What do the comments in a GIA certificate mean?
When shopping for a diamond engagement ring, the grading report (certificate) is an important document that describes the quality of the diamond. Yet, most consumers do not fully understand the information found in the certificate.
In fact, the “Comments” section of the GIA report is something that consumers frequently have questions about. In this write up, we will take an indepth look at the different types of remarks found under the comment section and show you what they mean.
Let’s dive in!
The ‘Comments’ or ‘Other comments’ section in a grading report is reserved for stuff that the laboratory wants you to know about yet cannot be properly represented in other sections of the report.
Broadly speaking, most of the information placed in the comments section is regarded as minor and doesn’t usually impact the appearance of the diamond. That said, there are cases where comments are deemed acceptable and unacceptable in my professional opinion.
Whether a comment is malignant and benign largely depends on which lab graded the diamond, the size of the stone and clarity grades assigned. Hence, it depends on a case by case basis.
As I mentioned earlier, every diamond is different. For clarity grades of VS2 or better, you will most likely be safe. If you see such comments on your GIA report for stones with SI1 or lower, my best advice is to get someone trained to eyeball the diamond before purchase.
In severe cases and low clarity ratings (<SI2), factors like additional clouds or internal graining might make a diamond appear hazy and this is something that you can’t tell from a piece of paper.
Both plot diagrams show SI1 diamonds of 0.70 carats in size.
If you are purchasing SI clarity stones and the inclusion plot looks amazingly clean with little or no inclusions except for the entries in the comments section, I would highly advise a careful examination of the stone to check for problems.
In my experience, I have come across many SI diamonds that have suspiciously clean looking plots and they appear milky in real life because of the clouds or twinning wisps listed in the comments section.
The rule of the thumb is, you can’t game the GIA/AGS grading system. There is always a reason for a diamond to be graded as a slightly included stone. Most of the time, if an SI stone has a nice neat inclusion plot, the flaws are usually more serious than you think it is!
Don’t be afraid of seeking clarifications and asking questions!
Crown angles greater than 40 degrees – Comments about crown angles and related remarks to cut proportions are significant issues to beware of. They usually indicate that the stone’s cutting is problematic and are telltale signs of poorly made diamonds.
Internal laser drilling not shown – Be on the lookout for remarks and any mentions of laser drill holes. The presence of these features indicates a clarity enhanced diamond and that the stone was treated artificially.
This SI2 diamond is hazy looking because of excessive clouds!
Grade setting statements should be avoided for diamonds with low clarity grades. For example, the sentence “Clarity grade is based on clouds that are not shown” in an SI2 stone is the unholy stamp of death for a diamond’s visual appearance.
Brilliance and dispersion suffer because the cloud inclusions occur throughout the stone such that it is no longer feasible to plot them on a 2D diagram. For low clarity diamonds, there is a very high probability that the diamond will appear hazy or milky due to this remark because the inclusions impede the pathways of light transversing through the stone.
For diamonds with VS2 or higher grades, such comments require a case by case analysis. The best way to determine any negative effects is to examine the diamond physically or seek the help of a professional.
Similar to the point mentioned above, there are other clarity grade setting comments that require further analysis before you buy them:
Grade setting remarks like patches of color are uncommon occurrences.
I want to stress the importance of asking the jeweler for clarification if you see anything in the grading certificate that isn’t clear. If the jeweler himself is unsure or gives an ambiguous answer, switch your jeweler or opt for an independent appraiser.
At no point in time should you buy such diamonds blind and expose yourself to risks of getting a problematic stone.
To conclude, you should always take extra care in reading the entire grading report. Most people simply skim through a report and bypass the comment section. Don’t make this mistake!
Remember, you are paying significant amounts of money for a diamond and the details do matter. I believe I had covered and touched on the different types of comments used by laboratories.
However, if you come across other comments that aren’t listed here or need my second opinion on a stone, feel free to leave me a message below.<< Prev Page
Could you explain the portion of color patches in more details? I found a listing at James Allen but couldn’t identify where it is found in the video. => https://beyond4cs.com/go/ja/
What about “minor details of polish”? I found this in a GIA grading report for an E color IF diamond.
I missed that out caused I talked about it on a separate page. Anyway, thanks for reminding me! I had now updated this webpage to reflect the information. FYI, this page about E diamonds may also offer additional insights: https://beyond4cs.com/color/e-diamonds/
Let me know if there’s anything else that’s unclear to you.
I am looking to buy a 1.5 carat diamond with a GIA graded VVS1 clarity. On the clarity plot, the diagrams are totally clean and under the comment section, I see a remark “clarity is based on internal graining that is not shown”.
Could you offer any advice on this because I’m starting to have doubts about the diamond and want to know if I’m getting conned. The jeweler I spoke to said this remark didn’t matter and the diamond is one of the most brilliant she’s ever seen. Also, what’s internal graining and how does it look like? I tried looking for it under the loupe but could detect anything out of the ordinary.
Photograph credit: GIA
In a VVS1 diamond, this remark is a non issue and is very insignificant. In no way would it affect how the diamond looks like. I would be more concerned about the cut quality and if you haven’t done so, you can research on how to determine cut at these links:
Thank you for your posts I find it very help being a first time diamond buyer. I had a question in relation to “external graining not shown” which is listed in the comments of the GIA cert of a 1.1 carat triple X VS1 stone I am looking at. The clarity plot is relatively clean, however the statement “external graining not shown” has me slightly concerned that the diamond is flawed, and won’t have the same quality polish as one that didn’t have this graining comment. Any advise would be much appreciated.
Which laboratory graded the diamond? “External graining” is not a typical term used by reliable labs in today’s market. The equivalent of that should be surface graining which is widely used to describe grain lines found on the diamond facet surfaces.
I know this is an old article, but after digging through Google it helped me the most.
This diamond from James Allen looks virtually flawless from the imagery. However, it is graded SI2, only detail on the GIA is “cloud.” Is this the kiss of death you speak of?
