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GIA EX: Let the buyer beware...

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BrianTheCutter

Shiny_Rock
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146
As some of you know, I have been out of the country. I have been following conversations here and participating in similar discussions with colleagues in centers of the trade. To that end, I would like to make comments and put forward a suggestion:


To the members of Pricescope:

The 2006 GIA cut grading system has enough flaws at first glance that leading authorities have deemed it problematic since its launch. Issues continue to arise. It is clearly controversial; that is not a question. The more important questions that many of us have been asking are:

1. What problems exist?
2. How did this happen?
3. What can be done?


(1) What problems exist?

Large-scale problems include the width of the ‘Excellent’ grade, the abundant steep/deep combinations allowed, mass-stereotyping of certain diamond types and forced rounding of reported measurements. It is a system which favors mass manufacture and mass sales over consumers. This may please big business and GIA politicians but some aspects are incongruent with known gemology and science. As an authority on diamond cutting, and a specialist in premium make, I can present several key issues in simple terms:

Width of the Excellent grade: Using the current AGS system for comparison, GIA’s top grade is vast: A diamond graded GIA Excellent may be an AGS4 as easily as an AGS0. With GIA’s steep/deep allowances each lower AGS grade leads to extra weight within the same GIA grade. It is logical to presume that mass manufacturers will cut the heaviest possible GIA Excellent. Therefore, when a consumer is buying a GIA Excellent the statistical chance of him buying an AGS4 will be high. GIA may tell you that within their top grade there is no visible difference but AGS will tell you it can be divided into 5 different grades: It is impossible for both of these organizations to be correct. A vast top grade with abundant steep/deep combinations promotes sloppier cutting, which serves mass manufacturers, not the public.

Steep/deep cutting hides weight: As the pavilion is made steeper, weight is added and spread is reduced. Allowing EX to range up to a 41.8 pavilion adds approximately 4% to the bottom of the stone without improving spread. If manufacturers cut the steepest/deepest angles possible, stones with less spread and increased light leakage will proliferate.

Steep/deep cutting entraps body color: This situation will cause dichotomy in an already-imperfect color grading system. We all know that well-cut diamonds show less color face-up due to optimized light return. Now face up appearance will become more incongruent because steep/deep cutting entraps body color (fancy colored rounds are cut either very shallow or steep precisely because of this). At combinations near 41.8 / 34.0 the diamond appears darker and the color becomes more apparent in the face up position. Put a 41.8 angle on a J color and see how yellow it looks. An F may look like an H face up. This is the opposite of masking color with great cut. It is incongruent for these parameters to be graded ‘best’ in a system where colorless diamonds are considered most valuable.

Brillianteering is stereotyped: Certain brillianteering approaches are penalized en masse, even when they improve the look of the stone. This stereotyping is a mass-grading shortcut. Diamonds with premium configurations, optical symmetry and careful finish behave differently than those without. This stereotyping penalizes the art of skillful cutting: If GIA wants to downgrade a diamond because a girdle is inconsistent or wavy that is appropriate. But as long as the girdle is of reasonable thickness, is not wavy and is consistent it should be graded as Excellent. Specific configurations and optical symmetry change the playing field. If the effect on light performance is additive it should qualify for a top cut grade in any system, providing that the girdle is consistent.

Forced rounding:
GIA reports altered measurements on their public grading reports. The current popularity of AGS documents and Sarin-type reports has developed a growing expectation among consumers for numbers reported to the tenth of a degree. GIA rounds numbers as much as 2.5 tenths and to nearest 5%. This is not accurate reporting.

Rounding and brillianteering incongruities: The approaches are disproportionate. For example, all diamonds with 34.8, 34.9 and 35.0 CA are stereotyped as 35s, even though they do not behave as 35s. Those are vast angular differences. Meanwhile, brillianteering decisions at the girdle are fractional, measured in microns. These are distinct incongruities. To blindly round up angle measurements as much as a half degree in the crown and view them all as ‘the same’ for grading purposes, while blindly downgrading an individual diamond because of a difference of microns at the girdle is disproportionate and unscientific.

Girdle thickness: Girdle thickness ranges may have widened. This needs further examination to be confirmed. If this is true, it is another incongruity: GIA penalizes painting and digging, supposedly for ‘retaining weight’ in microns, yet may be allowing far more weight by thickening girdle ranges in a system that already favors steep/deep diamonds.

Facetware rounding issues: When using GIA’s online Facetware the forced rounding may result in a cut grade which varies, depending on user input. For a user who is unfamiliar with GIA’s lab strategies, this is tantamount to flipping a coin to decide the cut grade.

