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Color appearance of mounted stone

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belle

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Date: 12/17/2005 2:17:16 PM
Author: solange



I still cannot get an answer to my question: Do certain stones which have been graded the standard way, face down, have properties other than cut that would make them face up 3 or more shades higher, particularly when mounted?

If certain stones have particular properties,other than cut which is very important to me, and I had a choice of several stones of excellent cut, I would want to pick the one that appears to be the best color in my price range and size requirement. The actual grade from the bottom would mean very little to me if it did not show at the top once mounted.
if there were some ornate properties other than cut that would make a stone face up 3 or more shades higher, there wouldn't be any case for cutting 'ideal' diamonds. body color is body color. the only thing that is going to change the way you perceive body color is:
1. cut
2. environment (including the mounting)

cut greatly influences perceived color. there is no question.

how many fancy yellows do you see cut as rounds? the numbers are very very slim for a reason. the cut and proportions used in rounds makes the perceived body color face up lighter than it is. for example, if you have two diamonds both of which when graded face down are 'z' color and one is cut as a round and the other is cut as a radiant, you will have something like a 'w/y' color round and a fancy yellow radiant face up. just as rounds can be cut to minimize color, radiants can be cut to intensify color. the only difference between them is the cut. add to that the environmental factor of the mounting and you can either further enhance the percieved color. nothing about the body color has changed.

i am amazed how bright well cut rounds of lower color face up. in most all lighting conditions i think many people would have a hard time telling between an i/j and an f/g when looking at them face up. however, the body color is usually fairly obvious when looking at them from the side. the setting would have a great effect at this point and can further effect the overall perception but the bottom line is a stone probably isn't going to be in only one setting forever and it may even be recut at some point. the only consistency is the body color. this is most accurately graded unmounted face down.
 

Demelza

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Date: 12/17/2005 2:17:16 PM
Author: solange

I still cannot get an answer to my question: Do certain stones which have been graded the standard way, face down, have properties other than cut that would make them face up 3 or more shades higher, particularly when mounted?


How does one select such a stone particularly if the appraiser sees the stone the 'preferable' way--unmounted? Why would most people want to pay for, say, a G color when you can get a J-L that would look the same when mounted?


If certain stones have particular properties,other than cut which is very important to me, and I had a choice of several stones of excellent cut, I would want to pick the one that appears to be the best color in my price range and size requirement. The actual grade from the bottom would mean very little to me if it did not show at the top once mounted.

I think I'm a little confused too as to what you feel hasn't been answered. I think the "answer" is that there are many variables involved when determining the apparent face up color of a diamond.

I am not aware of any factor other than cut and, in some cases, flourescence that will have a major impact on the color of a diamond. It is my understanding that the reason an ideal cut stone can sometimes face up as many as 2 shades whiter is because they reflect light so well that the true body color is masked. This does not mean that it is one color through the pavilion and another through the table.

I think you're right to say that for those of us who are not interested in investment quality diamonds, it doesn't make sense to pay for something you can't see. Problem is, of course, that we all see things differently and that 2 J color stones aren't necessarily the same color. One could be closer to a K and the other closer to an I. And one person could be very color sensitive while the other isn't.

Is your concern that you're wishing you had gotten a lower color stone since it might face up just as white?

I know I'm not an expert, but I hope this helps.
 

solange

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Thank you for your kind replies, Belle and Demelza. Actually, DenverAppraiser led me to the answer I sought.

I am very pleased with the ring I got, Demelza. It was not easy to find a 4.10 Ideal cut, perfectly eye clean SI2 stone in this size. I waited a few months while Lesley at Whiteflash turned down several stones I sent her from Multiple listing, saying that if I waited,she was sure she could do better for me.

Part of my family lives in Paris. My niece is a jeweler and gemologist. She designs jewelry using high quality diamonds and other precious stones. She had sent me her most recent brochure. Of course, I could not buy from her because of the duty on her new pieces. If I go ahead with it, I will buy it here. But I emailed her the whole post and then she called me.

