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CBI vs. ACA question

CaseyLouLou

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
208
Is there a big performance difference between these brands considering they are both super ideal cuts with hearts and arrows? Any difference in fire?
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
5,962
I was able to view both in person at the same time and there is a little difference. The CBI has more contrast which seemed to offer a little more fire. I ultimately chose the CBI but you can’t go wrong with either IMO
I would agree that you cannot go wrong with either option. I firmly believe any buyer/wearer - if possible - really would need to see both of the specific diamonds that they are considering (not what others see in their diamonds which a buyer isn’t seeing nor considering) to gauge if there are discernible differences and they can see/appreciate them.

For example, on the subject of contrast, I didn’t have my ACA when I viewed a CBI I was considering last summer; rather, I had my WF-ES still (which I later upgraded for my ACA). While the CBI was beautiful, I actually didn’t see as much contrast/fire in it as my ES. And no one was more shocked than me, given how much I’ve read that statement on PS, and was looking forward to that characteristic (more contrast) specifically. That doesn’t mean the CBI was ‘bad’ or the ES was better; rather, I think it really just depends to a large degree on the combination of cut parameters (the two were different while still both in AGS000 ranges), and the buyer’s/viewer’s eyes.

So I’d say: determine your budget, determine your criteria/specs, and see which vendor has what fits your wish list. And if you are between two diamonds - one from each - and can’t decide, see if you can manage an in-person viewing of both at the same time so you won’t ever have doubts or regrets over your decision. Good luck! :wavey:
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
4,441
LOL, you are about to open a can of worms.

Short version....both are top notch vendors well known for the excellent customer service & superb diamonds. You will have people from both sides that believe one brand is better than the other.

Most the time, it seems to be stated as a small difference and that there is sometimes more contrast in CBI stones, which some people like. Others tend to prefer ACA's. Red vs Blue, which is better?

One area that is less subjective is the fact that CBI has one product line. WF has 3 different product lines:

1. A Cut Above (ACA)
2. Expert Select (ES)
3. Premium Select (PS)

ACA is WF's premier H&A stone that is equivalent to a CBI.

The ES and PS stones offer a little better value but are "near miss" ACA's for one reason or another. Usually very minor stuff that isn't appreciable to the naked eye. But that is not a hard & fast rule. You always need to verify why they missed the ACA mark. Generally speaking, when most people talk about WF, they are referring to their ACA stones.

Also, I think it's fair to say that most the time ACA's are priced more competitively than CBI's. As such, you sometimes see more recommendations and more purchases of ACA's, as the dollar drives many decisions. Although lately, HPD (distributor/vendor of CBI stones) have been offering a free setting with purchase of a stone. Depending on specifics, that may offset any cost difference between ACA and CBI.

Lastly, both HPD and WF offer a really great upgrade program. Spend $1 more and get full credit. No other strings. With HPD, they even let you trade 1 larger stone for 2 smaller ones. Not sure if WF will do that. Also HPD offers a unique 80% lifetime buyback policy that no one in the industry matches. WF does offer a 70% buyback for 1 year. WF does offer a unique 50% upgrade program on designer settings that to my knowledge no one matches.

Also, looking at the pure quantity of stones, if upgrading is important WF tends to have a larger selection to choose from most the time.

You might have noticed I switched from stating CBI above when comparing HPD to WF. The reasoning is simple: I understand the upgrade & buyback policies are in direct relation to the vendor offering the CBI stone. HPD is a popular American internet vendor, but because the way CBI utilizes both domestic and international jewelers to distribute their stones, the policies could vary if you bought from someone other than HPD specifically. For instance, Fortez is an international company and helping some overseas buyers, I noticed they specifically do NOT offer the same perks as HPD. So it's something you need to be aware of, although most people love Wink and the HPD team.

By chance, have you done any research yet? There are several threads on here with pictures and videos comparing both WF and CBI to one another.
 
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amoline

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
341
This is like comparing Ferrari and Lamborghini. - They are both ridiculously high end supercars and you may find within models particular examples that do better than something from the other side at a tiny fraction. - Maybe the LeFerrari does 0-60 in 2.4 seconds and an Aventador does it in 2.8.

At the end of the day, they're faster, more expensive cars than what the other 99.99% of the world's population owns and comparing them to one another is only possible at the minute level.

