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Surveying Diamonds in New York - Video

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pricescope

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Here is another movie we shot with Jim in New York: surveying three different diamonds set in simple Tiffany four-prong white gold settings. Details on these diamonds will follow.

To play the video in a stand allone player Broaband: click here. Dial-up: click here


 

pricescope

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As we said in the video, the idea was to start asking people on the streets whether they see any difference or prefer diamonds of specific proportions. We understand it depends a lot on the setting, lightning conditions, etc. We just decided to start with very simple four-prong white gold Tiffany settings in the day light conditions.

Since there were quite a few discussions recently about different cut grading systems, we decided to pick one stone close to Tolkowsky ideal (see attached report - stone #3 in the video), one steep/deep (but still GIA excellent - stone #2 in the video) and one shallower stone (stone #1 in the video).

All the stones are Ex/Ex (or Ideal/Ideal) polish and symmetry, 1.14/1.15ct, G, VS2, no fluorescence.

This stone (#3) has 34.0/40.8 crown/pavilion but GIA predicts it to be Very Good cut probably because of 75% lower girdle facets. (the insert and the cut grade were obtained from GIA Report Check)

JamesAllenGIA3cert.jpg
 

pricescope

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Stone #2: steep/deep combination of crown and pavilion angles: 35.0/41.4. GIA reports excellent cut grade for this stone.

JamesAllenGIA2cert.jpg
 

pricescope

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Stone #1 is a bit shallower: 40.5 pavilion angle which is according to GIA Facetware is on the border between Excellent and Very Good cut grade. 40.4 would be Very Good while 40.6 is still within Excellent grade. (Jim had a hard time to find shallower stone with all other features kept the same).

JamesAllenAGS1cert.jpg
 

pricescope

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As you can see in the video, neither we nor people in the park were able to see much difference between these diamonds with open pavilion. We (Jim and I) were able to see the darkness under the table for the stone #2 (steep/deep) only if we blocked the light coming via pavilion (bezel settings, room with dark walls). It looked similar to what Garry reported in his GIA Excellent Cut Grade: Case Study article

image007.jpg


This survey was neither complete, conclusive nor really scientific. Sergey is working on conducting really scientific study on this matter. So please do not jump to any conclusions based on the results of this survey
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We shall post DiamCalc simulations for these diamonds...
 

strmrdr

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interesting
 

diamondlil

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Love these videos! Keep them coming.
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sunkist

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Great video Leonid and Jim! Seemed like a fun afternoon. I look forward to more of your study!
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FireGoddess

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That was great! I appreciate you doing this!
 

pricescope

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cool - so glad you like it guys
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Isn't it nice to see live human beings actually walking and talking
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we've got a few more in post production
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(videos that is - not humans)
 

princessv

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Very very interesting!! Thanks for putting that together!

I just had an idea
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our next DC/Nova get together should be at DCD and we can have a PSer comparision of the diamonds
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Rhino

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Very cool. Thanks Leo & Jim.
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yeewl

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Hello leonid and James,

Thank you so much again for taking precious time out to do this live research, and asking people off the street to see if they have any preferences for most to the least likes on those 3 diamonds.
I am sure all people will benefit from this. Please do continue these kind of live research. Well done!!

I often feel by just looking at the cert itself will pretty much determine which diamond I like most without giving much thoughts since whatever things I learned from Pricescope, I apply prior to any purchase .

But after watching this short video, I start to question myself.

I won''t choose stone #2 because it is deep/steep but yet there are people, who likes it only by just looking at the diamond without looking at the cert.
Guess that GIA does have a point for awarding this kind of stone ex,ex for a reason, not just purely to make the traders happy but it must look really nice in real life. Human likings are rather subjective and with this short research sort of proof that.

Just based on the certs report and say that #2 is no good without physically viewing the stone, well i feel it''s not right as every stone has it''s own beauty.
 

valeria101

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Date: 4/19/2006 7:26:49 PM
Author: Pricescope

We (Jim and I) were able to see the darkness under the table for the stone #2 (steep/deep) only if we blocked the light coming via pavilion (bezel settings, room with dark walls). & non light-emitting fingers?

Is it just the video editing, or did you guys have allot of fun doing this indeed?
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Great work, of course!
 

movie zombie

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my learning lesson from this video: how the diamond is going to be set is paramount. it would seem that stone #2 would be fine unless bezel set.

movie zombie
 

blingblingsuzi

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I am a newbie and have learned so much from all of you. The viideo is amazing, entertaining and well done for ordinary people like myself. If you do the outdoor same survey with your professional colleagues and lab experts, will you get the same results? I love it, keep coming.
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Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Again – great stuff guys - I think this sort of thing is so important for Pricescope as an education tool.

As Leonid said, Sergey is leading a group of us in a survey. I spoke to a company yesterday who agreed to cut 10 to 15 diamonds under Sergey''s strict supervision for a survey.

