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Whiteflash ACAs really worth it?

md1984

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 28, 2014
Messages
26
I am desperately researching diamond studs and have been very unsure about spending the extra for Whiteflash ACAs, but everyone here is raving about them so much that I wonder if it would really be worth it? If they are a lot more beautiful I am beginning to think I might take the plunge.

Current options are either:

£2335 UK pounds ($3335 USD) : Blue Nile - 1 tcw, F, SI1 (eye clean), GIA excellent, HCA excellent

Or:

£3320 UK pounds ($4742 USD): Whiteflash - 1 tcw, G, SI1/VS2, ACAs

(Prices include the tax and import duty for UK customs.) As you can see, the ACAs cost around a third more. Can you please give me an honest opinion as to whether the ACAs are really worth it?
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,175
md1984|1464038879|4035392 said:
I am desperately researching diamond studs and have been very unsure about spending the extra for Whiteflash ACAs, but everyone here is raving about them so much that I wonder if it would really be worth it? If they are a lot more beautiful I am beginning to think I might take the plunge.

Current options are either:

£2335 UK pounds ($3335 USD) : Blue Nile - 1 tcw, F, SI1 (eye clean), GIA excellent, HCA excellent

Or:

£3320 UK pounds ($4742 USD): Whiteflash - 1 tcw, G, SI1/VS2, ACAs

(Prices include the tax and import duty for UK customs.) As you can see, the ACAs cost around a third more. Can you please give me an honest opinion as to whether the ACAs are really worth it?
Not apples to apples.

HCA is a rejection tool, not a final selection tool.
As posted a zillion times, reject rounds scoring over 2.0 on the HCA, but the essential next step is to get an Idealscope pic on rounds scoring under 2.0.

Oh, but Bluenile does not provide those.
That's why I'd not buy from Bluenile ... and I'd be sure to tell the supervisor's supervisor's supervisor why they lost my business.
 

ChristineRose

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
926
That's sort of impossible to answer, and not just because only you know if it's worth it to you.

First of all, just because a stone isn't an ACA, that doesn't mean it couldn't be an ACA.
Second, at some point there must be a stone that just made the ACA grade and a stone that is one step away from making the ACA grade. It would be impossible to tell which was which without close examination.

One way to look at it is that you are paying someone to call in all those Blue Nile stones and look at them for you. Blue Nile doesn't make it easy to order a dozen stones and return all but the best one. Apparently they will actually BAN you if you do it more than a few times. That alone is a good part of why they are so cheap. They won't even give you Idealscope images for most stones. Keep in mind that they only have a few stones in house.

So you could order the BN stone, decide it's not as nice as it could be, return it for about $60 (probably more as you are in the UK), order a second stone, lose another $60, and get banned from ordering a third one. All this would take over a month and you'd be right back where you are.

Finally there are options between the two extremes, and even if you don't go for the ACA from what you have said I suspect that Blue Nile should not be your first choice.
 

oldminer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Sep 3, 2000
Messages
6,378
I never saw an ACA cut stone which looked like a mistake had been made in grading or in cut quality. I would be hard put to say that I have had any other reaction to an Expert Selection variety, either. Maybe my tastes are a bit numb from all the exposure and probably I am somewhat immune to the many raves and rants concerning the merits of the super fine cut stones versus the ones that were just about as well cut. For the most part, after the initial hoopla of the gift, when things calm down again, most very well cut round diamonds looks a great deal like most other well cut diamonds, branded or not. I know this is not scientific and I realize those folks who make a huge issue of cut quality believe strongly that their finest cut diamonds have some superiority over others. I won't argue the point since it is more a matter of beliefs rather than anything either side could prove by facts and measurements. We don't question religious beliefs, but we learn to accept differing points of view. While diamond cut does not quite meet the level of depth of belief as some religious people may believe, for those who have a stake in the game or a very strongly held point of view, I say, "Why argue and create discontent?"

Arguing against the very finest representations of cut quality is counter productive, as one would not want to degrade all cutting back to the lower cut quality of years ago. It does cost more to do the best cutting work both in labor and loss of retained weight. The very finest goods do have a plus cost factor that price must cover. Also, the very best cuts suffer a slower turnover rate in inventory which costs money too. Probably greater profits actually go to more mass marketed reasonably finely cut diamond sellers, but the satisfaction in producing, selling and owning truly super fine cut diamonds has believers and these diamonds do have certain virtues others may not enjoy. The top cuts are more rare, a bit pricier, and highly symmetric leading to a special look only a bit more money can buy, I suppose.

