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True Hearts?????? is this stone a true heart?

Discussion in 'RockyTalky' started by Carnevil, Jul 17, 2008.

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  1. KtIceRN
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by KtIceRN » Jul 20, 2008
    True H&A should be sold as such. Anything that is not true H&A is not true H&A and should be sold as such. In this instance the only thing that a stone with clefts in the hearts fails to do is to obtain the ability to call that stone a true H&A stone.The stone could be amazing and very stunning. Other than that the images of the stone would have to be looked at one by one to see if it is a top performer.

    A non true H&A stone should not be sold as a true H&A. PERIOD. That is the whole point to this thread. If you want a true H&A stone then read the tutorial learn about the correct patterning and buy a stone that falls within the limits. If you don''t care about the H&A label then buy a top performer, don''t spend the extra money. Either stone is most likely is going to be amazing. Just don''t misrepresent a stone as something it is not.
     
  2. agc
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    by agc » Jul 20, 2008
    One more thought as I went back to look at the H&A tutorial. The first lines start out with this.


    You already learned that cut is the most important factor affecting the beauty of a diamond.

    The aim of this tutorial is to illustrate what it takes to achieve the ultimate in cutting precision and perfection - super ideal cut Hearts and Arrows diamonds.

    True Hearts & Arrows pattern

    by Brian Gavin, Master Diamond Cutter, VP of Whiteflash Inc.,
    Manufacturer of "A Cut Above" Hearts and Arrows Diamonds

    When the consumer reads this followed by "FAIL" for the diamond with clefts, I am sure many feel they are not getting the "ultimate in cutting precision and perfection" and pass it up not knowing any better. I do not believe the tutorial states that this is strictly a patterning issue and many other factors can affect performance but may unintentionally suggest that less the true H&A is indeed less.

     
  3. strmrdr
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by strmrdr » Jul 20, 2008
    yep

    optical symmetry or facet alignment is a performance issue.
    Paul, Wink, Jon, John, Alj, Brian and myself would all agree that there is a performance gain with optically symmetrical stones.
    That is not what we are debating.
    If it was being said that "true" h&a is a subset of optically symmetrical stones then there would be no issue but that is not what the tutorial is saying.

    As far as changing what people have learned the concept of what makes an ideal cut and a super-ideal cut diamond has evolved with time.
    5 or 10 years down the road who knows what will have changed but you can bet it will have changed again.
     
  4. Allison D.
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Allison D. » Jul 20, 2008
    But no one is saying it''s traditional or true from a performance perspective. Whether it''s true or traditional speaks to the patterning only.

    Beyond that, it''s true that patterning does suggest a level of craftsmanship, but all diamonds with precise patterning and symmetry (whether H&A or not) display solid craftsmanship. Perhaps that''s what isn''t being emphasized that should be. Instead of trying to assert that these clearly non-H&A stones should be called H&A, it would be a much stronger platform to say "it shows solid craftsmanship to achieve precise patterning and symmetry in this non-H&A stone as well. It''s still as precise, it''s still as exacting, but it produces a different pattern."

    Richard Homer cut a gorgeous stone with a precise snowflake pattern. I look at that as an example of elite craftsmanship to create such a precise pattern. No one would suggest that this stone of his exhibits sub-par craftsmanship....but it ain''t hearts.
     
    


    


  5. Allison D.
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Allison D. » Jul 20, 2008
    Arjuna, I mean no disrespect either, so it''s important to note that my comments weren''t an attempt to suggest what Jonathan may or may not have meant.

