shape
carat
color
clarity

Choosing Between Several Options

KAA

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Messages
11
Hello Friends!

I am in the process of buying a stone for a solitaire ring. I have educated myself a little on how the dimensions all work together but honestly am such a newbie. My wish list is a bit ambiguous – am looking for round brilliant ~2 carat, and I am not biased either way for fire vs. brilliance. I have a few options the jeweler has offered to bring for me to look at. Do any of these sound like they have good dimensions? I love reading the threads where someone describes why the cut doesn’t work well, so please if these aren’t great, tell me why so I can help learn . Because of where I live, these are brought in for me to see only if I think they are a possibility, so I prefer to select wisely.

Stone 1 (no report, specs from sarine and ind. jeweler assessment)
2.11 VVS (maybe…) F-G
Excellent Cut, Symmetry, Polish
61% table
60.9% depth
13% crown (34.0°)
43% pavilion (40.8°)
4.5% girdle slightly thick faceted
My comment: have seen in person but under bad lighting so wasn’t super sparkly but was very bright indeed

Stone 2 (IGI report)
2.01 VS2 H
Excellent Cut, Symmetry, Polish
59.5% table
60.6% depth
12.5% crown (32°)
44% pavilion (41.5°)
Medium to slightly thick faceted girdle

Stone 3 (IGI report)
2.04 VS2 H
Excellent Cut, Symmetry, Polish
60% table
61.7% depth
13.5% crown (34.4°)
44.5% pavilion (41.6°)
Medium faceted girdle

Stone 4 (IGI report)
2.01 VS1 H
VG Cut, Excellent Symmetry & Polish
66% table
58.7% depth
10.5% crown (31.3°)
43% pavilion (40.9°)
Medium to slightly thick faceted girdle
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
5,110
Are you located in the US or internationally? IGI has supposedly taken steps to up their game but if I am spending my own dollars then I would be buying stones with a GIA or AGS report only.

The reason this is important is the data contained on the reports set the market price for any given stone. Therefore, accurate and reliable grading is required to know for sure exactly what you are buying. Otherwise you risk over paying.

Based on that alone, I would reject all 5 stones myself. The first stone being the most difficult to accept. No way I’m buying a 2 carat+ stone based on a biased jeweler giving me their internal grading and setting market price. If you liked the stone and they are so confident then they can send to GIA and when the report comes back as they internally graded then money could exchange hands. Put up or shut up, meaning if they aren’t willing to do so then walk. There are plenty of diamonds in the world.

Reports aside, I am rejecting all 5 stones regardless. The first stone you don’t like already and it has the best shot of being a performer. The others are similar 60/60 style stones with pavilion angles >41. One with as high as a 66 table and all with low crown angles and consequently low crown heights. These will be similar in their bright but somewhat flat & dull appearance.

I might add excellent cut is so broad and varied and usually not very excellent at all. One of the stones was very good cut and unless you see in person or have video, the majority isn’t going to be stunning. There are some unicorns but they are the exception, not the rule. Stick with excellent cut, excellent symmetry and excellent polish. In the case of AGS, their top tier is “ideal” which you would want.

To help weed out the the best of the excellent stones, use this rather restrictive criteria to get you some decent candidates to consider.

54-57 table
60-62 depth
34-35 crown
40.6-40.8 pavilion
75-80 lower girdle facets (LGF)
AGS or GIA graded

If you have a tough time finding stones you could start living in the fringe a bit. Before we go there though, let’s see what we can find.

I take it you are wanting an H+ VS2+ stone in the 2 carat range? Would a 1.90-1.99 be considered okay? Sometimes you find tremendous value staying just a hair under a magic carat weight like 2 carats. And what kind of a budget do you have to spend?

Answering those questions can help steer us in the right direction to helping you select some online options to consider. And some of the online options may be part of virtual inventory your local dealer can also access if you aren’t open to an online purchase.
 

KAA

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Messages
11
Are you located in the US or internationally? IGI has supposedly taken steps to up their game but if I am spending my own dollars then I would be buying stones with a GIA or AGS report only.

The reason this is important is the data contained on the reports set the market price for any given stone. Therefore, accurate and reliable grading is required to know for sure exactly what you are buying. Otherwise you risk over paying.

