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Performance vs Beauty in diamond cut

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strmrdr

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Warning this thread is going to get deep in a hurry so if your head explodes you were warned.
Also note that there will be a lot of opinions in this thread.

Basically what it boils down to there are several ways of thinking when it comes to diamond beauty.
Some of them are:
1: light return is everything: AGS0 RB is best
2: light return + patterns is best: H&A Ideal cuts and optically symmetrical princess cuts are best
3: Patterns are more important than overall light return: step cuts are best

What makes a diamond beautiful to you? How does that relate to performance?
 

oldminer

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Beauty is quite personal. A few people probably find diamonds not so beautiful even when they are supposedly the "best cut" stones. Then we find the majority who think nearly all diamonds look beautiful in some way and have little to no concept of one diamond being prettier than any other. These folks comprise the huge mass marketer's customers. At the upper 10% or less of people, we have those folks who care about beauty, what they see, what they feel, what they know, and what the facts are. Among these people are those who are artistic and those who are analytical. These groups see beauty quite differently from one another. Artists see with their eyes, minds, hearts, soul, etc. Analysts see with calculators, trig functions, light meters and comparison sheets. Both of these types have their place in the world and have their own opinions on beauty.

Performance can be calculated and/or measured directly. Properly, "grading" always is directly measured whenever possible. Grading based on predicted results is considered scientifically less reliable and in every other field of science, prediction is relegated to the trash heap if direct measures can be made. Diamonds are still an exception, but not forever. Performance is not a direct route to beauty, but does better than any other methodology to finely screen which diamonds have the highest potential for being judged as beautiful. There are no areas where no correlation exists in this regard that I am aware of. However, beauty remains personal and does not attach itself directly to hard evidence such as performance readings. They go hand in hand, but each person has their own eyes, preferences and dislikes.

Most beautiful diamonds perform well. Most high performance diamonds look beautiful. This leads to the conclusion that beautiful diamonds will nearly always be high performers and vice-versa. However, this also means that there will be some possible exceptions or disagreements which might happen. I don't see any harm in such a scenario. We always tell people to buy what they like knowing the facts and the truth. Under such a system, no one gets burned and people shop with knowledge and confidence. Remember, diamonds are cut by highly skilled experts who know to combine performance and beauty into each diamond to the extent possible. Who would ask them to do otherwise?

I find it entertaining and useful to provide factual data to analytical folks, but also find it rewarding providing meaningful advice on what my concept of beauty is to those who appreciate the artistic aspects. Pattern recognition is an inherent aspect of human physiology. We should not deny it has a huge impact on what we see and how we accept it into our brains. Light return without a good pattern does not make a beautiful diamond......at least, not for me.
 

rainydaze

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when i first got engaged, i knew nothing about diamonds - least of all about cut. i thought you picked your shape and hoped that you found one that was "pretty", which to me meant that it sparkled like mad and had great fire.

now, after spending nearly two years on PS, i would say that #2 (light return and patterns) is what constitutes beauty in a diamond for me. i have compared average RBs with Ideal H&As with OECs. i have discovered i find OECs the most beautiful for the way they return light as well as the patterns the facets display. i love that when i am not in a lighting environment that begets great brilliance or fire, my eyes are still delighted by the patterns the OEC displays. while gorgeous in their own right, the ideal H&As did not speak to me the way OECs do - the light return stops my heart, but it was the patterning that didn''t grab me. hence, #2.

p.s. this surprised the heck out of both my husband and jeweler who were certain part of what would make a diamond beautiful to me, and perfect for me, was the mind-clean perfection of the ideal H&As. they had a difficult time conceiving that an ''imperfect'' OEC, despite it''s visual beauty, was enough for me. it sure is nice to throw a few surprises into a marriage here and there!
 

Upgradable

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I also would prefer a diamond that displayed the characteristics you described in #2. The play between seeing the beautiful patterning of the diamond (and NOT just H&A) and then being lasered by a blast of brilliance or fire is what makes my heart go pitty-pat!
 

musey

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I think that patterns are what makes beauty for me. While I love sparkley stones, sure, my favorite lighting to look at them in is low and diffuse (like a rainy day), so that I can clearly see the faceting pattern, when it isn't obscured by sparkle.

I suppose my preference for chunky and/or step cuts probably has something to do with that. My favorite cuts are asscher, OEC, OMC, antique chunky cushion, etc. I am not as attracted by small, splintery facets.

