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How to finally decide on a stone?

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
Hi Everyone,

I’m in the early stages of looking for a diamond for an engagement ring. Read tutorial and have been browsing stones on jamesallen website for a while. However I feel overwhelmed by the number of stones that are out there. I set the budget. I set all the filters. However there’re so many stones that match my criteria. How do I know which of these stones have a good balance of quality, beauty, and price. How do you decide that this is the one you should buy? Do you just open one by one and review details? A lot of the times stones look very much alike. I would appreciate any tips here.
I’m looking for round , G or better color, excellent cut, 1.4 ct and above, VS2 or better, budget for a stone 10-12K. Is it realistic to find a great stone with such parameters in this price range? Thank you!
 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
Wanted to add that I’m only interested in GIA certified stones.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
20,979
You can pretty much do a Super Ideal in your budget. Sort of takes all the guess work out of buying a stone because they usually have
all the documentation needed to prove they are well-cut stones (Aset image, Idealscope image, H&A image). Most super ideals come
with an AGS000 grading report which shows that it has been evaluated for light return, polish and symmetry and received all "Ideal"s.
GIA does not check for Ideal light return.

Here is a GIA that just misses the ACA qualifications. They also have AGS000 stones that are "A Cut Above" in your budget.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
20,979
Hi Serge...I guess I didnt really answer your question on "How to finally decide on a stone?"

You can do it a couple of different ways. If you can narrow it down to 5 or so stones, post them and ask for feedback from Pricescopers. They
will let you know if they are well cut, or not and possibly point out things about the stone(s) that you might take into consideration.
Once PSers know what you are looking for they will usually post other stones to show you your options.

Or

You can just ask for help (give specs and budget) and we will start posting well-cut stones.

I jumped to the above second option without answering your question. If you have any more questions, let us know. BTW, only shop somewhere
that has good/easy return process and know what that process is. We tend to stick with certain vendors because we know them and have purchased from them.
 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
i found you a nice one (scores a 1.7 on HCA):


cert (7).jpeg


ask for idealscope images too if possible
Thanks for the recommendation. I can see a flaw almost in the center of the table. Would think it’s not good. Is it? Also fluorescence is faint. I was thinking fluorescence should be none. Am I wrong?
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,729
I think it's important to realize there are 5 C's to diamond shopping:
  1. Cut
  2. Color
  3. Clarity
  4. Carat weight
  5. Cost
Each person may prioritize the 5 C's differently, but make no mistake, they work in unison with one another as buying diamond's is what we call a "zero sum" game, meaning that if your budget is static (non-flexible) then you have to adjust the other C's up or down to make it work with the cost.

Most of us here would agree THE most important C is cut. A well cut stone will exhibit edge to edge brightness and have lots of fire, which is what most people find attractive. I would encourage you to never, ever sacrifice on the cut quality as that is the "soul" of the diamond, IMO.

Depending on your own cultural beliefs, personal preferences and social status you there tends to be more disparity in the #2 attribute. Some favor size. Others favor color. Some are particular with clarity.

Without getting too far into the other attributes, I will say that I think a G VS2 is a nice starting point. These are good color & clarity grades to seek without paying too much of a price premium. If you wanted to save a few bucks (or maximize size a little) you may even be able to consider an H color and/or SI1 eye clean stone.

That said, let's provide you a road map for picking an ideal cut stone:
  • Only GIA or AGS certified stones
  • 54-57 table
  • 60-62.4 depth, but prefer < 62 depth
  • 34-35 crown, maybe 35.5 if paired with a 40.6 pavilion
  • 40.6-40.9 pavilion, maybe 41 if paired with a 34 crown
  • 75-80 LGF, but prefer 78 or less
  • Ensure the crown & pavilion angles have an inverse relationship, meaning steep crown/shallow pavilion or just the opposite.
  • Enter cert numbers or proportions into HCA calculator and short list stones with a score of 0-2, and preferably a 1-2 score.
  • With stones short listed on good HCA scores, request idealscope or ASET images to help provide confirmation of light performance
  • At any point in the process, ask for help on this forum.
  • Assuming, a stone passes all these checks, it's ready to consider purchasing

Bypass all the above hassle, and buy a hearts & arrow (H&A) ideal cut stone that we frequently call super ideals from a trusted vendor. It's like "easy button" ideal diamond buying that comes with outstanding customer service and best upgrade policies available.

