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Help with upgrading diamond - searching for a better cut

carolinenc

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
40
Hello! I have decided I would like to upgrade my diamond and would appreciate any guidance that the experts here may have.

I purchased my diamond from a jeweler in the South called Diamonds Direct. They have a great upgrade policy, so it is probably best (so that I don't lose money) to work with them again on this stone. My only concern is will I be able to find what I am looking for? If I didn't have this upgrade policy or if I didn't mind losing several thousand dollars, I would probably work with a vendor like WF or GOG and focus on buying one of their super ideal stones. It seems easier for me as the customer since they have searchable online databases and cater to customers who are looking for especially well cut stones.

Why I want to upgrade: My stone is a GIA XXX, but I just don't "love" it. I feel like it is has less sparkle than I would like and it nags at me. I am also considering upgrading to a custom hand forged setting, but it wouldn't make sense to do that until I have the stone that I want to keep for a long time.

My question is twofold, 1) is it crazy to upgrade in cut only? I think I would be fine sticking with the same carat, color, and clarity if I had a better cut stone. I have even considered if I should go down in size just a bit, like a 1.9 ct if I find something that fits what I am looking for. I think going up in size would be nice too, but since I am considering a halo for my new setting, I don't think that is as important and I know it could cause the price to raise significantly.

2) Any advice on how to best narrow it down if I am working with a vendor that doesn't sell branded stones? I'm hoping the salesperson will be well educated on cut, but I'm a bit worried that they will think I'm crazy if I'm trying to upgrade a GIA XXX to a "better cut" diamond. It would be a lot easier if I could just narrow it down to WF ACA or something like that, but I am not purchasing from WF.

Information about my current diamond in case it is helpful:

Measurements: 8.26 - 8.29 x 4.94 mm

Carat Weight: 2.02 carat
Color Grade: J
Clarity Grade: SI1
Cut Grade : Excellent

Depth: 59.7 %
Table: 59 %
Crown Angle: 32.0°
Crown Height: 12.5%
Pavilion Angle: 41.6°
Pavilion Depth: 44.5%
Star Length: 50%
Lower Half: 80%
Girdle: Thin to Medium, Faceted, 3.0%
Culet: None


Polish: Excellent
Symmetry: Excellent
Fluorescence: None

FYI: This diamond scores a 3.8 on the HCA
 

solgen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
563
Cut can have the most dramatic effect so it's surely worth upgrading on that basis alone.

If they vendor cannot comprehend cut, GIA 3ex and particularly diamond proportions then do not buy from them. They won't have your best interests in mind.

Sometimes the upgrade policy simply isn't worth it. In essence if you got screwed over once then why get it again? Might be best to cut your losses and sell the diamond for whatever hit there is. Alternatively, you might see if a recut is possible though I don't know how much size you would loose with those specs. That could be the cheapest route.
 

carolinenc

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
40
Thanks for the response. I was thinking about cutting my losses, but I guess I should give them a chance first to see how it goes. If it seems like they aren't able to satisfy what I'm looking for, I definitely don't want to put any more money into it.
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2004
Messages
10,872
I would think it's definitely worth upgrading for cut alone. You typically do get the best bang by trading up, and if you are willing to work through us, and post available stones here we can help you find a winner working through the same vendor. What you have now is most definitely not a well cut stone, which is why you have never felt it was particularly "love".

Can you afford to buy another stone outright and just "cut your losses", as you're saying? If so, is it worth sending that stone for a recut and then resetting it into a pendant maybe so that you have a beautiful stone out of it that you can still wear?
 

telephone89

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
4,224
If it's ONLY the cut you don't like, and you're willing to go down in size, why not a recut? You might want to send your diamond to BG for some info before you decide to get an entirely new diamond.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
9,741
HI carolinenc,
For years I've gotten into heated debates about cut, and your letter pretty much is the reason why.

