The Leo Diamond Review – Are They Really Visually Brighter?

what is a leo diamond?

The Leo Diamond is one of the world’s most successful diamond brands created by Leo Schachter Diamonds. Unlike the traditional 57 facets round brilliant cut diamond you usually see, the Leo Diamond has a unique, patented 66 facet structure. What grabbed my attention was the claim that it was the first ever diamond to be independently certified as being “visually brighter”.

For regular readers of, you would already know that I always treat marketing claims with great skepticism until proven otherwise. What does the term “visually brighter” mean and what were the kind of tests/measurements/analysis performed to certify its performance?

In this review of the Leo Diamond, I am going to dissect details and further investigate whether the Leo cut lives up to its marketing hype.

Looking Beyond The Marketing Fluff And Reviewing The Details

brilliance scope

Brilliance scope tool to measure light performance.

So, how exactly are Leo diamonds measured and certified in order for them to come up with a bold claim of being “visually brighter”? It turns out that the answers lie in a sales tool created by GemEx Systems called the Brilliance Scope ®.

Now, I don’t want to bore you with all the technical aspects of the Brilliance Scope. In short, the Brilliance Scope measures a diamond’s performance in a stimulated spot lighting environment using various viewing angles.

Speaking from my personal point of view, I consider the BrillianceScope to be an objective and repeatable method to evaluate a diamond’s optical performance. And based on my experience and observations, I generally (but don’t always) agree with the results measured by the Brilliance Scope.

However, the caveat you need to be aware of is that the Brilliance Scope only reveals the diamond’s performance under certain conditions (i.e. spot lighting) and not in environments where you’ll probably find yourself in most of the time (i.e. office fluorescent lighting, outdoor day lighting and etc…).

To see an example report of a BrillianceScope analysis performed on a Leo Diamond, you can click this link. In this particular example, the diamond scores a “High” for White Light, “High” for Color Light and a borderline “Very High” for Scintillation.

Is The Claim Of Being “Visually Brighter” True?

Let’s take a closer look at the marketing campaign by Leo Schachter Diamonds, LLC. On their website, they only state that the Leo Diamond is “The First Diamond Ever Certified To Be Visually Brighter”. That’s true since they were the first company to utilize GemEx for certifying a diamond’s brightness.

However, it is also true that this statement isn’t meaningful from a consumer’s perspective. You need to read between the lines carefully. Leo Schachter didn’t claim the Leo Diamond to be the visually “brightest” diamond in the world because it isn’t. Just because they were the first to implement such a system to certify light performance doesn’t make the feat a big deal.

Now, I had personally experienced many salespeople from Kay telling me that the Leo Diamond is the “best” in the world based on the GemEx report. They vaguely claim that it’s visually brighter than most other diamonds to convince you into making a purchase. However, have you ever wondered about the kind of diamonds being used in their benchmarks?

what the hell

If I wanted to, here’s how I can play with words and obfuscate consumers in order to market a AGS triple ideal (000) round brilliant cut diamond. Let me tell you for a fact that an AGS 000 will be “visually brighter” than the majority of diamonds based on a Brilliance Scope analysis.

Using this AGS 000 diamond (104075088014) as an example, it can easily beat the light return performance of most Leo Diamonds based on its GemEx analysis. It scores “Very High” on the upper boundaries of White Light, Color Light and Scintillation measurements.

The point is, I can easily make an AGS 000 sound like a big deal because I’m comparing it against the massive amount of junk out there (e.g. GIA Fair, Good, Very Good cut diamonds). However, the truth is that there’s really nothing special about AGS 000 diamonds and you don’t see many vendors making a big hoo-ha out of these diamonds.

If you want to verify the BrillianceScope performance of more AGS 000 round brilliant cut diamonds selected at random, you can simply enter these numbers (104073766007, 104073943001, 104075088007, 104061325005, 104073313007) individually into the GemEx Live Report verification system.

The corresponding grading AGS reports can be accessed here: 104073766007, 104073943001, 104075088007, 104061325005 and 104073313007. I encourage you to perform the verification to prove to yourself that Leo Diamonds aren’t the only diamonds that can do well in a BrillianceScope analysis.

You can easily find GIA triple excellent or AGS triple ideal diamonds that can trump a Leo Diamond’s performance in the BrillianceScope analysis. You also need to understand that scoring well in a GemEx report doesn’t necessarily mean the diamond is exceptionally well-cut.

What I Like About The Leo Diamonds

I figured I would start with the things I like about the Leo Diamond since they are few and relatively mundane. Now, if you compare the Leo Diamond to the standard round brilliant cut, you will realize that they take on a completely different appearance because of their faceting structure.

Based on my observations, I feel that Leo Diamond rings tend to have slightly better scintillation than the conventional 57 facets round brilliant cut. Also, the scintillation and patterning of a Leo is usually made up of smaller sized sparkles due to the thinner pavilion main facets they are polished to. There’s nothing wrong per-se with liking such an appearance and ultimately, it boils down to your own personal tastes.


The other aspect I like about the Leo Diamond is their “Trace Your Leo” feature which adds an element of personal touch to a purchase. If you head over to the official website with the link above, you can find a function that helps customers trace their diamond back to the artisan who cut it.

trace your leo

As an example, you can enter the serial number 199021 to test the feature…

While it doesn’t change the quality of the diamond, I find this feature quite cool since you can find out a little more about the cutter who crafted your diamond.