    There are several contributors to this thread suggesting that the H&A tutorial is doing a disservice to consumers by diminishing desirability for any stone that doesn''t fit the parameters outlined in the tutorial. That''s the root of the issue for me, and my comments are offered in counterpoint to those many posts, not directed at Jonathan individually. [​IMG]
     
  6. agc
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    by agc » Jul 20, 2008
    Allison, with all due respect you are coming with a knowledge base about diamonds far, far greater than the average comsumer and therefore you do not make incorrect assumptions about H&A. You fully understand it is a patterning issue. But look at the tutorial how it implies that H&A is the "ultimate" which by definition is the "BEST". It goes on to talk about "errors" and "beware of phony" H&A''s and does not clearly state this is patterning and not performance. I could see how some vendors could be upset as they may have an equally precise and beautifully performing diamond with perfectly symmetric non H&A pattern but they are not the "ultimate", have "errors" and "fail" based on what the average consumer reads on this PS H&A tutorial.
     
  7. Allison D.
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Allison D. » Jul 20, 2008
    AGC, I should share some details of my background with you since I know you're a new participant here and wouldn't already know them.

    I came to Pricescope in 2002 as a consumer, and I spent slightly more than five years here as strictly a consumer until this past February, 2008, when I transitioned into my Consumer Relations role with Whiteflash.

    The knowledge base that I have was developed as a consumer, and the points I'm making today I've made in my consumer days as well.

    My knowledge base comes from being intrigued by diamonds as a consumer, wanting to learn more about them, and participating on Pricescope. When I first came here as a consumer, I had pre-shaped mental preferences in thinking that I couldn't get less than an F color stone or less than VS2 clarity. Those mental preferences were largely shaped by local jewelers and their marketing efforts to tell me what I should consider "quality".

    During my time here, I came to learn that F isn't "better" than J. It falls into a different category (colorless vs. near-colorless), and it carries a different premium (due to rarity), but that doesn't make it "better". In fact, I actually seem to prefer warmer diamonds.

    That same learning curve is possible for anyone who comes to Pricescope, and it's possible about color, clarity, patterning, H&A, cut proportions, or any other element of a diamond.

    There are some people who are going to mentally want an IF diamond, no matter how many times you explain that IF isn't "better" than VS2. There are some people who are going to mentally want a D color stone no matter how many times you explain that D isn't "better" than G; it's just different. There are some people who want the label of an H&A stone even though there are many stones with equal cut precision and performance that aren't H&A.

    As far as the tutorial warning 'beware of phony H&As', etc....that's not really much different than saying 'beware of phony Rolex watches' or 'beware of knock-off Coach bags". Does it mean that Rolex is the ONLY excellent timepiece in the market or that Coach bags are the ultimate and anything else is substandard and inferior? I contend that it doesn't. All it says is 'if you're paying for the name (Rolex, Coach, or H&A), be sure that's what you're getting.'

    If someone develops a recipe and names it the ultimate chocolate chip cookie, and top cookie manufacturers around the world all agree that recipe is the epitome of what a chocolate chip cookie should be, does that mean you shouldn't prefer oatmeal raisin? Of course not. Not everyone will want the chocolate chip cookie. Some people are allergic to chocolate. Some people just don't like chocolate (I know, hard to imagine! [​IMG])

    I don't think it's a stretch to learn that there are more types of cookies than chocolate chip that are equally as good as chocolate chip. Instead of saying "you shouldn't specify what constitutes the ultimate chocolate chip cookie because that makes people think only chocolate chip cookies taste good", I think it's smarter to put one's energies toward exposing people to how awesome oatmeal raisin cookies are. In fact, I think if I were an oatmeal raisin cookie fan, I'd likely try to suggest the standard for what the 'ultimate oatmeal raisin cookie' should be.

    I don't think it's as prudent to present the oatmeal raisin cookie as a chocolate chip cookie.

    ETA: The last time I used analogies this way in my role as a consumer, it turned into the great Lemon Pie caper. [​IMG]. I hope people don't mind my continued focus on dessert. [​IMG]
     
  8. agc
    Shiny_Rock

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    by agc » Jul 20, 2008
    Allison, I''m not trying to beat a dead horse but how do you as a "consumer" interpret the first few lines of the tutorial?

    You already learned that cut is the most important factor affecting the beauty of a diamond.

    The aim of this tutorial is to illustrate what it takes to achieve the ultimate in cutting precision and perfection - super ideal cut Hearts and Arrows diamonds.