Based on that alone, I would reject all 5 stones myself. The first stone being the most difficult to accept. No way I’m buying a 2 carat+ stone based on a biased jeweler giving me their internal grading and setting market price. If you liked the stone and they are so confident then they can send to GIA and when the report comes back as they internally graded then money could exchange hands. Put up or shut up, meaning if they aren’t willing to do so then walk. There are plenty of diamonds in the world.

Reports aside, I am rejecting all 5 stones regardless. The first stone you don’t like already and it has the best shot of being a performer. The others are similar 60/60 style stones with pavilion angles >41. One with as high as a 66 table and all with low crown angles and consequently low crown heights. These will be similar in their bright but somewhat flat & dull appearance.

I might add excellent cut is so broad and varied and usually not very excellent at all. One of the stones was very good cut and unless you see in person or have video, the majority isn’t going to be stunning. There are some unicorns but they are the exception, not the rule. Stick with excellent cut, excellent symmetry and excellent polish. In the case of AGS, their top tier is “ideal” which you would want.

To help weed out the the best of the excellent stones, use this rather restrictive criteria to get you some decent candidates to consider.

54-57 table
60-62 depth
34-35 crown
40.6-40.8 pavilion
75-80 lower girdle facets (LGF)
AGS or GIA graded

If you have a tough time finding stones you could start living in the fringe a bit. Before we go there though, let’s see what we can find.

I take it you are wanting an H+ VS2+ stone in the 2 carat range? Would a 1.90-1.99 be considered okay? Sometimes you find tremendous value staying just a hair under a magic carat weight like 2 carats. And what kind of a budget do you have to spend?

Answering those questions can help steer us in the right direction to helping you select some online options to consider. And some of the online options may be part of virtual inventory your local dealer can also access if you aren’t open to an online purchase.

Thanks so much for this helpful reply. You're correct in what I am looking for. I basically want something nice but not crazy perfect which can become a heirloom piece in my family. VVS is likely out of my budget at the around 2C size but I defer to expert views on whether I should try for vs1 or if vs2 is okay. I am okay with slightly below 2 though I admit to being a little vain and love the look of a big stone.

I am international and in a place where it is not easy to access a grading agency. Tax would be crazy if buying online so I have a local respected middleman who is offering me a look at stones that come across his table, that meet my wish list. The first stone mentioned, I posted a thread about a few months ago and others advised to run away. He ended up "accidentally" selling it to someone even though it was intended for me so I all have concerns there 20210606_072839_1_1.gif but did see it in person and it was gorgeous (as i said, bad lighting, but was very bright and white but not super fiery - see attached) 20210606_072824.jpg . Anyways, he is now offering stones 2 to 4 and i am curious to know what aspects of the dimensions make them poor (very large table in the case of the 66%, etc.). I don't mind the look of the 61% table I saw before though i know that is not everyone's taste). I guess I should push back and let him know the parameters you mentioned, so he sends me inventory that is a little better. But please help me learn what makes these ones so poor...I am very motivated to learn!
 

lovedogs

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Messages
13,229
Thanks so much for this helpful reply. You're correct in what I am looking for. I basically want something nice but not crazy perfect which can become a heirloom piece in my family. VVS is likely out of my budget at the around 2C size but I defer to expert views on whether I should try for vs1 or if vs2 is okay. I am okay with slightly below 2 though I admit to being a little vain and love the look of a big stone.

I am international and in a place where it is not easy to access a grading agency. Tax would be crazy if buying online so I have a local respected middleman who is offering me a look at stones that come across his table, that meet my wish list. The first stone mentioned, I posted a thread about a few months ago and others advised to run away. He ended up "accidentally" selling it to someone even though it was intended for me so I all have concerns there 20210606_072839_1_1.gif but did see it in person and it was gorgeous (as i said, bad lighting, but was very bright and white but not super fiery - see attached) 20210606_072824.jpg . Anyways, he is now offering stones 2 to 4 and i am curious to know what aspects of the dimensions make them poor (very large table in the case of the 66%, etc.). I don't mind the look of the 61% table I saw before though i know that is not everyone's taste). I guess I should push back and let him know the parameters you mentioned, so he sends me inventory that is a little better. But please help me learn what makes these ones so poor...I am very motivated to learn!

Do you need to work with this person? He sounds untrustworthy and not someone I would want to give my $ to. The stones hes offering dont fall within the recommended parameters, so they are not likely to be good choices.
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
5,110
When you start getting big tables with those pavilions > 41.2 this is what the stone starts to look like.

