Hey Todd, I’d like to get your opinion on two diamonds, which honestly I located using the search engine feature provided on the web site of one of your competitors. I’ll be happy to use your referral link in exchange for a bit of advice; especially since it seems that your competitor is not willing to discuss anything further without charging me for their advice! Which leads me to wonder: “Why do you provide diamond buying advice for free? Just trying to figure out how this whole affiliate thing works. The two diamonds that I’m considering are this 1.40 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, round from
Enchanted Diamonds, and this 1.44 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round from Enchanted Diamonds.
Please feel free to respond by blog post, and make any additional recommendations if you see anything better out there. I’m in the early research phase of buying a diamond engagement ring, looking for something in the range of 8-10k, that provides a good balance of carat weight, color, and clarity. Based on everything that I’ve read, diamond cut quality should be my primary focus. Would you agree?
Notice: this article was written before Enchanted Diamonds declared bankruptcy on June 20, 2019.
The term diamond cut quality seems to be loosely bantered about all over the internet, however, nobody else really seems to focus on it but me… They merely toss the words around, perhaps hoping that by repeating the words:
Over and over again, apparently hoping that people will automatically assume that they know what they are talking about if they just repeat the phrase often enough; or perhaps that the diamond buying advice that they provide will actually help people find a diamond that exhibits a high level of diamond cut quality purely by osmosis; unfortunately in many cases I believe that this assumption is flat out, simply WRONG, because a lot of the people providing diamond buying advice online, don’t actually know that much about diamonds.
I’m sorry, but it’s the truth.
And so is this… The diamond cut quality of a diamond consists of the proportions, polish, symmetry, AND the degree of optical precision, which is the consistency of facet shape, facet size, the position or indexing of the facets as they are polished on to the surface of the diamond, the angle that the facets are polished on to the surface of the diamond (not the same as proportions!) and even the direction that they are polished on to the surface of the diamond; and it will dictate the volume of light return, the size, and intensity of the sparkle, and even how our eyes interpret the light as it is dispersed from white light into colored light.
The only way to determine the diamond cut quality of a diamond is to know the proportions, the polish grade, the symmetry grade, and to see how the diamond appears when viewed while unmounted through an ASET Scope, an Ideal Scope, and a Hearts and Arrows Scope! All three scope images are necessary, and they should be interpreted by somebody who knows how to actually use those devices, and who knows how to interpret the image presented… Otherwise, you’re just looking at a bunch of pretty colored pictures of a diamond!
Any two year old can do that…
Take a moment to investigate the background of the people that you’re taking diamond buying advice from, and I think you’ll discover what I mean… but let’s start out with the FACT that I’ve been working as a professional diamond buyer since October of 1985.
I’ve personally evaluated tens of thousands of diamonds, hands-on, in-person, using state-of-the-art gemological equipment, designed to grade diamonds, and evaluate them for diamond cut quality and optical precision. The information that I share with my readers, and which I use to help them select a diamond is based upon actual hands-on diamond buying experience… not something that I gleaned from reading about diamonds on a diamond forum as a consumer!
Ask practically any diamond vendor online who they would rely on for diamond buying advice as a consumer, and I’m willing to bet they refer you to me…* Why? Because the majority of them have worked with me at some point, and several of them have subcontracted me as a consultant… If the diamond vendors online are using my services as a paid consultant, who do you think you should turn to for diamond buying advice?
Personally, I would go with Option #1, but I have to openly admit that I’m biased…
And I’m guessing that you’re inclined to choose the same guy, since you found the two diamonds that you reference above on the search engine provided by one of my competitors, and yet turned to me for actual diamond buying advice.
You do know that you managed to totally crack me up by doing so, right?
And I wasn’t aware that they were charging for their diamond buying advice now… that’s rich! I’m sorry, but from my perspective it’s like double-dipping into the cash drawer on payday, because the reality is that the vendors pay me for my time if you order the diamond by clicking on the link provided via email, which is encoded with my affiliate identification; so asking to be paid by my clients for making a recommendation, and/or providing advice, seems redundant to me, but I suppose that it is an approach that makes sense to some people.
* Obviously companies who are not featured on Nice Ice are probably not going to refer you to me, because they KNOW that there isn’t a chance on this green earth that I’m going to end up recommending very many of their diamonds! (although I do occasionally approve one from time to time) One of these companies even sent me a letter “strongly advising” me not to write about their grand of hearts and arrows diamonds online! I’ll give you a hint, it’s not:
Would you believe that they actually denied my status as an affiliate after meeting with me at the JCK Trade Show in Las Vegas, stating that it was because they didn’t have any room available in their affiliate program, but I think that it was because they didn’t like what I had to say about what I perceived to be a decrease in the overall diamond cut quality of their diamonds… but then they simultaneously approved the affiliate status of a consumer who was launching an affiliate marketing site, I understand that s/he sells a lot of diamonds for them, but…
While I can certainly appreciate the implementation of a diamond search engine on an affiliate site, I’m vehemently opposed to the idea because it is not actually providing a real benefit for you, the diamond buying consumer in my personal opinion. It is, however, a brilliant, and I do mean brilliant approach to affiliate marketing diamonds!