Symmetry never studied: Diamonds with premium symmetry behave differently than those without. The GIA planned to study symmetry deviations in 1998:

From G&G, Fall, 1998: "In addition, we plan to explore two important considerations that have been neglected thus far: symmetry and color. From our efforts and observations of actual diamonds for this study, we suspect that symmetry deviations may produce significant variation in brilliance (this was also suggested by A. Gilbertson, pers. comm., 1998). Incorporation of symmetry deviations requires adding more parameters to describe the shape of the round brilliant, and devising a method of tracking multiple symmetry faults. Once this is done, the model can be used to calculate both images and metric values that show how symmetry deviations, both singly and in combination, change diamond appearance.”

If they had followed through, as other labs have, they would not be downgrading all diamonds based on brillianteering: Stereotyping en masse, without regard for the admitted difference symmetry brings, is a step backward and could be perceived as an insult to some of the world’s finest fashioners of diamonds.


(2) How did this happen?

Robert Shipley founded the GIA and AGS as companion organizations in the 1930s. For over 70 years the GIA contributed to gemology and academia, and set grading standards others aspired to emulate. They earned our trust.

Then, in one short year, the GIA lost considerable ground and trust, first with the internal bribery scandal and now with the release of a grading system that serves mass manufacturers over the public. Business motivations at GIA seem stronger than gemological ones. They have stayed inside the ivory tower rather than participating in global enrichment. For instance, in 2004 the first International Diamond Cut Conference was held in Moscow, Russia. The only world leader not in attendance was the GIA. Resulting studies and technologies may have prevented problems in their new system. Unfortunately the GIA did not benefit from this enrichment.

What is more alarming is that the GIA used trade people (with inherent bias) to perform their human observations. These observations matched only 58% of their prior scientific WLR and DCLR research. Instead of seeking consumer observers they went with a 46 degree obstruction model and put glare back into their metric. In effect, the science was adapted so that it would correlate with the observers. The result is a system which favors mass manufacturers and mass sellers (GIA benefactors) over consumers: Steep/deep were favored. H&A were favored by those who looked for them and not favored by those who didn’t. Girdle ranges appear to have widened, there are no provisions for symmetry and decisions favor mass manufacture, mass marketing and pedestrian sales. The decisions do not raise the bar. It seems to be a system by GIA for GIA benefactors, not for consumers.

What is GIA’s mission?

Why am I complaining? After all, I could embrace this system, advise the factories I design for to shift their parameters and increase my profits by sending diamonds with more weight to GIA for grading. Some have suggested that this may be a GIA political aim: Win business away from other labs by rewarding weight retention and increasing revenues of manufacturers who send them diamonds. This I cannot do. I am committed to the art of cutting and the evolution of beauty. Many esteemed colleagues feel the way I do.

In effect, GIA has sent a message to cutters, telling us to cut steep/deep. I refuse to do so. I also refuse to sit idle while we take steps backward in our evolution. This system that favors mass manufacture over the public interest is in opposition to the vision of GIA’s founding fathers.

GIA's mission "is to ensure the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism through education, research, laboratory services, and instrument development.”

Their own words demonstrate how things have changed in recent years:

“GIA's mission is to ensure the public trust by upholding the highest standards of integrity” GIA betrayed the public trust with last year’s bribery/grading scandal. They have never been open and forthright about who and what was involved. We may never know size and scope. Now we are served with a cut grading system designed to serve mass producing manufacturers over the public. This does not create public trust.

“academics, science and professionalism” GIA pioneered gemological education but some believe the present state of their academics should be subject to review. Many GGs have great expertise, but others remain unaware of current developments. The coursework has not kept up with academics and science, and there is no regulatory body or requirement for continuing education. Those who have the GG title are held up as trade authorities. Ironically, there are some GGs who know less about diamonds than public buyers they are supposed to serve.

GIA’s science has not kept pace with others’. As recently as last year GIA was still sending the message that depth and table are enough to determine cut quality. Meanwhile, over the last decade, tools have been openly and publicly developed by scientists and trade bodies which have proven reliable in the public mainstream. Other cut grading systems, the HCA, reflector technologies, ray-tracing software and programs such as DiamCalc have pushed the envelope far beyond what GIA offers in terms of simple proportions assessment.

“through education, research, laboratory services, and instrument development.” This is no longer current. Technologies noted above have existed for years but GIA omitted them. Why? OctoNus Helium has the ability to measure with great accuracy, but GIA omitted it. Why? In 1998 GIA stated they would research optical symmetry and color further but neglected to. Why? They are not current in these aspects, just as they did not benefit from the 2004 International Diamond Cut Conference. Why? They invested years and millions of dollars doing scientific research but changed it to accommodate trade observations. Why?