Maybe. This diamond doesn’t appear all that hazy to me. The inclusions can be found at 12 oclock but a physical examination by James Allen should be able to confirm whether the clouds pose an issue.
I hope I can still get a response because I also see that this is an old article, but I am looking to buy a 1.26 carat, F, VS2 with an “Excellent” cut. The comments on the GIA cert say “Clouds, pinpoints and internal graining are not shown.”
Is this an issue?
It’s hard to say. In general, it wouldn’t be an issue for smaller diamonds. Do you have videos or images for the diamond?
I am looking to buy vvs2 -G- 0.92, GIA certified,
In clarity characteristic it says: needle, pinpoint and internal graining, I don’t know any thing about internal graining, does this comments affect the clarity of the stone? Does the fire of the stone get affected?? Please help
For a VVS2 diamond, these comments will not affect clarity in anyway the naked eye can see. Fire (dispersion) is impacted by cut quality more than anything else. Cut is KING not clarity. I suggest you give these pages a good read https://beyond4cs.com/cut/
Been offered a 3.3 carat G colour and VVS1 clarity by a friend. The other details based on the GIA report are:
Shape : Round brilliant
Cut grade: excellent
Fluorescent : none
Comments: clarity grade is based on internal graining that is not shown
1. What does the comments means?
2. Is this defect stone?
3. Should I be worried if seller is hiding something?
Read everyword here: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
For a VVS1 clarity rating, the internal graining shouldn’t pose an issue. Cutwise, everything is a question mark with the lack of data.
Anyway, just a caveat, 99% of purchases or recommendations made by a “friend” in the industry don’t turn out well. Buy at your own risk.
What do you think of this diamond on James Allen? Sku 2173780 Is an H color ok for engagement ring, or should I go with a F-G
$6500 budget. I like 1.2ct range and SI2 -SI1 clarity. Thoughts?
It’s a terrible diamond. The steep pavilion angles kills light performance. This is a much better option: https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.30-carat-h-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2229584
You are doing great job here.
Your blog is a great help while choosing the diamond for the engagement ring.
I’ve come across a diamond that looks really good…
Carat Weight: 0.50
Cut: Super Ideal
Measurements: 5.11 x 5.08 x 3.18
Girdle: Medium – Slightly Thick
Should I be worried that it is stated in the report that it has “minor details of polish”?
Anything else I should pay attention to?
Thank you very much!
The comment is not of any significance. This is an IF diamond and as good as it gets in terms of clarity. On the other hand, I won’t say the same for cut quality until there is tangible proof.
Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
My son is buying engagement ring and is comparing between two stones as below :
1 carat, H, IF, excellent cut and polish and symmetry, flouresence medium blue, minor details of polish are not shown
1carat, G, vs1, cut very good, polish excellent, symmetry very good, flouresence none
Price difference is minor. Thank you so much for your help
Hi there, I bought this diamond and am waiting for arrival. I will take it in to get looked at, but what is your take on the diamond overall? I was looking for a more eye cleaned SI2 with good sparkle.
Cut and ct weight was most important in this decision. I tried to get the most bang for my buck.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell which is the better diamond without details like proportions, scope images and videos. It’s a shot in the dark and it’s risky to shop in this manner. Regardless of shopping in a brick and mortar store or via Internet stores, you definitely need more information!
The diamond is eyeclean. That said, it’s a little on the deep side with a high crown angle. This affects its face up size and may affect brightness.
In regards to this diamond again, it was rated a 3x by GIA and is in the great and reccomended category for all the major angles. Table/depth/pavilion angle/crown angle
I was told the sparkle and brilliance would be great.
Are you nitpicking on this? Please email me at (email address removed) I would appreciate your feedback.
I’m not sure where you had gotten those information from. GIA 3X is a very broad range of cut quality and let me tell you that this diamond is nowhere near the top end of it.
I have purchased a diamond ring and received a GIA certificate stating following characteristics. Measurements 4.32 – 4.35 x 2.63 mm, Carat Weight – 0.30, Colour Grade – E, Clarity Grade – VVS2, Cut Grade – Excellent, Clarity Characteristics – Pinpoint, Cloud, Feather, INDENTED NATURAL, Polish – EXECELLENT and Symmetry – Very Good.
However, when I went back to the jeweller and ask to check the GIA inscription on the diamond, it turned out to have a different GIA number compared to the certificate I had.
The Jeweller have had a look at the GIA website and found out the Diamond has pretty much same feature apart from the following – Measurement 4.27 – 4.29 x 2.63 mm, Clarity Characteristics – Cloud, Feather, Pinpoint, EXTRA FACET. and Polish is VERY GOOD instead of Excellent.
Do I need to worry about the above mentioned difference in my actual diamond report compared to the certificate I originally received?
Is it possible to receive an original GIA certificate for my actual diamond from GIA?
Looking forward to hear from you.
You definitely need to be worried and raise a red flag. If the GIA numbers are different, it just goes to show how irresponsible the jeweler has been. If I were to give the jeweler the benefit of a doubt, checks should have been performed prior to handing the diamond over to you. There’s really no explanation here that will cast a good light on them.
Here’s what it’s more like to be. It’s likely a case of bait and switch. Demand a refund and go elsewhere.
I purchased this diamond. Can you tell me your thoughts on it?
I was a little concerned about the GIA report because I really didn’t understand it until I came across this article.
I reviewed the diamond and I think you did pretty well with the stone. It’s well cut and eyeclean. In a VS1 diamond, I wouldn’t worry about the inclusions found in the report (feather, cloud, cavity). They are minute and will not affect the diamond in any way.
Thanks for your feedback. Your website is so informative and really helped me with my understanding of the 4 c’s. I went to some popular jewelry retail stores and would ask them the 4 c’a and they wouldn’t give me specifics. They would say well it’s near colorless and eye clean lol I went with your advice and shopped at James Allen and the experience was so much better. I never thought I’ll buy a piece of jewelry online but your website helped educate me in the process. Thanks again
Like many asking for your feedback, I’d like to ask your opinion on this stone;
The “clarity is based on internal graining that is not shown” has me concerned.