    True Hearts & Arrows pattern

    by Brian Gavin, Master Diamond Cutter, VP of Whiteflash Inc.,
    Manufacturer of "A Cut Above" Hearts and Arrows Diamonds

    I feel it would be different if it explained that this is a patterning issue and not a direct performance issue and that there are equally "ultimate in cutting precision and perfection" that are not true H&A''s.
     
  9. Lorelei
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Lorelei » Jul 20, 2008
    LOL!!![​IMG]
     
  10. John Pollard
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

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    by John Pollard » Jul 20, 2008
    I understand what you are saying AGC. Maybe it would be helpful to put things in-context.

    Diamond enthusiasts, and even casual buyers reading here, owe a lot to the traditional H&A movement as the Genesis of awareness - and studies - of optical symmetry. It's similar to the respect owed your forefathers, or a historical figure who championed things in a way that helped us all.

    Someone knowing nothing about basketball might not understand why a Chicago Bulls jersey with 23 on it is given a special place in history. After all, there are other numbers and players with game, so why the special emphasis on Chicago's #23?

    Along with Eightstar, the H&A movement was the birth of public awareness of optical symmetry in 1980s and 90s Japan. Not only was it a catalyst for the growth of fine-make; since most H&A were crafted near-Tolkowsky those well-made specimens immediately outperformed the overwhelming majority of commercial diamonds in the marketplace (the 'ultimate in cutting precision and perfection'). They gained momentum and recognition among enthusiasts that in some cases was - and still is - religious in its zeal.

    Here's some background I've posted before. Most trade members know this, but it may interesting for consumers. Of course, it unfolds for you in a few heartbeats but the evolution and sustenance of that specialized H&A niche represents decades of blood, sweat and tears by cutters willing to go “against the grain” in a yield-driven industry.

    The evolution of the Round Brilliant

    1650: Cardinal Mazarin promoted experimental cutters in creating the first rose-cut and double rose-cut diamonds, which was the beginning of the brilliant style of cutting. In the early 1700s the Portuguese diamond cutter Peruzzi refined the first 58 facet brilliant cut. This style slowly evolved throughout the 1800s, known first as the old-mine cut and later as the old-European cut. These cuts still followed the contours of the rough diamond in order to retain as much weight as possible.

    1860: Henry Morse opens a diamond cutting firm in Boston. By 1880 he was recutting old-mine cuts to a rounded shape without regard for weight loss to produce the most beautiful round brilliant of his time. His production was among the first cut for beauty rather than weight, introduced as "Scientific Cut" and "American Cut." His work is the forerunner to Tolkowsky.

    1919: Marcel Tolkowsky’s paper "Diamond Design" is published. This work eventually becomes a standard by which future cuts of the round brilliant are produced; often assigned the label "ideal."

    1930: Lazare Kaplan (First cousin to M. Tolkowsky) begins cutting diamonds to Tolkowsky's proportions.

    1931-34: Robert Shipley, the educator who popularized gemology in America, founds the GIA and the AGS, centering much of the coursework on Tolkowksy's publication.

    1939: GIA launch the Gem Trade Laboratories (GTL) issuing diamond certificates for color, clarity & carat weight which are still used today.

    1946: Robert Shipley makes the distinction between brilliance and scintillation in the GIA course material.

    1953: Richard T. Liddicoat develops and refines a complete grading system for diamonds that include a system for evaluating cut.

    1955: The AGS Diamond Standards Committee is established.

    1960's: AGS develops 0-10 scale for grading diamond cut and produces the Diamond Grading Standards manual. It undergoes many revisions over the next 30 years.

    1996: AGS Laboratories open and begin grading, including cut grading for the round brilliant.

    2005: AGS Laboratories begins cut grading princess cuts as well as rounds and updates their system to performance-based grading.

    2006: GIA laboratories updates their grading system for rounds to include cut grading.

    2008: HRD updates their grading system, including an interpretation of what constitutes “H&A.”