Here is one such super ideal option that maxes your $12k budget:



If you don't mind dropping to an eye clean SI1 clarity, here is a second option, still with G color that is about $11k:

 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
Hi Serge...I guess I didnt really answer your question on "How to finally decide on a stone?"

You can do it a couple of different ways. If you can narrow it down to 5 or so stones, post them and ask for feedback from Pricescopers. They
will let you know if they are well cut, or not and possibly point out things about the stone(s) that you might take into consideration.
Once PSers know what you are looking for they will usually post other stones to show you your options.

Or

You can just ask for help (give specs and budget) and we will start posting well-cut stones.

I jumped to the above second option without answering your question. If you have any more questions, let us know. BTW, only shop somewhere
that has good/easy return process and know what that process is. We tend to stick with certain vendors because we know them and have purchased from them.
Thank you! Very helpful input. I will try to do that.
 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
I think it's important to realize there are 5 C's to diamond shopping:
  1. Cut
  2. Color
  3. Clarity
  4. Carat weight
  5. Cost
Each person may prioritize the 5 C's differently, but make no mistake, they work in unison with one another as buying diamond's is what we call a "zero sum" game, meaning that if your budget is static (non-flexible) then you have to adjust the other C's up or down to make it work with the cost.

Most of us here would agree THE most important C is cut. A well cut stone will exhibit edge to edge brightness and have lots of fire, which is what most people find attractive. I would encourage you to never, ever sacrifice on the cut quality as that is the "soul" of the diamond, IMO.

Depending on your own cultural beliefs, personal preferences and social status you there tends to be more disparity in the #2 attribute. Some favor size. Others favor color. Some are particular with clarity.

Without getting too far into the other attributes, I will say that I think a G VS2 is a nice starting point. These are good color & clarity grades to seek without paying too much of a price premium. If you wanted to save a few bucks (or maximize size a little) you may even be able to consider an H color and/or SI1 eye clean stone.

That said, let's provide you a road map for picking an ideal cut stone:
  • Only GIA or AGS certified stones
  • 54-57 table
  • 60-62.4 depth, but prefer < 62 depth
  • 34-35 crown, maybe 35.5 if paired with a 40.6 pavilion
  • 40.6-40.9 pavilion, maybe 41 if paired with a 34 crown
  • 75-80 LGF, but prefer 78 or less
  • Ensure the crown & pavilion angles have an inverse relationship, meaning steep crown/shallow pavilion or just the opposite.
  • Enter cert numbers or proportions into HCA calculator and short list stones with a score of 0-2, and preferably a 1-2 score.
  • With stones short listed on good HCA scores, request idealscope or ASET images to help provide confirmation of light performance
  • At any point in the process, ask for help on this forum.
  • Assuming, a stone passes all these checks, it's ready to consider purchasing

Bypass all the above hassle, and buy a hearts & arrow (H&A) ideal cut stone that we frequently call super ideals from a trusted vendor. It's like "easy button" ideal diamond buying that comes with outstanding customer service and best upgrade policies available.

Here is one such super ideal option that maxes your $12k budget:



If you don't mind dropping to an eye clean SI1 clarity, here is a second option, still with G color that is about $11k:

I’m super grateful for such a detailed response. I did make a note of the recommended numbers as I was reading the forum and tutorial. But your response just streamlined everything) I wish I posted my question on this forum earlier. It would have saved me hours of my life)))
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,729
Thanks for the recommendation. I can see a flaw almost in the center of the table. Would think it’s not good. Is it? Also fluorescence is faint. I was thinking fluorescence should be none. Am I wrong?