A person can argue for the added value proposition or against it and still appreciate the nuances. You really have to do what you, as an educated consumer feel meets your inner needs, not the needs of other Pricescopers or any particular diamond sellers. The bias of those who offer advice often is concealed. If an advice giver has become a true believer in a particular product, they may offer advice which they feel is correct, but in these cases may have no real, factual evidence to show they have any proof for their beliefs.
 

marcy

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23,771
I have seen non-branded and non-certified diamonds that are gorgeous. But I'd want to pick them out in person and check them out in a lot of different lighting conditions.

Shopping online I want to make sure I am getting the best I can so I'd buy from someplace like Whiteflash that has a reputation for top quality diamonds.

Yes you'll pay more for a super ideal diamond but only you can answer if that money is worth it to you. If you went with BN would you always wonder could these studs be nicer if they were ACA?

I debated the same question and now I have an ACA in my ering and a pair of ACA studs and I absolutely love them. No regrets here.

Have fun shopping. I'll be anxious to see what you get.
 

Queenie60

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
4,277
ChristineRose|1464043413|4035429 said:
That's sort of impossible to answer, and not just because only you know if it's worth it to you.

First of all, just because a stone isn't an ACA, that doesn't mean it couldn't be an ACA.
Second, at some point there must be a stone that just made the ACA grade and a stone that is one step away from making the ACA grade. It would be impossible to tell which was which without close examination.

One way to look at it is that you are paying someone to call in all those Blue Nile stones and look at them for you. Blue Nile doesn't make it easy to order a dozen stones and return all but the best one. Apparently they will actually BAN you if you do it more than a few times. That alone is a good part of why they are so cheap. They won't even give you Idealscope images for most stones. Keep in mind that they only have a few stones in house.

So you could order the BN stone, decide it's not as nice as it could be, return it for about $60 (probably more as you are in the UK), order a second stone, lose another $60, and get banned from ordering a third one. All this would take over a month and you'd be right back where you are.

Finally there are options between the two extremes, and even if you don't go for the ACA from what you have said I suspect that Blue Nile should not be your first choice.

I agree with ChristineRose. Since you would be sending the stones back from UK, it could become an expense - it may be worth it to go ahead and purchase the ACA stones, knowing that they have been looked at and confirmed to be well performing stones by Whiteflash as they are in house diamonds. And Whiteflash provides all of the images on their website. I do not own ACA diamonds as I prefer to work with IDJ and have Yekutiel source the stones for me. He has recently found 3 stones for me and has confirmed that they are just as nice as the ACA stones. However, this is the avenue I prefer to take. There are other online vendors out there other than Bluenile. However I don't know how the fees, etc. work with sending diamonds overseas. Good luck to you. :wavey:
 

teobdl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Wow--Oldminer has such a refreshing, and I think very accurate, perspective on so-called "super ideal" cuts.

All I have to add is this, which is my opinion:
By purchasing an ACA (or any other super-ideal branded cut diamond from Crafted by Infinity or Brian Gavin), the biggest thing you are purchasing is quickly-attained peace of mind that the diamond you bought is superbly cut. You don't have to spend time learning about proportions and other factors that impact the maximal ability of the specific diamond that you buy to sparkle.

If you have a bit of time to learn, and you'd like to buy a very similarly sparkly diamond, then it's not too hard to find one from another retailer for probably 20-30+% less. Vendors with a stake in the game will argue about other "value propositions" and future contingencies, which may or may not add another dimension to the purchase. But in the simple equation of purchasing a diamond that is cut in a way that it will sparkle extremely well, if you are will to do a little work (or ask PS people to help), then you can save a fair amount of money with very little sacrifice (and likely no discernible difference) to the sparkle of a diamond.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,631
I've had several pairs of WF ACAs (upgrades!) and no regrets ever for high quality diamonds. I think when one wants to save money and can order and return several stones easily, then it is possible to find very good ones from virtual lists. But it wasn't worth the trouble to me, personally, and it certainly would be hard out of the country. Plus, I really needed WF's upgrade policy! :lol:
 

Paul-Antwerp

Ideal_Rock
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Olminer and teobdl,

It will be no surprise to you that I wholeheartedly disagree with both your words. And forgive me, as I have the experience on our side.

Most of our B&M retailers have, through our training, also learned how to identify the best of the best in virtual inventory or in other productions, of which they can buy. And they are using that knowledge. If teobdl claims he can find 'equal' for much less, solely based upon online information, our B&M retailers surely can do this better.