Same thing with the diamond. Contact both vendors, see which one "feels" better, and go with them. You can't make a mistake with either.
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
11,608
I think they are probably very, very close. It might come down to who has the color/size/clarity you’re looking for within budget.
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
6,806
Visually? For me yes, and I tend to be a more visual person, so while the numbers are good for me to remove stones, they're not the end all for me. Not gonna lie, I'm compared to many here, I'm diamond dumb. But then again I'm all about colored stones.

I was shook that I could see the differences, I didn't think I'd be able to But yeah, I can clearly see differences between them.

So I'm lacking because I can't tell you who's the best, because I think they're all pretty darn gorgeous at this level. You just have to find what makes your eyes happy and your wallet not cry too much.
 

LinSF

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
449
I'm with @Arcadian ... I have a distinct preference for one over the other, at least for my finger. And that's a strong opinion given that I'm not an MRB girl!

See what makes your heart sing! Both companies are superb.
 

Mlh

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 6, 2019
Messages
262
Both brands will offer a gorgeous stone! I have recently done my share of research with ACA vs CBI and decided for ACA only because of one little thing: the CBI upgrade is a little less appealing to me. You are conditioned as to which stone to pick. It MUST be a combination of the two: color/clarity, clarity/size...etc I purchased G/VS1 and I know that if I ever upgrade, it will be in size as I find G/VS1 to be a sweet spot that does not need to be changed. I'd rather spend money on ct weight. While with ACA, you can pick any diamond of equal or greater value (no combination "string' attached.)
I didn't know that. Definitely?
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
27,745
I've seen both and have a preference but you need to form your own preference.
Here's how I'd do a double-blind test ...

I'd buy one loose ACA and one CBE, of similar carat weight and color, from dealers that have money back guarantees.
Make sure they come with one of those ring clip holders.
Put a tiny dot of colored nail polish or piece of tape on the palm side of one of the rings, not on the diamonds.
Have someone else put one stone in the marked clip ring, and the other in the other.
Have them write on paper which is which, and seal that paper in an envelope that you will not open for a few days.

Enjoy them both for a few days, side by side, in many lighting conditions, not knowing which is which, only knowing which has the tape on the ring.
Of course do be careful the diamond does not pop out of the clip ring, getting damaged or lost.

Write down your impressions and preferences for each - identifying them only by tape or no tape.
See whether you develop a preference for one.
Open the envelope to learn the name of your favorite brand/cut.

If they both look equally good to you, buy they least-costly one.
If price is the same flip a coin.

Clean off the clip ring's nail polish with Acetone, aka nail polish remover, if that is the one you return.

This test will cost you the round-trip shipping and insurance on the returned one, but IMO, is a small price to pay for a real-world test to fairly determine your preference between two fantastic diamonds.
 
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wifelife

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Messages
16
I've seen both and have a preference but you need to form your own preference.
Here's how I'd do a double-blind test ...

I'd buy one loose ACA and one CBE, of similar carat weight and color, from dealers that have money back guarantees.
Make sure they come with one of those ring clip holders.
Put a tiny dot of colored nail polish or piece of tape on the palm side of one of the rings, not on the diamonds.
Have someone else put one stone in the marked clip ring, and the other in the other.
Have them write on paper which is which, and seal that paper in an envelope that you will not open for a few days.

Enjoy them both for a few days, side by side, in many lighting conditions, not knowing which is which, only knowing which has the tape on the ring.
Of course do be careful the diamond does not pop out of the clip ring, getting damaged or lost.

Write down your impressions and preferences for each - identifying them only by tape or no tape.
See whether you develop a preference for one.
Open the envelope to learn the name of your favorite brand/cut.

If they both look equally good to you, buy they least-costly one.
If price is the same flip a coin.

Clean off the clip ring's nail polish with Acetone, aka nail polish remover, if that is the one you return.

This test will cost you the round-trip shipping and insurance on the returned one, but IMO, is a small price to pay for a real-world test to fairly determine your preference between two fantastic diamonds.

Out of curiosity, what is YOUR preference?
 

CaseyLouLou

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
208
I didn’t mean to open a can of worms - I genuinely wanted to know if there was a difference in the way these two brands were cut that was noticeable. At one point I thought hearts and arrows super ideals meant there was literally only One possible set of proportions. I now realize that isn’t true at all.

I’m not in the market right now for a large diamond but I do have the ACA melee in a pendant and my new anniversary band has 20pt super ideals from Karen Rosengart which I love - tons of fire and incredible sparkle. I wasn’t sure if I just got lucky or if I was missing something.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,537
I would agree that you cannot go wrong with either option. I firmly believe any buyer/wearer - if possible - really would need to see both of the specific diamonds that they are considering (not what others see in their diamonds which a buyer isn’t seeing nor considering) to gauge if there are discernible differences and they can see/appreciate them.