Any seller who is offering GIA graded XXX stones are competitive/reasonable prices can not be said as trying to "get over" on you.
The fact is that discussions of cut here on PS go into far greater detail than a retail seller might ever see- or understand.
To the vast majority of sellers, GIA XXX is an acceptable bench mark. Actually, if a retail seller specialized in only GIA XXX stones, they are way ahead of many others offering far less stringent standards, like EGL graded diamonds.

Then, once the discussion of cut gets drilled down to a very detailed level here on PS, much of what is discussed is subjective- people's opinions.
But the mantra "Cut is King" prevails, even if it might not necessarily be applicable to a given situation.
There's a lot of aspects about your diamond that can't be easily categorized by saying " get a better cut"
The color may be an issue for you.
The LGF of 80% creates a certain look that might not be to your liking- but that's not a "cut quality" issue.

Have you seen other stones at the store you've been shopping in that looked a lot better to you?
If you're locked in maybe you can use the resources here to help you pick best from what they've got, if that's your only choice
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,225
I don't see why you can't work with this dealer and give them a spec guide to follow when looking for your next stone. Just tell them you want a stone with certain table/depth/crown/pavillion angles and you'll be fine.

You have a 60/60 with a very low crown and a not to good pavillion angle. So there is definitely room for improvement.


But there's nothing here that says you can't work with them. Just be very specific what you want and make sure they respect that. You can buy an idealscope cheap ($25) and take it with you to view the stones. They are very easy to learn how to use.
 

JDDN

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2015
Messages
2,339
You are in the exact position I was in about a year ago. I had a 60/60 type diamond that was missing something to me and decided to upgrade based on cut alone, although I wasn't going to complain if the diamond was bigger :)) . I had the original vendor vet stones for me based on very specific cut criteria I gave. They were kind enough to do this and came up with a few options for me. I didn't love any of them and ultimately decided to have it re-cut. Another option is to sell it yourself, you'll lose a bit of what you paid for, but then you are free to shop where ever you want. You can also send it in to WF and they may buy your diamond and give you the amount towards a new stone. Just another option to consider.
 

carolinenc

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
40
Thanks everyone! I am a bit overwhelmed by the options, but I think I should probably start first to see if my previous vendor can find anything that would work. I'm also going to look into recutting as well to see if that is a good option for my stone.
 

carolinenc

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
40
So this is the response (part of it) that I get from the salesperson at the store I purchased it from who has been in the diamond business for 20 years suppossedly. :( I just don't know enough about ideal proportions to deal with trying to tell him exactly what I want I am afraid. I hate that it will cost me more money to go elsewhere, but maybe it is worth it for the convenience and piece of mind.

I asked him if he had diamonds that were better than the GIA XXX that I have currently.

"I am quite sure I can help find a perfect diamond. I am a little confused by your last statement though. GIA is the most strict grading house in the world and you have a diamond that is excellent polish, symmetry and cut. This is a ideal diamond. The best. I have a couple of AGS diamonds in stock but are slightly smaller1.7-1.8ct if you would like to compare a triple 0."
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2004
Messages
10,872
It doesn't sound like this person has a clue about cut quality...nor do they know that GIA does not grade stones as IDEAL. Only AGS does that.

Maybe give them a "cheat sheet" to at least guide the person to narrow down stones within these numbers? It's narrow for a reason. But it will at least guide this person into a set of numbers that is more in line with what you'd be finding through most of these vendors we recommend on PS and would likely fall well within AGS 000 grading.

I'd definitely want AGS for cut grading. A GIA "Excellent" is so wide a net a cruise ship can sail through it.


Total depth between 59 – 61.8%
Table diameter between 53 – 57%--ideally 55-57.
Crown angle between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees
Pavilion angle between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees
Girdle thickness between thin to medium, faceted (bruted isn't bad, but faceted is more visually appealing.)
Culet size: none

A nice secret sauce I have found is a 55% table, a depth around 59.5-60%, a Crown Angle of 34.5 and a Pavilion Angle of 40.7-40.8.
 

solgen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
563
Sounds like the vendor isn't completely clueless so I would give them a chance. Ask to look at the AGS 0 stones and see what you think. If possible ask for the AGS report number and ct weight and let us know what they are.

