Truth, Lies and Ideal Cut Diamonds! Sometimes you just have to say “What the Hell?!?!” & write about it.

Honestly, I’m not sure who I want to bitch slap more… the people running the web site where I found the diamond described to the left, or the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) for stamping “Conflict Free Diamond” on the lab report for the diamond described to the left as being a 1.74 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, graded by the EGL, with “8 Hearts & 8 Arrows” and as being a “Excellent Ideal Cut” and “AGS-0 Ideal Cut”. The vendor makes additional claims as to the incredible light return of ideal cut diamonds and refers to “sparkle rarely seen” which is completely absurd in this case because this diamond isn’t even close to AGS Ideal-0 “anything”.

 I was just standing around minding my own business…

For the record, I did not go looking for this diamond, I was asked by a client to look at it because the price seemed too good to be true… you see, this 1.74 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity diamond, graded by the European Gemological Laboratory, which allegedly exhibits a pattern of 8 Hearts & 8 Arrows, and is an “Excellent Ideal Cut” and “AGS-0 Ideal Cut” is selling for $9,744.00 which seems pretty sweet when compared with this 1.73 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from High Performance Diamonds which is selling for $19,122.00 ~ such a deal, right?

Even this 1.803 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, ideal cut diamond from Brian Gavin is coming in at $21,225.00 which seems kind of high considering that this other vendor is offering a “comparable” diamond for less than half that price… What gives?

Well to start with… both of these diamonds are actually graded by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) as having an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 and they are actually “ideal cut diamonds” and they actually do exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts & Arrows… and this other diamond, is well, cut like shit. The only thing that could possibly be “ideal” about this diamond is that it would be “ideal” for the vendor to sell it and get it out of their inventory!

All Ideal Cut Diamonds are NOT Created Equal:

The first thing to understand is that the term “Ideal Cut Diamond” refers to a small percentage of round brilliant cut diamonds which are produced to a very precise and limited set of proportions.  Most of the “ideal cut diamonds” are cut to the outer edges of the parameters because they can still be marketed as ideal cut diamonds, but they really aren’t all that impressive in terms of light return and visual performance because they were cut to hit a paper grade more than they were cut to perform. A select few ideal cut diamonds, are cut to the center range or “sweet spot” in terms of proportions, and an even smaller percentage are faceted precisely enough to exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts & Arrows… but this diamond, is not cut close to any of these possibilities.

It is completely unethical to infer that a diamond graded by the European Gemological Laboratory is “AGS-0 Ideal Cut” because only the American Gem Society Laboratory can make that claim… For one thing, the correct term is actually “AGS Ideal-0” and it is a trademarked term belonging to the AGSL, but it also infers that the diamond meets the AGSL’s standards for proportions and light performance, and I’m pretty confident that there is no way in hell that this diamond could possibly score AGS Ideal-0 for Light Performance on the AGSL Platinum Light Performance grading platform… which by the way, the two diamonds referenced from High Performance Diamonds and Brian Gavin Diamonds did, and they are both cut to the “sweet spot” that I referred to in terms of proportions.

So How BAD is this Piece of “Drek” cut?

Holloway Cut Adviser results for EGL #3210397631It’s cut bad… really bad. It’s I’m not even going to give you the name of the vendor, BAD… It’s so far off of “AGS Ideal-0” cut that I sent links to the legal department of the American Gem Society and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, BAD… it’s Federal Trade Commission level consumer fraud, BAD… it’s wipe it off the bottom of your shoe bad. It’s this diamond leaks light and probably exhibits a fish eye, BAD. It’s if this was a bear and you were out in the woods, you’d want to bring a friend with you who runs slower than you, so you don’t get mauled by buying it, under the impression that you were buying an ideal cut diamond, type of BAD. And don’t take my word for it, the results of the Holloway Cut Adviser are pictured to the left for your viewing pleasure.


But wait, it gets SO much better!

EGL Diamond Grading Report, this is NOT an ideal cut diamond!Want in on a little secret? One of the things which I hate (that’s HATE) about the EGL is that they don’t provide the crown angle and pavilion angle measurements on their diamond grading reports… they provide the crown height and pavilion depth measurements in percentage format, which confuses people… for instance, if you’re not paying attention, you might think that the 41% pavilion depth is actually a 41.0 degree pavilion angle, but actually it would be more like a 39.5 degree pavilion angle, which would shoot this puppy down into the Realm of AGS a’la POOR ~ which is pretty far away from AGS Ideal-0, hence the dramatic difference in price! Doh! This diamond should come with a tube of K-Y.


Now this is interesting…

Conflict Free Diamond claim by European Gemological Laboratory EGLAm I the only person who wants to know how the European Gemological Laboratory can “Certify” that this is a “Conflict Free Diamond”?!?! This strikes me as so strange, that I asked the Jewelers Vigilance Committee to investigate this claim also… Because it seems to me that while this is a relatively safe “assumption” based upon the provisions of the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003, that it is practically impossible for the EGL to be able to actually certify that there is absolutely n0 chance that this diamond is 100% Conflict Free without actually being able to follow it personally through every step of the distribution process from the moment it was pulled out of the ground, sorted, exported, brokered, cut / polished, and sent to them for grading.


I actually do have a reasonable amount of confidence in the protections provided by the provisions of the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003, but not 100% confidence. And I don’t think that statements such as “Conflict Free Diamond” belong on an independent diamond grading report, to the extent that I actually find it offensive, because I feel that it preys upon the trust that consumers place in gemological laboratories… I really HATE the European Gemological Laboratory, not only do I find their grading standards to be sub-par in comparison to the grading provided by Top Tier gemological laboratories, like the AGS and GIA, but I find their continual mis-use of terms like “Tolkowsky Ideal Cut” to be misleading and confusing to consumers ~ see my article on Tolkowsky Diamond Design for another example of this type of garbage.

All right, where’s my toothbrush?

Okay, I’m pretty much finished ranting about this for the moment… I’ve sent letters off to the legal department of the American Gem Society Laboratory and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, asking them to look into the blatant abuse of consumer trust which the operators of the web site where I found this diamond are perpetrating upon the public. I did not mention the name of the web site in this article on purpose, I want the AGSL and JVC to be able to conduct their investigations without alerting the web site that they are being evaluated.  Now I’m off to brush my teeth and rinse my mouth with mouthwash, ugh, I hope that I can get this taste out of my mouth… but perhaps now you can see why it’s a good idea to run diamonds by me before you purchase them, this guy would have gotten completely boned if he’d bought this diamond thinking that it was a zero ideal cut!

Todd Gray
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)
Todd Gray


Professional diamond buyer with 30+ years trade experience in the niche of super ideal cut diamonds. In my free time, I enjoy freediving & photography.
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