The different types of ideal cuts?

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Feb 18, 2003
As a newbie in all of this diamond searching, I know that I am looking for a superior cut before other facets of the diamond. My question is: what is the difference in all the types of ideal cuts out there and is one superior to the other?? I see H&A''s, A Cut Above, Blue Nile Signature, Hearts on Fire, etc...and it seems that every company (including large franchises like Kay and Littman, not that I would ever buy there) has their own "signature" perfect cut, so how do I distinguish which is better when they all claim to be the perfect cut? Are ideal cuts a real difference from superideal? Or are all of them basically similar with just different names?? I am so confused! Thanks in advance to all that reply!!



Jan 25, 2003
This it not a response but a second request for the same info- I would be really interested in hearing the "pros" perspectives on this. I am very inexperienced myself and on the market for a diamond with a top of the line cut- I am told that an eightstar is the absolute TOP of the line - what is YOUR opinion?


Oct 30, 2002
Each superbranded stone has a unique look about it. I would recomment viewing Hearts on Fire, H&A and 8* stones in person to see if you like the look of them. If you can find A Cut Above stone to look at..would recommend those as well. Blue Nile Signature you cannot see in person unless you purchase. Also BN Signature is really just a well cut stone, it does not guarantee H&A or any 'branded' special characteristic other than a nice looking stone. In my opinion, if you plan to spend the extra $$ you'd pay for a BN Sig stone...get a superideal such as a SuperbCert or ACA stone and at least know that your stone has a special characteristic about it other than 'thats a nice AGS 0 stone'. Or completely go unbranded but top quality, and check out some of the unbranded top quality stones online.

If I recall correctly, 8* stones have slightly shorter, fatter arrows, which mean more scintillation and broad flashes than with maybe an ideal H&A which may have longer, slightly thinner arrows for a better balance of brilliance with fire. So it may come down deciding by liking the 'look' if you decide to go with superideal/superbranded stones.

One word on 8*'s, they have a very steep markup over a regular H&A stone. Compare the A Cut Above pricing to 8* pricing, compare H&A pricing to 8* etc. It is my opinion that you'd be better off going with another superideal stone than an 8* if you are looking for a good 'balance' between the 4c's and cost. Others may disagree, but that is just my two cents. Plus I saw an 8* in person and was not super impressed, yes it was a beautiful stone, but not for 40-50% markup. I'd rather spend 20% markup and get ACA stone or similar from Whiteflash (love their H&A pix and IS images!)

That said, would definitely suggest you look at as many stones as possible in person before deciding what to go for. Even if you are purchasing online, looking at stones in person, esp stones with branded characteristics will benefit you in the long run for the search online.

Both 8* and HOF's websites have a listing of their dealers in your area..check them out:

WhiteFlash sells ACA stones but I am not sure how to find local dealers to view the stones there.

Not too sure how to find H&A dealers either but I know others have viewed them in person, so they must be out there. Also when dealing with H&A, be sure its a true H&A and not a knockoff for the same $$.

Oh and last but not least, get an IdealScope, esp if you are going to be going around viewing stones in person making your choice on which type you like the best. The IS will show you light return on the stones, so you will be able to compare an 8* to an ACA or similar. This may help you make the decision as well, you may want to choose the type of stone with the best light return. It really is about preference, and what speaks to you. Broad flashes of fire and scint may excite you...or you may be struck by a white brilliance of a different brand. It really just depends on your eye!
But if you are buying a superideal, you will probably get a better deal online than with many B&M jewelers.

Good luck!!


Jan 17, 2003
Mara seems to have all the info, but I'll add my two cents as well. Some branded stones have additional facets, while others are just really well cut diamonds with the normal number. You might want to go check out a few with extra facets to see if you like that look.

SuperIdeal/branded stones are not necessarily better than non branded stones. A well cut stone is a well cut stone, and just because someone slaps a name on it doesn't make it any prettier. That being said, if you want to take out some of the guesswork in finding a great stone, branded stones are good for this. I recently purchased an amazing superbcert diamond, and I don't feel like I paid any more than I would have had the stone been unbranded.

When beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is there really any such thing as a perfect cut? Some well cut diamonds are cut for fire, others for brilliance, others for a mix between the two.


Jan 29, 2003

On 2/22/2003 4
3 PM Lugus wrote:
SuperIdeal/branded stones are not necessarily better than non branded stones. A well cut stone is a well cut stone, and just because someone slaps a name on it doesn't make it any prettier


EXACTLY! Laser inscribing a brand name on the girdle edge of a diamond and issuing a "certificte of authenticity" does not make a branded ideal cut diamond any better than another ideal cut diamond of comparable quality and proportions. We've watched the market long enough to know that MOST of the branded ideal cut diamonds are being purchased from the same cutters and simply re-packaged at higher prices to pay for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising that it costs annually to build a brand. The only brand of round brilliant diamond that is truly unique is the 8* which is without a doubt the most precisely cut diamond on the planet at this time. Unfortunately the price point imposed by 8* for their art is prohibitive to a lot of people, but there are those who have elected to pay the premium for the visual spendor exhibited by the stones...

As for all the others, the key to unlocking the life of an ideal cut diamond is in controlling the proportions... While there are a variety of combinations for the angles and degrees of the diamonds that will provide ample brilliance, dispersion and scintillation, the combination that seems to work most frequently is as follows:

Total depth between 59 - 61.8%
Table diameter between 55 - 56%
Crown angle between 34.3 - 34.8 degrees
Pavilion angle between 40.6 - 40.9 degrees*
Girdle thickness between 1% thin to medium and we prefer faceted.
GIA Excellent or AGS Ideal polish and symmetry.

* Recent changes to the HCA will "score" this combination with a 40.9 pavilion angle as Very Good where it used to score Excellent, but we disagree... We've seen and scanned many diamonds in this range with 40.9 pavilion angles and they have performed beautifully... And 40.9 degrees was the "target angle" used by the Japanese in production of the original Hearts & Arrows diamonds! Keeping the pavilion angle between 40.6 - 40.8 degrees will bring the score back up to excellent however if that is really important to you...

Please note that we have specified crown and pavilion angles and not percent measurements... Percent measurements for these factors is not as accurate as the angle measurements because the Sarin and OGI machines actually measure the angle and estimate the percent..

Just because a name brand advertises Hearts & Arrows does not guarantee that their diamonds exhibit crisp and complete H&A patterns! Every diamond must be evaluated individually to determine whether it meets the selection criteria for Hearts & Arrows... Take our word on this! We've represented many of the brand name versions of Hearts & Arrows diamonds mentioned previously in this thread over the years and walked away from them after tiring of their inconsistencies...
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