If you want to look at GIA stones then ask for a diamond with either a 34 or 34.5 crown angle, a 40.6 or 40.8 pavilion angle, a table from 55-57% and preferably a depth of 62% or less. That should provide you with a nice looking diamond and perhaps you can compare it to the AGS 0 diamonds.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Jan 7, 2009
Messages
9,741
Guys- it's very important to remember that many ( most) knowledgeable people in the field do not look at diamonds as they are looked at here on PS.
The "cheat sheet" is by no means widely accepted among gemologists/ diamond experts.
That doesn't mean it's right, or wrong. But it does mean that deciding someone knows nothing about cut because they don't subscribe to the cheat sheet is inaccurate.

Carolina- I am by no means defending the particular store or salesperson- but if you have a better perspective, you'll have an easier time getting satisfaction from them IMO
A good starting point might be using what you learn here, but not necessarily to cause a fight with a salesperson, who could easily get defensive. Especially if you imply or say that they don't know what they are doing based on discussions in a forum.


Personally, I am not a fan of the cheat sheet as it leaves out some combinations that I find to be the most attractive.
My advice is to start with GIA EX, or even GIA VG ( in some cases can be prettier than another GIA EX) or AGS00. Instead of trying to get a diamond with certain numbers, try to look at the diamonds with an open mind- in and out of the bight store lighting.
 

JDDN

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2015
Messages
2,339
While I totally agree with Rockdiamond that the "ideal" proportions can leave out some stellar diamonds, I think it's important to identify what it is about your diamond that you don't like and what you are looking for. Your diamond favors bright light and less dispersion. Do you want a diamond that is more fiery for example? That will help you figure out what you're looking for as "a better cut" is a bit vague and will not help you with the salesperson you're dealing with. I say this because GIA XXX is very broad and you'll find all kinds of different cuts which can be overwhelming.

The cut parameters posted are one way to narrow down your search but know that they may exclude stones you may find beautiful.

As far as looking at diamonds with an open eye, that's good advice. It may be the case that you're looking at virtual inventory so you're trying to narrow down options for them to bring in and that's where the "cheat sheet" can at least help you get some stones in you think you'll favor.

I think a CA of 34-35.5 degrees and a PA of 40.6 to 41 degrees is a good place to start. Personally I like smaller tables but that is going to be preference. A broader range will be 54-58% table. But yes, these may exclude some really beautiful stones that you personally find to be perfect in your eyes.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
9,741
Remember this: by shopping for numbers you will not only eliminate some stones that a person may find more beautiful you may also eliminate the very best candidates when the four C's are considered in a more holistic fashion.

When a trades-person searches the wholesale database, the search parameters possible include every detail discussed here.
So it's possible to search for a stone with a given table size- or range of table size.
When I do this, the pool of candidates shrinks exponentially. Some of the most viable and best candidates are now gone.

If you filter by table you will eliminate many stones that might have a far better combination of color/clarity/carat weight and cost.
Reading a lot of discussions here it might be easy to get the impression that a 59% table is going to look night and day different from a 58% table. Of course that's not the case.
SO_ a consumer shopping by proportions may eliminate stones whose appearance is more pleasing, but may also be demographically much better for their budget and size expectations.
 

centrifuge41

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
25
Diamonds Direct has an interesting 110% upgrade policy. The first time you upgrade (after a wait time of 12 months), you can receive 110% credit on your diamond towards buying a new one. After that, subsequent upgrades are 100%.

From what I saw, loose stones are way overpriced at Diamonds Direct, but once you buy stones with a setting in a combo, the marginal price of the stone/setting combo makes the stone "right priced". This setup may be to make it hard for the 110% upgrade policy to work for you.

As far as selection goes, they will have a handful of stones rated GIA Ex/Ex/Ex, but some of them will be not eye clean enough (non-eye clean SI2), others will be too deep, others will be too yellow for your taste, etc. You may have to be patient, and you may need them to bring in stones from other Diamonds Direct locations based off of spec sheet to find what you want.

