and will have very high marks on the brilliance and light loss, etc. No one disagrees that branded diamonds as a group are beautiful -- they are all exacting cuts. Brands are, however, marketing tools to help accomplish a specific perception in the minds of consumers -- in these cases, probably quality and saftey as you make your decision. Whether these brands actually become established to have long term sustainable value-add for the stones is yet to be seen. Building true consumer brands is incredibly expensive and difficult.

I think what people were recommending to you on your earlier selection is to consider tightening up your cut specs in order to get a diamond with more actual "sparkle". I finally started ignoring the general Ideal claims, and looked for "super-ideal" diamonds with dimensions that fell into the 1A category, or scored below 2.0 on the HCA. There were LOTS of ideals that didn't make the cut.


Whether that was the right approach or not, I ended up with a beautiful E, VS2 tightly cut stone that really lights up a room!



PS. eight*'s might be different -- I didn't even go there, knowing the big price difference.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Run an archive search on H&A unbranded vs branded and you fill find a bunch of similar questions to yours.

Many question whether to pay the premium that a 'branded' H&A carries...it's a decision that only you can make. Many people have gone that way and been very pleased. Many others have decided as CG did to look for an unbranded but beautiful ideal make stone and been pleasantly surprised when they stone turned out to have arrows, but maybe not be the true H&A.

Can the naked eye see a difference between an unbraded ideal make cut stone with arrows but maybe not *perfect* H&A and a SuperIdeal stone? I don't know...I haven't compared them side by side...but I would say that the average eye probably could not see a huge difference, and if there was a visual difference, it may only be in certain lighting conditions that bring one a characteristic or another in the stones.

That said, some superideal or branded H&A's are not that much more pricey than non-branded stones you find out and about, or as you say..maul cut stones are almost as pricey as something like a SuperbCert etc. I actually think that SC's prices as well as ACA prices are very good, and in fact definitely rival other online vendor prices for what could be construed by some (consumers possibly) as superior product (due to the branding). Plus the differences between a maul cut and a well-cut stone are going to be hands-down earth shattering. Compare the Bscope between a maul cut stone and an H&A on either SC or GOG's site (one of them has that comparison for the animation). The difference even in a virutal light is astounding. But from a great H&A unbranded cut to a SuperIdeal? Splitting hairs maybe?

I saw an 8* in person against the store's idea of an 'ideal' make stone and I wasn't super impressed. Nothing blew me out of my seat...not even the pictures people take and post online blow me away of the 8*...I have to say that consistently, the pictures on here that have really given me pause are the pix of the SC and most specifically the ACA stones. For this reason, I am saving up for a little ACA stone to put into a pendant or something, but really just to have one of my own to see for myself the differences. Plus BTW 8* markup is about 30-40% over a regular branded H&A stone while SC and ACA stones are not marked up remotely as much, maybe 10%. So the differences really are not the same. Same with HOF stones...about 30% markup over an unbranded H&A. Not worth it IMO at all.

My two cents...but in the end let your wallet (and heart) guide you on where to search. If you want to put in the time, find an unbranded H&A from someone like DBOF or GOG's brokered stones. But there is something about the 'super ideals' that draw me..specifically the ACA stones...so it really depends on what catches your eye and where YOU decide to stop the madness!
(BTW it never stops! hee hee).

I should also add that it's very easy to get carried away on this forum. You come here, know nothing, learn much, and keep learning. I am STILL learning but I really should have researched for a few more months before buying our stone. Que sera sera. I learned so much more after my stone purchase, also with the help of the GIA course that I then tooko. It's easy to feel like you are saturated after a few months on here, but that part doesn't really end (if you hang out on here!)...just be sure you have enough knowledge to make a decision that you will continue to be happy with as it is a big decision to make!
 

niceice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
1,792

----------------
On 7/18/2003 8:28:10 PM glt4392 wrote:

The Supercerts and eightstart cut above, etc command prices that are almost comparable in price to those found in the mall jewerly stores....

----------------
This statement is not even close to being accurate. First of all, the odds of even finding a diamond comparable to an SC or 8* in a "maul" store are slim to none... In the case of SC, zero ideal cut with GIA Excellent polish and symmetry and in the case of 8* a very precisely cut diamond with the focus being on a precise pattern of light return with proportions better than 99% of the diamonds found in the open market. The average mark-up for a maul store jewelry item is 300% over cost! If history is an indicator, you'd be quite surprised to see what a "maul" store would actually sell one of these diamonds for if they could get their hands on it... And realize that we are saying this about a competitor's product!

With this out of the way, we do not feel that the presence of a name brand upon a diamond necessarily makes the diamond more valuable. The concept behind branding is that consumers should be able to rely on the brand to be consistent in quality and to deliver a consistent degree of quality but the reality is that we have sold most of the brand name diamonds over the years and eventually gave up on them because we got tired of having to continually reject their diamonds for not living up to our expectations of the brand as sold to us by the company at the time we bought the distributorship for our local area... At some point we came to the realization that most of the branded diamonds were being sourced from the same cutters and being simply sold under various brand names after having those brand names inscribed along the girdle edge... If the addition of an inscription adds value to a diamond, then so be it, but we think of it more as merely another way to assist people with identifying their diamond when they drop it off and pick it up from a jewelry store...

