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OEC Experts: Please help with OBSTRUCTION questions!

Veltiesmom

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
165
Hi all! I'm still on the hunt for the "perfect" 3-4 carat OEC. I'm currently "test driving" a 4.02 GIA L SI1 from OWD which I like very much and is close ... but maybe no cigar. One of my main complaints is that the head obstruction I see when I look at the diamond head on is really bugging me. I've read up a bunch about obstruction and from what I can tell, this isn't BAD obstruction - the table facets do not go completely black. However, they do noticeably show color from the reflection of my head and hair when I look down at the stone. I've had 5-6 OECs of this size range in my possession to examine, and all of them did it. It bugs the heck out of me - when I tilt the stone slightly, it's nice and bright and white. I want it to look that way (or at least mostly that way) from all angles.

So my questions are: Is that goal unrealistic? I know every diamond has SOME degree of obstruction, but is really noticeable obstruction just something I have to expect with OECs in general? Also is this perhaps a function of the large size of the diamond? My prior stone was a 2 carat (modern) cushion and I didn't notice obstruction much if at all. Also, I'm shopping long distance so I can't effectively examine every possible candidate for this problem. Are there any specs or characteristics I should try to shoot for that might minimize the obstruction issue (eg, earlier cut versus later cut, higher versus shorter crown, deeper versus shallower, flowery versus nonflowery facet pattern, etc)?

I really appreciate any insight you all may have!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,225
Buy an AVR instead.
 

MarionC

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 9, 2013
Messages
6,246
I will be very interested to hear the answer to your question as I am always interested in learning more about the old cuts.
[I am not sure that purchasing a modern cut is the answer. I would rather have the personality, history and quirky beauty of an old cut. By that is just my humble opinion since I am in love with my OEC with all her moodiness LOL The new cuts look "manufactured" to me but they certainly are sparkly!]
 

sharonyanddave

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 27, 2015
Messages
78
Veltiesmom|1448947249|3955891 said:
So my questions are: Is that goal unrealistic? I know every diamond has SOME degree of obstruction, but is really noticeable obstruction just something I have to expect with OECs in general?

True OECs not vintage faceted recently cut stones were cut to produce the heaviest saleable stones, so yes head shadow and leakage are to be expected they weren't shooting for Ideal angles or symmetry.

Also is this perhaps a function of the large size of the diamond? My prior stone was a 2 carat (modern) cushion and I didn't notice obstruction much if at all.

The heavier the stone the more expensive the rough and the bigger the penalty for losing weight to improve light performance. The balance shifts towards weight saving the heavier the stone, larger stones are also more rare in general so finding better cut is more difficult as you have less inventory to select from to begin with.

Also, I'm shopping long distance so I can't effectively examine every possible candidate for this problem. Are there any specs or characteristics I should try to shoot for that might minimize the obstruction issue (eg, earlier cut versus later cut, higher versus shorter crown, deeper versus shallower, flowery versus nonflowery facet pattern, etc)?

Too many variables to say conclusively but you want to avoid shallow pavilions which isn't easy to do if all you are looking at is a lab report which doesn't list all the angles. I think shopping in person or working with a specialized vendor who is aware of what you are looking for is the better way to go rather than sifting through online inventories. A trip to New York would be helpful and I would visit all the "Usual Suspects" and have them call in stones for you to view before you come.
 

Veltiesmom

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
165
Thanks all. I know an AVR would solve my problem but I'm set on an old cut.

Sounds like some of you are saying that all OECs are going to exhibit this problem?
 

teobdl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2013
Messages
986
I don't know that an AVR would solve the phenomenon you describe. It's something that I saw when I was shopping for a diamond and "tested" two AVR's. I didn't like it at all and decided to just get a modern round. I'm not suggesting that you abandon your hope for an OEC just yet, though.

Some may suggest to get images to filter out "poor performing" OEC's. In my opinion, the problem of searching for a OWC that doesn't have the obstruction at the distance you're look at it from won't be solved just by looking at idealscope/other images. What you see as"obstruction" will change based on how far away you are from the diamond... Idealscope images, and other image capture techniques, are taken at defined distances that are not always representative of how you view the diamond. Frankly I don't know enough about diamond design and construction to understand how to solve the issue of pleasing obstruction at varying distances in OEC's/AVR's, but I do think that you need to speak with a vendor who has worked with tons of this style of diamond to figure out if this style of cut can ever fit with your "light performance" taste. Tell them exactly the issue you are having and hopefully they'll be able to point you in the right direction.

I'd speak with at least a few vendors: Victor Canera, Good Old Gold people, and David at Diamonds by Lauren. Some people will poo-poo David, but he has a good eye after seeing tens of thousands of diamonds and isn't afraid to veer from groupthink on what something "should" look like if that's what the customer wants.
 