    The Evolution of the Superideal


    “Superideal” diamonds are those with commonly agreed-upon “ideal” proportions and a high level of optical symmetry.

    In the 1970s and 80s Japanese gemologists and scientists became engaged in micro-studies of diamond cut. Kazumi Okuda, contracted by Tsuyoshi Shigetomi of Tokyo, developed tools for research which used colored reflectors. One of these reflector tools eventually became the Firescope, which permitted a display of the optical performance of all 57 facets of the round brilliant. Since that time, the Gilbertson-scope, Ideal-scope, ASET and others have evolved and serve similar purposes in the analysis of light performance.

    In the late 1980s, after years of research using the Firescope, a cutter named Kioyishi Higuchi produced the first Eightstar diamond in Japan for a businessman named Takanori Tamura.

    In the early 1990s, after continuing research, the Hearts & Arrows viewer was developed. Somewhat different than the Firescope, this device allowed the viewer to analyze the physical cut symmetry and alignment of facets in both the pavilion and crown of a diamond. Shortly thereafter, the first ‘Hearts & Arrows’ diamond was produced in Japan.

    In the 1990s Super Ideal cuts reached America. Since that time standards for precision patterning have continued to evolve with developing technologies and improved tools.

    The round brilliant diamond has been around for several hundred years but the precision patterning found in Super Ideal diamonds has been possible for less than 20.

    Marketing and Symbolism

    Marketing of Superideal diamonds has been driven by symbolism as much as performance. Much of that is due to origins, and the fact that the public-at-large does not have a command of diamond knowledge necessary to understand any optical benefits of patterning.

    The symbolism is traceable back to Eightstar diamonds in Japan. The arrows pattern was seen as both the octagram of the I Ching and the Rinbo of Buddhism. It was said that the pattern bore a resemblance to the eight-spoked wheel of dharma, associated with spiritual perfection in the Buddhist faith. From that standpoint this pattern, and the subsequent Hearts & Arrows pattern that evolved, are products of a quest for perfection in precision and beauty in a diamond. Not everyone considers the patterns to have symbolism, but importance placed on them in some cultures. Many of the diamond engagement rings sold in Japan include the traditional Hearts & Arrows patterns.

    Logically, when precision patterning reached America the emphasis on symbolism had already established itself in the minds (and cultures) of the makers. As a result, marketing efforts played up the aspect of “cute” Hearts & Arrows. That approach continues in the mainstream to this day. This is logical: After all, when was the last time you walked into a traditional jewelry store and the salesman discussed Tolkowsky proportions and patterning? The public at-large does not know the difference between desirable and undesirable proportions sets, and that is a mere surface aspect of diamond cut.

    Value

    Superideal makes go for a premium. Whether these diamonds are worth the extra is a matter of personal taste, value for craftsmanship and visual perception. On a casual level any diamond that is well-cut is going to be wonderful. Among the millions of diamonds walking the globe you may rarely compare or care about the fractional optimization or ‘subtle insight’ of precision patterning. Those who have made an informed decision to buy top H&A diamonds have decided they are worth the premium.

    *

    Relative to this thread... An optically symmetrical diamond can take many forms. If you look at a precision-cut princess there are distinct patterns. Look at proprietary rounds and you will find patterns that are not traditional H&A… But that “traditional” H&A pattern seen in the modern round brilliant has a revered place in both history and current manufacture; considered by many to be at the pinnacle of cutting achievement. For some a traditional H&A is a top-performing diamond. For others it's that plus a classic piece of history. I suppose the respect afforded it is like that for your grandpa... And even better if gramps can still school you on the basketball court. [​IMG]
     
    


    


  11. agc
    Shiny_Rock

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    by agc » Jul 20, 2008
    John, great historical review! I really appreciate the time you take to answer our questions and enlighten us. I also love the way you can calm a heated discussion down with your response. Keep up the great work.
     
  12. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    “One mans opinion 1998”…………………………………….