Their sales staff seem to say that once a stone is Ex/Ex/Ex, its cut is just as good as any other Ex/Ex/Ex stone, and that there is no better cut rating.
 

carolinenc

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
40
Thanks everyone. Lots of helpful, although somewhat overwhelming advice. A few questions... I think JDDN make a great point that I should be able to describe exactly what it is that I don't love about my current cut, but that's a little hard because I haven't seen (or at least studied) lots of ideal diamonds in real life. You said it favors dispersion. What does that mean?

My diamond does have a black spot towards the center in a lot of lighting and that is definitely not desirable, but it's hard for me to say if I want more fire or less fire, for instance. How is the best way to figure that out? What are the other characteristics I should consider about the "personality" of the diamond?

Also, for all the experts, what is it about my stone based on the numbers that makes it not ideal? What would you think the problems are? Also, how bad is mine? I know the HCA didn't sound good to me.
 

JDDN

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2015
Messages
2,339
Carolinenc, the cut that you have is not bad!! The stone you have has a shallower crown angle and a large table. Those two things will favor bright light (your stone probably looks bright, bright!) but at the expense of dispersion which is the color or fire as many know it. So actually your stone will have less fire (colored light or dispersion) than say a diamond that has a smaller table of 55% with a steeper CA say 35 degrees. Each diamond will have a certain personality and what kind of diamond you find beautiful will depend on what you find beautiful ::) .

The best way to figure out what you like or favor in your diamond is to look at different diamonds. Ideally you could spend some time with it and look at it in different lighting environments. Outside, outside under diffused lighting, indoors in different rooms and different times of day....you get the picture. The "personality" of the diamond will show itself in different environments and lighting and only you can tell if you like it or not. That's why some say to really know if you'll love a stone, you need a couple of weeks wearing it. That's not always realistic so take the diamond outside or in different parts of the showroom and do your best.

Sometimes you cannot quantify what you do or do not like about a particular diamond. You may just love it, or just not love it and that's okay! I viewed a stone that fell in my particular parameters but it just didn't speak to me so I passed. Your diamond isn't necessarily bad and you may just not love it. So try and look at different diamonds and see what you gravitate towards. I spent time with a 60/60 stone that was insanely gorgeous....It had a 59% table and it was stunning. So like Rockdiamond is saying, don't exclude diamonds that don't fit exactly into the narrow cut parameters. Another options is to have your vendor bring in 3 or 4 stones and just spend time with them in the showroom. See what you like and look at the cut proportions and see if you can figure out what you like.

https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/diamond-crown-and-pavilion

https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/diamond-brilliance-fire-scintillation
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
58,547
I am in your area, and I have been to DD before with someone who upgraded a diamond there. They can call in stones from diamond suppliers just like other jewelers. It doesn't have to be a stone they have in-house or at another of their stores. While I prefer not buying solely by numbers, that is the best way to start the search.

You've been given a couple of sets of parameters and I will give you the ones I use which are similar. If you read the following webpage about the parameters Whiteflash uses for their A Cut Above (ACA) line, you will see a table where the broad specs of GIA Excellent cut diamonds are listed next to the narrower parameters of the superideal cut ACAs. I wouldn't get into more discussion about cut with DD other than to say you want your upgraded stone to be GIA Ex cut, eyeclean, and within these parameters:

http://www.whiteflash.com/a-cut-above-diamonds-specifications-and-qualifications/

I have narrowed the parameters just slightly, because you almost never come across an ideal/excellent cut diamond with a 53 table, for example.

table: 54-58

depth: 60-62.3

crown angle: 34-35.0

pavilion angle: 40.6-40.9
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,225
Please buy a idealscope and learn to use it as well. I believe someone said David Atlas is selling them now? They are very inexpensive and very easy to use, relative to the cost of the diamond (under 30 bucks).
 
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