And I did think about implementing a diamond search engine on my web site, for about 30 seconds! Thirty purely greed-driven seconds… Because it wouldn’t take that much effort on my part, to whip up a few lines of code, that pull the virtual list of diamonds down from the virtual diamond inventory of vendors like Enchanted Diamonds, James Allen, and Ritani; or the actual physical inventory of vendors like Brian Gavin or High Performance Diamonds, who offer premium hearts and arrows quality diamonds; and it would definitely increase my commissions, since people might (wrongly) assume that all those diamonds that pop-up in the search results somehow magically meet my selection criteria… but how does that actually benefit you as a consumer?!?!
It doesn’t. Adding a virtual diamond search engine, of the virtual inventory of virtual diamonds, that is exactly the same as you would find if you searched for diamonds on each of those web sites individually, is redundant and ridiculous if you consider that it doesn’t add any value to you as a consumer… With all due respect, the fact is that most people buying diamonds online lack the actual diamond buying experience to properly interpret the information and reflector scope images provided; then again, I’m not so certain that a lot of diamond affiliates possess that kind of talent either.
Take these two diamonds for instance, which you found on that search engine, and are now asking me about… and be glad that you did!
Let’s break them down so that I can actually “earn my affiliate commission” on them if you decide to purchase one of them… diamond search engine, what a crock of sh*t. As if it weren’t already difficult enough to try and pick the best options available from each individual vendor, now you’ve got to deal with this cr*p.
I apologize for the RANT, but seriously… people like this just add to the confusion, and at your expense.
This diamond is a DOG! And I don’t mean a purebred dog, apologies to my German shepherd Duscha, who just looked at me with those Dog Guilt Eyes, as if to imply “How could you put a diamond cut like that, in the same classification as me?” And he’s got a point! Just look at how screwed up the hearts pattern is on this 1.40 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, round from
Enchanted Diamonds; it’s about as wonky as I’ve ever seen!
Notice how that heart pictured in the relative two o’clock position is totally minuscule in size? And how there are two kinds of triangular-shaped red patches on the upper and lower halves of it? And the dark patch between the tip of the heart and the arrow point beneath it?
If you just said something like “WTF!?!?” or “that’s not right” then you’re well on your way to passing the class, Johnny! But stick around for a few more minutes, because I’ve got more to teach you!
Take another good look at the patterns of red, white, black, and grey that appear in the relative two o’clock position of the hearts image provided above, right in-line with that bright yellow arrow, and then take a good look at the dark patch indicated by the yellow arrow in the clarity photograph provided for this 1.40 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, round from
Enchanted Diamonds, and tell me whether there seems to be a correlation? Arrows = Top View of a diamond, Hearts = Bottom View of a diamond, position rotated ever so slightly to the left… Big Dark Spot? Bizarre looking heart? GIA Excellent Cut = Excellent Polish, Symmetry, and Proportions, but you see, the labs don’t grade Optical Precision!
If you have a reflector scope images of a diamond like the hearts scope image provided above, then you can determine whether it exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts that are uniform in size and size, thereby indicating a higher degree of optical symmetry; or if you have an ASET Scope, as pictured to the left for this 1.40 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, round from Enchanted Diamonds, then you might perhaps notice the dark spot highlighted by the yellow arrow, and realize that it appears in all the photographs, and think to yourself “Hmmm, I wonder what’s up with that?” And if you’re really perceptive, then you might also notice that the light is reflecting irregularly across the upper girdle facets.
Take a look at the region highlighted by the two black arrows featured on the ASET image provided above, which point to the two elongated triangular-shaped upper girdle facets that are located in the relative seven o’clock position.
Notice how all of the other sections of upper girdle which frame the kite-shaped bezel facets where the arrows pattern appears, are primarily red in color; and how the middle junction of these two upper girdle facets are green, with a little bit of red, and then clear sections… this is a result of a variance in the length of the lower girdle facets, the shape of the lower girdle facets, the indexing of the lower girdle facets, and an overall POOR degree of optical precision!
More than likely the angle of the lower girdle facets are off, which is contributing to how this diamond is leaking light in some places, and distributing light unevenly in others… it would be very interesting to see a manufacturers Sarin report for this diamond, because I’m pretty certain that the spread between the high and low measurements that make up the average crown and pavilion angle is pretty steep!
And yet the diamond has an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, and “by the numbers” it should be a pretty good performer! The 40.8 degree pavilion angle combined with a pavilion depth of 43% should produce a high volume of light return, and the 34.0 degree crown angle should produce a very good balance of brilliance and dispersion. It even scored 1.10 with TIC on the Holloway Cut Adviser![separator]
Yes, by the numbers this diamond should exhibit Excellent Light Return, Excellent Fire / Dispersion, Excellent Scintillation, and according to the HCA, it should have Very Good Spread, which is simply the ratio between the total depth of the diamond and the visible outside diameter; but we can clearly see by the reflector scope images that the pattern of light return exhibited by this diamond is not something that I would rate as excellent.
