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Confused about cut qualities on Radiant stones.

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typicalguy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2003
Messages
20
Ok, here''s the deal. I''ve heard numerous things about cuts on radiant stones. The first is that there is no such thing as an "ideal" or "premium" cut on a radiant stone.

A dealer has a 1.5 carat radiant with a depth of 69 and table of 78 that looks stunning in person when I''ve seen it. However, when I brought up the standards of "premium" or "very good" etc. in reference to radiant stones, they were highly confused. I pulled out the AGA chart everyone references here and said that they don''t go by anything that''s not GIA-certified.

So, there are dealers that don''t think radiant cuts need to be in certain ranges etc. as the AGA charts indicate.

Whom do I believe? Are the AGA charts referenced here hogwash or something to seriously concern? The people I talked to about this have been in the importing business for 50 years and have never heard of these standards.

Please help! Thanks.
 

pyramid

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Messages
4,607
If you do a search here under Dave Atlas or Oldminer (he is the same person) you will see he writes that these are his guidelines and what he feels gives a stone good proportions, not too deep, not too shallow, correct length to width ration etc. AGA is the name of his lab and he is an appraiser. I don't think jewellers would have heard of him as they have GIA. He has links to his pages on his posts. You must have got the details from his website as you already have his guidelines which you showed your jeweller.

I am just a consumer so maybe one of the experts will weigh in here with more information or perhaps Dave himself.
 

typicalguy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2003
Messages
20
Yes, I did get the info. from this page. However, I also contacted blue nile and mondera and asked about radiant cuts and desired proportions. They listed similar parameters. I guess I'm confused as what to follow. The people I'm dealing with are family friends of a coworker so I don't see them as trying to pull the wool over my eyes. They've been in business for 50 years importing diamonds etc. and have no problem with the 78% table they have for me. I must admit, it does seems ridiculously brilliant...
 

homer_j

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2003
Messages
234
They should have heard of them. I've been in the same situation as you, looking for a well cut radiant. I'm still struggling with this question, but I followed his guidelines and found what kind of works out to be a 1b radiant (T=64, D=65, 1:1.24 L:W, E, VS1) on his chart and it looks stunning. But, I haven't really placed it side by side with a radiant with table and depth 70+, so I don't know how it compares. I'm planning on doing so later just for peace of mind.

Since I've had some recent experience with this, I would like to follow up more with you and any others who have had radiant experiences. I'll check back later.
 

typicalguy

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2003
Messages
20
Yes, let me know how they compare. The jewelers I'm dealing with (now it seems I can't leave them b/c of the "in" I have to them by my coworker and they have the setting I want) just don't understand the reasoning behind the way the chart is set up. They're of the thought that radiants should have a decent-sized table b/c that's where the light is entering and reflecting out of.

Ugh. This sucks, maybe I'll just opt for the common-law marriage thing...
 

Pumpsie

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 19, 2003
Messages
16
Sorry for the length!

Typicalguy: I'm not an expert, but I feel you, man. My girl has her heart set on an emerald cut, so I've been through the ringer on this fancy cut thing too. This is a great forum, and you'll learn a lot here, but you should know that the AGA guidelines pretty much rule, just speaking in general terms. In other words, in my experience, there's a lot of debate raging about the quality of a fancy cut that won't really be fully represented here. I just mention this because if you're new to the forum, which I was just a few months ago, one of the things that a lot of these folks rally around are the AGA guidelines.

I'm going to post a couple of articles that might be, if not of help, at least informative on this whole issue. I know firsthand the pain of buying a fancy cut...I'm a total novice, but my advice is to (1) look at every radiant in person that you can get your hands on, even the terrible ones (which is also educational) (2) make sure that your stone of choice really talks to you and (3) get all the numbers you can on the stone and use them only as a guideline--in other words, don't eliminate stones based solely on the numbers. These articles came from the Diamond Registry website...they don't quote a source, but look like industry-type articles. Sorry I don't have more of a source on them, but in these articles are thing that I heard over and over from jewelers while looking for an emerald cut.

No News On AGS Fancy Cut System - March 2000

The American Gem Society lab’s Gemological Committee is holding meetings about
its plan to develop a new "zero" cut grade for fancy shapes.

Craig Underwood, chairman of the American Gem Society Laboratory Gemological
Committee, said, "We’re in the process of working on it, but it is a work in
progress." Because this process is so difficult, Mr. Underwood was unable to
provide us with a timetable for grading fancy cuts.

While there are some different ratios given from length to width regarding
fancy cuts, it is going to be very difficult to come up with any kind of exact
number for the quality of a fancy cut. In regard to brilliance, although
emerald cuts are not the most brilliant, they are highly valued for other
factors.

Many diamond experts feel it is virtually impossible to have a cut grade for
fancy shapes. As GIA noted in its recent study, even the industry cannot agree
on a cut grade for rounds, although the AGS "0-10 scale" (based on the Ideal)
has a following among jewelers and consumers. But at least for rounds, AGS had
the "Ideal" base-line to go by. With fancy cut, there is not even that as a
marker.

If they do eventually come up with a fancy cut system, we don’t know if their
fancy cut grade will be as influential as the AGS cut grade for rounds. But we
think that, with fancy cuts especially, the ultimate gauge of any kind of cut’s
beauty will be the eye of the beholder — or more likely, the eye of the
consumer.

GIA Adding Info on Cut to Reports - Mar.2002

The Gemological Institute of America is adding a cut "classification system" to
its reports this spring, said an article by Jewelers Circular Keystone’s senior
editor Rob Bates.

The new system has yet to be determined, but it will apparently be based on the
GIA’s research on cut, and will take into account the "taste factor." GIA has
said there is no one "Ideal cut."