Keep in mind that clarity is determined using a 10x scope. And the images & videos you view online are zoomed in much higher than 10x. The likelihood you would ever see any VS1 inclusion is slim to zero. As such, I would not be overly concerned with the clarity if I were you.

Really, any amount of fluor can be acceptable. The key is that it does not create a milky or hazy stone as a result. The lower the intensity the less problematic. Also, if you are buying a very high colored stone (D/E) then getting very strong levels of fluor (very strong/strong) is undesirable by many buyers.

When you hit medium+ levels, you will see a price break. As such, some people seek out quality stones with fluor as they can be a bargain. FYI, GIA utilizes "none" for their lowest level, whereas AGS utilizes "negligible" as their lowest level.

I might add that fluor can be in different colors, but the most common is blue. Some people like and prefer blue fluor as yellow is the primary tint color of diamonds. However, some stones may exhibit different colors of tint as well. My point remains, with enough UV lighting the fluor gets excited and activates and then offsets some of the yellow tone, so in certain conditions the stone may appear ever so slightly whiter.

I bought my wife a BGD H VS2 w/ MBF. We have not noticed any visible negatives or significant white color increase but I did enjoy a small price savings. :cool2:

One area of concern I might caution with this stone is the 35/40.8 combo. While it falls within acceptable ideal criteria, I continue to see idealscope and ASET images of this combo that have leakage. I've also seen really good images on the same combo, so it has to do with the quality of the cut and not just the numbers. My point is simple, I wouldn't buy the stone without seeing an image to prove it's not a problem and/or buy with intent to return if my scopes at the house didn't prove a stone without leakage.


I’m super grateful for such a detailed response. I did make a note of the recommended numbers as I was reading the forum and tutorial. But your response just streamlined everything) I wish I posted my question on this forum earlier. It would have saved me hours of my life)))
You're very welcome. Glad it helped. :cool2:
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,729
By the way, I was just looking back over the cert on that 1.380 G VS2 I mentioned earlier from WF. Earlier I didn't catch it has a cavity in it.

I personally don't like cavities and would have reservations about purchasing. That said, the severity of the inclusions are listed in order of precedence on the cert. In this case, you have 5 defining items contributing to the VS2 clarity rating. The cavity is 5 of 5, so it's the least problematic.

Still, I don't like them and thought you should know this too as part of your purchasing decision.

At the very least, it warrants a conversation with WF about the matter. These are good honest folks, so they will shoot you straight (even if it costs them a sale), but please do talk with them if you decide to move forward with it.

My apologies for not catching sooner.

Capture100.PNG
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,729
Any thoughts on this stone?
Price seems to be good for a stone of this ct weight and with such parameters. Am I missing anything here?
Keep in mind WF has a few different lines of stones they offer:

  1. A Cut Above (ACA) = Their premier ideal cut with true heart & arrow (H&A) symmetry. Very tight specs and this type of stone makes up less than 1% of the diamond population. Stocked in-house.
  2. Expert Select (ES) = A "near miss" ACA that holds AGS000 certification that comes with a price discount and the same upgrade program, etc as the ACA. Stocked in-house.
  3. Premium Select (PS) = Similar to the ES, except it has GIA XXX certification. Stocked in-house.
  4. Virtual Inventory = As the name implies, these stones are NOT stocked in-house and are part of an online virtual inventory. Many of the stones from James Allen (JA), Blue Nile (BN), etc. are virtual inventory stones. They can be either AGS or GIA stones with varying degrees of cut quality. They do NOT come with the generous upgrade program the other 3 lines do. However, if you are going to buy a virtual inventory stone, they offer the unique advantage of bringing the stone in and doing a full array of images like their other in-house stones.
Generally speaking, when we think and recommend WF it is because of the ACA, ES or PS stones.