I invite everyone here to participate with their input (and we need some sponsors with $$$ too - So far Sergey, dave Atlas and myself have agreed to contribute. The diamonds will cost around $30k, and a person''s time and efforts and travel costs, lab grading fees and shipping etc will add up to about $100K total)

Using this survey as a starting point - let me make some critical observations. This is not to be critical and nasty - it is to get those of you with knowledge and expertise to think about the issues for our future surveys (which will be fully communicated thru Pricescope)l


All questions need to be standardized – for e.g.


If you could buy / have one of these diamonds – which would it be?


Which would you reject first?


Which looks biggest?


The stones need to be standardised

e.g. these stones all had the same ct wt and similar size - but the carat girdle thickness varies a lot and so the shallow AGS stone, with the thickest girdle, would have had a bigger spread at the same weight - or be lighter at the same diameter. (We will probably use diamonds all of the same diameter)

I think Jim and Leonid should have been under a bit more shade – about 70% shade an 30% filtered light would be best (easy in Australia and hard in USA at that time of the year). Looking at diamonds in direct sun light (which came out occassionally) provides no grading ability.


Observation - Most looked from varying degrees of closeness – but 12-18 inches was most common


People look from closer when sitting in a jewellery store - in that instance shallower diamonds may be rejected. Out in the park a realy shallow stone, lighter and less expensive diamond, at those viewing distances might have been the most preferred.

When condusting these surveys viewing distance and clothing color must be recorded. Black vs white tops etc make a huge difference.


 

blodthecat

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That was just so interesting guys!

I wonder what the outcome would have been if the Park was full of pricescopers that day
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The folk surveyed were a bit ''indifferent'' and not real diamond nuts!
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Lorelei

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Date: 4/20/2006 6:25:38 AM
Author: blodthecat
I wonder what the outcome would have been if the Park was full of pricescopers that day
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Bedlam! PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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blodthecat

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Date: 4/20/2006 6:38:07 AM
Author: Lorelei
Date: 4/20/2006 6:25:38 AM

Author: blodthecat

I wonder what the outcome would have been if the Park was full of pricescopers that day
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Bedlam! PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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embeer.gif
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OMG Bedlam is right!

Your such a good friend Lorelei, I would hate to have to elbow you out of the way
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Lorelei

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Watch out Missy - my elbows are SHARP!
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I would also wallop you with my handbag
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I wouldn't even let YOU come between me and the bling!
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pricescope

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Date: 4/19/2006 11:40:29 PM
Author: yeewl

I won''t choose stone #2 because it is deep/steep but yet there are people, who likes it only by just looking at the diamond without looking at the cert.
Guess that GIA does have a point for awarding this kind of stone ex,ex for a reason, not just purely to make the traders happy but it must look really nice in real life. Human likings are rather subjective and with this short research sort of proof that.

Just based on the certs report and say that #2 is no good without physically viewing the stone, well i feel it''s not right as every stone has it''s own beauty.
We watched the stones in this type of settings in only one environments. If this is the only way someone is going to look at these diamonds then #2 should be OK if the price is right and your diamond is clean underneath.

Serg noted that there can be an environment where there is not much light coming from the side - e.g. a room with light ceilings but dark walls or other obstructions that prohibit light from entering pavilion. Then you can see darkness under the table...

Bezel or more complicated prong settings can also close the pavilion from the light.

How much this effect will bother you is another question. Perhaps it is something similar to have an inclusion which you may or may not see...
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Here is a sneak prview of why deeper diamonds look bad when dirty.

this is actually not a deep stone - it is near Tolkowsky I think - have to scan it - but it is the control stone in a pair of earrings - the other stone is shallow - one of my staff wore them for 1 week without cleaning - swapped ears every day.
The other stone is shallow and does not show the dirt anywhere near as bad as this VS stone.

3 leaky dirty diamonds.jpg
 

canuk-gal

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HI:

I was worried that someone might drop/abscond with/the trio......thanks for the "Tolkowsky-esk day in the park"....
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cheers--Sharon
 

YoungPapa

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Date: 4/20/2006 12:40:43 AM
Author: valeria101

Is it just the video editing, or did you guys have allot of fun doing this indeed?
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Great work, of course!
Ana,

It was just the editing. The entire day was as enjoyable as a root canal :)

Seriously, though - I had a blast and I think Leonid did as well. The weather was perfect, the people were friendly, and the entire idea of asking "man on the street" opinions seemed like a great adjunct to the science that is posted daily here on the forums. Thanks for the compliments and kudos to Leonid for the idea!
 

YoungPapa

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Date: 4/20/2006 6:25:38 AM
Author: blodthecat
That was just so interesting guys!