Compare diamonds with the same proportions, clarity, color and size with the same degree of polish and symmetry, with the presence or lack of a hearts and arrows pattern and we think you'll find that you're spending a lot of time staring at the two diamonds trying to figure out why one costs more than the other... We've watched so many people stare at three diamonds for hours that it isn't even funny... We recently entertained a buyer from Seattle who drove down to our store in Roseburg (it's about a six hour drive) so that he could compare three stones of comparable quality and select the best stone... He stared at the three diamonds for about four hours, studying them under all sorts of types of lighting and different intensities of daylight, and he kept saying "they all look about the same" and we kept laughing because the reality is that when you get to a certain point where the quality of the diamonds is the same and the proportions are all in the realm of super ideal that the subtle differences between the stones begins to become almost impossible to detect... Is branding important, we don't think so. Does it add value, we don't think so. Does it make a difference to some people? If they are brand concious yes, we have a few clients who need everybody to know that they drive a BMW or a Mercedes, who need everybody to know that they shop at Nordy's and who change the shape of their center stone as often as Bride Magazine changes the shape of their featured diamond...
 

glt4392

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
31
Thanks niceice, I was hoping you would give your opinion as you evidently know your stuff!
There is some comfussion when it comes to what I commented about "branded" diamonds and their price. When I made the statement about the price I only meant PRICE not quality by any mean. Specially since I have not seen one of the branded names found online. But, when you go to a mall store and see prices of 6 to 7 thousand for a one ct branded diamonds like the leo or solei (I think it is the name..) These are marketed as "perfectly cut" or as having 60 something facets...or in the case of a princess cut 101 facets and how finely cut they are and how much they will sparkle. They are also, as I was told by the salesperson, H in color to SI and I think some as high as G and VS on some brands. Now unless I am reading the listing incorrectly, the supercerts for example are around that price give or take a few hundred for the same color and clarity. $5700 for an H SI or so from a dealer online. So without knowing any better or knowing about the cut, the PRICE is like I said COMPARABLE. Now quality is another thing.
It gets comfusing when there are brands each claiming to be the best of the best that command a premium. I think your statement, while not judgemental of any brand or stone, reassures me at least that A PERFECTLY cut stone will be beautiful no matter whether it has a heart and arrow effect or not and will be no different/very slightly different than a branded one to a non-diamond person like myself.

thanks again,
 

sneakyp

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 24, 2003
Messages
19
boy did i struggle with that question, branded vs. non branded, h&a vs. ideal cut. i finally decided to go with a non-branded H&A simply because i was buying the diamond from the internet sight unseen and i figured that while i could always return the diamond, i would still be out the cost of having it appraised and then if i or my wife didn't like the diamond, we'd end up sending it back and starting the whole process again. again, knowledge is power and after cruising this forum and talking with jonathan at good old gold i felt confident in my purchase. i ended up getting a matched pair of H&A diamond studs and after having jonathan post his analysis of the two stones, ifelt confident of the purchase. Believe me, my wife is thrilled and so am i with the purchase. jonathan felt that he could also find some ideal cut stones if i didn't find what i wanted in the H&A ie. size,clarity, and color to match my budget, but it never came to that since i found what i wanted, plus i thought branded or unbranded, H&A diamonds were just "cool." just my experience with this dilemma.
 

Rhino

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 28, 2001
Messages
6,272
Thanks for the kind words sneaky.


Branded vs unbranded H&A's.

Here is the deal... the primary differences between various branded H&A's can run in the differences in how the minor facets are cut ... some brands don't even have consistent H&A's so it's hard to put our finger upon which brand and also what marks their stones as being "different". We even have different flavors of super ideal H&A's which vary somewhat in appearance depending upon the light conditions. Insofar as how do OUR particular unbranded H&A's compare to any branded H&A? NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL! I can even find unbrandeds to suit a particular flavor you may prefer.

I thought your initial question had to do with how do branded H&A's compare to stuff you'll find locally in the mall but I see that it asked about standard "ideals". Standard ideals do not have the beautiful optical symmetry that you find in top of the line H&A's and when they lack this symmetry and "tightness/consistency" in it's cut this also affects the appearance of the diamond.

Peace,
Rhino
 

trichrome

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
397
I think that no matter what you choose as a customer, you have to rely
on your jeweller's advice. I mean, if you have the chance to find
someone who is dedicated to his work, who is not thinking all the time
about how much money he will make from this deal, go with this jeweller
and ask him what he believes is good. It's pretty easy to identify
a good jeweller... just look at his inventory... if there are a lot of poorly cut, lower color
& lower clarity stones, find someone else..
You will discover that there are a lot of stones out there that are non
branded and that were choosen by your jeweller for their beauty. Here is
where you'll find a deal.