    I don’t believe this to be true (there were others before me) but thanks for the accolades, Strm. [​IMG]

    As this subject is what I have dedicated my career to, I have a few thoughts. First I would like to point out that there are two widely-published images of true H&A that are chosen time and again to represent what H&A should look like.

    Here is an image that I took, showing a diamond with True Hearts & Arrows:

    HandA1998.jpg
     
  13. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    Here is a second image I took, found on Pricescope and my original pre-Whiteflash site

    HandA9798.jpg
     
  14. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    These images have been copied and reproduced worldwide, often without permission, to portray “True Hearts and Arrows” and to persuade consumers that the images are representative of what the seller is selling. It is the de facto standard

    I take it as a huge compliment that the diamond and jewelry world use my images as the standard; even though it is without recognition or note. I am concerned that my images are regularly lifted and put to use to represent diamonds that DO NOT, in fact, resemble them.

    Some of this is blatant plagiarism with no touch-up. Other times it is more subtle. The images are rotated or edited in a way that tries to change them, a slight Photoshop touch-up, re-coloration or pencil drawing conversion (see below).

    However, hearts patterns are like snow flakes to me; each has it own unique identifying features. Over the years I have documented or been informed of hundreds of incidents.

    Here is a notable online example of conversion.
    Hearts and Arrows

    BN-Copy.jpg
     
  15. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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  16. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    Now for some history:
    The Japanese labs first set the standards we know as traditional for Hearts &Arrows. Here are some examples

    CGL, AGT Zenhokyo labs - Japan
    AGT LAB JAPAN
    One does not need to read Japanese to understand what is going on here.
    Lower girdles which are not the correct length are excluded.

    japanese3.jpg
     
  17. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    Lower girdles which are not the correct length are excluded.

    japanese2.jpg
     
  18. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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  19. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    2004 International Diamond Cut conference in Moscow
    IDCC-1 2004
    Here is a list of peers and labs who were in attendance and/or presented papers:

    AGS Labs
    EGL Labs USA
    IGI Labs IGI HEARTS AND ARROWS
    Gabi Tolkowsky
    Sergey Sivovolenko
    Yuri Shelementiev
    Sergey Oulin
    Paul Slegers
    Janak Mistry
    Peter Yantzer
    Jose Sasian
    James Caudill
    Iiro Suokko
    Garry Holloway

    My apologies if I have left anyone out.

    At this conference in Moscow I presented a paper on how Hearts and Arrows are formed and how they should be graded. In short, much discussion happened with the end result that major labs and my peers approved and agreed with this body of work. The standard was set while being flexible enough to accommodate other combinations.

    As one individual put it, holding to these traditional values is “self-imposed strict standards.” This accomplished a very important thing. It gave consumers, and appraisers and labs, a standard to go by. The reason for the publication and my commitment to raising the bar was because I could not bear to see consumers who thought that they were buying “Hearts and Arrows” but in actual fact were not because the stones they were purchasing were not!

    To produce perfect hearts is much more difficult than any other variation of it. Ask a true diamond cutter. It’s not like clicking an arrow in diamond calc. It requires that the rough material, the equipment and the cutter work together carefully. Those who are not cutters do not know. Fortunately my professional peers do. What happened at the conference fulfills this underlying definition from wikipedia.
    What a technical standard is?

    This is what a technical standard is. It is what I set out to publish and achieve. It is what the Japanese labs and HRD have set out to do as well.
     
  20. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    HRD: 2008 June 26, Belgium
    I had the opportunity to meet with the HRD in Belgium 2 weeks ago to discuss the new system. We have our differences. I think that they may be a little too strict in some areas but they have set out some interesting parameters and guidelines for manufacturers.

    Following is some of the information they handed out at the launch of the new grading system. I have not given all, but maybe this can be added to the hearts and arrows grading tutorial by Andrey.

    Please give attention to the third graphic, below, which specifically addresses lower girdle halves.

