I must admit that when Wink from High Performance Diamonds called to announce that he’s adding a line of “Value Select” diamonds to his inventory, I wondered whether his sanity had slipped a few gears… Because he’s one of the original, unofficial, members of the online Hearts & Arrows Diamonds dealers posse, who blazed the trail with me for selling diamonds online… I thought he’d lost his mind! So being the good friend that I am, I’m going to take a few of these so-called, “Value Select” diamonds for a test drive, and see if I need to save Wink from himself. And I’m going to do it quickly before word of this debacle gets out and ruins his, uh, reputation.
Consider for a moment that Wink started out his conversation with me by saying “Hey Todd, I have something to share with you and I need you to keep an open mind…” and I have to admit that when my friends tell me something like that, it tends to give me pause, because I’m usually the one that they’re trying to reign in, no verbal filter and all that… But I truly was not prepared for Wink’s announcement that he had bought a bunch of round brilliant cut diamonds which do not exhibit crisp and complete patterns of Hearts and Arrows, and which were not produced by our friend Paul Slegers from Crafted by Infinity. Seriously, I was like “Huh?!?! [insert expletive here]”
“All right Wink, where’s this list of diamonds?” I asked and he told me to pull up the inventory list on High Performance Diamonds, so I pull up his inventory and start wandering down through the options, the first diamond which I click on from the Value Select line is this 1.31 carat, H-color, VVS-1 clarity, Round Brilliant Ideal Cut Diamond with medium blue fluorescence, which is graded by the GIA Laboratory with an overall cut rating of GIA Excellent. As you might expect, the first thing that I look at are the proportions of the diamond, according to the GIA, the diamond measures 7.05 – 7.07 x 4.32 mm with a total depth of 61.4% and a table diameter of 56% with a crown angle of 34.5 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a thin to medium girdle and no culet. Well folks, the proportions of this diamond are dead center in the middle of the range which I designate as the selection criteria for proportions, so I know that it’s going to exhibit spectacular light return in terms of volume. Those proportions combined with the GIA excellent polish and symmetry ratings easily place this diamond in the Top 1% of the average annual production of round brilliant cut diamonds!
If this is what Wink is going to call “Value Select” then I’m good with it… He had me kind of scared for a minute, obviously I took a moment to glance over the clarity image, as well as the photographs of the diamond as seen through an ASET, and an Ideal Scope, and everything looks really good! There’s even a nice video of the diamond, so you can get an idea of the sparkle factor…
So the next diamond which I decide to click on is this 0.80 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity, round brilliant, “value select” diamond from High Performance Diamonds, primarily because I notice that there is also this 0.80 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity, round brilliant “value select” diamond from HPD, which might make a good match for earrings… no such luck, but that’s how it goes sometimes. By the way, every link on this page should be considered to be an affiliate link, there that takes care of the legal disclosure required by the Federal Trade Commission for bloggers.
The first 0.80 carat puppy measures 6.01 – 6.04 x 3.68 mm with a total depth of 61.0% and a table diameter of 55% with a crown angle of 34.5 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 41.0 degrees (which is one tenth of a degree steeper than my preference, but still a good offset) with a thin to medium girdle and a very small culet. The diamond has very good polish with excellent symmetry… Okay, not so much my cup of tea, but I can see why Wink bought it because it’s going to have really nice light return and both the ASET and Ideal Scope images look pretty good. But wait, now this is interesting… the inscription on the girdle edge reads “LK 673256 USA” why Wink, you sly devil you, this diamond was cut by Lazare Kaplan? Nice… So way, way, back in the day, one of the first producers of ideal cut diamonds was a company called Keppie, Kieger & Kaplan; which split apart into two companies known as Keppie Kieger and Lazare Kaplan for reasons unknown and LK tends to produce a rather nice stone.