The rejection of prior research, adaptations to fit trade observations, steep/deep predilection, mass stereotyping and rounded reports combine to cast a long shadow on intentions. All of this begs a question: Does the GIA realize they have departed from their mission to ensure the public trust? For a simple answer, just look to the ‘Publicity’ clause included with the launch of Facetware:

“PUBLICITY. Licensee will not issue any press release or make any statement or announcement to the press, the public or any third party (including, without limitation, Licensee’s customers) which (i) reflects unfavorably on the Software or the performance of the Software, (ii) is false or misleading about GIA or the Software or (iii) is damaging to the reputation of GIA or the Software. This paragraph shall survive the termination of this Agreement.”

Though it was removed due to public pressure, the fact that this clause was handed down shows they knew their system would not engender trust. It also indicates they would have preferred to silence criticism rather than accept peer review.

“To ensure the public trust…” Trust is a two-way street. We must reconsider our faith in what this organization has become. We had respect for them. They have lost ground. They will have to earn it back.


(3) What can be done?

GIA’s die are cast. They are not likely to change this system anytime soon, but if concerns are uniformly shared a growing portion of the public will become aware of them. I would hope the GIA would listen to experts committed to cut evolution, but I fear the ivory tower walls are too thick. As an industry professional I must seriously consider future use of this GIA certificate, because I cannot agree with it. Regardless of my personal decision, I propose to create public and trade awareness, and to invite support.

I know there are many points of view and I don’t expect everyone to hold mine: This system will not meet resistance from common sellers of average goods, or from those who cite portions of it to serve their own interests. However, for those who see the big picture as I do here are some options:

A. Stop using the services of GIA. This is simple enough, but it does not help consumers.

B. Clearly explain why we prefer AGS. For consumers, the example of mass manufacturers cutting AGS-4 equivalents that will receive GIA Excellent should be enough motivation for any educated shopper to seek AGS grading. For the trade, the AGS has earned our trust. In the past 10 years, they have partnered with cutters and experts to seek understanding. Their system rewards careful approaches and proven beauty. The AGS Ideal mark is a top standard and their openness and commitment to “ensuring the public trust” is reminiscent of what Shipley and other founding fathers envisioned for the GIA.

C. Come together and voice public concern. In this internet age we can do this using an independent webpage that people can quickly link. It will cite reasons that people are concerned with aspects of this system and perhaps invite electronic signatures. It will be open to consumers as well as trade people so that this information can be shared concisely and uniformly.

Some will see option C as a waste of energy and that is fine. For those of us who are passionate and wish to express ourselves it can serve as common ground, a symbol of what we believe is right and the opportunity to share our views with others at the click of a mouse. There are many who already feel this way. Others are not yet aware of the implications. As the effects trickle down I believe more people will want and need this information. I believe more voices will be raised in support of moving forward, not backward, in cut evolution.

It will be unfortunate for our trade if this system is never analyzed and adjusted. In time it is my hope that GIA’s leaders will remember their written mission and pay heed to our public voice.

Sincerely,
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,417
Thank you Brian.
What a sell out.
GIA is pandering to the industry and forsaking its responsibility to consumers.
This is BS.

I am going to avoid GIA stones, even if I found a good one.
What they are doing is unethical.
I will stick to AGS.
 

Shay37

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 1, 2004
Messages
3,343
Wow, with these concerns involved, it''s like why did they even bother to institute a cut grade at all?

shay
 

RockDoc

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
2,509
Date: 3/6/2006 10:55:22 AM
Author: BrianTheCutter

Date: 3/6/2006 10:47:37 AM
Author: Serg
Hi Brian,

We need:
3.d -Second International Diamond Cut Conference
We are in 100% agreement. We understand that there are ideas to have it elsewhere, but we feel that to have the greatest impact it should be held in the US. And we are happy to help orchestrate it.
Serg

Are you able to go to the AGS conclave. If you can, we could certianly start it there in April.

There will be some very important people present that should be aware of this as well, and a gathering of many of us who really care about straightening such a matter out. DTC, some of the trade press, Peter and Jim, just to name a very few.

Rockdoc
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Date: 3/6/2006 10:40:28 AM
Author: Shay37
Wow, with these concerns involved, it''s like why did they even bother to institute a cut grade at all?

shay
I would say, because as such a large leading lab and respected authority, they hoped that the new grading system would not be challenged but rather embraced for it''s wider parameters, as it will probably be by those who are selling less than stellar items to consumers.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
Well said Brian

B and C and the cut conference need to be done.

I think its pretty clear what the problems are but understanding how and why GIA got where they did is a huge question to me.

They need to come clean on the bribery/grading scandal also.

Kenny,
There is an old saying "dont cut off your nose to spite your face"
I feel a consumer boycott of GIA at this time would be doing that.
It would hurt the wrong people and likely not effect GIA much.
I have no problem buying GIA graded diamonds from trusted vendors when they come with enough information that I can ignore the GIA cut grade or they are fancies that dont have a cut grade.
 