She explained that when she is designing a piece with several large stones, they must be graded from the top. The bottom color does not mean as much to her since it does not show.

Sometimes she has to use stones of almost identical cut which, from the back,would be at least 3 different color gradesbhere. This, she says, has nothing to do with flourescence or cut. Some diamonds of the same color grade from the back will face up much better from the front, especially when mounted. It is just characteristic of that particular diamond. This is not subjective on her part or related to lighting conditions because she is selecting the stones to be used together and they must appear to be the same color from the front in all environments.

One of her pieces, a strand of fairly large, graduated diamonds took her some time to assemble because of the difficulty of matching stones. In this case, she had to use stones which would have been several different color grades from the back-she did not recall exactly how many. Cut and color had to be matched as closely as possible from the front but the clarity varied a great deal and many of the diamonds would not grade as well from the back particularly by GIA standards.

What led me to ask this question in the first place is that I am considering the purchase of a diamond necklace. Since the carat weight will be significant, I will want stones that face up better than they do face down and, since stones are graded face down here, I would not want to pay for a higher color when I can get lower colors that face up better when mounted. I like to get the best I can for my money since this is strictly an adornment and not an investment.

What I have in mind is a strand of at least 20 pointers with a piece in the front, with some large stones, that can be detached and worn as a pin. I have seen pieces like this in auction house estate sales. if I decide to go ahead with it,I want to pay for stones that face up better than they were graded from the back since this will amount to a significant difference in cost particularly in the larger stones.

I am sorry if anyone felt this question was a waste of ther time or did not make sense. Once Denver Appraiser mentioned that some European graders grade from the top I knew where to go for the answer I wanted.
 

Kaleigh

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I haven't followed this thread, but wanted to say that I can't wait to see your necklace. Sounds like it will be beautiful. That's great your niece is a designer and a gemologist. You should post some pics of her pieces, we would love to see them. Good luck with your project.
 

Mara

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okay now, knowing the WHOLE STORY, it makes sense, i know i wasn't the only one a little confused by the direction the thread was taking....i just tend to speak up.


puzzle solved!! i hope the necklace is stunning.
 

Regular Guy

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Date: 12/17/2005 6:12:34 PM
Author: Demelza

Date: 12/17/2005 2:17:16 PM
Author: solange

I still cannot get an answer to my question: Do certain stones which have been graded the standard way, face down, have properties other than cut that would make them face up 3 or more shades higher, particularly when mounted?


How does one select such a stone particularly if the appraiser sees the stone the ''preferable'' way--unmounted? Why would most people want to pay for, say, a G color when you can get a J-L that would look the same when mounted?


If certain stones have particular properties,other than cut which is very important to me, and I had a choice of several stones of excellent cut, I would want to pick the one that appears to be the best color in my price range and size requirement. The actual grade from the bottom would mean very little to me if it did not show at the top once mounted.


I think I''m a little confused too as to what you feel hasn''t been answered. I think the ''answer'' is that there are many variables involved when determining the apparent face up color of a diamond.
Just a quick note to say that this idea needn''t be regarded necessarily as so unique, and individuated. A possibly parallel question is presented in the FAQs section, where clarity is discussed, and it''s reviewed that if you want to assess clarity by bringing different assessment criteria than what was already brought to it when it was graded as VS or SI, etc., then the new terms need to be defined. By implication, particularly being mindful of the frequency on this board that the terms concerning "how it faces up" are used, a similar set of question can be brought to both vendors and appraisers with respect to color.

At the end of the day, the diamond is worn on the finger, not upside down and loose. If an objective approach can be brought to grading the diamond in the fashion in which it is worn, one would think this would provide a practical benefit to anyone. Further, it could improve the science of setting creation, helping it to enhance this characteristic more rigorously than perhaps is already the case.
 

belle

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Date: 12/19/2005 2:07:49 AM
Author: Regular Guy


Just a quick note to say that this idea needn''t be regarded necessarily as so unique, and individuated. A possibly parallel question is presented in the FAQs section, where clarity is discussed, and it''s reviewed that if you want to assess clarity by bringing different assessment criteria than what was already brought to it when it was graded as VS or SI, etc., then the new terms need to be defined. By implication, particularly being mindful of the frequency on this board that the terms concerning ''how it faces up'' are used, a similar set of question can be brought to both vendors and appraisers with respect to color.