I found the AGSL Proportion Charts online.
Do you find these charts as a reliable way to at least screen cut grade for potential purchases?
The comment is not an issue in a VVS1 diamond. However, cut quality is. This is NOT a well cut diamond.
Thanks Paul, I appreciate your comments.
In other words, you’re saying the AGSL charts are of little value since this diamond is right in the middle of “ideal” cut on the appropriate chart.
Proportions are only a guideline. And in this case, this diamond already has POOR proportions to begin with because of the steep pavilion angles with this table/depth combination. Use this as a guideline and READ EVERY SINGLE WORD IN THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE:
Thanks again Paul.
I’m completely new to this and all of the info you’ve provided is very helpful. And I just read every word of the two articles.
Like many who use your site, my biggest fear is paying too much for a stone. Local jewelers want you to buy right now. Online sellers give the impression of having great deals, but you’re buying blind.
Fortunately, I still have some time.
I have selected 2 diamonds to decide on but notice one GIA report number begins with 7xx dated Feb 2016 yet the other stone begins with 6xx show a later date of Nov 2016. Are they not in chronological order? Should I worry there could be a re-graded stone that someone has traded back in? as I have read this could happen.
Below are the details of my selected diamonds, could you give me your opinion on it which is a better stone?
Measurement: 6.57 – 6.61 x 4.06 mm
Carat weight: 1.08 carat
Colour Grade: F
Clarity Grade: VS1
Depth: 61.6 % Table: 58 % Crown Angle: 35.0° Crown Height: 15.0% Pavilion Angle: 41.0° Pavilion Depth: 43.5%
Star Length: 50% Lower Half: 80%
Girdle: Medium, Faceted, 3.5%
Clarity Characteristics: Crystal, Feather, Pinpoint
Measurement: 6.63 – 6.65 x 4.14 mm
Carat weight: 1.13 carat
Colour Grade: G
Clarity Grade: VS1
Depth: 62.3 % Table: 58 % Crown Angle: 35.5° Crown Height: 15.0% Pavilion Angle: 41.0° Pavilion Depth: 43.5%
Star Length: 50% Lower Half: 80%
Girdle: Medium to Slightly Thick, Faceted, 4.0%
Clarity Characteristics: Cloud, Needle
The numbers are not in chronological order. Both diamonds proportions aren’t great. The table sizes are too large and the lower girdle facets are too long. You need to read every single word here: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
I’ve just come across your website and I think it’s great, you are very knowledgeable on diamonds so I wonder if I can ask your option on this emerald diamond please.
the GIA report shows that it has pinpoint and surface training under it’s quality characteristics, should this be a concern?
In a VVS1 diamond, the comment isn’t a concern nor does it in anyway affect the appearance of the diamond.
thanks Paul, that’s great to know. what are your thoughts on the dimensions of the stone, do these look good to you?
your help is most appreciated, this is the first time I have looked into diamonds and it’s quite a minefield.
Hi, I’m trying to make an informed buy of a white and sparkly diamond of 0.4 ct. However my jeweler is skeptical to me buying my own diamond. I would like to prove her wrong as I think it’s fun to make the choice by my self, yet not wanting to buy a bad quality diamond.
I have tried to narrow down the selection based on best cut, better than H colour and very small inclusions to find a good quality diamond. Could this be a good choice?
or if not, why?
What about this?
Can you recommend another one otherwise?
Both diamonds are equally well cut for light performance. These 2 are top notch and I doubt you will find diamonds of this caliber in local stores. I would personally gravitate towards the E VS1 diamond.
And just to add on, why do you even need to set the diamond with this particular jeweler. I would say that 90% settings available in the market can be found at James Allen. I actually recommend setting the diamond at the place where you buy the loose stone from. This reduces stress and hassle. It also makes one party completely responsible for the entire piece of jewelry.
thank you very much for your advice. I am also considering this one, do you mind giving me your opinion on this in comparison?
The reason is that we are making custom rings with some diamonds from my grandmother, so I want all rings to match nicely. Ct is not the most important, but rather brilliance/quality.
Is it worth to go for a true heart diamond or is that just adding cost?
The stone you picked is decently well cut for light performance. However, if cut quality is your priority, I would say that the True Hearts range offers better selections.
I have never bought a diamond before and am finding the whole process quite stressful. I have done quite a bit of research around proportions and clarity etc and believe that I have found a couple of fairly good diamonds. Would you please be able to let me know whether they would be a good choice?
For a first time shopper, you did very well to pick these diamonds out. Both stones are pretty well cut for light performance and are eyeclean. Well done!
I would say that the 2nd diamond would be the better option of the 2. That’s the one I would personally pick between them.
Recently I found a diamond (three E, VVS1 and D color), the GIA report shows the comment: Clarity grade is based on internal graining that are not shown.(GIA number:2264902055)
Is it have any problems or something may I pay attentions?
Is this diamond worth buying?
The price is about twenty-six percent off of international quoted price.
Thank you for your help.
Recently I found a diamond that 1.08 carat, D color, three excellent and VVS1, but affiliated comment : Clarity grade is based on internal graining that are not shown.
What’s matter about it?
The price is about 26% off of international quotation.
Is this worth buying?
Is it have any problems or something may I pay attention?
Please advise me.
The clarity comment is NOT an issue with a VVS1 diamond. As for whether the diamond is worth buying, you will NEED tangible data to analyze cut quality and performance.
could you please give me your comments on following stone: GIA 5181703455.
I don’t see any bigger inclusions, to good to be a VS2?
What I am afraid of is the fact that the clarity grade is based on cloudes that are not shown.
Is it to risky to buy it blind? Do you know where I could get more info about the stone or how do I minimize the risk?
