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How to determine if it''s a good cut?

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Mafia

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 22, 2003
Messages
39
Hi!

I''m getting a ring for my girlfriend and need a little help. We have looked around to see what she likes and I''ve done just enough research to be able to ask questions. Here is my situation: I want to spend $15,000 - $30,000 for a ring and I''m not looking for anything particularly large. My girlfriend is rather small and prefers something in the 1.25-1.60 range. We looked around at different settings and she really fell in love with a solitaire at Cartier. I know that the general internet opinion is that they''re overpriced. Probably, but that''s what she wants and if that makes her happy so be it. My question now is how do I know if I''m getting a good diamond (I''ve pretty much given up on a good value). From my research I''ve concluded that the two things that are important is cut and color. Fortunately, it''s pretty easy to see the difference in color and GIA cert clearly states what it is. The cut however is much more subjective and difficult to quantify. The particular stone I''m looking at has the following specs I was not able to get the crown and pavilion measurements from Cartier (BTW, how critical are they?). After running this through the cut advisor it only came out so-so, in my opinion. I would like to get some additional input on the quality of this diamond:

Shape and Cutting Style - Round Brilliant
Measurements - 7.70 - 7.78 x 4.43 mm
Weight - 1.56 carat
Proportions
Depth - 57.2%
Table - 51% (somewhat unclear on the fax could be a 57%. I think 57% would make it a much better cut but I''m kinda talking without any proper training here...)
Girdle - Thin to Medium, Faceted
Culet - None
Finish
Polish - Good
Symmetry - Good
Clarity - VS1
Color - D
Fluorescence - None

I could get this ring for a hair under $30K. So what is your opinion? Is this a nicely cut diamond or should I keep looking? Also I noticed that GIA certs use Excellent/Very Good/Good/... scale. Should I try to find a stone with a better polish & symmetry?

It appears that Cartier does not change the price of their diamonds depending on the cut. They only quote you the size/color/clarity. Am I wrong that the cut is one of the more important characteristics of the diamond? Perhaps I''m getting something confused...

Thanks for your help,

-mafia
 

Spyder

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2003
Messages
50
You couldn't go wrong with a stone like this E IF 1.65 for $21,286.65 or this D VVS1 1.52ct for $21,208. These stones have excellent cuts.

That will leave you with $9000 to get whatever setting she likes. It's hard to find a setting that costs more than $3000 unless you are getting giant sidestones or something.

To answer your question how to know if it is a good cut, there are several methods:

1. Buy from a vendor who is known to only carry excellent cut stones. 69gm lists a number of vendors you can have confidence with in the next post below.

2. Or, if you know the Crown and Pavilion angles, you can plug the data into the HCA advisor and see the results.

3. Or, if the stone is a "Hearts and Arrows" cut, you can be confident it has a mighty good cut. Stones are often listed as being Hearts and Arrows ("H&A"), or if you want to be hands on, you can even buy a Hearts and Arrows viewer and look at the stone yourself to see the pattern.


btw, for those who are wondering, I usually recommend from vendors who post bscope reports, because I find the bscope reports to be informative. That is why my recommendations usually come from the stock of these particular vendors.
 

69gm

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2003
Messages
287
hi mafia,

welcome to the forum. as a fellow shopper i can help you at least a little. i know there are many others out there more informed that can help even more but let me at least get the ball rolling:

cut is definitely the most important thing. to determine this you need to get as much information as possible on the diamond. crown and pavilion angles are extremely important in determining how well a diamond is cut so to answer your question, it's essential in making an educated purchase.

try to sell your girlfriend on the idea of getting a good diamond...not necessarily a Cartier diamond. if you plug in your search criteria here at pricescope, i'm sure you'll find better diamonds at better prices than Cartier. after all a diamond is still a diamond whether you bought it from Cartier or not. plus with their inflated pricing, you'll definitely get more bang-for-your-buck from one of the trustworthy dealers here. i would recommend niceice.com, goodoldgold.com, whiteflash.com, superbcert.com, just to name a few. these people won't steer you wrong and they won't sell you crap (pardon my french). they genuinely want to make you happy about your purchase and if you asked the people on this forum, you will get thumbs up for all of them.

if for some reason she still insists on a Cartier (you know women
...please no flames...jus' joking
put the chair down mara!), make sure you get plenty of information. on an AGSL certified diamond, you will get decent information. personally i would try to get one with all ideal for polish, symmetry and proportions. these are known as AGS triple zeros. also note that on an AGSL cert, on the right side you will see the proportions of the diamond. if you can't get a copy of the cert, write down all the information and come back to ask the experts here. they'll give you their unbiased honest opinion.

if you look at a GIA certified diamond, you will also need to ask for something called a Sarin report. this will give you information not found on the GIA cert such as cut proportions. again, this is important in determining how well the diamond is cut. btw, GIA's highest rating is "excellent". so their excellent rating for polish and symmetry would essentially be the AGS ideal rating. don't let the salesperson tell you that just because the GIA says "excellent", it's a good diamond. you need that sarin report! and you need to come back and ask the experts here with that info.