Shay37

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 1, 2004
Messages
3,343
Date: 3/6/2006 11:21:33 AM
Author: Mara

Date: 3/6/2006 10:40:28 AM
Author: Shay37
Wow, with these concerns involved, it''s like why did they even bother to institute a cut grade at all?

shay
I would say, because as such a large leading lab and respected authority, they hoped that the new grading system would not be challenged but rather embraced for it''s wider parameters, as it will probably be by those who are selling less than stellar items to consumers.
Good point, Mara. I for one am disappointed with the problems that Brian mentioned. A cut grade is supposed to make it easier for consumers to find a well-cut stone. GIA seems to be just muddying the waters with this one.

shay
 

Serg

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
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Messages
2,518
Date: 3/6/2006 11:18:29 AM
Author: RockDoc

Date: 3/6/2006 10:55:22 AM
Author: BrianTheCutter


Date: 3/6/2006 10:47:37 AM
Author: Serg
Hi Brian,

We need:
3.d -Second International Diamond Cut Conference
We are in 100% agreement. We understand that there are ideas to have it elsewhere, but we feel that to have the greatest impact it should be held in the US. And we are happy to help orchestrate it.
Serg

Are you able to go to the AGS conclave. If you can, we could certianly start it there in April.

There will be some very important people present that should be aware of this as well, and a gathering of many of us who really care about straightening such a matter out. DTC, some of the trade press, Peter and Jim, just to name a very few.

Rockdoc
re:Are you able to go to the AGS conclave

It is depends from USA embassy in Moscow only. I am waiting USA visa.
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
7,479
Brian,

Thank you for putting all of the facts in one well written post where they can be read, digested and discussed.

I am in complete agreement with you and Sergey that there needs to be a second International Diamond Cut Conference. I do not agree with Roc that it should be held in conjunction with the AGS Conclave. It is true that there will be many wonderful bright lights of the industry there, but the political implications of holding it at the Conclave concern me.

I believe that it is in the best interest of the consumer if such a conference can be held at a different time and place and that hopefully members of the leadership of both AGS and GIA can be convinced to be there. Like it or not GIA is currently the big fish in the lake and without their participation much that should be gained will not be.

I also believe that if GIA will not come we should still have such a conference, but I do not think it is properly held at the AGS conference as then it might well be labeled an AGS program when it deserves to be more. I expect that AGS leadership will support the conference no matter where it is held, but that is an answer that they will have to give. At this late of a date I doubt that the schedule of the AGS Conclave could be modified much anyway, as it is already jam packed with more than any one individual can hope to do.

Brain, thanks again for a powerful presentation of information, not hype. Perhaps if enough people embrace this type of informative discourse the GIA will be convinced to do their homework and make a truly useable and scientifically accurate system.

Wink
 

belle

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
10,285
thanks for putting all of this information together brian. i think a cut conference will have a powerful impact. i agree with wink though, this needs to be addressed seperate from the ags conclave.
 

adamasgem

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2003
Messages
1,338
Well said Brian..

I guess there was just too much influence from Greed In America's management and probably some of their benefactors.
It is all about money and selling paper, they wouldn't want to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs, would they?





.
 

RockDoc

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
2,509
Date: 3/6/2006 10:40:28 AM
Author: Shay37
Wow, with these concerns involved, it's like why did they even bother to institute a cut grade at all?

shay
Shay:

That is basically pretty simple to understand. The powers to be a GIA look at the business that AGS LAB is getting as their loss.

Now that AGS is turning stones around for grading in 5 days, has a reasonably researched cut grading system, and is marketing their services on a reachout to the global community, every stone that AGS grades represents a financial loss to GIA.

I can basically and reasonably assure you, that GIA feels that having been the almost exclusive source of grading reports for the trade that, they are looking at a tremendous financial loss now that AGS is offering a better grading report, a more accurate grading report, and doing it in 5 days, as compared to weeks it takes GIA.

I think the average cost for an GIA report is about $ 150.00 per stone if one considers stones of from under 1 carat to 2.50 carats. Multiply this by a conservative estimate of 100,000 stones per year, that possibly AGS is grading, and you get to realize just how many dollars GIA lost over the past few years. GIA for years considered its grading marketplace to be their sole "property". I get lost with the decimal places but seems like this would be 15 million...

Another interesting fact is that GIA understood a lot about cutting even as far back as the early 50's and 60's, and they did teach this in their classes, but yet eliminated much of the facts from their reports relative to proportions. To wit, the GIA taught one group of principles, but practiced another.