For example, on the subject of contrast, I didn’t have my ACA when I viewed a CBI I was considering last summer; rather, I had my WF-ES still (which I later upgraded for my ACA). While the CBI was beautiful, I actually didn’t see as much contrast/fire in it as my ES. And no one was more shocked than me, given how much I’ve read that statement on PS, and was looking forward to that characteristic (more contrast) specifically. That doesn’t mean the CBI was ‘bad’ or the ES was better; rather, I think it really just depends to a large degree on the combination of cut parameters (the two were different while still both in AGS000 ranges), and the buyer’s/viewer’s eyes.

So I’d say: determine your budget, determine your criteria/specs, and see which vendor has what fits your wish list. And if you are between two diamonds - one from each - and can’t decide, see if you can manage an in-person viewing of both at the same time so you won’t ever have doubts or regrets over your decision. Good luck! :wavey:
The bolded is the answer that is correct. Your eyes may prefer certain proportions. No two CBI stones are exactly identical and neither are ACAs. You might be shown 2 stones and choose the CBI and then a second pair and choose the ACA. Both are superideal lines and are cut within a tight range. Some prefer more brightness with a larger table and lower crown. Some prefer small tables and higher crowns. Some like 76 wider lower girdle facets and some like the splintery look of 78-79. It would be a grave error to generalize and say one brand is better than the other, because the diamonds are not all the same!

Like the_mother_thing, if I were looking for a diamond for a ring, I pretty much know what parameters I'd be looking for. I'd see what Whiteflash, CBI, and Victor Canera have within those parameters and choose the one with the best pricing to be sent to me to look at. It's nice when you can have two sent, actually. I did this with AVRs. I looked at several before I settled on one. They were all within the same brand, but every single stone was different in some way.
 
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kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
27,745
Out of curiosity, what is YOUR preference?
I won't say.
I don't feel that's fair.
Some people may think a guy with 27,500 posts has some credibility, so his word outranks their personal experience.
Not true.

As I've already written, I'd rather people to see both side by side for a few days in their homes, cars, workplace, park, beach, moonlight, candlelight, supermarket, jail cell :lol: , etc.
 
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wifelife

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Messages
16
I won't say.
I don't feel that's fair.
Some people may think a guy with 27,500 posts has some credibility, so his word outranks their personal experience.
Not true.

As I've already written, I'd rather people to see both side by side for a few days in their homes, cars, workplace, park, beach, moonlight, candlelight, supermarket, jail cell :lol: , etc.
I can respect that.

I only asked as an Australian consumer who will never be able to purchase both a CBI and an ACA, ship to Australia and pay customs fees for both and pay for return shipping for both and pay to have the other set and shipped back. Might be cheaper just to fly to the US :D
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
31,064
I can respect that.

I only asked as an Australian consumer who will never be able to purchase both a CBI and an ACA, ship to Australia and pay customs fees for both and pay for return shipping for both and pay to have the other set and shipped back. Might be cheaper just to fly to the US :D
Why not???...we are giving diamonds away here in the US...:lol:
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
27,745
I can respect that.

I only asked as an Australian consumer who will never be able to purchase both a CBI and an ACA, ship to Australia and pay customs fees for both and pay for return shipping for both and pay to have the other set and shipped back. Might be cheaper just to fly to the US :D
Sorry, move to America.

LOL, just kidding. :mrgreen:
 

matt_k

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
115
Very sorry! I mixed up CBI with BGD... my bad!
Yeah, THAT Brian Gavin upgrade policy is very restrictive. Depending on the clarity grade or color you started with, you may only be able to swing one upgrade before it gets too expensive.
 

RunningwithScissors

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Messages
351
I've seen both and have a preference but you need to form your own preference.
Here's how I'd do a double-blind test ...

I'd buy one loose ACA and one CBE, of similar carat weight and color, from dealers that have money back guarantees.
Make sure they come with one of those ring clip holders.
Put a tiny dot of colored nail polish or piece of tape on the palm side of one of the rings, not on the diamonds.
Have someone else put one stone in the marked clip ring, and the other in the other.
Have them write on paper which is which, and seal that paper in an envelope that you will not open for a few days.

