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Simple question. Is H&A worth the extra $$

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aljdewey

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Well, it's not reeeeeeeeeeaally a simple question.
There is no "right" or universal answer.

The answer depends on who you ask and what he/she values. I may think the H&A is worth the extra; you may not value it in the same way and may not feel it's worth it.

It depends on what each individual values and the importance they place on the H&A as to whether or not it's "worth it".
 

ringer

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Ok, Well does a H&A Sparkle better than a regular well cut diamond? Speaking in general of course.
 

ringer

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I guess what I am asking is will a H&A from Whiteflash sparkle and look better than an Ideal cut form Diamonds.com? Assuming that they are same Color, Clarity and weight with the same dimentions.
 

Iceman

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I would say look at both styles of cutting diamonds and that will give you your answer vs. Price and what you can see.
 

dameisers

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I had never seen a H&A diamond until I visited the vendors listed here on PS. It is safe to say that I will never purchase another diamond unless it is a H&A. Frankly, the other cuts look muddled. I know it is just my eyes playing tricks on me, but what can a girl do?
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chrono

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For me, I cannot visually see the difference between a true H&A and a diamond that exhibits a strong H&A pattern, so I get my money's worth by buying an unbranded H&A (H&A pattern almost perfect) without the H&A markup. Only your eyes can tell if you can see the difference. Can you compare them side by side?
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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It depends what you are comparing the H&A's to.

if it is crap, then the h&A's win hands down.
But if it is a diamond with great proportions, near perfect ideal-scope image etc - then I would say 1% or 2% more would be too much.

But others would say 5% or 10% - just for the right to say "i got a H&A's and you ain't!!!"
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Compared to 5 years ago - 10-30% of the stones I selected with an ideal-scope from parcels happened to be H&A's.
Today as many as 2/3rds happen to be H&A's.
The equipment in most factories is far superior today.

The idea that H&A's are and will continue to be rare is BS. So the premium is shrinking. Average quality is improving.
 

elmo

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Last I heard, Eightstar doesn't try at all to get the 'h' part of "h&a"...not part of the cutting strategy. I think it would be hard for someone to successfully argue that perfect hearts and perfect arrows make a "more beautiful" diamond than that.
 

Paul-Antwerp

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Garry, I agree but I disagree.

When you are talking about parcels of small stones, you are right that you will find more H&A-patterns than some years ago.

But if we are talking about bigger stones, that you look at individually, the story is not the same. Especially in this case, the comparison is between a Whiteflash-H&A and an ideal-cut.

Unfortunately, too many people in the trade refer to what we call 'super-ideals' as 'H&A'. If this is a Whiteflash A Cut Above, with ideal proportions, great symmetry and the resulting H&A-pattern, I value it much more than a stone with ideal average proportions, but without H&A-pattern.

Live long,
 

Blueman33

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Sep 13, 2004
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There are great performing stones that are not h & a.

And there are likely some h & a that are not great performing stones.

But if you look at a hearts and arrows next to a stone that say has 6 good arrows and or rickety arrows or none, it taints you! You see one cut is superb and one isn't. Can you tell the difference with the naked eye. Maybe, but I can't.

There are AGS000 out there or Ideal cuts with say VG rating on polish or sym that don't carry the premium AND have h & a (some refer to this as 'unbranded' since VG polish wouldn't be marketed under most super ideal h & a lines). So if you want BOTH h & a which show a nice detail to cut, without the premium you have to look around.

I have never heard anyone on this board state they could see the difference in VG and EX (or ID) in polish and sym with the naked eye.

However, I looked around, wanted the best cut, DIDN'T want to hassle with sending stones back, or looking in that viewer and seeing 6 good arrows and mush, and so went with a high end vendor with easy access to info, who only sells AGS000 with perfect h & a. With the help of a wonderful PS poster I was able to get this stone at about the same price/carat as a vendor who carries all sorts of stones that i would have to sift through.

Go with H & A if you can, but most AGS000 stones will perform well, though if you look at the AGS0 box on the HCA you will notice an upper right corner of that box which has mediocre performance.

So, it's not that simple a question. I went for h & a, but doubt I could see a differnce in a less precise cut.
 

Jennifer5973

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If it's a lot of extra $$$, I don't think it's worth it (note: I am not an expert by any means on the branded H&A premium). I think there are many well-cut stones that 99.99999999999999% of the people won't be able to discern as not H&A vs H&A. (The .00000000001 % who might include Garry and Old Miner
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) H&A can be a way of gettng a great diamond, as most are top performers, so you eliminate a lot of "noise" around the stone by going H&A.