Please also comment on the proportions/measures of the stone.
and so on…
Trying to judge a VS2 diamond’s appearance based on a grading report is a fool’s errand.
Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
The clarity comment is a mark of death for brilliance in a diamond: https://beyond4cs.com/grading/other-comments/
I bought an Asscher Cut 1.90ct I-SI1 with ex cut, ex polish and ex symmetry and no fluo.
The plot only shown 2 very tiny feathers but the comment says “ clarity grade is based on clouds that are not shown “
Wiould be this diamond 99% probability will appear hazy or milky even have an excellent cut, excellent polish and excellent symmetry?
I just paid the seller but not ship yet. Should I just go with other diamond instead?
It is very likely going to be hazy. Get a refund and start over elsewhere. Any good jeweler should have warned you on the onset about that kind of clarity issues the diamond faces. Also, an ex polish and symmetry means nothing when it comes to Asscher cut diamonds. Most stones are duds and you need to be extremely selective to find diamonds cut for light performance.
I just want to make a corrections on the stone actually is 1.98ct D-SI1.
I returned the stone and now I got the 1.90ct I-SI1 and the comments says “Clouds are not shown” can this clouds are not shown will effect the brightest of the diamond?
There’s no way to tell as clarity has to be determined on a case by case basis: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
Do you have a direct url link to the diamond with TANGIBLE data like videos/photographs?
What is the meaning of presence of internal laser in the certificate?????
It means the diamond was treated in a permanent way using by using lasers to remove inclusions and improve clarity.
Hey Paul! What are your thoughts on these two diamonds? I see how much you have helped others, and it’s really great what you do. I’m a huge fan of your site and have probably read every article :) Jewelers look at me like I’m crazy when I when I bring my checklist of proportions and requirements for diamonds!
Here are my two options- If you see anything better, I’m all ears!
Stock Number: 2932967Y
Stock Number: 3069051Y
Thanks in advance for helping!
I think the reaction is pretty normal. Most jewelers don’t expect consumers to be educated or had done their research prior to shopping. In fact, most are just as clueless as the consumer. Don’t assume that just because they are at the opposite side of the counter, they know more about diamonds than you. They don’t.
I looked at both diamonds and the first diamond: 2.27 Carat Round Lab Created Diamond Super Ideal Cut • H Color • VS2 Clarity is the better cut diamond. When I did a search for you, I also ended up with this same diamond on a 10k budget for a 2 carat diamond.
I’ve recently set my sights on this stone after seeing it in a jewelry.
Sparkle looks ok, I like the idea of having an E color and a Very Good Cut Grade, as I still think that those are much more important to the visual effect than a couple of degrees of clarity.
Still, i got worried when I saw that “Cloud” listed under Clarity Characteristics. It’s not the “Clarity grade is based on clouds that are not shown” that you listed above, but may it mean the same thing?
I saw the stone in person and it doesn’t look hazy at all, but I’m not an expert, so your advice will surely be helpful!
Thanks in advance
It is an absolutely poor choice of a diamond. Cutwise, it is mediocre and let me tell you that it is going to be hazy. And that’s the problem when beginners look at diamonds in biased lightings. Everything is going to look good regardless of them being garbage tier or not in a jewelry store.
Just came home from a visit to a different jeweler who had a much bigger choice of stones, who proposed me a 0.80 E SI1 VG round cut diamond.
At the beginning, I was driven away by the large table and the thick girdle, but then I noticed that he had a Sarine machine in his lab and I asked him if he could run the stone in it.
Surprisingly he agreed and the outcome was much better than I expected. Basically, the cut respected all the GIA Excellent criteria for a 60% table stone, apart from Girdle thickness, which bounced it back to VG.
But more importantly, the ray-tracing software gave a very good return in terms of brilliance, fire and scintillation. All values were in the high “Very Good” range, with brilliance and fire just shy of Excellent.
I then asked him to run two other diamonds, a poor one and an outstanding one (according to certificates), just to verify the accuracy of the machine and honestly the results it gave were the expected ones, so I’d exclude a malicious use of the Sarine tools.
What are your thoughts on this? May this be the case of a diamond that performs very well despite being far from your ideal sizes? Or I should doubt the Sarine results?
Another good point, the stone looks eye clean. Under the magnifying lens I could see the wisp, but no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find the feather.
Let me know what you think about this, I’m running out of time and suddenly this looks like a viable option…
Thanks in advance for your help
Well, I can tell you with 100% certainty that this diamond is garbage tier cut quality. The pavilion angles are way too steep and will cause significant light leakage.
For a jeweler to actually make such a recommendation to you, it tells me 2 things. One, he has zero idea of what cut quality is. Or two, he knows what he is doing and he’s just being a scumbag to see if he can offload lousy diamonds from his inventory to you. Either way, both of which simply reflect badly on this jeweler.
The Sarine scan is used to map a diamond’s proportions and facet arrangement and there’s something else you need to understand about the GIA cut grades.
When a diamond is rated as Very Good Cut, it is a nice way of saying it is garbage tier cut quality. Even if the GIA rated the diamond as an Excellent cut, the range is too broad and you must perform your due diligence and ask for tangible data.
There is NO WAY that this diamond is well cut and you are wasting your time with this jeweler.
If you want to get better quality at better prices, read this: https://beyond4cs.com/best-place-to-buy-engagement-ring/
Thanks for that feedback, it has helped me a lot and I managed to get away from that diamond despite a lot of pressure from the jewler who (sadly) is selling to my mother since a very long time.
So the search is still on, I may be able to submit you something else soon. And kudos for the service you are providing here, the fact that you are doing it just out of passion makes it even more amazing!
Was reading some articles regarding the comments of diamonds in GIA carts and came across your page. I recently purchased a 1.08 carat, VS2, F colour and I noticed that the comments written was “additional clouds are not shown. Pinpoints are not shown”. As I was pretty excited and nervous on the day of purchased, I missed out the step on checking the diamond under a LED/Flourescent lighting. Am worried if there’s any issues (e.g. milky, hazy or causing the diamond to be less bright) with diamonds based on the comments.