Enjoy them both for a few days, side by side, in many lighting conditions, not knowing which is which, only knowing which has the tape on the ring.
Of course do be careful the diamond does not pop out of the clip ring, getting damaged or lost.

Write down your impressions and preferences for each - identifying them only by tape or no tape.
See whether you develop a preference for one.
Open the envelope to learn the name of your favorite brand/cut.

If they both look equally good to you, buy they least-costly one.
If price is the same flip a coin.

Clean off the clip ring's nail polish with Acetone, aka nail polish remover, if that is the one you return.

This test will cost you the round-trip shipping and insurance on the returned one, but IMO, is a small price to pay for a real-world test to fairly determine your preference between two fantastic diamonds.
This is NOT a good general test to compare the two brands. It can easily give you false information. The test can only work if you are deciding between two specific diamonds, one from each vendor. Here's why.

I've sat down at Whiteflash twice and looked at many of their ACA diamonds. There was a noticeable (to my eyes) variance between ACAs. Some where superb. Others where not. In the "test" you suggest, you have no way of knowing ahead of time if that one diamond you purchase to use in the comparison is a good, or not so good example of an ACA (numbers and ratios can only go so far). If you happen to buy a lesser ACA example, and compare it to a CBI, then you are left with the impression that ACAs are not as good as CBIs. But if you get a top notch ACA then it will look great and compare beautifully to a CBI.

CBIs are not all exactly the same either. I own three and when I hold them up next to each other I can see some extremely minor variation. However, to my eyes, CBIs are a lot closer from one to another than the ACAs.

Both are excellent vendors. You can purchase mind-blowingly gorgeous diamonds from either place. But there is more variance in the ACAs, I've seen it with my own eyes on a larger sample size. Sure, most people on the street won't be able to see the difference, but that doesn't mean its not there.

Would I buy an ACA? Absolutely! But I would want to see the specific diamond I was buying in person first. I am planning to purchase a tennis bracelet from them in the future (I'm saving for it now!) Both times I've visited Whiteflash I was treated super well and saw gorgeous diamonds.

I own three CBIs (e-ring and stud earrings) all of which I love and believe are top notch. I am comfortable purchasing CBIs without seeing them first, because all the ones I've seen (and I've visited the "Mothership" in Boise!) have all been superb. I haven't seen one yet that I thought was "lesser" so I have more trust CBI consistency.
 
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daisygrl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
202
This is NOT a good general test to compare the two brands. It can easily give you false information. The test can only work if you are deciding between two specific diamonds, one from each vendor. Here's why.

I've sat down at Whiteflash twice and looked at many of their ACA diamonds. There was a noticeable (to my eyes) variance between ACAs. Some where superb. Others where not. In the "test" you suggest, you have no way of knowing ahead of time if that one diamond you purchase to use in the comparison is a good, or not so good example of an ACA (numbers and ratios can only go so far). If you happen to buy a lesser ACA example, and compare it to a CBI, then you are left with the impression that ACAs are not as good as CBIs. But if you get a top notch ACA then it will look great and compare beautifully to a CBI.

CBIs are not all exactly the same either. I own three and when I hold them up next to each other I can see some extremely minor variation. However, to my eyes, CBIs are a lot closer from one to another than the ACAs.

Both are excellent vendors. You can purchase mind-blowingly gorgeous diamonds from either place. But there is more variance in the ACAs, I've seen it with my own eyes on a larger sample size. Sure, most people on the street won't be able to see the difference, but that doesn't mean its not there.

Would I buy an ACA? Absolutely! But I would want to see the specific diamond I was buying in person first. I am planning to purchase a tennis bracelet from them in the future (I'm saving for it now!) Both times I've visited Whiteflash I was treated super well and saw gorgeous diamonds.

I own three CBIs (e-ring and stud earrings) all of which I love and believe are top notch. I am comfortable purchasing CBIs without seeing them first, because all the ones I've seen (and I've visited the "Mothership" in Boise!) have all been superb. I haven't seen one yet that I thought was "lesser" so I have more trust CBI consistency.
This all makes sense to me. A quick question, if buying from ACA only and you have no CBI or any other super ideal cut diamond to compare to, how will you know you got "top notch" ACA or a lesser ACA?
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,537
This all makes sense to me. A quick question, if buying from ACA only and you have no CBI or any other super ideal cut diamond to compare to, how will you know you got "top notch" ACA or a lesser ACA?
I know you aren't asking me, but I'll repeat what I said earlier. It depends on your personal preference as to the proportions and overall specs of the stones. Technically the only way to be sure of your preferences is to go and see a dozen of the stones similar in size and color and see. Short of that, if you can only order one, I feel one is safe with all ACAs. There is no such thing as a "top notch" or "lesser" ACA. They have the light return images that show cut quality, and I have not seen one that was inferior to any CBI as far as cut goes. I've seen a couple of CBIs that would not have made ACA due to the images, and that's why it makes me kind of crazy for people to generalize and say one is better than the other.