I had an unbranded H&A and my next stone was not as "perfect" by the numbers but I feel it is more sparkly--I don't like it when in normal lighting, you can see the strong black arrows some H&As exhibit.

I'll be frank--I have a local jeweler I adore and worked with him, not through the internet where there are some great dealers & stones to be had. However, I was obsessed with getting "perfect" numbers etc. but after looking at so many diamonds, I loved the one I have more than the truer "ideal" I had previously but I almost turned down my current stone b/c it wasn't as "perfect" by the numbers as my other one...I loved it, couldn't get over the fire & dispersion and how it literally blasted me with sparklies.... and I literally almost walked away b/c it wasn't spec'd up per H&A standards. It was almost irrational--I loved loved loved it but because a piece of paper didn't say "super Ideal" I almost walked away.
rolleyes.gif
I am glad I didn't.
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I have calmed down a lot and started taking a lot of this stuff with a grain of salt.

I hope Garry is right that the most important effect of the H&A phenomenon is that this trend is forcing more well-cut diamonds to hit the market so the mark-ups become less of an issue. Cut is king--no one can argue that. But "H&A is king"...? I would argue this.
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Todd07

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Aug 17, 2004
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From most PS vendors, I thought there was a premium for good cut and many of the well cut stones are H&A. Do a "search by cut" and usually you will notice many H&A stones with HCA <2. I ended up with a h&A ACA from WF by looking for a low HCA with a great IS image at a good price. Some of the cheaper stones I saw had funny IS images.
 

JohnQuixote

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----------------
On 9/24/2004 9:50:15 AM Paul-Antwerp wrote:

Garry, I agree but I disagree.

When you are talking about parcels of small stones, you are right that you will find more H&A-patterns than some years ago.

But if we are talking about bigger stones, that you look at individually, the story is not the same. Especially in this case, the comparison is between a Whiteflash-H&A and an ideal-cut.

Unfortunately, too many people in the trade refer to what we call 'super-ideals' as 'H&A'. If this is a Whiteflash A Cut Above, with ideal proportions, great symmetry and the resulting H&A-pattern, I value it much more than a stone with ideal average proportions, but without H&A-pattern.

Live long,----------------

Sir Paul,

Thank you for making this distinction so eloquently. We appreciate the testimonial from such a distinguished "voice" in the trade
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Live long...
 

lmurden

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Jennifer5973 I total agree with you! Searching for the perfect diamond became an obsession! Luckily two things calmed me down when it came time to actually buying the engagement ring.

First, seeing loose diamonds in person and comparing non-branded H&A AGS000 to Ideal make diamonds that were all either G or H color and VS2 clarity and for me and my fiance we did not think the H&A visually looked prettier.

Secondly, after speaking to several jewelers in person and on the phone to Blue Nile reps a dozen times we were told that it is the preference of the individual and that the numbers may be ideal but the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One of the reps at BN said that the owners wife loves the 60/60 numbers and she could get anything that she wanted but that is what she prefers.

The independent appraiser who appraised my ring told me that he thought the H&A is just a fad in his opinion and it's up to the individual to determine what is beautiful to them. Also he said that the average person that looked at your ring wouldn't even notice the H&A unless you pointed them out to them so its up to the buyer. He said of course that there are those buyers who want the absolute best no matter what and that is what they should get.

In the end I really think it's a mental thing. I have had my cousin and my friend inspect and compare my ring extensively to my diamond pendant and they both said that they can tell that difference but only because the diamond jewelry were side by side and because of the platinum prongs on the ring vs the 18k yellow gold prongs on the pendant.
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JohnQuixote

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----------------
On 9/24/2004 8:04:33 AM chrono wrote:

For me, I cannot visually see the difference between a true H&A and a diamond that exhibits a strong H&A pattern, so I get my money's worth by buying an unbranded H&A (H&A pattern almost perfect) without the H&A markup. Only your eyes can tell if you can see the difference. ----------------

Chrono,

We strongly believe in the exacting standards that set “A Cut Above” diamonds apart from pedestrian definitions of “Hearts & Arrows.” The goal in cutting for Hearts & Arrows is perfect symmetry. Diamonds that fall short of the standards of “A Cut Above” Hearts & Arrows are illustrated here: Poor Hearts & Arrows

Our experience is that holding to the highest standards, and the resultant fine degree of physical (and therefore optical) symmetry “locks in” light performance and makes those superbly cut stones reliably magnificent.
 

chrono

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John,

I do understand WF's standard for ACA and I think all the ACAs are gorgeous. I'm not putting the ACAs down in any way. However, I have a Superbcert Special (cut to all Superbcert's standards and perfect H&A but fell short of the Superbcert name because the polish was only VG as opposed to Ex). Without a scope, I really cannot tell the difference. It's performance blew everything else out of the water.