But I do absolutely not feel this is over yet. Far more chatacteristics in diamonds should be included in the reports. I've been gradually writing about this more and more over the years. Back in the 80's I was very active in attempting to get legislation to establish licensing for jewelers, such as it is done in most professions. In looking at the entire industry, it is like the Wild West Anyone with or without gemological credentials can grade diamonds and accountability and responsibility for the gradings they report to consumers is swept aside. I support the need for accountability in grading, at least at a minimum of a signature of a person who is asserting the grading represented, along with the credentials he has to make such a determination. This practice of non-gemologists at the wholesale and retail levels needs to be curtailed in the interest of consumer assurances. I am not talking about dealers or sellers that offer stones for sale with grading reports by a major lab, but those who infer that "you don't need a grading report" as it raises the price of the stone by 20-or 30%. In this type of scenario I find that the overwhelming number of these stones have the grading qualities overstated or at a minimum grossly incomplete. Just last week Wink wrote a post that exposes that many non gemoologists don't know what they are doing and the wholesalers do even take advantage of them a bit.

The people here on Pricescope are just about the "best" folks that a consumer can find access to. Many of us in the trade do this as a passion rather than just a way to feather our financial nests.


Rockdoc
 

Slykat12

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
391
wow, excellent report. I learned a lot.

Love the passion. I am very glad you are standing by what you believe protecting your profession and the consumer..
 

Modified Brilliant

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
1,481
Date: 3/6/2006 12:20:32 PM
Author: RockDoc

Date: 3/6/2006 10:40:28 AM
Author: Shay37
Wow, with these concerns involved, it''s like why did they even bother to institute a cut grade at all?

shay
Shay:

That is basically pretty simple to understand. The powers to be a GIA look at the business that AGS LAB is getting as their loss.

Now that AGS is turning stones around for grading in 5 days, has a reasonably researched cut grading system, and is marketing their services on a reachout to the global community, every stone that AGS grades represents a financial loss to GIA.

I can basically and reasonably assure you, that GIA feels that having been the almost exclusive source of grading reports for the trade that, they are looking at a tremendous financial loss now that AGS is offering a better grading report, a more accurate grading report, and doing it in 5 days, as compared to weeks it takes GIA.

I think the average cost for an GIA report is about $ 150.00 per stone if one considers stones of from under 1 carat to 2.50 carats. Multiply this by a conservative estimate of 100,000 stones per year, that possibly AGS is grading, and you get to realize just how many dollars GIA lost over the past few years. GIA for years considered its grading marketplace to be their sole ''property''. I get lost with the decimal places but seems like this would be 15 million...

Another interesting fact is that GIA understood a lot about cutting even as far back as the early 50''s and 60''s, and they did teach this in their classes, but yet eliminated much of the facts from their reports relative to proportions. To wit, the GIA taught one group of principles, but practiced another.

But I do absolutely not feel this is over yet. Far more chatacteristics in diamonds should be included in the reports. I''ve been gradually writing about this more and more over the years. Back in the 80''s I was very active in attempting to get legislation to establish licensing for jewelers, such as it is done in most professions. In looking at the entire industry, it is like the Wild West Anyone with or without gemological credentials can grade diamonds and accountability and responsibility for the gradings they report to consumers is swept aside. I support the need for accountability in grading, at least at a minimum of a signature of a person who is asserting the grading represented, along with the credentials he has to make such a determination. This practice of non-gemologists at the wholesale and retail levels needs to be curtailed in the interest of consumer assurances. I am not talking about dealers or sellers that offer stones for sale with grading reports by a major lab, but those who infer that ''you don''t need a grading report'' as it raises the price of the stone by 20-or 30%. In this type of scenario I find that the overwhelming number of these stones have the grading qualities overstated or at a minimum grossly incomplete. Just last week Wink wrote a post that exposes that many non gemoologists don''t know what they are doing and the wholesalers do even take advantage of them a bit.

The people here on Pricescope are just about the ''best'' folks that a consumer can find access to. Many of us in the trade do this as a passion rather than just a way to feather our financial nests.


Rockdoc
I''m all for licensing and accountability. It is still like the Wild West, I agree. It''s ridiculous that you need a license to groom a dog or give a manicure but not for grading an item worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. My biggest fear is a "grandfathering" clause that would put any licensing efforts back to square one. I don''t see any politicians taking this seriously, it''s not important to them and never has been.

www.metrojewelryappraisers.com
 

RockDoc

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
2,509
Date: 3/6/2006 11:41:17 AM
Author: Wink
Brian,

Thank you for putting all of the facts in one well written post where they can be read, digested and discussed.

I am in complete agreement with you and Sergey that there needs to be a second International Diamond Cut Conference. I do not agree with Roc that it should be held in conjunction with the AGS Conclave. It is true that there will be many wonderful bright lights of the industry there, but the political implications of holding it at the Conclave concern me.