And they are offering these so-called equal stones side-by-side to our product. You must understand, their first goal is to make the sale, not caring about which of their products sells. And in that comparison, some consumers prefer the economy of the cheaper product, others see the value of our product reflected in its sparkle and prefer ours. I cannot say that ours always wins, cost is an important factor in the decision-process, but if our retailers could indeed find 'equal' for 20 to 30% less (as teo claims), we would have no sales. To the contrary, we see our best trained B&M retailers year-after-year increasing their CBI-sales with very big jumps, most of them on their way to a 40%-increase in 2016.

Now, as Oldminer claims, this could be a matter of belief. Reality however is that most of our B&M clientele walks in to these stores without any prior knowledge about CBI. They are simply presented with diamonds and let their eyes (and wallet) speak.

Finally, one could argue that the sale is steered by the retailer because he has a bigger profit in selling the CBI. Good question, but our biggest hurdle in attracting new dealers is the following: They complain that there is insufficient margin in CBI, compared to buying selected GIA-EX from various sources. When they sell the selected GIA-EX, they make more money.

With that experience in hand, I can only publicly disagree with both your comments and beliefs.

Live long,
 

md1984

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 28, 2014
Messages
26
Wow, so great to get such a variety of opinion. Thank you to everyone for their thoughts. I had no idea BN would ban you for sending too many pairs of stones back... better watch out for that as I have already sent back one pair!

ID Jewelry have actually found some great H&A stones G/SI2 1ctw, with lovely idealscope images, at a good price. I have been in contact with Shulamit, who has been extremely helpful. I would highly recommend them as a lower cost alternative to Whiteflash for those who still want to have a personal service.
 

susief

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 2, 2011
Messages
225
Can anyone post links to videos comparing GIA Ex/Ex/Ex or AGS0 diamonds with numbers in the target range suggested on Pricescope with branded superideals like ACA and CBI?

I have seen videos comparing superideals to diamonds on the outer fringes of GIA Excellent cut (which I think everyone agrees is too broad a range), and yes you can see a difference there, but never comparing a "would-be-recommended-by-PS-prosumers" unbranded stone to the superideals. Isn't this the question that needs answering? What are you actually paying the extra 30% for? Is it the customer service issues (peace of mind, buyback and upgrade policies, etc - which are all very valuable in themselves), or is it actually a superior product to the average human eye?

If there isn't such a video, perhaps the superideal vendors could make one?

I have no dog in this fight, just genuinely curious and think it would help people like the OP decide if the difference is worth the extra 30% or whatever.
 

flyingpig

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
2,175
First, thank you Paul for your view. I have nothing against BG Signature, GOG ASC, CBI, WF ACA, etc.....

="Paul-Antwerp|1464200046|4036211"
And they are offering these so-called equal stones side-by-side to our product.

Now, as Oldminer claims, this could be a matter of belief. Reality however is that most of our B&M clientele walks in to these stores without any prior knowledge about CBI. They are simply presented with diamonds and let their eyes (and wallet) speak.
What I would like to kindly ask is that when your B&M retailers offer side-by-side comparison, do they compare a CBI against a GIA XXX with super ideal proportions (crown 34-35,pav 40.6-40.9, table 54-58, HCA<2, AGS 0 proportions) AND WITH H&A quality Idealscope/ASET image?? or against a random GIA XXX, where there is no contest??

I have seen some dealers (not CBI dealers) promoting their H&A brand line by doing comparison against a normal GIA XXX, without providing much information.

What I respect about WF and GOG business practice is that they tell you how exactly ACA/ES and ACS/Plat stones are selected and what exactly customers are getting.
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
11,608
If you stick to a diamond with Table 53 to 57, depth 60-62%, crown 34-35, maybe 35.5, and pav 40.6-40.9, you will get a beautiful, sparkly stone. It is not necessary to buy only branded stones such as BGD or CBI or ACA , as there are plenty of beautiful unbranded stones also. That's like saying only Calvin Klein makes nice t-shirts. Not true.
 

Bayek

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 11, 2013
Messages
6,678
Thank you for your thoughts, they really have helped me.

Peace.

md1984|1464200255|4036212 said:
Wow, so great to get such a variety of opinion. Thank you to everyone for their thoughts. I had no idea BN would ban you for sending too many pairs of stones back... better watch out for that as I have already sent back one pair!

ID Jewelry have actually found some great H&A stones G/SI2 1ctw, with lovely idealscope images, at a good price. I have been in contact with Shulamit, who has been extremely helpful. I would highly recommend them as a lower cost alternative to Whiteflash for those who still want to have a personal service.
 

Paul-Antwerp

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Sep 2, 2002
Messages
2,852
flyingpig|1464202397|4036226 said:
First, thank you Paul for your view. I have nothing against BG Signature, GOG ASC, CBI, WF ACA, etc.....