Also, I've seen some H&As that look great and some H&As that look just so-so. Just because it is an H&A doesn't necesssarily mean it is going to be a super stone but it is more likely than not. That's all I'm trying to say. That's what my eyes tell me. I'm sure there are others who CAN tell the difference but I cannot if all conditions are the same (same ct weight, same ideal cut but one has the perfect pattern and the other doesn't have the perfect pattern).
 

JohnQuixote

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----------------

The independent appraiser who appraised my ring told me that he thought the H&A is just a fad in his opinion and it's up to the individual to determine what is beautiful to them. Also he said that the average person that looked at your ring wouldn't even notice the H&A unless you pointed them out to them so its up to the buyer. He said of course that there are those buyers who want the absolute best no matter what and that is what they should get.

In the end I really think it's a mental thing. I have had my cousin and my friend inspect and compare my ring extensively to my diamond pendant and they both said that they can tell that difference but only because the diamond jewelry were side by side and because of the platinum prongs on the ring vs the 18k yellow gold prongs on the pendant.
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----------------


Imurden,

I’m going to jump on a box o’ soap for a minute (let me get my balance):

1. “Fad”

Hearts & Arrows are not a ‘fad.’ There is consumer demand for internal symmetry. GIA and especially the new AGS standards are rewarding symmetry, so cutting physically (and therefore optically) symmetrical stones is a logical pursuit of excellence in the craft, as well as good business sense. Better-cut stones are valued more. Hearts & Arrows, when cut precisely, are a guarantee of cut quality, therefore a guarantee of higher value.

For that matter, Hearts & Arrows have been defined as such for over a decade. The fact that tools and measuring devices have evolved is a contributor to consumer awareness, but consumer awareness has not sparked the premium: The high performance exhibited in the precise cut has.

Thusly, Ripped jeans, body piercing and flip-flops are fads. The evolution of diamond cutting to the superb standards is not.

2. “Individual Preference”

I agree 100%. Yes, it is individual preference. When buying diamonds you are buying something which has been crafted by a human to perform for you, just as you would an automobile. To that end, the most precisely cut and refined Hearts & Arrows are a ‘fad’ in the same way Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and Ferrari are fads.
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rothana

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Sorry to interject a question in this thread... When buying a diamond with ideal proportions and excellent symmetry but not having a perfect hearts and arrows pattern, will this diamond perform worse than a similar diamond having the hearts and arrows pattern?
 

lmurden

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2,101
Hi John,

I hear you about "fad", but that was just his opinion on H&A. Maybe he was talking about the marketing aspect of H&A.

I have a question, in your opinion do you believe that diamonds that are truly H&A are visually (with the naked eye) more beautiful than a premium/excellent/well cut/ideal make diamond with a Depth of 60.1 - 61.9, Table of 55 - 57, and with polish and symmetry that are good-excellent? Thanks.
 

chrono

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Rothana, your answer is No. A diamond with ideal proportions, ex symmetry but imperfect H&A (but strong H&A pattern) will most likely be a super stone. With my naked eyes, it will sparkle just like a similar diamond ring with the H&A pattern.

This is the same question that lmurden is asking John. I can't see the difference and I'm sure many others will not be able to see the difference.
 

Diamond Angel

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Joined
Aug 31, 2004
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----------------
On 9/24/2004 1:40:41 PM JohnQuixote wrote:

----------------

The independent appraiser who appraised my ring told me that he thought the H&A is just a fad in his opinion and it's up to the individual to determine what is beautiful to them. Also he said that the average person that looked at your ring wouldn't even notice the H&A unless you pointed them out to them so its up to the buyer. He said of course that there are those buyers who want the absolute best no matter what and that is what they should get.