In regards to the stone you asked about, I would not recommend. It has a steep 36 crown combined with a steep 41 crown. The 56 table and 62 depth is good. If you were to consider a 36 crown, you'd want to marry it with a shallow 40.6 pavilion and then you'd want images to confirm it is well cut and performing correctly. If you were to consider a 41 pavilion, you'd want a shallow 34 crown and again images to prove it's performance.

The 41 pavilion is a bit dangerous as the crown & pavilion angles we see on a GIA cert is determined by rounding & averaging 8 actual values, so you see a single value. This means the pavilion could be <41 or >41. My issues are at 41.2 things go wonky.

Combine a risky crown with a risky pavilion and it's bad news IMO. You have a good budget, and there is no need to take this risk.
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,729
FYI, here is another good option from a another awesome super ideal vendor. Color is a bump down to H though. I noticed on the F, your price was $13k+. Do you have flexibility?

 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
FYI, here is another good option from a another awesome super ideal vendor. Color is a bump down to H though. I noticed on the F, your price was $13k+. Do you have flexibility?

Thank you, Sledge. I do have a little bit of flexibility with the price. I’m a little worried about going with H color though. Will be upset if the stone ends up looking yellow.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,069
When you search on Whiteflash, check the box for in-house stones. They specialize in the best cut diamonds in their ACA line, but also have some nice stones in their Expert Selection and Premium Select lines. (The 1.63 F is not within cut parameters that we would recommend.)

These are gorgeous:


 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
Hi Serge...I guess I didnt really answer your question on "How to finally decide on a stone?"

You can do it a couple of different ways. If you can narrow it down to 5 or so stones, post them and ask for feedback from Pricescopers. They
will let you know if they are well cut, or not and possibly point out things about the stone(s) that you might take into consideration.
Once PSers know what you are looking for they will usually post other stones to show you your options.

Or

You can just ask for help (give specs and budget) and we will start posting well-cut stones.

I jumped to the above second option without answering your question. If you have any more questions, let us know. BTW, only shop somewhere
that has good/easy return process and know what that process is. We tend to stick with certain vendors because we know them and have purchased from them.
Could you refer me to the list of trustworthy vendors , please? Thank you!
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,729
Some of the super ideal guys:

High Performance Diamonds (HPD)
Whiteflash (WF)
Brian Gavin Diamonds (BGD)
Victor Canera (VC)

Kind of doing his own thing with ideal older cuts, but also a wealth of knowledge for modern stones as well:

August Vintage (AV)


Known for finding certified and uncertified stones that meet PS quality standards on an array of budget sizes:

ID Jewlery (IDJ)


Specialty shops that due unique things:

Diamonds by Lauren (DBL)
Old World Diamonds (OWD)


Some virtual inventory suppliers:

James Allen (JA)
BlueNile (BN)

Like all virtual suppliers, they have some limitations but overall are trustworthy and can sometimes be a good option for certain situations.
 

jp201845

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
259
Hi everyone.

Can you please tell me your thoughts on this diamond
At VS1 clarity will be totally eye clean and there are no inclusions on the table. G color will face up white due to the ACA brand. Overall proportions look great which will give you lots of sparkle and fire with that small table. Awsome stone you can't go wrong.
 
Last edited:

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
20,979
Hi everyone.

Can you please tell me your thoughts on this diamond
Beautiful stone... Super Ideal AGS000. High clarity and really nice color. WF has an excellent upgrade policy too if you should ever
decide to upgrade in the future. (nice to have in your back pocket just in case)
 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
Beautiful stone... Super Ideal AGS000. High clarity and really nice color. WF has an excellent upgrade policy too if you should ever
decide to upgrade in the future. (nice to have in your back pocket just in case)
Face up size looks a little small (7.02x7.04x4.35 mm). Or is it an adequate size for a stone of this ct weight?