According to the GIA, the other 0.80 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity “value select” diamond measures 5.89 – 5.96 x 3.66 mm with a total depth of 61.8% and a table diameter of 57% with a crown angle of 35.5 degrees offset by a pavilion angle of 40.4 degrees with a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet. The polish rating is excellent and the symmetry is very good. This one is not cut by Lazare Kaplan, but I see why Wink selected it, the shallow crown angle of 40.4 degrees is a good offset for the steeper crown angle of 35.5 degrees, it doesn’t work all the time, but I know that Wink is selecting each of these diamonds by hand, in an effort to provide nice looking diamonds at a price point which is going to appeal to the majority of diamonds buyers. Understand that not everybody needs or wants, or can afford to step up into the arena of Hearts and Arrows Diamonds, just like not everybody wants or needs high performance exotic sports cars… or turbo charged sports cars for that matter, and that’s what diamond cutters like Paul Slegers of Crafted by Infinity and Brian Gavin produce.
All right, so Wink is expanding his business model by providing diamonds which appeal to the entry level sports car market, I get it. Sigh. I wonder how many hundreds of diamonds Wink had to look through to find the thirty or so “value select” diamonds which he’s added to his inventory, because it’s not easy to find non-Hearts and Arrows diamonds which look this nice when viewed through an ASET and an Ideal Scope. It is doubtful that you’d have this kind of luck ordering diamonds blindly off of the internet using proportions alone as a guide.
I had to chuckle a little bit when I took at looked at the specs for this 0.94 carat, H-color, SI-2 clarity, round brilliant “value select” diamond from HPD because it reminds me of exactly the type of diamond I used to look for before Hearts & Arrows Diamonds entered the game back in the mid-1990’s… enter the era of the 60/60 ideal cut diamond, this one is a perfect, text book example of something which I would have bought for inventory, because the 60% table diameter and total depth of 59.7% has the potential to work pretty well with the crown angle of 34.5 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 41.0 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and no culet. In fact, I know that it is in this specific case because the ASET pattern looks pretty good, as does the Ideal Scope image. Oh Wink, I know what you’re doing and it’s brilliant… You’re going old school in an effort to compete with the James Allen’s and Blue Nile’s of the world. And in this particular instance, you even managed to keep the diamond within the parameters for the zero ideal cut rating as recently updated by the AGS Laboratory. Good job.
Naturally I had to check out the details for the largest “value select” diamond in Wink’s current inventory, which is this 1.50 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, GIA 3X puppy that measures 7.32 – 7.35 x 4.56 mm with a total depth of 62.1% and a table diameter of 55% with a crown angle of 35.0 degrees offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a medium, faceted girdle and no culet. Admittedly, this diamond would not normally get a second glance from me because the total depth measurement is steeper than I’d be willing to accept from a Hearts and Arrows Diamond, but we’re not playing with H&A Diamonds here, we’re playing with diamonds which have been hand selected by Wink to give a few of the big dogs a run for their money… and as far as I’m concerned, he’s got them beat because he’s not asking me to trust him, he’s providing me with ASET Scope and Ideal Scope measurements so that I can judge the potential for light return for myself.
Here’s what I know… the pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees is the saving grace for this diamond, it’s a great offset for the 35.0 degree pavilion angle and the slightly higher total depth measurement is the result of the crown angle and girdle measurement, I can run with that… but had it been due to a steep pavilion angle and a steep crown angle, which is more common…
I’d be flying out to Boise, Idaho to slap my old friend Wink upside the head to stun him long enough to tie him down into a chair, so that I could subject him to hours upon hours of video footage filled with images of Hearts & Arrows Diamonds, ASET Scope, Ideal Scope and AGS Ideal-0 Light Performance Diamond Quality Documents, flashing on to the screen and being replaced by the next one in 1/10th of a second increments, while sloshing gallons of Kool-Aid down his throat, and forcing him to listen to techno music, until I am assured that he’s been re-indoctrinated in the Cult of Hearts & Arrows (for which I’m the leader – if you need verification, just ask me).
Wink… You have been warned.
See you at the Crafted by Infinity conclave in September.
Yea buddy, it’s like that.
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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