    This Image looks familiar to me. [​IMG] To Quote HRD “Example of Standard reference”

    GuidelinesHA1.jpg
     
  21. Harriet
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Harriet » Jul 20, 2008
    Brian,
    Purely out of curiousity, did you cut my diamond yourself? I'd be thrilled if you had.
    P.S. I was in D* B**r's recently. They used a machine to show me how well-cut their stones were. Then, they decided to try it on mine and they were blown away.


    My apologies for the threadjack.
     
  22. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    Here is information on what is not regular shaping of hearts:

    GuidelinesHA2.jpg
     
  23. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    You can see that the hearts in this thread’s original post would be rejected by HRD for the same reason the original Japanese and my publication would exclude them. The HRD penalties are in harmony with the small incision in the cleft that my publication permits for true-hearts. It correlates to 80% lower halves as a maximum. Anything above that length is rejected.

    By the way, I believe “rejection” could be an optional word for “fail.”

    GuidelinesHA3.jpg
     
  24. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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  25. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    Please look at these HRD reject examples a synopsis of there guide lines See H5

    GuidelinesHA5.jpg
     
  26. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    Proportion sets for True H&A by HRD.
    Green will potentially make it.
    The rest will potentially be rejected.

    GuidelinesHA8.jpg
     
  27. BrianTheCutter
    Shiny_Rock

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    by BrianTheCutter » Jul 20, 2008
    Acknowledgement to HRD for the above graphics


    In conclusion, we have straddled 20 years of Hearts and Arrows.
    In the last 10 years different labs from across the world have graded H&A’s

    There is a universal acceptance of what they should be. Should it be looked at again? Well, it has been: HRD just did it and – while I would revisit the clarity aspect in their model – they have been faithful to the best traditions of H&A patterning.

    For consumers out there… Those who have bought great performing stones that do not have this patterning it’s fine. You have great stones, regardless of whether they are true Hearts and Arrows. Enjoy them.

    For those of you who bought great performing stones with True Hearts and Arrows you got what you paid for. Enjoy it.

    I realize that millions of people who love these stones may not all be right, but they certainly aren’t wrong either. As a South African diamond cutter who moved to Houston in the 1980’s, I started experimenting with H&A over a decade ago to supply fine-make stones to retailers. I was creating what I thought were optimal H&A parameters both beautiful and traditional, one stone at a time. Looking back it has been a fantastic journey to arrive at where we are, with validation from so many sectors of the trade. I consider myself truly fortunate that the work that I’ve made my life’s passion is meaningful in terms of both quality and history. Tens of thousands of clients own traditional H&A diamonds I have designed and cut, and I give all respect to the fathers of diamond design and cutting who came before me. I hope my standards will continue to serve as a beacon for cut quality and further hope that the true H&A diamonds crafted as a result of my efforts bring as much joy into the lives of others as they have into my life.

    One man’s opinion.

     
  28. Regular Guy
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    by Regular Guy » Jul 20, 2008
    Most of the TV I watch these days is over the shoulder of my 9 and 13 year old boys. In a recent episode, kids are afraid of being sued by having stole an idea one of their friends simply saw on TV. When they appeared before their accuser, he threatened again to sue, until the accuser''s buddy reminded them the source was older still...drawn from either the Marx Brothers or some such...a very old bit.

    I share this because I recall an unfinished conversation about H&A from January 2005, and since Brian took the trouble to appear, I couldn''t help myself but try to find it, and referencing Superidealist...it was not too hard.
     
  29. strmrdr
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by strmrdr » Jul 20, 2008
    Brian,
    Whats the reason for the limit being at 80%?
    From a performance perspective it makes no sense.
    AGS0 goes to 85% and maybe beyond and GIA EX go out to 87.4%
    Over 80% is the best lgf% for several combinations is a provable fact.

    Thanks
     
  30. strmrdr
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by strmrdr » Jul 20, 2008
    This chart is scary because it discourages cutters from cutting some of the combinations to the best potential by limiting lgf% to 80%.
    Which is the point I made earlier but here it is outlined in green.

    [​IMG]
     
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