Notice how the areas are translucent/clear? Once you hit this critical tipping point, things go really wonky. Light doesn't strike off the pavilion facets as they should. The stone is void of brilliance contrast. Couple with the large flat top (crown) and it's a pretty dull & lifeless stone.

Capture412.PNG


In comparison, here is what a well cut diamond looks like:

1623104784020.png

I have made some assumptions/guesses on dimensions since none were provided so I could run you an HCA on stones 2 & 4. My guess is based on other stones with similar proportions but it is not the identical stone, so the "looks like" portion may not be 100% accurate.

You are wanting a stone with a score of 1-2 preferably, but some 0-1 scores will work also. Also, we would like to see "excellent" in the light return, fire & scintillation columns.

So in addition to aesthetics of the stone noted above, you can see how this is also affecting performance as well.

Stone 2:
Capture2.PNG

Stone 4:
The max table HCA goes up to is 64.9; therefore, the score isn't reliable and likely much worse. Below is a screen shot of my simpler cut calculator using AGS grade proportions, which it is reporting roughly at "good". It too is capped at 65 table, as proportion charts don't go to 66.

Short version -- stay away from this stone!

Capture4.PNG

Capture-sledge.PNG
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
5,110
I agree with @lovedogs that this ordeal sound very hokey. There is ZERO chance I would be giving this guy any of my money.

Additionally, unless you live in a country where the diamonds are being mined & cut then they are being imported anyhow, so taxes are a reality. The difference is you are seeing a price from the retailer that has all that included. Whereas, if you buy online you see base price + taxes = total price.

What really matters at the end of the day is how the total price compares to the local guy you are thinking about using.

Here are some options:

WF ACA 2.034 H-VS2 @ $23,256 USD

Super ideal. Plenty of sparkle & brightness. Amazing upgrade program. Complete & total transparency and all the advanced images & videos needed to make an educated decision.

FYI, the advanced images are more advanced & supersede any guesses the HCA makes about light performance. However, for fun, I am including so you can see how it compares. Again, with a super ideal, we know they are cut for maximum beauty and true hearts & arrow (H&A) symmetry -- something only about 5% of all the diamonds in the world achieve.

Capture.PNG


GIA 3X 2.01 G-VS2 @ $21,914 USD

57 table, 61.20 depth, 34.5 crown, 40.8 pavilion & 75 lower girdle facets

Proportions are very promising. No videos or photos available to review. Will need to request from vendor. Worth inquiring about if you aren't sold on a super ideal stone.

Capture201g.PNG


GIA 3X 2.03 H-VS1 @ $20,344 USD

54 table, 61.20 depth, 34 crown, 40.8 pavilion & 80 lower girdle facets

Again, very promising proportions. You need to ask the vendor for videos and photos.

Capture203h.PNG
 

KAA

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Messages
11
Awesome awesome awesome! Thank you! I had run them through HCA but wasn't confident in my knowledge to know what it meant. One thing I am weak on is using pics of the stone to judge it. Your pic of the well-cut vs. poorly-cut diamond was really helpful.

To answer the burning question: why am I even considering working with this guy and must I? The answer is....I am not sure? I was tuned into him by trusted colleagues and friends as offering nice pieces that appraise higher then expected later and I started to look at what he has available. I think I am seeing now that the stones are probably priced appropriately due to being 2nd tier cuts and maybe I need to look at more formal sources if I want to go higher quality in my purchase.

I really appreciate all the replies here which are so informative and helpful.
 

KAA

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Messages
11
An update! I took a look in my local market and found two possible stones, which I feel are both contenders:

Stone 1 (IGI report)
2.00 VS1 H Ideal Cut Round Brilliant
Excellent Cut and Symmetry, and VG Polish
58% table
60.5% depth
13.5% crown (32.9°)
43.5% pavilion (41.1°)
Medium to slightly thick faceted girdle
8.12 x 8.16 x 4.93
HCA score of 1.3
USD $19,178 (includes pave setting)

Stone 2 (IGI report)
2.52 VS1 H Ideal Cut Round Brilliant
Excellent Cut, Symmetry, Polish
58% table
61.7% depth
14.5% crown (34.6°)
42.5% pavilion (40.6°)
Medium to slightly thick faceted girdle
8.64 x 8.69 x 5.35
HCA score of 0.9
USD $26,986

Both are getting pretty darn close to the ideal specs mentioned above albeit with 1% bigger table, but I do like the look of a bigger table, to be honest.