I wonder what the outcome would have been if the Park was full of pricescopers that day
33.gif


The folk surveyed were a bit ''indifferent'' and not real diamond nuts!
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I still have the three rings and would be more than willing to do this again in a more controlled lighting environment next week in DC.

How many people could/would come?
 

Lorelei

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These videos are wonderful and so informative, I bet you did have a blast and went somewhere wonderful for lunch to boot!
 

Capitol Bill

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This was a very entertaining video, Leonid! Many thanks for putting it together for all of us to see! You and Jim seemed to get some great responses from your survey participants, and I''m sure it had a lot to do with the way you put them at ease.

A few things about this survey jumped out at me and I would like to share some thoughts that are not meant to be criticisms, but rather intended to perhaps help with the methodology of future surveys. By complete accident you were able to prove what most jewelers with spotlights in their showcases already know -- lighting makes a huge difference. If you pump enough light into a poorly cut piece of glass it will gleam so brightly that it will mask its inferior characteristics.

1) For me, the absolute ideal lighting condition for comparing cut and "light performance" is an overcast sky. Standing under a tree in total shade on a sunny day would be my second choice. The presence of too much direct light (especially sunlight) overwhelms the viewer''s eyes with too much reflected light. Most of your participants viewed the diamonds in lighting conditions that included direct sunlight. In that lighting even most experts would have difficulty discerning a difference in cut.

I was reminded of this just last week when I was showing two stones of different cut qualities to a client in his law firm''s conference room that had very harsh lighting. The lighting was so overwhelming that it made two differently cut diamonds look very similar. One diamond was an AGS-0 and the other was a new GIA VG/VG with an Excellent cut grade. On that particular day there was an overcast sky, so I suggested we go outside to view the stones. As soon as my client viewed the stones outside in overcast conditions *BANG!* he instantly knew which diamond he preferred. The difference was so apparent that even if I made him guess between the two stones 100 times, he would have chosen the AGS-0 every time.

2) Covering the diamonds'' pavilions does not have any effect on the diamonds'' face-up view. Notice in the video that when you try to simulate a bezel setting by placing the diamonds between your fingers, you happen to be blocking the direct sunlight. I believe you and Jim could more easily detect the differences in cut (near the beginning of the video) not because of the covered pavilions, but because at the time you viewed the diamonds you had the sun at your back and your head and body were blocking out any direct sunlight. Then when Jim looked at the stones a cloud was blocking the sun. Go back and see for yourself.

Leonid, your efforts to bring new and different material to this open forum are to be commended. This is only one of the many reasons why PriceScope continues to stand out in the crowd.

Great job!

Bill Scherlag
 

pricescope

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Date: 4/20/2006 10:47:35 AM
Author: James Allen Schultz


Date: 4/20/2006 6:25:38 AM
Author: blodthecat
That was just so interesting guys!

I wonder what the outcome would have been if the Park was full of pricescopers that day
33.gif


The folk surveyed were a bit 'indifferent' and not real diamond nuts!
31.gif
I still have the three rings and would be more than willing to do this again in a more controlled lighting environment next week in DC.

How many people could/would come?
Just to make it clear, folks. We must stick to the protocol/etiquette here. Such events involving vendors and the forum members can only be conducted with our (Pricescope) moderation/permission.
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Since Jim still have these rings with the diamonds, we could arrange their viewing and filming in DC area if there will be enough participants. We should take care, however, to protect privacy of those who do not want their faces/voices to be published on the web.

Those who are willing to attend it (beginning of the next week?), please do not post it on the forum but send it using our contact us form. I also think that the location of the event will not be disclosed because of the privacy and security issues.
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:)
 

pricescope

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Date: 4/20/2006 10:48:06 AM
Author: Capitol Bill
....
1) For me, the absolute ideal lighting condition for comparing cut and ''light performance'' is an overcast sky. Standing under a tree in total shade on a sunny day would be my second choice. The presence of too much direct light (especially sunlight) overwhelms the viewer''s eyes with too much reflected light. Most of your participants viewed the diamonds in lighting conditions that included direct sunlight. In that lighting even most experts would have difficulty discerning a difference in cut.
Bill, the length of the video clip restricted us from showing all the footage. You have to take my words that we (Jim and I) tried to se a difference both in the shade and open sky, turning our backs to the sun (creating head obstruction) as well as facing it. We did see minor differences but not the light leakage.

Jim for example noticed that stone #2 is lighter and arrows are slightly less pronounced when he''s standing with the sun behind him.

During the filming, people in the park looked at the diamonds when the sun was shining as well as covered with clouds...


2) Covering the diamonds'' pavilions does not have any effect on the diamonds'' face-up view.
I''m afraid you are mistaken here, Bill. In order to show the effect of the light leakage one has to close the light coming from pavilion. This way you will see leaking areas turn dark because they are not reflecting light back to you. (see pictures from Garry''s article above.

Thank you for kind words
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