Now that you’re getting an idea of what to look for… Take a look at the Ideal Scope image for this 1.40 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, round from
Enchanted Diamonds, the diamond continues to exhibit the same dark spot located between the pavilion main facets (arrows) that are pictured here in the relative seven o’clock position, and the same pattern of light return and leakage is visible in the lower girdle facets, as highlighted by the yellow and black arrows. Now I have to ask you… If an experienced diamond buyer like myself had not pointed these things out to you, is there a chance you might have purchased this diamond off of the search engine listing? Somebody is going to buy this diamond.
But hopefully, it won’t be one of my clients who purchase this 1.40 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, GIA Excellent cut diamond from
Enchanted Diamonds or one of the other vendors who is representing this diamond via their virtual inventory… Which brings up an important point, the fact is that Enchanted Diamonds, and everybody else who I work with, doesn’t care when I bag on diamonds like this that are part of their virtual inventory for two reasons:
And they know that I’m going to help you pick a better diamond from their inventory, or at least they hope that I’m going to steer you towards another diamond from their inventory, but that’s not always going to be the case, because you might be looking for something better than what they have to offer at the moment.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what to look for, take a closer look at the clarity photograph provided for this 1.44 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round from
Enchanted Diamonds, and notice that it doesn’t exhibit the same dark patch as the last diamond, and yet the proportions of the two diamonds are practically identical; this diamond scored 1.2 Excellent on the Holloway Cut Adviser, not that it really matters because clearly, the proportions of a diamond are only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to determining the overall cut quality of a diamond; especially when it comes to diamonds graded as GIA Excellent, because they don’t take Light Performance into account.
Note that the diamond cutter who
Enchanted Diamonds is working with on this particular diamond, apparently did not provide them with an ASET image, so we don’t have the insight that would be provided by that reflector scope, nor did they provide an Ideal Scope image; so we don’t have a way to determine how evenly or unevenly light is being distributed throughout the diamond, nor do we know the degree to which the diamond is leaking light, but we do have a hearts and arrows image.
The first thing that I noticed about the hearts pattern exhibited by this 1.44 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round from
Enchanted Diamonds, is that the hearts all vary in size and shape, thus this is clearly not a hearts and arrows diamond; but then again, Enchanted Diamonds is not representing it as a “hearts and arrows diamond” they are simply providing us with a photograph of the diamond as seen through a hearts and arrows scope… I suppose that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that. The tips of the hearts appear to be bending, due to a difference in the length and indexing of the lower girdle facets, and the clefts of the hearts are all split rather deeply.
Clearly this is not a Hearts and Arrows diamond, it’s just a round brilliant cut diamond that has been graded as GIA Excellent by the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory (GIA-GTL) which happens to exhibits some sort of a hearts pattern, and some will be better than others, as is evident by the hearts pattern exhibited by the other
Enchanted Diamond reviewed above.
If I were choosing between the 1.40 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, round from
Enchanted Diamonds and the 1.44 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, round from Enchanted Diamonds, the 1.44 carat is the clear choice; assuming of course that you’re not actually looking for a true Hearts and Arrows quality diamond, in which case we’ll have to see what other options might be available.
Given the fact that Nice Ice is the only Diamond Concierge Service that provides free diamond buying advice, that is provided by a professional diamond buyer, who has almost 30 years of diamond buying experience… I think the choice is clear as to which diamond concierge service you should rely upon.
But internet diamonds is a free market enterprise, and as such, there is a wide variety of diamond concierge services to choose from… I don’t charge for my diamond concierge services, because I feel that the compensation provided via the affiliate agreements that I have with the vendors that I work with is sufficient; but more and more companies are turning to fee-based consultation services… at present there are three online diamond concierge-type services that I know of which are operating on the basis of collecting fees from both the clients and the vendors.
Obviously, I like to keep it real, I call it like it is, and I’m not going to “rubber stamp” a diamond as being “Nice Ice” if it doesn’t have what it takes to be a top performer! You found the two GIA Excellent cut diamonds from Enchanted Diamonds that are reviewed above by using a diamond search engine provided on the web site of one of my competitors, and those diamonds both have Enchanted Diamonds cut scores of 100% and proportions that are virtually identical, but clearly there are differences in the overall cut quality of the two diamonds, and had you purchased either diamond based upon the search engine results, there was a 50% chance that you would have purchased the wrong one!
My diamond evaluations are clearly detailed, including both the good and the bad, and my services are always free, with no limits on how many questions you can ask, or how many emails I will answer, and I don’t really care whether you’re looking at diamonds being offered by one of my affiliates or not, I work on the premise that I’ll get what I want, get what I need, by helping enough other people find the diamond of their dreams! Let me know if I can help you.
And by the way, if any of you REALLY want to send me $500.00 for actually providing this type of in-depth diamond grading analysis via email or blog post, on top of the commission that Enchanted Diamonds, or any of the other vendors who I work with, feel free… but I’m going to think you’re nuts!
By the way, I feel that it’s important to point out that your price is never affected by using one of the affiliate links provided on this web site, or as provided by me via email; my fees are paid out of the annual advertising budget of each company. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.
Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)
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