I believe that it is in the best interest of the consumer if such a conference can be held at a different time and place and that hopefully members of the leadership of both AGS and GIA can be convinced to be there. Like it or not GIA is currently the big fish in the lake and without their participation much that should be gained will not be.

I also believe that if GIA will not come we should still have such a conference, but I do not think it is properly held at the AGS conference as then it might well be labeled an AGS program when it deserves to be more. I expect that AGS leadership will support the conference no matter where it is held, but that is an answer that they will have to give. At this late of a date I doubt that the schedule of the AGS Conclave could be modified much anyway, as it is already jam packed with more than any one individual can hope to do.

Brain, thanks again for a powerful presentation of information, not hype. Perhaps if enough people embrace this type of informative discourse the GIA will be convinced to do their homework and make a truly useable and scientifically accurate system.

Wink
I didn''t suggest meeting there as being part of the conclave, or a derivitive of it, just maybe a lot of us meeting on the side, since a lot of us will be there, to get things started and inviting those interested in furthering things, which would need to develop into it''s own at which time, those formulating this effort could set up another time and place to have everyone ( including GIA, EGL, IGI etc) together.

A uniform cut grading equal from all the labs would be the most meaningful attempt at this, if we can get "everyone" to agree on things.

Rockdoc
 

adamasgem

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2003
Messages
1,338
Date: 3/6/2006 1:44:23 PM
Author: RockDoc


I didn''t suggest meeting there as being part of the conclave, or a derivitive of it, just maybe a lot of us meeting on the side, since a lot of us will be there, to get things started and inviting those interested in furthering things, which would need to develop into it''s own at which time, those formulating this effort could set up another time and place to have everyone ( including GIA, EGL, IGI etc) together.

A uniform cut grading equal from all the labs would be the most meaningful attempt at this, if we can get ''everyone'' to agree on things.

Rockdoc
I think there will be ample oportunity for those interested for some late night get-togethers to discuss the issue in depth. I''m sure that AGS members and non members are going to be awfully interested, especially those attending the AGS cut grading training sessions.

Consumers are going to be even more hoodwinked by the vast majority of Greed In America''s paper users.

Is this another Certifigate in the making? It does have wider implications for the public at large, than the "buy a grade" scandal, and its coverup by Greed In America''s management. Such a shame that a one time respected organization has lost the misplaced trust of so many in the trade over the last 10 years or so.

I feel sincerely sorry for a lot of the good people that work there, under, what I have heard from those who have left, is an envirionment which doesn''t allow for honest disagreement and opinion. Tow the "company" line, period.

"Standards" have gone out the window, constantly changing (arbitrary widening and "redefinitions", like what I have documented) to the ultimate detriment of the consumer. Greed In America has gone the way of a lot the paper pushers used by the mass merchandisers.

A dart board might be more accurate now, with repect to their FARCEWARE(TM) paper, but that is only my opinion.

It is all about money and pushing paper. BIG Business. Over $100 million dollars a year. ENRON comes to mind as a good analogy. Perhaps some of Greed In America''s management will wind up in the same place (Club Fed) once the authorities get finished with their investigation of Certifigate, despite the mea culpas and "reform".
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,417
How can you guys expect informed customers to still support the GIA buy buying their stones?

Why should we when a better alternative (AGS) is available for us to support?

Sounds like what I'm hearing is, "GIA is selling out, lowering cut quality, increasing profit for cutters, but keep buying their stones to support PS vendors."

Brian, will Whiteflash stop buying GIA stones?
 

adamasgem

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2003
Messages
1,338
Date: 3/6/2006 4:41:36 PM
Author: kenny
How can you guys expect informed customers to still support the GIA buy buying their stones?

Why should we when a better alternative (AGS) is available for us to support?

Sounds like what I''m hearing is, ''GIA is selling out, lowering cut quality, increasing profit for cutters, but keep buying their stones to support PS vendors.''

Brian, will Whiteflash stop buying GIA stones?
Not all Greed In America stones are necessarily bad, and SOME that Greed In America gives Good or Very Good on cut are perfection in cutting (They dis "painted" crown breaks). It is just that you have to treat their cut grade with a large grain of salt. A LARGE GRAIN.

If you buy a Greed In America stone..