="Paul-Antwerp|1464200046|4036211"
And they are offering these so-called equal stones side-by-side to our product.

Now, as Oldminer claims, this could be a matter of belief. Reality however is that most of our B&M clientele walks in to these stores without any prior knowledge about CBI. They are simply presented with diamonds and let their eyes (and wallet) speak.
What I would like to kindly ask is that when your B&M retailers offer side-by-side comparison, do they compare a CBI against a GIA XXX with super ideal proportions (crown 34-35,pav 40.6-40.9, table 54-58, HCA<2, AGS 0 proportions) AND WITH H&A quality Idealscope/ASET image?? or against a random GIA XXX, where there is no contest??

I have seen some dealers (not CBI dealers) promoting their H&A brand line by doing comparison against a normal GIA XXX, without providing much information.

What I respect about WF and GOG business practice is that they tell you how exactly ACA/ES and ACS/Plat stones are selected and what exactly customers are getting.
With regards to these questions, I cannot answer with a general rule as each individual CBI-retailer acts independently, and not in any way under our control.

What I can say, is the following: we pride ourselves on giving our retailers a very extensive training, and we handle all possible aspects of cut-quality, far beyond what can be analyzed online. As a result of that training, they are best suited to select the best possible GIA-EX out there, to bring it in competition with our CBI.

And they will do their very best to do this, as they claim there being more potential profit in such sale than in a CBI.

What we see, is that they are clearly increasing their overall diamond-sales. The lower price of their selected GIA-EX will be preferred in some cases, and their good selection will have them win the sale over others down the street. At the same time, CBI also gets many customers, as the extra sparkle will be worth it for these consumers.

It is very difficult to undo knowledge. These retailers are using the knowledge we bring them to their advantage. And they are winning on both ends.

Live long,
 

teobdl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2013
Messages
986
Paul--very happy business is growing.

However, I would caution attributing individual sales of CBI vs well cut GIA 3X to discernible differences in sparkle to the consumer. This was discussed briefly about a year ago... I forget if you were in this conversation. [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/quantifying-performance-nuances-beyond-aset-h-a-photos-etc.212008/page-5']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/quantifying-performance-nuances-beyond-aset-h-a-photos-etc.212008/page-5[/URL] .
EDIT: I should also add the initial discussion that you and pfunk engaged in: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/need-help-selecting-h-a-1-29-or-larger-pre-loved-ok-too.211774/page-2']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/need-help-selecting-h-a-1-29-or-larger-pre-loved-ok-too.211774/page-2[/URL]

In the "quantifying performance" thread, John Pollard revealed some results from an internal CBI survey. Briefly, while I think the results of the survey from these sellers were promising (customers seem to prefer CBI over GIA 3X and AGS0), the internal validity of that survey was confounded by all types of bias. In other words, drawing a causal relationship between discernible sparkle differences and sales doesn't seem warranted.

Lastly, it's important to point out that some people purchase the more expensive of two equal items simply because, to them, "expensive" is associated with quality (particularly for goods that are mysterious to them).

The double-blind test is still pending.
 

flyingpig

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
2,175
Paul-Antwerp|1464211115|4036258 said:
flyingpig|1464202397|4036226 said:
First, thank you Paul for your view. I have nothing against BG Signature, GOG ASC, CBI, WF ACA, etc.....

="Paul-Antwerp|1464200046|4036211"
And they are offering these so-called equal stones side-by-side to our product.

Now, as Oldminer claims, this could be a matter of belief. Reality however is that most of our B&M clientele walks in to these stores without any prior knowledge about CBI. They are simply presented with diamonds and let their eyes (and wallet) speak.
What I would like to kindly ask is that when your B&M retailers offer side-by-side comparison, do they compare a CBI against a GIA XXX with super ideal proportions (crown 34-35,pav 40.6-40.9, table 54-58, HCA<2, AGS 0 proportions) AND WITH H&A quality Idealscope/ASET image?? or against a random GIA XXX, where there is no contest??

I have seen some dealers (not CBI dealers) promoting their H&A brand line by doing comparison against a normal GIA XXX, without providing much information.

What I respect about WF and GOG business practice is that they tell you how exactly ACA/ES and ACS/Plat stones are selected and what exactly customers are getting.
With regards to these questions, I cannot answer with a general rule as each individual CBI-retailer acts independently, and not in any way under our control.

What I can say, is the following: we pride ourselves on giving our retailers a very extensive training, and we handle all possible aspects of cut-quality, far beyond what can be analyzed online. As a result of that training, they are best suited to select the best possible GIA-EX out there, to bring it in competition with our CBI.