Sagefemme

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 8, 2015
Messages
290
Veltiesmom, you and I seem to be in the same loop. As you know I have been doing the same, evaluating stones from OWD (we must be driving Adam nuts between the two of us!). Do you have more than one stone at home to make comparisons? The obstruction issue is frustrating but I may have found some ways to get around it. I was reading the PC post "How to take good pictures of your diamonds" and realized that the tricks for taking pictures are the same tricks for general viewing without obstruction. Particularly this post was helpful:

Post by Dreamer_D » 22 Oct 2013 23:22
These are my tricks for taking ultra close pics of diamonds that show the faceting.

First, natural light only. Take your photos in a window, facing the window, hold your hand against the window to block the light so that the light must bounce off you to reach the stone. Such indirect lighting lights up the stone and makes the facets pop. Also, whatever you wear will reflect in the stone. So pick a nice color!

Here is a more tricky method for loose stones.

Find a big window and sit near the sill facing the window. Then put the diamond in a clawed diamond holder, the type like a pen. Then you crouch down by the sill and put your left elbow on the sill for balance and stability. In your left hand you hold the diamond holder with your pinky and ring finger and thumb, grasping it near the diamond so the stone is near your palm. Diamond facing you of course. Then cup your loose pointer and middle finger so the diamond is in the shadow of your palm-- the light then *only* reaches the stone indirectly by reflecting off you. Creates pastels and wild lovely facets. Then use macro mode to take shots. Hold the camera really close to the stone. You can balance a finger from the camera hand on the hand cupping the diamond for extra stability when taking macro pics.


The other thing I have done which is very helpful, if you have two stones, is put them both on something light colored (white cardboard, for example) at the same angle, and walk slowly around your house, out into the yard (your neighbors will KNOW you are crazy now), all the while staring at both stones. Pay close attention to what you see in each stone as you move from one lighting scenario to another--which one is overall brighter? Which one goes darker under the table? Can you really see the characteristics of facet patterns with the naked eye at normal viewing distance? Which one has more fire and sparkle? What shape and size are the flashes?

I just did this with (you already know about these stones, I think) the 3.10 L/VS1 and the 2.78 L/VVS2 that I'm looking at. I really like the "flowery" faceting (rounded, petal-like) on the 2.78 better than the "geometric" faceting (pointed and more splintery) on the 3.10. The faceting differences are like night and day through a loop, and less obvious (but still visible) to my 54 year old eyes without magnification. The difference in favor of the non-flowery facets, however, is that what's under the table stays brighter under more of the various lighting conditions. There are times when the flowery faceted stone goes dark in the center (i.e., all facets are "off") and the geometric faceted stone is still comparatively bright in the center. If you do the walking around trick, make sure you stand in diffuse (overcast) outdoor light, and make sure you stand under a tree or bush when it's sunny to get the most beautiful pastel flashes.

This is getting long, but bear with me. I started to realize that maybe, at least in the stones I'm looking at, the flowery facets are, by nature of their shape and arrangement, less contrast-y than the geometric facets. If we take this to the extreme, and imagine the geometric (pointy, triangular) facets elongated to the opposite of the rounded petal facets, we would have a hearts and arrows diamond, with its excellent contrast pattern under the table.

Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I have started to figure out that a pleasing flower-petal pattern under the table is less important to me than overall brightness and light return and fire. My eyes aren't good enough any more to see the facets clearly most of the time. Although, having said that, my GOG AVR is both flowery and contrast-y and (mostly) bright under the table. So there are ways to get both, but maybe not so much in old stones.

If you have made it to the end of this congratulations. OEC experts please correct my brilliant deductions if I'm way off!
 

Veltiesmom

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
165
Interesting! I'm such a sucker for the flower pattern that I don't think I could give that up. Have you made any final decisons yet??
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,225
I've seen a lot of OECs. And only a few AVR's. But one thing I have noticed about the AVR's is that were consistently brighter under the table and showed much less head obstruction. That said, I have seen a few old cuts, mostly transitionals, that don't have the head obstruction. But only a few.
 

Sagefemme

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 8, 2015
Messages
290
What stone is pictured in your avatar? That one looks good! I am 90 % sure I've settled on the 3.10 L/VS1. Some of my decision-making is based on diamond fatigue......I just can't think about it any more.
 

Veltiesmom

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
165
Sagefemme|1449039068|3956328 said:
What stone is pictured in your avatar? That one looks good! I am 90 % sure I've settled on the 3.10 L/VS1. Some of my decision-making is based on diamond fatigue......I just can't think about it any more.

It's the 4.02 L. It's really pretty but I'm craving that high crown/small table look. And as noted the head obstruction, while not "bad", is kind of starting to bug me. So before I ditch a good one for no reason, I'm trying to figure out whether I'm going to experience that with almost any old cut stone.
 
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