1) Get a Helium or Sarin Scan and look at it with DiamondCalc or the Sarin WebViewer, Check the definitions of girdle thickness. Watch for Greed In America''s "Non callable extra facets" that don''t appear on Greed In America''s paper. If they can''t see it in the faceup position, they don''t plot it (according to experiance and Greed In America''s internal documentation), yet it was probably done by the cutter to improve the clarity grade at the expense of symmetry. (You see this often on fancy shapes)

2) Try to get a comparison on how it would rank in the AGS system, or preferably get one with AGS paper or both

https://www.pricescope.com/idealbb/download.asp?fileID=36935&topicID=39401&forumID=3&catID=1

3) Watch out for fluorescence effects on color grade.. http://www.adamasgem.com/giafluor.html

4) Don''t trust the word "None" when it comes to fluorescence on Greed In America''s paper. "None" can mean some or a even "a lot", from what I''ve seen. That is why I filed an FTC complaint against Greed In America for their Clintonesque use of the word "None". (Bill seemed to have a problem with the definition of the word "is")

5) AGS seems to grade color and clarity much more conservatively than Greed In America, from what I have seen. (We will all disagree from time to time with any lab''s reports.)

6) Watch out for stones right at, or around, weight boundaries, unless they are extremely well cut. There can be big price jumps with even a 0.001ct weight change.

As they say, the operative words are now "Buyer Beware", when it comes to Greed In America''s paper.
 

diamonddawn

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
4
I am trying to sort out the difference between the GIA, AGS and other labs. The store I've been shopping at told me that of the major labs the GIA is the gold standard - that the GIA's opinion was a pedigree that determined the value of the diamond for the industry, and that it was the only "not for profit" lab. All the other labs, including the AGS were "for profit" companies that selected grading "standards" designed to maximize profits for their lab.

Is it true that the GIA is legally a "non-profit" and the AGS is "for-profit?" If so, how does this square with this discussion which seems to say that the GIA has "sold out" for profit and the AGS has not?
 

adamasgem

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2003
Messages
1,338
Date: 3/6/2006 5:29:27 PM
Author: diamonddawn
I have been lurking here for a while and am trying to sort out the difference between the GIA, AGS and other labs. The store I''ve been shopping at told me that of the major labs the GIA is the gold standard - that the GIA''s opinion was a pedigree that determined the value of the diamond for the industry, and that it was the only ''not for profit'' lab. All the other labs, including the AGS were ''for profit'' companies that selected grading ''standards'' designed to maximize profits for their lab.

Is it true that the GIA is legally a ''non-profit'' and the AGS is ''for-profit?'' If so, how does this square with this discussion which seems to say that the GIA has ''sold out'' for profit and the AGS has not?
Trust me, Greed In America''s GTL "non-profit" status is probably under review. As well it should be. The educational arm and possibly research, deserves the status, the Lab, No Way. It is unfair competition, in my book. Just because a lab is a profit making entity doesn''t mean it is necessarily inherently bad or corupt, and vice versa. The "non-profit" status was a very smart legal maneuver done in the 1999-2000, as I recall. A stranglehold on the industry with proprietary standards. It has lost its'' original focus.. from education to selling paper.
 

JohnQuixote

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 9, 2004
Messages
5,212
Date: 3/6/2006 5:29:27 PM
Author: diamonddawn
I am trying to sort out the difference between the GIA, AGS and other labs. The store I've been shopping at told me that of the major labs the GIA is the gold standard - that the GIA's opinion was a pedigree that determined the value of the diamond for the industry, and that it was the only 'not for profit' lab. All the other labs, including the AGS were 'for profit' companies that selected grading 'standards' designed to maximize profits for their lab.

Is it true that the GIA is legally a 'non-profit' and the AGS is 'for-profit?' If so, how does this square with this discussion which seems to say that the GIA has 'sold out' for profit and the AGS has not?
The GIA has benefactors - primarly mass sellers and mass producers.

The GIA has been grading diamonds since the 1930s. The AGS was established in the same decade as the ethical trade organization attached to the GIA. The AGS Diamond Standards Committee was established in 1955 and developed their 0-10 cut grading scale over the next 40 years. In 1996 the AGSL began grading, including cut grading for the round brilliant, which had not been done by a major lab previously. In effect they began competing against GIA (big brother) and the system they introduced provided more info for the buyer and was quite a high standard. Now GIA has introduced their own cut grading system to compete against little brother. I won't revisit the problems, see Brian's initial post.

AGS vs GIA (and others) is a David & Goliath issue, where David has higher standards but Goliath shouts a lot louder.

DiamondDawn – of course you’ve been told that the GIA is the ‘gold standard’ by many sellers, because that ‘standard’ serves mass sellers and manufacturers. Drop in on 20 downtown jewelers and see how many GIA-EGL-IGI documents you find compared to AGS. Even on the internet, in a search of virtual rounds you'll find >25,000 GIA docs, appx. 7000 EGL and appx. 2500 AGS… Over 10x as many GIA/EGL. This makes sense because AGS has strict standards. Diamonds meeting AGS Ideal cut criteria are estimated to represent the top 5% (or less) of graded diamonds.