At the end of the day, the diamond is worn on the finger, not upside down and loose. If an objective approach can be brought to grading the diamond in the fashion in which it is worn, one would think this would provide a practical benefit to anyone. Further, it could improve the science of setting creation, helping it to enhance this characteristic more rigorously than perhaps is already the case.
there is no denying that diamonds face up lighter...some more than others, but the fact of the matter is..body color is still there. an ''h'' is an ''h'' mounted, upside down or otherwise. personally, i can see color at ''h'' and even though it faces up white and i do not want an ''h'' on my finger. i wouldn''t consider anything above ''j'' for earrings or pendants, but not below the neck. so for me and the countless number of people who feel the same about body color, face up grading is not the answer. i don''t want to have to guess what i am going to see when i look throught the pavilion on a stone that was graded face up.
 

solange

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Belle,

I can understand your feelings about actual body of the stone. However, if you buy a well cut H, graded from the back, wouldn't you prefer that it face up even better than other H stones?
My I color stone is set so deep in the setting that I cannot see much of the pavillion so I am not concerned about seeing yellow although I did not see any when I saw the unmounted stone.
It is strictly a matter of personal preference and individual circumstances. I am sensitive to color--I worked in a field that required this skill. But my stone faces up white enough for my purposes and I can barely see the pavillion because of the way it is set.

If experts can't tell between a few color grades from the top when mounted, I doubt that many lay people can. It is strictly a matter of how you feel and not what anyone else sees that matters.

Also, since the question I asked was for stones for a necklace and not a single stone, face up color is very important to me and I do not want to pay for a higher color that I have to. I should have made this clear from the start but did not want to mention the necklace at the time.
 

belle

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thanks for the reply solange,
to me, well cut ''j''s face up amazingly white. so amazingly white that in most every normal lighting condition, i would not be able to tell it apart from a ''d'' when looking at it from the top..BUT i can easily see color from the side. as a matter of fact, i can see this body color in everything below ''h'' so no matter how well the stone is cut, from the side i see color. there may be a day when body color doesn''t bother me as much, but it does now and no matter how well those lower colors face up, they are not for me. an ''h'' that faces up better than another ''h'' is not so important to me when the color will be the same from the side. that said, if my only choice was between a mediocre cut ''h'' and a well cut ''j'' i would without hesitation pick the ''j''. i am fine with knowing that i have a ''j'' that faces up like a stone of higher color, but i wouldn''t want to pick a stone for a ring that was graded only face up. at least with face down grading i know what i''m getting.
in your case with the necklace, i am with you...like i said previously, neck up i wouldn''t consider anything higher than a well cut ''j'' because they face up so very white (and i can''t see them from the side) but i would not put that same amazing face up white ''j'' that i love for a pendant on my finger because i can see the color from the side. it is totally a personal preference and i don''t knock anyone for loving their lower colored stones, but face-up grading is not the answer for those of us that want a compeletly colorless stone.
 

valeria101

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Thinking of the cascade of 20 pointers... color shows exponentially less the smaller the size. You may see something in the four carat rock, but I in 20 pts is colorless.

Along the same line, you may not have to match the color of all those stones with the larger pendant etc. It doesn''t help that the larger ones may need to be relatively higher grade, but ...

My 2c


The same 2c can be found in the description of diamond color grades given by Sotheby''s in their catalogs specifically for reference about jewelry, of course, not loose stones (copied here).


Aside cut, I can''t quite imagine what other obscure quality may determine the difference of apparent color face down versus face up for diamonds. However, among the cherry proportions discussed on Pricescope (lets say, among the HCA ideals - because it gives more of a range) not all may serve this purpose just as well. I suspect the shallower angles Garry advocates for earrings and pendants are also those most effective for brushing up color. And there may be more to be said. Hope he''d pass by this thread.
 
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