In the end I really think it's a mental thing. I have had my cousin and my friend inspect and compare my ring extensively to my diamond pendant and they both said that they can tell that difference but only because the diamond jewelry were side by side and because of the platinum prongs on the ring vs the 18k yellow gold prongs on the pendant.
1.gif
----------------


Imurden,

I’m going to jump on a box o’ soap for a minute (let me get my balance):

1. “Fad”

Hearts & Arrows are not a ‘fad.’ There is consumer demand for internal symmetry. GIA and especially the new AGS standards are rewarding symmetry, so cutting physically (and therefore optically) symmetrical stones is a logical pursuit of excellence in the craft, as well as good business sense. Better-cut stones are valued more. Hearts & Arrows, when cut precisely, are a guarantee of cut quality, therefore a guarantee of higher value.

For that matter, Hearts & Arrows have been defined as such for over a decade. The fact that tools and measuring devices have evolved is a contributor to consumer awareness, but consumer awareness has not sparked the premium: The high performance exhibited in the precise cut has.

Thusly, Ripped jeans, body piercing and flip-flops are fads. The evolution of diamond cutting to the superb standards is not.

2. “Individual Preference”

I agree 100%. Yes, it is individual preference. When buying diamonds you are buying something which has been crafted by a human to perform for you, just as you would an automobile. To that end, the most precisely cut and refined Hearts & Arrows are a ‘fad’ in the same way Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and Ferrari are fads.
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----------------


so when you purchase an aca level diamond you are buying a pedigree as well as a sure thing in high performance...makes sense.

i like the car comparison...personally, now that i know about h&a i want something like an aca just because when i see it on my finger i will know it has that symmetry. as long as i am going far enough to get good cut, why not go for perfect cut?
 

lmurden

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Diamond Angel is H&A visually more beautiful than a regular Ideal cut diamond with good-excellent polish and symmetry and does anybody other than U notice the symmetry?

Also if you are on a budget the way my fiance was because he was being deployed in less than two weeks our budget went from $5000 to $2500 so I had to compromise somewhere so I did. I can say with all honesty that I love my ring! The rings looks clear as water in most lights and everybody who has seen it think it's gorgeous. The only thing I would do is get a bigger ring.
 

chrono

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Yes, DA. It is a personal preference.

Some people like it that only they know they have the best pedigree while some people CAN see the difference, although it is a very small % of people can really see the difference. Others buy really jaw dropping diamonds that rival the performance of the pedigree without the pedigree cost and name and can't see the difference. The key is that you have to sort out the non pedigrees carefully to make sure you have a top performer.
 

nicknomo

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I have an "unbranded" H&A diamond with no visible defects in the H&A pattern at 10x magnification. I haven't had a chance to compare to an eightstar or ACA from whiteflash, but I did compare it to Lazar Kaplan which had H&A as well as other non H&A AGS 000 with "good numbers".

I saw a little difference in the look between the ideal cuts and H&A, but honestly nothing where I can say "this shines more" or "this stone is more brilliant". They just looked a little different. I think once you get an AGS 000 with some good crown and pavillion angles, it just blows the rest of "normal cut" stuff out of the water.

Between the diamond I chose and the Lazar Kaplan with H&A, I saw no difference (except maybe in size being a little different in carat weight).

I think that H&A just means you have a higher likelihood of getting something that is cut well. Of course geting a non H&A doesn't mean you won't get something that looks amazing.
 

rothana

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Chrono,

When buying a diamond online (and not being able to see it), is the dimensions (depth, table, crown/pavilion angles) and symmetry enough to know that it will be a top performer?
 

JohnQuixote

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----------------
On 9/24/2004 1:56:08 PM rothana wrote:

Sorry to interject a question in this thread... When buying a diamond with ideal proportions and excellent symmetry but not having a perfect hearts and arrows pattern, will this diamond perform worse than a similar diamond having the hearts and arrows pattern? ----------------


Rothana - Greetings. Perhaps you can already tell, but there is not a simple answer to your question (thus the length of this thread).

Stones not cut to specific ACA tolerances and without pristine internal symmetry may still achieve great results. If you search hard enough you may even stumble across a rock that is not "ideal" but performs like one of the best cuts. That search is difficult if you can't do a lot of head-to-head comparison.

The odds of acquiring maximum performance are to follow the tolerances of the masters. With stones like ACA you are guaranteed storybook scintillation from the get-go. That said, if you set a dozen "A Cut Above" diamonds with Brian Gavin's precise Hearts & Arrows pattern next to a dozen common AGS0 "Ideal" diamonds I certainly believe you would see differences in performance.

As posters have alluded, some of this comes down to how much searching you are willing to do and how comfortable it makes you to have that “guarantee of pedigree”
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