next after the cut would be color. as white as you can get would be nice, but the differences can be subtle to the novice so don't think you can see it all obviously. personally i wouldn't go any less than "I". "G" & "H" would be better and "D-F" if you can afford it.

clarity can be tricky. generally, anything S1 and better will be eye-clean. that means you won't see squate with the naked eye. if you get something VS2 and better it will definitely be clean. in many cases, even magnified you might have to look really hard for it. now it's up to you, but many think that VVS2 and better is overkill. you are paying for something that for all intensive purposes is strictly for piece of mind and nothing else. i tend to agree. if you have X amount of money, spend it on a nice cut and color, rather than clarity. VS1 - S1 is a good range. make sure the S1 is definitely eye-clean.

carat size is up to you...but don't get a bigger diamond if it sacrifices the cut quality. a well cut diamond will look bigger than a poorly cut one anyway.

i've only touched on the surface of how to buy a diamond. but i hope it helps get you started on making an educated decision. definitely do your homework and definitely come back and seek advice from the many gurus who are more than willing to help you.

good luck!
 

canadianice

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 4, 2003
Messages
82
I think the 57.2% depth is particularly shallow, certainly less than accepted "ideal" standards. A bit alarming at that price... is it CDN or USD?

If the table is indeed 51%, it is too small and light output will be compromised. If it is 57%, that is bang on what you would want. Try to get the GIA cert faxed to you again, or with the specs clearly detailed for you by Cartier.

The Good/Good for polish and symmetry aren't too spectacular either.

So, from these specificiations alone and at that price point, I would pass on the ring.

The Cartier 1895 solitaire is, in my opinion, quite an elegant setting and more unique than just about anything you can buy at any jewellers. It has a definite appeal.

That said, you could buy a much, much better stone such as a SuperbCert (or other Hearts and Arrows), for a lot less money and you could have a custom platinum setting made by a reputable jeweller.

Also, Whiteflash sells a setting similar to the Cartier called Fine Line solitaire...

Good luck!
 

Mafia

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 22, 2003
Messages
39
Thanks for all the replies!! As far as Cartier setting - she is really set on it... We actually were at one jewelery store and they offered to make a copy, she didn't like that idea. I do think that the setting is beautiful, simple and elegant. But I would also like to get a very good diamond, especially if I'm paying $30K US for it.

I will ask Cartier to find me an AGSL certified triple zero or GIA w/ Sarin report with good specs... I think I'm pretty much decided that I want to get a colorless diamond (platinum setting) and VS1 seems like a reasonable clarity. Carat weight could be anywhere 1.25 - 1.6. Ideally, I would want a perfectly cut stone (near perfect I suppose as perfection is rather illusive) somewhere in the middle (~1.4 or so).

I'll keep you posted. Again, thanks for your help!!!

- mafia

P.S. The second diamond that Spyder suggested is just about perfect for what I want... Also did anyone notice that GIA and MegaScope reports for the first stone do not match?! Is that normal?
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
I'm not a Tiffany fan, but I swoon over the Cartier setting. Good luck. I doubt you'll get a bad diamond at Cartier, but you definitely want to get her the best cut you possibly can.
 

Mafia

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 22, 2003
Messages
39
Talked to the girl at Cartier, it turns out the table is 61%. They were unable to provide crown and pavillion measurements. Giving Cartier the benefit of the doubt (not sure if appropriate if you read on), the diamond is actually pretty good according to both the UK version and the HCA "diamond meters."

Depth 57.2%
Table 61%
Crown 13.6% (assumed # they don't have that info)
Pavillion 42.6% (assumed # they don't have that info)

How does the polish and symmetry affect the diamond visually? GIA rates this diamond as "GOOD" in both areas - how critical are these measurements?

I also asked for a GIA certificate on another similar stone (1.51, D, VS1) - that one fairs substantially worse on the "diamond meters." Overall, I'm surprised at the lack of knowledge and apparent poor quality cuts that Cartier sells. I made an appointment w/ an Eightstar dealer in Chicago to take a look at what they offer.

Anyway here is stone #2:

ROUND BRILLIANT
7.29 - 7.34 x 4.56 mm
1.51 carat
depth 62.3%
table 56%
Girdle MEDIUM TO THICK
Culet NONE
Polish VERY GOOD
Symmetry VERY GOOD
Clarity VS1
Color D
Fluorescence FAINT <-- Alarming??

If our cool little "diamond meters" are to be trusted this is a really bad deal at $31K. Can't believe they're selling it, or is it just that there is no emphasis on the cut quality in the industry?

- mafia
 

caratgirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2003
Messages
634
Hi Mafia,

Will Cartier allow you to set a diamond of your choice into the setting (from their stock of course)? If so, then I would have them hunt for better ones. If you are persistent, they will give you more information. Just insist that you need to know more info.

They should be overjoyed to provide that service, since they are so service oriented. If not, then run, don't walk to the 8* dealer! Does your GF understand that she may get a rather mediocre diamond just to have the Cartier setting? Perhaps if she did, she might not be so hot for it.

I look forward to your 8* trip description. I saw a few when I was looking for my upgrade, but I simply could not afford one in the carat weight I wanted. They are absolutely glorious!