Yes, many sellers will want you to think GIA is most reputable. Why on earth would a seller start using the AGS if he carries average goods? Why would he want lab reports in his store that say AGS2 or AGS3 (‘3rd best’ or ‘4th best’) when all of those diamonds will receive the top grade of ‘Excellent’ if the GIA grades them?
 

Lynn B

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 9, 2004
Messages
5,609
I just wanted to pop into this thread and say that I have found it fascinating and VERY educational.

Thank you all!

Lynn
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
31,792
that is why... if i was looking for a rb stone. i would still only look for "sweet combos" like 34.2'-34.7' crown X 40.7-40.8' pav. (just to be safe) and don't give a dam what GIA calls EX,EX.
 

diamonddawn

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
4
If I''m understanding correctly, then my jeweler was correct when he told me that the AGS was "for profit" and the GIA was "non-profit."

Can''t "tighter" standards be more misleading than looser ones if the distinctions made are not meaningful?

I''m looking at VS2 -SI1 clarity diamonds because they will look the same to the naked eye as a flawless and I''m not interested in paying for differences that no-one but a lab will ever see. Will an AGS excellent cut actually look any better than a GIA excellent cut?

Or is the AGS creating artificial "branding" distinctions so that AGS stores can charge higher prices for diamonds that are fundamentally the same - that''s my point about the lab being "for profit".

I''m sorry if I sound argumentative, but the "GIA" jeweler in my town seemed much more credible to me on this subject than the AGS store, and I''m trying to see if my gut reaction was right.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
15,305
AGS could help consumers by relaxing their symmetry and polish grades to the point where they are still above the standard that effects or affects the beauty of a diamond.

Then a lot of diamonds that end up at GIA would go to AGS.

The point may be dropped from IDEAL to EXCELLENT or maybe even VERY GOOD
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
15,305
Date: 3/6/2006 6:38:07 PM
Author: diamonddawn
If I''m understanding correctly, then my jeweler was correct when he told me that the AGS was ''for profit'' and the GIA was ''non-profit.''

Can''t ''tighter'' standards be more misleading than looser ones if the distinctions made are not meaningful?

I''m looking at VS2 -SI1 clarity diamonds because they will look the same to the naked eye as a flawless and I''m not interested in paying for differences that no-one but a lab will ever see. Will an AGS excellent cut actually look any better than a GIA excellent cut?

Or is the AGS creating artificial ''branding'' distinctions so that AGS stores can charge higher prices for diamonds that are fundamentally the same - that''s my point about the lab being ''for profit''.

I''m sorry if I sound argumentative, but the ''GIA'' jeweler in my town seemed much more credible to me on this subject than the AGS store, and I''m trying to see if my gut reaction was right.
AGS is half owned by not for profit association and half by jewellers who are memebrs - they put up the seed capitol.

GIA would I am sure be paying bonuses to key people - so there are vested interests there too.
 

belle

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 19, 2004
Messages
10,285
Date: 3/6/2006 6:38:07 PM
Author: diamonddawn
If I''m understanding correctly, then my jeweler was correct when he told me that the AGS was ''for profit'' and the GIA was ''non-profit.''

Can''t ''tighter'' standards be more misleading than looser ones if the distinctions made are not meaningful?

I''m looking at VS2 -SI1 clarity diamonds because they will look the same to the naked eye as a flawless and I''m not interested in paying for differences that no-one but a lab will ever see. Will an AGS excellent cut actually look any better than a GIA excellent cut?

Or is the AGS creating artificial ''branding'' distinctions so that AGS stores can charge higher prices for diamonds that are fundamentally the same - that''s my point about the lab being ''for profit''.

I''m sorry if I sound argumentative, but the ''GIA'' jeweler in my town seemed much more credible to me on this subject than the AGS store, and I''m trying to see if my gut reaction was right.
welcome to ps diamonddawn

this is quite the thread to make your first posts in.
i''m not sure much more can be added to what marty and johnq have already said on the subject though.

hope you find what you''re looking for!
 

adamasgem

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2003
Messages
1,338
Date: 3/6/2006 6:40:45 PM
Author: Garry H (Cut Nut)
AGS could help consumers by relaxing their symmetry and polish grades to the point where they are still above the standard that effects or affects the beauty of a diamond.

Then a lot of diamonds that end up at GIA would go to AGS.

The point may be dropped from IDEAL to EXCELLENT or maybe even VERY GOOD
Garry I''d DISAGREE with you regarding symmetry, that is what it is all about, in my opinion

I AGREE with you regarding polish, in that the "polish" issue is overrated as to importance, a VG polish should still get an overall IDEAL, ESPECIALLY if it is on a minor facet. Sometimes a stone just won''t take the best polish on one facet because of orientation...
 
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