Trichrome.
 

NewbieHere

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
37
My son recently purchased a branded H&A stone for his soon to be fiance. His decision to purchase A Cut Above was based on trust and location. We live in Houston where they are located, so he was able to select his stone in person. He spent about an hour with Brian the cutter a couple of weeks ago. Brian jokingly told him "what you are paying for is your trust in me, the diamond is free". That sums it up.
 

sparkling rock

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 20, 2003
Messages
5
My diamond is not a signature diamond and it is gorgeous. You need to go out and meet some jewelers. A reputable jeweler will start looking for what you want and present you with a few choices to pick from--and, the diamonds do not need to be designer diamonds if you do not want them to be designer diamonds--I sent my fiance out to find a scintillating diamond--and much to HIS dismay he found one jeweler who found a handful of diamonds at various grades that were not designer and all were scintillating. A reputable jeweler KNOWS he/she will gain you as a customer for many years to come (birthdays and other special ocassions)...they will work for you!
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
If the average consumer has a jeweler who knows his diamonds, has a stellar eye, and is trustworthy, then of course an unbranded is a fine alternative. I bought my mom an unbranded H&A that could go head to head with any branded. If the average consumer feels he can't trust his jeweler, then he can put his trust in a brand instead.
 

Heyjud

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 26, 2003
Messages
243
I agree with "sparkling rock"
Trust is what it's about
And those who have bought these beauties
Seem to have little doubt!
 

niceice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
1,792

----------------
On 7/19/2003 1
1:34 PM glt4392 wrote:

It gets comfusing when there are brands each claiming to be the best of the best that command a premium. I think your statement, while not judgemental of any brand or stone, reassures me at least that A PERFECTLY cut stone will be beautiful no matter whether it has a heart and arrow effect or not and will be no different/very slightly different than a branded one to a non-diamond person like myself.

----------------
Welcome to Marketing 101 - the goal of marketing is to become a household name that consumers think of in a positive manner when they consider buying a product that you sell... In order to do this, each company needs to make people feel like the quality they seek is only available on a consistent basis from their brand and only their brand... Thus each diamond company markets their brand as the best, the most perfect, etc. but the reality is that beautiful diamonds can be found within each brand because it is not the brand name inscribed along the girdle edge that makes a diamond beautiful, it is the combination of proportions and the characteristics of the diamond that are going to control that... The brand name inscribed on the girdle edge merely indicates which company selected the diamond for their inventory or produced the stone in a small handful of cases... We were one of the first dealers who sold HOF here in the United States, it was supposed to be the most perfectly cut diamond available, yet we kept rejecting stones for having only Good or Very Good polish and symmetry... How could it be the most perfectly cut diamond on the market if other stones were available with the same proportions, the same pattern of Hearts & Arrows and Excellent polish and symmetry? We experienced the same dilemma with just about every other brand of diamond we chose to play with... Eventually we came to the conclusion that it was up to us to select the best diamonds for our inventory... We couldn't rely on marketing companies to select the diamonds we sell... Branding is the creation of Advertising Executives who are trying to increase sales for diamond companies... The idea is to gain consumer confidence by promoting a brand as the best, the only, the most perfect, the "one" which will make all the lifelong dreams of your fiance become reality the moment that you give it to her... But the reality is that the diamond in itself is not going to do this because it can't, it is merely the symbol of your love and it is your love that is going to do all of these things for your beloved... But we're not supposed to let you know that, we're supposed to make you think that our diamond and only our diamond is going to make the wind blow through your fiance's hair and cause violins to play when you drop down on one knee so don't tell anybody we said this okay?

Focus on the proportions of the diamond and forget about the name... Focus on the degree to which the diamond has been finished... The precision of the facet alignment... Focus on how the diamond looks out from under the halogen diamond lights that have been color corrected with diochromatic filters... This is how you should select the diamond for your bride... If you're buying it on-line, but it from a reputable dealer who is in the business of buying and selling diamonds, not a name. We suppose that you could say that "Nice Ice" is a brand... So is GOG... As are SC, 8*, and ACA... But the neat thing about all of us is that we tend to focus on the quality of the diamonds that we sell more than advertising the name that gets inscribed on the diamonds because the name inscribed along the girdle edge of a diamond isn't going to scream "look at me" from across the room, only the diamond can do that and that is how most of have built our business... By letting our diamonds speak on our behalf and not by spreading millions of advertising dollars out on a table to be swept up by the marketing moguls. By the way, you know who pays for those advertisements don't you?
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
----------------
On 7/22/2003 12:19
2 AM niceice wrote:
By the way, you know who pays for those advertisements don't you?


----------------

Big Brother?!?!?!
 

niceice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
1,792
Yea, Mara, you guessed it! Big Brother pays for all of our advertising... That's where your tax money goes... You're so cute
 
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