Appreciate your advice!
Without details like the intensity of fluorescence or specific details, I cannot offer any constructive comments. In general, fluorescence shouldn’t pose any issue and isn’t it a little too late to have buyer’s remorse now? Even if fluorescence is a problem, what can you do about it? Just enjoy the diamond purchase!
I’m looking at a fancy intense yellow diamond. Emerald shape VS2. Color is even. Excellent polish. But the Gia report says a patch of color is not shown. Would you please explain what that might mean?
I will need videos or detailed photographs before I can offer any objective comments. Offhand, the EVEN color is very technical when GIA grades diamonds. Just because a diamond is classified as EVEN, it doesn’t mean that the diamond’s appearance will have evenly distributed colors. There could be contrast patterning or cut related issues that affect its visual appearance.
Hi Paul. Thank you for all the helpful information you are providing for us who don’t know much about Diamonds. I am buying a diamond that is VVS2 I color and on the cert it says clouds and natural indents. it is making me second guess the quality and value of the diamond. table is 57% and everything else is listed as excellent with medium blue florescent. can you please help me out? am I being scammed ? thank you so much for your time.
Who graded the diamond as VVS2? Having clouds and natural indents in a VVS2 grade is pretty normal in a GIA certificate. Without details, there’s nothing concrete I can tell you about the diamond and you might want to read this article for more info.
Thank you for this insightful article. I’ve looked at both SI1 and SI2 diamonds and find that SI2 diamonds seem to have alot more inclusions that stretch across the diamond’s face. I’m interested in a SI1, 1.09 carat diamond from blue Nile. The GIA report mentions additional clouds and pinpoints not shown. The image shows some minor cloud and pinpoints along the edges of the diamond, but the image looks more similar to your example of a potential problematic SI1. Is this something to be concerned about? Based on the image, do you see anything that should raise a red flag?
Thank you for your time.
The difference between SI1 vs SI2 diamonds can be quite technical but in general, SI2 diamonds tend to be the line I draw and stay away from when buying diamonds because the flaws usually cause issues at the SI2 rating.
I’ve reviewed the diamond and the inclusions are non-issues. The grade making inclusion for this diamond is the feather inclusion which is found at the girdle area of the diamond. FYI, inclusions are always listed in the order of severity on the grading report. The extra comment on the clouds and pinpoints are inconsequential and are there to make the report complete as they are minute.
Hello Paul. I have purchased, but not yet seen, a 3ct H SI1 stone from Blue Nile. When I compare it to other H stones on the website it looks the same color. When I enlarge the spinning picture of the stone it has no visible inclusions! Even the map on the GIA report shows two feathers below the girdle and not on the edges. The other H SI1 stone, by comparison, has flaws when I enlarge the enlargement. The only reason I can think of to define the stone as an SI1 is because it has Medium Yellow Fluorescence but how does that impact Clarity. There is almost no information on that color fluorescence anywhere that I can find. My question is: could this have been a better color stone whose color was graded down because of the yellow fluorescence? Because to my untrained I its color looks the same as the other H stone I’m comparing it to and with no visible inclusions I think it is a lovely stone. What do you know about Yellow Fluorescence and what do you think I can expect to see when I receive it in a week?
Medium yellow fluorescence will make the diamond look a tad ‘yellower’ in UV lighting conditions and is actually pretty uncommon in colorless diamonds. The market dings and hates diamonds with fluorescence (blue and yellow alike but the latter a bit more) and I personally love fluorescence because of the cool effect it has. GIA grades diamonds in a neutral lighting condition with no UV and that should give you an assurance that the diamond’s base color is correctly assessed. Look at the diamond in person and see if you can see inclusions in it and bring it out to sunlight and see if you can detect any changes in body color. Chances are, you won’t and instead be seeing environmental colors being reflected in a well cut diamond.
Hi Paul. Glad I found your site here, but in reading a number of comments about just about everything, I’m worried again/still. May be unfounded obsessing, but being my very first time buying a large (to me) 2.53 ct round brilliant GIA 3x H S12 diamond and then reading about its flaws/inclusions as stated on the GIA report, I don’t know if what the jeweler told me about it is true. This may be a little long in explanation, so I apologize in advance. Here’s the GIA #2205433231. I’ve only had it since Feb. I also had a budget I couldn’t go over.
This jeweler, out of the 4 or so I’d been to, touted GIA as the #1 grader, where the others said the others graders are basically just as good and I shouldn’t necessarily get hung up on that. My concern is that the jeweler had me look at the stone with a 10x and I could see the feather right away – looks like a big (to me) not exactly a crack, but like the side of a sheared-off cliff. Jeweler explained it away as not a big deal. I may have seen the needle, but I don’t really remember. Definitely did not see the other stated inclusions and jeweler did not mention any of them.
As an aside, before going to look at stones I tried to do research on good/bad/best, what to look and look out for, etc., but there are so many caveats: (yes you can have this flaw but depending on size, location, etc., it’s not a bad thing) that it’s really hard to know what’s good/bad/relatively ok. And then the jeweler explains them away and you think they’re the expert, what do I know??
So….when I got the report I started looking up the meaning of stated inclusions and reading opinions of people like you and found that all inclusions but the needle (seemingly the least egregious) were not a good thing to have and some “experts” said they’d never buy a diamond that had any of those flaws. A few weeks later I went back to my jeweler and voiced my concerns about what I found and once again they were explained away as the worst not realistically occurring unless in one case I whacked it really hard at a certain angle; they’re not on the surface or in an area where it would cause a problem, and other explanations. Initially we spent about 2 hours looking at different size/condition/price stones and I felt they were being honest and attentive to my request that I want a really good stone in a certain size and price range and that I could sell it if needed and a good price. Was assured that was/is the case with this diamond.