"We want this to be similar to colored stone grading," said GIA president Bill
Boyajian. "It’s hard to say there’s one best color. We want to express cut in a
similar manner. We won’t say this is the best and this is no good."

GIA adding more cut information could cause a lot of commotion in the market,
as now people will be looking at how their stones fare on the GIA system. It
could hurt the American Gem Society‘s lab, which has its own cut grade and has
done a lot to make Ideals so popular.. So far GIA is still the best known name
to consumers. v

And here's a nugget that will likely draw some ire around here...excerpt from the same article.

In many ways, GIA is just confirming what the market already knows. And yet the
market still pays more for "Ideal" cuts (AGS triple zeros). Again, this is not
necessarily because Ideals are measurably more brilliant or fiery, but because
many carriage-trade jewelers will only buy Ideal cuts. These jewelers like to
have an edge; by selling something different they get a bigger margin. It’s the
same logic that’s behind the push for "branding" and for stones with extra-
facet. As GIA president William E. Boyajian has said in the past: "The
term ‘Ideal’ is confusing … We cannot recommend its use in modern times." v
 

homer_j

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2003
Messages
234
Don't feel obligated to use this jeweler just b/c they are a family connection of a friend/coworker and b/c they have a setting you like. You can probably find the setting anywhere. At least shop around to get the best price, I hope you don't feel funny negotiating for the best deal. Have you run a search on pricescope.com for price comparison for radiant diamonds from online vendors? I can recommend USAcerted, they have a lot to choose from and can arrange for you to see them in person.

Ask these guys to bring in a few different radiants that have different proportions to see what you like best. They should be happy to oblidge. I'd take a look at something with a smaller table (<70), you will likely see more flashy brilliance. Maybe not, it does depend on the stone, but ask them to do this. If they are hesitant, take that as a sign to try another broker.
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
Typicalguy

DO NOT FEEL GUILTY if someone is making you "obligated". You are not obligated to anyone but the lady you are giving the ring to and you are obligated to get her the best diamond within your budget that you can buy.
You have found what most here on Pricescope have found. Most jewelers, not all, do not know beans about fine cut diamonds. Not long ago, I worked for a wholesale diamond dealer that had no idea what an Ideal cut diamond was. He thought if you put it on a Sarin machine and it read AGS 0, it was ideal...wrong! It takes more than correct angles and percentages to make an ideal.
No, there is no set-in-stone ideal standards for a radiant but the chart that you have is the next best thing. Stick to your guns and you will find the radiant you are looking for. If someone in the jewelry is dumb enough to try to sell you a low quality cut when you have told them what you want...walk on and don't look back. You are not obligated!
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
-----------
A dealer has a 1.5 carat radiant with a depth of 69 and table of 78
that looks stunning in person when I've seen it. However, when I
brought up the standards of "premium" or "very good" etc. in reference
to radiant stones, they were highly confused.
-----------

Hi TypicalGuy. This is a typical situation. The level of "cut knowledge" you will encounter with most jewelers/dealers is nowhere near the level of sophistication you will encounter in this forum. This is "cut geek world", while the outside world is "if it looks good, it's fine".

-----------
I pulled out the AGA chart everyone references here and said that they
don't go by anything that's not GIA-certified.
-----------

An interesting comment, considering that GIA has made no documentation stance at all regarding the cuts of fancies. The AGA was (and is) the only lab thus far to attempt to create order out of the fancy cut chaos by creating very practical guidelines that help in the process of pointing you towards the better cut stones. Because of the idiosyncracies of fancy cuts, the charts are not infallible, but they are a heckuva lot better than nothing, which is what the diamond world had prior to their publishing.

-----------
So, there are dealers that don't think radiant cuts need to be in
certain ranges etc. as the AGA charts indicate.
-----------

Many dealers ignore all charts and numbers, just going on their gut instincts as to what is the better cut. The problem is, until one has seen a "premium", or "ideal cut", the other cuts look pretty darn good to them. They don't have a point of reference to work from, and the majority of radiant cuts produced fall in an "average" range. If all you see is average cuts, then your point of reference is fairly limited. The AGA charts "raise the bar" by showing you what is possible (but not easy) to find in the way of top performing cuts.

-----------
Whom do I believe? Are the AGA charts referenced here hogwash or
something to seriously concern?
-----------

The AGA charts are good, solid, practical guides. I use them everyday in the appraisal of fancy cuts, and have had the opportunity to see firsthand how they correlate to real life. They are the best thing out there in the way of "numbers" of guiding you to better performing stones. Numbers however, are not always enough if judging fancy cuts. Sometimes you will encounter stones which "break the rules".

My advice would be to use the charts in conjunction with an IdealScope to eliminate poor performers. The IdealScope is a realtime, "in your face" visual assessment of the light performance of a stone. There's no getting around it's image. It shows the facts. You can purchase one for $25 through the menu at the top of your screen, along with viewing examples of how it works.

-----------
The people I talked to about this have been in the importing business
for 50 years and have never heard of these standards.
-----------

They better get on the ball. The world is changing fast, with a new breed of "savvy" consumer arising. Those who don't keep on top of the latest developments are going to get lost in the dust of those who do.

By the way, you don't need to rely only on your judgement or their opinions of beauty and quality. If you make the sale contingent upon appraising out to your satisfaction with an appraiser who is savvy to optical analysis, then you can't lose. The stone you're looking at may very well be a beautiful stone, worth the money. But don't depend on the people trying to sell it to you for that opinion. Get the opinion of an expert who is non-involved.

And don't feel pressured to have to "go along with" any certain buying scenario. You are in charge in this situation. Nobody is going to think less of you for exercising caution and good judgement in a situation which involves the expenditure of thousands of dollars.
 
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