On a side note I was comparing prices between WF and James Allen. ACA and True Hearts. And JA seems to be a little cheaper. Am I right? Or are prices comparable on these sites? I can't see GIA/AGS reports for stones on JA. So it's hard to do apple to apple comparison.
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,729
Face up size looks a little small (7.02x7.04x4.35 mm). Or is it an adequate size for a stone of this ct weight?
Face up size is spot on.

Just a heads up -- WF is a super ideal vendor that specializes in hearts & arrow (H&A) stones that are cut to maximize beauty, not weight.

Without getting too technical, other less awesome vendors choose to have stones cut to maximum weight (profit) instead of beauty. When that happens you can end up with a variety of oddballs. One is where a stone is too shallow and has more spread than normal. Another is where a stone is what we call steep & deep and has extra weight hidden in the depth; therefore, giving you a small spread for the weight of the stone.

Again, this simply is NOT the case for the WF stone. It's cut to maximize beauty. The proportions are reflective of this, and the performance and symmetry images they provide prove it.

Additionally, if you run the stone through the HCA calculator, it too confirms it.

Capture999.PNG
 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
Face up size is spot on.

Just a heads up -- WF is a super ideal vendor that specializes in hearts & arrow (H&A) stones that are cut to maximize beauty, not weight.

Without getting too technical, other less awesome vendors choose to have stones cut to maximum weight (profit) instead of beauty. When that happens you can end up with a variety of oddballs. One is where a stone is too shallow and has more spread than normal. Another is where a stone is what we call steep & deep and has extra weight hidden in the depth; therefore, giving you a small spread for the weight of the stone.

Again, this simply is NOT the case for the WF stone. It's cut to maximize beauty. The proportions are reflective of this, and the performance and symmetry images they provide prove it.

Additionally, if you run the stone through the HCA calculator, it too confirms it.

Capture999.PNG
Thank you for your detailed response! I had an assumption that WF ACA and JA True Hearts are equally ideal. Did I make a wrong assumption?
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
20,979
Face up size looks a little small (7.02x7.04x4.35 mm). Or is it an adequate size for a stone of this ct weight?

On a side note I was comparing prices between WF and James Allen. ACA and True Hearts. And JA seems to be a little cheaper. Am I right? Or are prices comparable on these sites? I can't see GIA/AGS reports for stones on JA. So it's hard to do apple to apple comparison.
It is the correct size for a well cut stone. What is making you think that it is a little small? JA H&As are not up to the par of ACAs. ACAs have
a pretty strict of parameters that a stone must fall within. Not so strick for JA. Not to say that you wont find a nice JA H&A. ALso, there is a big
trade-in difference. At JA you have to spend 2X your original stone. Whiteflash is just a dollar more. You may or may not care about this.
 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
It is the correct size for a well cut stone. What is making you think that it is a little small? JA H&As are not up to the par of ACAs. ACAs have
a pretty strict of parameters that a stone must fall within. Not so strick for JA. Not to say that you wont find a nice JA H&A. ALso, there is a big
trade-in difference. At JA you have to spend 2X your original stone. Whiteflash is just a dollar more. You may or may not care about this.
Thank you for your input! For the size based on ct weight I was referring to this table:) 3DAC168F-C58F-48CA-B9BC-D89493C1246E.png
 

Wewechew

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
1,935
Thank you for your input! For the size based on ct weight I was referring to this table:) 3DAC168F-C58F-48CA-B9BC-D89493C1246E.png
It looks like the sizes are correct up until 1ct, and then they diameters are off for the carat weight. At least if you are looking at ideal proportions.

I have a 1.29ct CBI and it's 7mm.
 

Serge

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
19
If you had to choose between these two diamonds which one would you choose?
 

Wewechew

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
1,935
If you had to choose between these two diamonds which one would you choose?
I would go with the F.
 
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