I took it to 3 other jewelers to get their opinion and they all said it’s a beautiful stone. When I told them about the inclusions I was most worried about they all basically said “you can’t think like that.” And again explained things away and was told to stop obsessing and be happy with it.
It’s “eye clean” as they say. It sparkles like crazy and does look gorgeous. I can’t see any of the flaws with the naked eye in any light conditions. However, today my son picked it up and said “you have a huge scratch on your diamond!” He was seeing the feather. How, I don’t know. The kid must have x-ray vision because I can only see it with a 10x or better.
So my question is, in reading about the things that could happen with each flaw (stone can literally crack with one if hit hard enough at the right angle; dirt could work its way in and make it cloudy or gray-looking with another) do I have reason to be concerned? Did I get a good stone? Should I stop obsessing and just be happy with it? And did I pay a good/fair price? Jeweler said, quote: “you don’t know how close to wholesale you paid. I gave you a great deal.”
Sorry for the length of this comment. Don’t know what would be relevant so I gave as much detail as I could. Thank you for your thoughts.
My proofreading needs attention! In my last comment, 4th paragraph, last line, should read: “….and get a good price.” Had to correct it!
The diamond does have a cavity and a knot inclusion which I generally try to avoid especially in SI2 diamonds. But here’s the thing. The grade maker for your diamond is the feather which is listed first in the order of “severity”. Without looking at the diamond myself, I cannot tell you how big of a problem the feather will be. I don’t get affected by inclusions because before I even make a purchase, I make sure I know what I am getting into. FULLY. I have a 100% understanding of what I am doing before I pay a single cent and it sounds to me that you don’t.
If the feather affects your enjoyment of the ring, that is what matters most. Return the ring and start all over again. You mentioned fair price as well. What is fair? What isn’t? There is no mention of how much you paid for the ring. Offhand, I can tell you that this diamond has mediocre proportions that I will never even waste my time on. Diamond prices can be affected by a myriad of things. I’ve written an entire article on how consumers can level the playing field by comparing prices. But all of these are irrelevant. Even if you paid a “good” price but get affected by something you didn’t like, then what’s the point of buying the ring in the first place?
Thank you, Paul, for your comments. The one about knowing FULLY what one is getting into and having a 100% understanding of what one is doing – you’re right, I absolutely had no idea. Although I read as much as I could for a month or more before heading out, and tried to understand it all, it’s all just so subjective (some avoid particular inclusions, others don’t “depending”) and confusing. As far as inclusions, go, it apparently depends on a number of factors and whether or not their kind and placement matter to you – and they might not matter to someone else. You yourself say in a post above that the inclusions you saw are non-issues.
How does a novice know what’s an issue or non-issue? And what to avoid and what’s acceptable? I read EVERYthing on RareCarat and again, there are caveats on every subject. Even knowing to avoid particular inclusions, they’re normally explained away by the jeweler, (as you have also done) by saying yes, it’s a knot, but it’s not in a place where it matters, or some such reason for ignoring the fact that there’s a knot (knot just being one inclusion I chose as an example).
And as I said, the 3 or 4 other jewelers I took it to for their opinions, and gave them the number so they could look it up and see the specifics, didn’t say anything about the inclusions. They all said it’s a beautiful stone. When I asked about the flaws they say they don’t bother them, they’re not in a place of worry, yes, a cavity(?) might crack someday but it rarely happens, etc. Again explaining away any concerns. If it doesn’t bother them as the “experts” why would/should it bother me as a novice? Wouldn’t I trust their expertise?
What about all the other things? Clouds, twinnings; how weight affects carat size: fluorescence affecting color, and all “depending” on something or other. If it’s all too overwhelming for a regular person (the odd one understanding it all), they’d need someone with great knowledge to go with them when shopping. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone like that.
As for the ability to return the ring – is that something that can be done? Is it normally done? Rarely done? Accepted by jewelers? I’ve had it since Feb. Would one get their purchase price back – whether as in a return or an exchange – to buy another one from them? (And SHOULD I buy another one from them?) Or would one have to sell it back at less than the purchase price? I bought the loose stone and they “gave” me the ring to mount it in.
Again, thank you for your comments. I feel your irritation in my lack of knowledge, but there are some things some people just can’t completely comprehend, and this field is mine, unfortunately. I don’t know how else to go about it.
Advice from people selling you a diamond ring should usually be taken with a pinch of salt unless you have a clear idea of their expertise and integrity. The same goes for me and what you read on the Internet. That’s why the best way to shop with peace of mind is to get educated or at least understand what you are buying before committing.
Without the diamond on hand, there’s not much objective comments I can give about the other inclusions other than they are likely not of any issue given what I know about GIA’s grading process. And I suspect that in your case, the comments given by the jewelers might be correct.
I am not sure what the sales policies of your jeweler are. Any decent jewelry store would have a money back guarantee in place that can range from 15 days to 60 days. Clearly, that’s over now given that it is about 7 months since you have the ring. Some jewelers can have upgrade policies where you can trade up the ring for another diamond.
Pricewise, the amount that you paid looks just about right assuming that the diamond is eyeclean and decently well cut. At the end of the day, you have to see if the inclusions bother you. If you can’t see the inclusions and you like the diamond’s sparkle, then don’t fret too much over the feather. I suspect that most people can’t see it in casual viewing.
Paul – have a Q about settings, if you answer those types of questions.
Mine is: I’m thinking of getting a bezel setting for my 2.5 ct. Right now I have a high (to me) setting with 6 prongs. I think at least one (if not all) of the prongs are sharp, as I’ve literally scratched and drawn blood on the arm of one person and the face of another. The face one scared me because it really bled. I think I made a hole, not just a scratch. Luckily it was a very good male friend and they weren’t concerned about it. Had it been a female it might have been a different story. Both instances healed and left no mark. In both instances the other person and I were heading in the same direction at the same time and collided unintentionally. So, I thought in order to keep this from happening again I’d get a bezel setting.