Enjoy, and may your shopping be enjoyable.
 

RockDoc

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
2,509
If you are looking for the cat's meow of cutting appearance in a diamond....

Keep looking..

Good polish and external symmetry is very broad grading.

Of course for this amount of money ( 20-30K) it pays to get the help of a professional gemologst/appraiser.

Rockdoc
 

pqcollectibles

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
Messages
3,441
Hi Mafia!


The second diamond has better proportions, symmetry, and polish. It sounds better than the first. As to the Flour,... It shouldn't be a problem, but just to be sure, ask to see it outside in the daylight. You don't want a milky or oily look in direct light. With faint flour, you should get great flashes of blue firing from it.

If Cartier is letting you pick and choose, tell them you want Sarin information on the diamonds. GIA does Sarin's on diamonds they grade, they just don't print it on the Certs. The owner of the diamond, Cartier, can call GIA for the Sarin info. Then all you have to do is take the Depth and Table %'s, and the Crown and Pavillion Angles and plug them into the Cut Adviser (link at the top of the page). The HCA will let you know if you are considering a better cut diamond, a dog, steep crown angles, etc.

Dittos to RockDoc's comments. Definitely check return period to allow for an independent appraisal of the diamond. Or, make purchase contingent on a satisfactory independent evaluation.

Good Luck in your search!
 

Mafia

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 22, 2003
Messages
39
I have to admit that I can't just look at a diamond's dimention and say whether it will be a good or bad diamond... however I can plug the #'s into HCA and see what comes out, and I do buy into the theory behind it. That said when I put the dimentions of the second diamond into HCA the best score I could possibly get is a 3.0 (by altering crown & pavillion measurements). With the first stone I could get down to 1.5 I think. Ultimately, I think I'll go with caratgirl's suggestion to shop their stock of diamond for the one I want and then have them set it in the setting I want. It seems like their standard procedure is to look at their inventory of already set stones and the emphasis is on weight, color, and clarity. They seem to be indiferrent to the cutting of the stone. Either that or the 8*.

- mafia
 

pqcollectibles

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
Messages
3,441
There is a link to AGA cut charts where you can look at proportions according to Cut Class. Click on the Tutorial link and the AGA link is at the bottom of the left hand guide bar. That's why I said the proportions of your second choice sounded better. The depth and table %'s are closer to Class 1 cut standards.

The first diamond you posted is shallower with a broad table. Doesn't mean it's bad. It could be a spectacular performer. Or, it could have steep crown angles creating a problem mounting and a chip risk.

Anyway, check out the cut charts. They should be helpful.
 

yoonny

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2003
Messages
5
I was recently in 5th Avenue Cartier store to check out their settings. I fell in love with the solitaire style. http://www.mychoice.com.hk/image/jewellery/cartier/cartier-28s.jpg

I purchased my round stone and paid $14,250 cash last Thursday. I've asked a jeweler to make me an exact duplicate of the Cartier setting and it costs $800 in platinum. It will be ready tomorrow and I will see how it comes out. I also purchased a Cartier ring box on Ebay. So for the half the price, I think I am getting everything except the Cartier certificate and engraving on the band. I will keep you posted.

1.62 carat GIA
61.3 depth
59 table
none, none, good, good
 

Fansidar

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Messages
5
Hi Mafia,

Here's two cents from a guy who has been searching for the past few months for a diamond similiar to the one that you are proposing to buy (i.e., D color, around 1.5 carat, VS2 clarity or better, round solitaire cut).

(1) Brand or Generic? You will pay substantially more for a Cartier ring than for a ring with an unbranded diamond of the same quality. The question is whether having a Cartier ring is worth the premium. If it is important to have the Cartier brand -- whether for the status, convenience, service, because that's what your girlfriend wants, or otherwise -- then buy from Cartier. Otherwise, you can get a much better diamond for the $30K that you are willing to pay. In my searches, I've seen diamonds of comparable size, cut, clarity, color, polish, and symmetry for up to 50% less.

(2) Do Due Diligence. The 4Cs are just the beginning, especially if you buy an unbranded diamond. Knowing the 4Cs is like knowing that you can buy a 2003 two-seat convertible sports car for $30K. The information is good but not enough to let you know whether you are overpaying for Mazada Miata or getting a fantastic deal on a Porsche Boxster. There is a host of variables that are important: Why do pavilion angles and crown angles matter? What is the difference among GIA, AGS, and EGL certification? What is a Sarin report? Does flouresence make a difference? What are hearts and arrow diamonds? Can I trust the seller? Pricescope, and your fellow netizens here, are a good source of information. So too are a number of other sites, including www.niceice.com; www.goodoldgold.com; www.consumergemlabs.com; www.gemappraisers.com; www.gia.edu.

(3) Consult Experts. If you go with an unbranded diamond, find a good independent appraiser. Even the most well-informed of buyers do not have the expertise, experience or equipment to assess the quality of a diamond beyond a rudimentary level. Kicking the tires is good, but getting a skilled, trustworthy mechanic to do it is better.

Good luck!

Fansidar
 
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