I do think CBI leans towards certain measurements that some people prefer, although their stones are pretty much cut within the same range as ACA and absolutely are not cut all the same. Other people prefer other measurements. I've spent time looking at the measurements of stones on both sites as well as customer specs here, and I see some lean toward the brighter stones with lower crown and maybe larger table while others lean toward higher crown and smaller table. There's no right or wrong and you should be able to find stones with either proportions from either vendor. I'll say the same thing for CBI as WF...I'd have to see any stone to decide if it was the one, especially in a larger stone. You can't see the variation as much in smaller stones.
 

RunningwithScissors

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Messages
351
@daisygrl I'm not saying that any ACA's are "bad." They are all within an excellent realm. I am saying that there is some minor variation. I think most folks won't be able to tell. If you are super visually sensitive then you will probably be able to tell.

I don't know any method to answer your question except to see multiple diamonds from a dealer, whatever way you can do that (visit in person, buy more than one with the idea of returning some, etc.)

Also, people on this forum (not me, I trust my eyes) can help you navigate the numbers/ratios to get closer to your target.

Other than those things, I don't know what to suggest.

I think you'll be happy with whatever you purchase from any of the super ideal vendors.
 
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RunningwithScissors

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Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Messages
351
I do believe some ACAs are better than others. I do believe some ACAs are lesser in terms of fire and brilliance than other ACAs. I'm not the only person who has noticed that. If you prefer to call this phenomenon a "wider range of personalities" then so be it.

CBIs also have a range, though from what I've seen, a smaller one.

Different companies' diamonds have different personalities, but that is not the issue I am talking about.

I'm not advocating for one company over the other. I plan to buy from both myself. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the super ideal vendors.
 
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daisygrl

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Dec 30, 2019
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I know you aren't asking me, but I'll repeat what I said earlier. It depends on your personal preference as to the proportions and overall specs of the stones. Technically the only way to be sure of your preferences is to go and see a dozen of the stones similar in size and color and see. Short of that, if you can only order one, I feel one is safe with all ACAs. There is no such thing as a "top notch" or "lesser" ACA. They have the light return images that show cut quality, and I have not seen one that was inferior to any CBI as far as cut goes. I've seen a couple of CBIs that would not have made ACA due to the images, and that's why it makes me kind of crazy for people to generalize and say one is better than the other.

I do think CBI leans towards certain measurements that some people prefer, although their stones are pretty much cut within the same range as ACA and absolutely are not cut all the same. Other people prefer other measurements. I've spent time looking at the measurements of stones on both sites as well as customer specs here, and I see some lean toward the brighter stones with lower crown and maybe larger table while others lean toward higher crown and smaller table. There's no right or wrong and you should be able to find stones with either proportions from either vendor. I'll say the same thing for CBI as WF...I'd have to see any stone to decide if it was the one, especially in a larger stone. You can't see the variation as much in smaller stones.
Thank you for thorough explanation. I agree with you completely in terms of ACA being described as "lesser"- I likewise do not believe there is such thing... although I did see two ACA side by side and one had more fire than the other... will you be able to tell the difference without comparing? I don't think so. I have never seen CBI stones and since images on their site are not that great, I chose to go with ACA... their custom-made rings are also impeccable which was also important to me when picking my ACA stone.
 

daisygrl

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Joined
Dec 30, 2019
Messages
202
I do believe some ACAs are better than others. I do believe some are lesser in terms of fire and brilliance than others. I'm not the only person who has noticed that. If you prefer to call this phenomenon a "wider range of personalities" then so be it.

CBIs also have a range, though a smaller one.

The companies diamonds in general having different personalities from one vendor to the other is also true, but that is a different issue than what I am talking about.

I'm not advocating for one company over the other. I don't think you can go wrong with either.
I agree with you in terms that ACAs do have different "amount" of fire, if you will. I have recently compared two of similar sizes, and one has less fire than the other. I could tell... would an average person be able to tell? I don't think so... but it was there. I have never seen CBI so I cannot compare but was still curious.
 
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