I’d like a low profile setting as this high one has a tendency to get in the way and the prongs catch on fabrics, hair, etc. I understand a prong setting lets in more light than a bezel – true? Is there a low profile bezel setting that lets in as much light as prongs? The other reason for wanting a bezel, though not as important as not injuring people, is protection of the girdle from getting chipped. I’ve had a couple jewelers tell me the sparkle of the stone will be compromised with a bezel and I shouldn’t get it.
Are any of these reasons valid and if you do have a preferred bezel (low profile) setting, what would it be?
Thank you again for your help
Sounds like the setting is indeed too high and that the prongs of the ring may be a little “pointed” for them to cause injury. It is true that a prong setting lets in more light. Bezels are safer and offer better security but that comes at a compromise to light performance. Also, in some bezel designs especially those with closed bottoms, they can be hard to clean. The choice of setting design is up to personal preferences and I actually agree with the jeweler in this regard. Personally, I don’t fancy bezel settings because of their designs and I think a lower profile prong setting with prongs that are “rounded off” can reduce the risk of it catching onto things or causing injury to others.
Just thought of this: would having a halo around the stone be better? Is there such a thing as a low halo? Or is a halo basically a bezel and still affect the sparkle by blocking light?
I’m not particularly fond of bezel settings either but I don’t want to injure anyone else either and I thought it was my best choice for that. I’ll see how low it can be set with prongs instead of a bezel and see if that helps.
Thanks again for your help.
I would say that a halo is better than a bevel because of the additional sparkle. I find that most halos allow more light in compared to bezel settings. It’s the mechanic of the metal gripping onto the diamond that causes much less light to enter a bezel setting. Halos usually hold the center stone with prongs if that makes sense to to you. I would say there are low halos and “higher” halos.
I’m looking at an oval cut 1ct D VS1 Ex VG. Plot is relatively clean with a comment “surface graining not shown”. Could you kindly advise whether this will impact the lighting performance or the light reflectiveness?
To add to my “surface graining not shown” question, the oval 1ct is D VS1 Ex VG None, 8.18 x 5.71 x 3.46. I believe the cutting is within the excellent range, with depth 60.6% and table 60%. Girdle is slightly thick to very thick. Cutlet none. Appreciate if you could offer advice on the GIA report comment “surface graining not shown”, whether it has any bearing on the sparkle and any red flags I should be aware of? Thank you so much.
For a VS1 clarity diamond, surface graining shouldn’t be an issue. So, no worries there. As for cut quality, the numbers alone cannot say anything concrete. You will need videos and ASET images to confirm performance.
Thank you so much for your earlier response. I bought that oval 1ct that i mentioned :) I’m now looking at an oval pair for my 3 stone ring. I have 2 pairs that have similar qualities – please share your thoughts on which pair (A or B) would look better with my 1 ct oval main stone, in terms of cut, better quality and size proportion to the main stone, thank you so much again! Pairs A and B are of same price.
oval pair A.
– 0.6 ct 6.42 x 4.74 x 3.05 mm. D VS1 Ex Ex None (Clarity characteristics: crystal, feather, needle) Depth 64.3%, table 55%, slightly thick to thick, cutlet none. GIA 5343325551
– 0.6 ct 6.47 x 4.7 x 2.97 mm. D VS1 Ex VG None (Clarity characteristics: crystal, pinpoint) Depth 63.3%, table 58%, thick to very thick, cutlet none. GIA 6341248247
oval pair B.
– 0.6 ct 6.68 x 4.76 x 2.99 mm. D VS1 Ex VG None (Clarity characteristics: crystal, cloud, pinpoint) Depth 62.8%, table 58%, thin to thick, cutlet none. GIA 5343980626
– 0.6 ct 6.66 x 4.74 x 2.94 mm. D VS2 Ex VG None (Clarity characteristics: crystal) Depth 62.1%, table 57%, thick to very thick, cutlet none. GIA 6351932721
FYI i got the oval 1ct as main stone already:
Oval 1ct 8.18 x 5.71 x 3.46 mm. D VS1 Ex VG. Depth 60.6% table 60$% slightly thick to very thick cutlet none.
Without looking at details, I cannot give you constructive advice. Read: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/ and https://beyond4cs.com/where-to-buy-fancy-cuts/
I’m wondering if you could assist me with your thoughts on the following 2 round brilliant lGI-certified lab diamonds I have currently shortlisted:
(1) 1.15 carat; H Colour ; VS2 Clarity ; Ideal Cut ; Dimensions: 6.70 x 6.73 x 4.17mm
Table %: 55%
Depth %: 62.1%
Crown angle: 34.8
Pavilion angle: 40.7
Additional comment on grading report: “Hearts & Arrows pattern viewable with H&A scope.”
(2) 1.18 carat ; G Colour ; VS2 Clarity ; Ideal Cut ; Dimensions: 6.76 x 6.79 x 4.20mm ; IGI Certified
Table %: 57%
Depth %: 61.4%
Crown angle: 34.8%
Pavilion angle: 40.7%
Both have medium (faceted) girdle, excellent polish, excellent symmetry, no culet.
My questions are:
1. I have asked for H&A scope images, other Idealscope images, etc. but only have access to 360 videos and grading report. Due to COVID I cannot check the diamond with a scope myself. For the comment regarding “Hearts & Arrows pattern viewable with H&A scope” – how much weight does this hold? I am not particularly looking for a H&A diamond, but could this comment signify that it would be better cut than the average “Ideal” diamond? How should I factor in this comment, if at all, in my review of the diamond?
2. The 1.15 carat is roughly $350 USD less than the 1.18 carat. Based on the very limited information above, do you think these are decent options and which of the two would you choose?
(I will be seeing these diamonds in person to compare them before making any decisions.)
I don’t care or give a damn about what is inscribed on a girdle. If a diamond is hearts and arrows. Prove it to me. I demand to see tangible data. I will just say, you will rarely ever find true H&A diamonds in lab created stones.