That said, if my asscher didn't have sparkle and fire to it, I wouldn't love it.
 

strmrdr

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my favorites are:
brilliant with patterns: ideal cut h&a and some of my designs that combine eye blowing brilliance with fire and different patterns than h&a.
Fiery with patterns: well cut oec and step cuts.
It also depends on the size of the diamond.
 

Wink

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Me, I LOVE lots of light return with fantastic scintillation and generous quantities of dispersion. This is why I love the H&A rounds so much as well as the AGS 0 princess, so many of the princess cuts that I see are total dogs, but never have I seen one I did not like from Paul.


I also love the Old European cuts for the large flashes and occassional SHEETS of fire that some rare few of them offer to those of us who love dispersion. I saw one once that would give most opals a run for their money, wish I could have bought it at the time.


Give me a well cut Asscher if I want something a little more sedate from the sparkle but that still has the dispersion and I have seen a few, only a very few emerald cuts that were to die for with their exquisiteness and their elegance.

Ya gotta know how bad I want this diamond, too bad they are not economical to cut. Some day when I have more money than good sense I will commission Paul to cut me one.

Wink

P.S. Nice Topic Karl, I see no reason to fight, just to say what we like.

Emerald_Pic_1-resized2w.jpg
 

strmrdr

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Wink the fighting I was expecting erupted in another thread....
I will see you that asscher and raise you a monster and the good Lord willing you will be able to buy one from me someday.
I believe there is a market for them even if they wont be cheap.
Maybe not enough of one for someone Paul's size but enough for a custom cutter.
Enough to keep the dream alive :}

Kewlmonster.jpg
 

coatimundi_org

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I love larger symmetrical faceting like we see in some oec, omc, transitional cuts and step cuts.

I have an oec, a few trans cuts, a H&A, a well cut non H&A, and an oval. The trans cuts win hands down. They have amazing light return, fire, and the lovely short lgfs.

I had the pleasure of meeting Grace from JBEG over the weekend, and I got to see her amazing 3.6+ omc. Just incredible. Large and symmetrical facets. Chunky star and bezel facets that facilitate that lovely floral pattern. Her stone and a 3.9+ oec (Single Stone's) epitomize what I find beautiful in a diamond. Symmetry, large facets, fire, and excellent light return.

Oec, omc, and trans defy "ideal" measurements and imho, give the viewer a bit more than "performance" which is a subjective term in itself. I suppose it depends on how one wants their stone to perform. I'll take an chunky/firey old cut with an interesting history over a stone that's made to deliver a certain type of light performance. I'm like this in most things--never been fond of the concept of perfection in art, life, and now diamonds.

My name is Coati, and I'm an old cut convert.
 

strmrdr

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Date: 2/18/2009 7:40:54 PM
Author: coatimundi
I''ll take an chunky/firey old cut with an interesting history over a stone that''s made to deliver a certain type of light performance.
Actually they were designed to perform in the lighting standards of the day.
I wont use the the term transitional because it is inaccurate but some of them and the American cut OEC''s were the super-ideals of their day and lighting.
 

coatimundi_org

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Date: 2/18/2009 7:44:53 PM
Author: strmrdr
Date: 2/18/2009 7:40:54 PM

Author: coatimundi

I''ll take an chunky/firey old cut with an interesting history over a stone that''s made to deliver a certain type of light performance.
Actually they were designed to perform in the lighting standards of the day.

I wont use the the term transitional because it is inaccurate but some of them and the American cut OEC''s were the super-ideals of their day and lighting.
I''m using the term transitional for easy id purposes. I''m not too keen on the term, but many are familiar with the faceting associated with that term--accurate or not.

And I prefer the "lighting standards" of old cuts to today''s "ideal" cuts.
 

strmrdr

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glitterata

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I''m going to go with #2 too, except no princesses for me, please. OECs, the cuts formerly known as transitions, perhaps H&A superideals, Asshers.

And I would LOVE to see some of Storm''s custom designs in person.
 

jstarfireb

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I like ''em all! For my engagement ring, I was drawn to the square shape and optical symmetry as well as the great light return of a precisely cut AGS0 princess. This thing sparkles more than any princess I''ve ever seen! But I''d also love to add a nice chunky old cut to my collection. I suppose I value symmetry/patterns a little more, since I tend to gravitate toward "transition" cuts with their big fat arrows as opposed to more "random" appearing OECs.
 
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