The first stone fits better with my budget but the second is doable. My question is: are either of these sensible choices? Also, a more broad question - are diamonds an investment? That is, does the value appreciate over time like gold (so I should buy as much as I can afford now, knowing I won't likely lose in the future), or is it like a car, where once it is driven off the lot, I'll be able to resell but at a loss?
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
5,110
With very few exceptions and super rare items, diamonds are not investments. So do not expand your budget based on that falsehood. Instead I would encourage you to stick to a budget amount that is comfortable and instead adjust size, color or clarity expectations.

Should you need to liquidate the stone for cash, you will have select factors against you. I say “you” but this would apply to any person in a similar situation.

1. You bought retail, and will have to sell at wholesale or private party value. Both of which are less than retail. Wholesale being the quicker and easier way to liquidate, but also the least money.

2. Settings are normally limited to scrap value. Your style, size, etc likely won’t be the same as the future buyer.

3. You are selling in a used or pre-loved market. A bunch of people are going to want to just buy “new” unless the discount is big enough to sway them (point #1). The other thing is the more costly the purchase the harder to sell. More people will risk $5k on a private party sell vs $20-25k. Plus you likely can’t finance nor take credit cards, which many buyers use to make a purchase.

4. Depending on your market, the IGI report is less desirable. Most people here will only consider GIA or AGS for instance.

5. Most buyers will want a lab report with the highest available grading in all category. With GIA that means 3X, or excellent in cut, symmetry and polish. A very good or less in any of those are considered less desirable by most buyers. More educated buyers will also base decisions based on the proportions and also how firey the stone is to their eyes. Granted, buying a stone with any of these “flaws” likely means buying cheaper on the front end and likely someone will buy but it may mean a slower sale or bigger discount to move it.
 
Last edited:

DejaWiz

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
143
An update! I took a look in my local market and found two possible stones, which I feel are both contenders:

Stone 1 (IGI report)
2.00 VS1 H Ideal Cut Round Brilliant
Excellent Cut and Symmetry, and VG Polish
58% table
60.5% depth
13.5% crown (32.9°)
43.5% pavilion (41.1°)
Medium to slightly thick faceted girdle
8.12 x 8.16 x 4.93
HCA score of 1.3
USD $19,178 (includes pave setting)

Stone 2 (IGI report)
2.52 VS1 H Ideal Cut Round Brilliant
Excellent Cut, Symmetry, Polish
58% table
61.7% depth
14.5% crown (34.6°)
42.5% pavilion (40.6°)
Medium to slightly thick faceted girdle
8.64 x 8.69 x 5.35
HCA score of 0.9
USD $26,986

Both are getting pretty darn close to the ideal specs mentioned above albeit with 1% bigger table, but I do like the look of a bigger table, to be honest.

The first stone fits better with my budget but the second is doable. My question is: are either of these sensible choices? Also, a more broad question - are diamonds an investment? That is, does the value appreciate over time like gold (so I should buy as much as I can afford now, knowing I won't likely lose in the future), or is it like a car, where once it is driven off the lot, I'll be able to resell but at a loss?


Based on these specs, I would feel safer going with diamond #2.

Here's why:
1. The 14.5% crown height is my personally recommended minimum, with 15-15.5% being preferred.
2. The 40.6/34.6 PA and CA angles will play much more nicely together and should provide a great balance of brilliance and refraction (fire).
3. It has excellent grades for cut, symmetry, and polish...IGI gradings are usually much more loose than GIA and AGS, so to see a Very Good rating (like the polish for diamond #1) would make me a bit wary.

As @sledge mentioned: keep looking for specs that fall within those magic super ideal parameters, and don't blow up your budget past your own comfort level if resale value is a concern.
The only way I would do that to my purchase budget is if there happened to be an amazing diamond that was in hand and available to take home today, and my intent was to use the same seller to upgrade at some point in the future and their upgrade policy is 100% purchase price credit towards the future upgrade. But, this isn't my wallet we're talking about, so you have to decide for yourself what your own course needs to be.

If you are limited to IGI only cert reports in your locale, are there lab grown diamonds available in your retail sources?
Reason I say this is that most LGDs are also IGI graded and usually in the neighborhood of 30-70% less expensive than mined diamonds, depending on the size, clarity, cut, and color specifications.
However, if resale or trade value is crucial to you, then stick with mined diamonds, since there will be next to no retained value with a lab diamond starting on the day you buy it.

Food for thought.
 
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