And they will do their very best to do this, as they claim there being more potential profit in such sale than in a CBI.

What we see, is that they are clearly increasing their overall diamond-sales. The lower price of their selected GIA-EX will be preferred in some cases, and their good selection will have them win the sale over others down the street. At the same time, CBI also gets many customers, as the extra sparkle will be worth it for these consumers.

It is very difficult to undo knowledge. These retailers are using the knowledge we bring them to their advantage. And they are winning on both ends.

Live long,
Thank you for the clarification. highly appreciated.
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
7,190
Personally speaking, I found being in the UK a complete hassle when shopping for a stone - I am too noob to have the experience and confidence of those who look at diamonds all day every day as part of their job, and seemingly no retailers over here (big name or small jewellers) either know about or pay any attention to the cut assessment tools that we are all so keen on on this forum. (AGS and the HCA is also rarely known about, it seems.)


Would I have the balls to whip out an ASETscope, an IdealScope and a hearts-and-arrows viewer in a store in Hatton Garden with sharply-dressed sales assistants, that is perfectly happy with the stones it sells and has sold for the past X years with none of these tools, thank you very much?

No, I don't think I would, as I'm sure they would think "Oh dear, here comes some know-it-all who's read something on the internet and thinks he is better than us with our years of experience" and look at me with a combination of pity, amusement and annoyance :roll: :(


And as I couldn't (and still wouldn't feel confident to) do so even now, after being on here for a while now, the only way to ensure my inexperienced eyes weren't going to pick a dud stone from a jeweller here (with crap/non-existent return policies) was to shop online via the forum-recommended suppliers.

Because I wanted to make sure I bought well at the first attempt (shipping costs and insurance and VAT payment/refund processes being a concern if any returns were needed) I chose to go with a branded cut of stone (a CBI, FWIW). :))


Do you pay more for the additional time spent cutting to greater degrees of accuracy, the good buy-back / upgrade policies, the peace of mind that you will have no worries about 'could it have been better?' and, of course, the 'brand name'?

Yes, of course, but for me it was worth the small additional cost of these when offset against the peace of mind and guaranteed 'mind-clean' / 'what if'-free enjoyment of the stone over the many years it will be worn.

The added bonus, of course, is that the stone looks absolutely amazing :love: :sun: I have never seen any other stone in the shops over here that is as bright edge-to-edge or throws such strong rainbow colours out across the room in multiple-point-source lighting, and my good lady has had several compliments on it, especially at wedding fairs where other jewellers touting for business are looking out for these things :lol:


So... I have no regrets with paying the extra for a branded stone and would do so again without hesitation. Knowing one has bought one of the top cut stones available on the market stops any worries about 'could I have done better?' and 'have I been done over?', and that is worth a lot IMHO.


YMMV, of course, and as Kenny says, people vary, but I would recommend going down the same route to anyone asking my advice :)


(All IMHO, of course!)
 

gr8leo87

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
381
Best way would be to compare a branded cut against a generic cut head to head under lighting conditions - and see if it's still worth the extra money for you?

It all depends person to person.

What's more important for you?

a) Hit a certain carat weight mark with generic excellent cut? Most of the excellent cut are nice looking speaking cut wise.

b) get a branded diamond with a 3d precision cut for best light performance and other policies but end up with smaller diamond and not achieve a certain a carat mark?

It's all upto you. It's your life. Do what makes you happy. It's your hard earned money - don't let someone else spend it for you.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
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There has been a lot of very thoughtful commentary in this thread, including some reasonable skepticism. :twirl:

But I think OohShiny's post brilliantly captures something important about the benefit of embracing elite cut craftsmanship. The value is not in one thing; it's in everything that is associated with precision cut diamonds.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I just said this on another thread about a different topic, but I have never regretted going for highest quality in my jewelry and diamond purchases. My only regrets have been settling for less and then wishing I had gone for the best in the first place! So, top cut diamonds are worth it to me.
 

cflutist

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Messages
3,903
I may buy my tank tops at Costco but branded diamonds e.g. ACA, CBI etc are worth it to me as well, because I want that 3D precision and fantastic light performance in various venues.

In my case I had so much faith and trust in Paul, John, and Wink of the CBI/HPD team that I ordered a cut to order CBI diamond.
Seeing a video of it was good enough to accept it (without seeing it in personally). Recently, a saleslady who worked for Hearts on Fire was admiring my diamond so much, that she called over the other sales associates to gawk at it too.

We all spend our money differently and while a $150 hair cut is not worth it to me, branded diamonds are.
 
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