Both diamonds have good proportions for lab created options and that is a good starting point to investigate further. If you expect diamonds to have super ideal cut standards, go for natural options. The cutting houses and masters that polish them don’t work on lab diamonds for economic and political reasons.
I just bought a loose diamond and a GIA report with 3.16 carat weight with a color grade D and a clarity grade of VVS1, cut grade excellent polish excellent and symmetry excellent with an inscription of treated color. I see the GIA report number on the brochure but when my jeweler put the diamond in a microscope, there is no GIA report number inside the diamond, all it says is that it’s color has been treated. Is it possible for there to be no GIA number inside the diamond?
You should be directing this question at the seller instead of an online website. There are occasions where the seller of a diamond tells GIA not to inscribe the report number on the girdle. It’s not typical but doesn’t mean anything sinister. Look at the GIA grading report and under the comment section. I supposed you are saying that the GIA report DID indicate the presence of an inscription but it isn’t there physically on the diamond when you checked it. Then the diamond is likely not the stone that was stated in the grading report.
I hope you are still answering this thread – You have some great information!
I have found a diamond I am quite interested in and I was hoping to get your professional opinion based on this information. I understand the only way to truly tell is to put your eyes on it but I can’t until I buy it. There is a 30 day return.
If you see a concern it would really help my decision.
Carat Weight: 4.43 ct.
Crown Height: 14%
Crown Angle: 34%
Pavilion Angle: 40.6
Pavilion Depth: 42.5
Measurements: 10.58 x 10.65 x 6.38 mm
Length to Width: 1.01
Girdle: Thin – Medium
Fluorescence: Very Strong
Cut Grade: Excellent
Cut: Super Ideal
– HCA Score .9 – All EXCELLENT
4.43 Carat Diamond, Round, I Color, VS1, GIA, D114932828
The diamond appears to look good and be fairly priced but
– It has VERY STRONG Blue Fluorescence and INTERNAL GRAINING NOT SHOWN.
Q: “I would like to know if there is any haziness or over blue in natural sunlight or UV light – or is it clear with no issues
A: “The notes provided state: Fluorescence Visual: Does not have any negative effect, not hazy or blue.”
– They also verbally confirmed it does not show any blue in sunlight. (Does this sound accurate?)
– I do not want to get a diamond that looks Hazy or “obvious” blue in sunlight or other normal conditions.
– Do you think you will be able to see the “internal graining” if you stare at it through the table or will it have it negative effect, especially with strong blue fluorescence?
Thank you in advance!
The diamond appears to be a little hazy based on the videos and I think this could be due to fluorescence. In a VS1 diamond, the internal graining is not an issue I would worry about.
I just saw your response and really appreciate your expert advice on the 4.43 Diamond below.
– Blue Nile
– 4.43 Carat Diamond, Round, I Color, VS1, GIA, D114932828
– The same diamond is on Brilliance.com with better 360 views.
– It does not appear to be within your ideal range but do the dimensions work?
– Based on the possible haziness would you pass on this diamond?
There is another diamond but it has a steep 36.5 crown.
It does not fall into your ideal range either but listed as 8.6 cut score.
Can I please get your opinion of that stone?
Carat Weight 4.46
Length/Width Ratio 1.01
Girdle Medium to Slightly Thick
Measurements 10.51 x 10.44 x 6.53 mm
Thanks again in advance!
When a diamond is hazy, it is a definite pass. It affects brilliance.
As for the 2nd diamond in the link below, https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD16652570
This diamond is decently cut. The steeper crown angles does result in slight light leakage.
It’s a better choice than the first stone for sure.
Thanks again for your responses – I think this should be the last question…
This is a substantial investment so your advice is invaluable and greatly appreciated. I want to make sure I am getting a nice diamond that will sparkle and perform as it should at a fair price.
– Do you think the diamond in the link will have nice brilliance and fire?
– Is it cut decent enough to make it worth buying or can I do better for the price?
It is decently cut. But is it the best of the best? Nope. For the price point, the stone offers good value for money.
If you are looking for a diamond with the best light return, these stones will cost a lot more at this carat size range. And you should look at their Astor selections at Blue Nile or head over to White Flash and browse through their ACA collection.
I have a question about the clarity of this diamond. The GIA report comments: Clouds are not shown. What does this mean?
Is this a good diamond? Is the price too high? What are your thoughts?
I don’t know anything about diamonds and this is the biggest purchase of my life. Please help and advise.
The price is EXTREMELY low and for good reasons. First of all, the cut quality is garbage tier and secondly, the diamond is hazy due to the cloud inclusions. An absolutely horrible choice of a diamond. Clearly, you seem to be trying to cheapen out on prices and trying to get the highest carat sized diamond possible. Shopping like this is detrimental and you will end up with a poor choice of a diamond.
I read through most of your comments and this website is EXTREMELY informative. As a 1st time diamond buyer I am lost and clueless about this. Can’t thank you enough for your time and information.
Cut: Very Good
Carat Weight: 1.90
Length/Width Ratio: 1.07
Depth %: 68.1%
Table %: 63.0%
Girdle: Thin to Slightly Thick
7.37 x 6.89 x 4.69 mm
I am in the process of buying this diamond and I noticed the comments in the GIA report “Internal graining is not shown. Surface graining is not shown”,
1. Should I be concerned for such comments?
2. What are your thoughts and expert advice for this stone?
3. Is it worth the price?
Thank you very much!!
I’ve reviewed the diamond here: https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD14684902
The cushion cut diamond is decently well cut. It has decent light performance and contrast patterning. As for the comment in the GIA grading report, it is a non-issue in a VS1 diamond. The grade making inclusion is the feather inclusion which in itself is NOT a problem too. The diamond is eyeclean and if the inclusions were of any issue, the diamond would not have achieved a VS1 clarity grading. So, no worries there. Price wise, I think the stone offers good value for money given the balance of color and clarity it has.
Overall, it’s a good choice.