What I Don’t Like About Leo Diamonds And Buyer’s Beware

To be honest, there are so many unpleasant things to say about the Leo Diamond that I don’t even know where to begin.

First of all, let’s start with the grading report that accompanies a Leo Diamond purchase. The majority of Leo Diamonds are graded by an unknown lab called Gemological Science International (GSI) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI). There are some super rare occasions where certain Leo Diamonds have an GIA report accompanying the purchase.

gia report for leo cut

My guess is that some private/individual jeweler sent the diamond to GIA to be graded.
The corresponding BrillianceScope analysis report can be found at this link.

Anyway, it’s a real mess and there’s no consistency in the grading labs used! The fact that different Leo diamonds are sent to different labs for grading is a red flag for consumers to tread carefully.

The problem with grading reports from IGI and GSI is that they are not reliable indicators of the diamond’s color and clarity properties. For example, a diamond graded at GSI as F/SI1 could actually be a H/I1 if it was graded by GIA. And if you read my article on the importance of grading reports, you will know that the choice of grading laboratory is never random but is a result of shrewd planning to maximize profits.

gsi graded diamond as si2

GSI graded this diamond as SI2. If this same diamond was sent to GIA for grading, I can assure you that it will receive a rating no better than an I1 clarity because of its super obvious inclusions and the huge feather inclusion found under the table.

These discrepancies in grading standards result in huge differences in terms of prices and value. The bottom line for you as a consumer, is to only purchase diamonds with grading reports from reliable labs like GIA or AGS if you don’t want to get ripped off.

The Leo Cut Diamond Displays Inconsistent Cut Standards

I don’t buy the fluffy marketing pitch of a salesperson who says that a diamond performs better because it has more facets. Ultimately, what impacts the light performance of a diamond is the precise placements of individual facets and proportions.

When reviewing a diamond brand for its caliber, one of the criteria I look out for is consistency in cut quality. Let me tell you that the Leo Diamonds are cut with huge variations and the production quality control is relatively poor compared to other branded diamonds like Hearts On Fire. This means that there is NO consistency across the board and you will see Leos that look significantly worse than others.

Check out these 3 Leo Cut diamonds below and notice how each diamond looks drastically different…

1 carat leo diamond engagement ring

You can verify this Leo Cut diamond with the following serial number: 287973

large table facet

You can verify this Leo Cut diamond with the following serial number: 2071266

dark center not eye clean

You can verify this Leo Cut diamond with the following serial number: 2035244

Did you notice how the table size can vary so much differently from one diamond to another? Also, another feature I want to point out about the Leo Diamond is that they are typically cut to steeper depths. As a result, you will end up with a significantly smaller looking diamond (lower spread) compared to a standard round brilliant cut which has ideal proportions.

In the example above, the 1.48 carat diamond only measures up at 7.13mm * 7.08mm and this is a far cry from the face up size of a properly proportioned ideal-cut round diamond.

brian gavin vs leo cut

Sloppy Finishing And Craftsmanship Standards

With the excessive premium charged for a Leo Diamond ring, I would expect nothing but the best in terms of the diamond’s finishing (polish/symmetry). Sad to say, that’s not what the Leo Diamond offers you.

The craftsmanship standards in the majority of Leo Diamonds are mediocre. This is evident in the “Good” & “Very Good” ratings received for polish and symmetry in the grading report.

Call me a cut snob if you like but I expect nothing less than the best considering how much I am overpaying for a diamond. Just ask yourself the following question: Would you be willing to pay up to 2 times more for a “branded” diamond only to receive a product with questionable quality?

You see, diamonds have a superior hardness and this means they can take on a better polish than any other type of gemstones. Let me tell you that it is relatively easy for a cutter to polish a diamond to attain “Very Good” or “Excellent” polish ratings if they wanted to.

The fact that a diamond is left at a “Good” polish state and marked as a completed product reveals a lot about the kind of standards a company has.

traditional vs leo cut

Compared to the messy and splintery appearance of the Leo Cut (on the right), the traditional round brilliant cut (on the left) is more appealing in terms of its scintillation and contrast patterning.

Leo Princess (Square) Cut Diamond Review

Like its round counterpart, the princess cut version of the Leo is also polished to 66 facets. Once again, the Leo cut has more facets than the generic princess cut diamonds you see in the market. At this point, I want to re-emphasize that the number of facets is NOT an indicator of better optical performance.

A generic princess cut diamond can look just as good or even better than the Leo Princess Cut. It is the specific facet placements, angles and proportions which ultimately determine how the diamond interacts with light. In the case of the square cut Leo diamonds, I also found a huge discrepancy in cut quality and inconsistencies in optical performance.

Let’s study a couple of Leo princess cuts in more detail and do some comparisons to see how they compare against AGS 000 princess cut diamonds from other vendors.

First up is this listing from Kay – 0.93 Carat H-SI2 Good Cut Princess Diamond

incredibly deep and excessively large table

This particular diamond has an excessive depth of 82.0% and a massive table of 80.0%. This means the diamond will face up significantly smaller than another princess cut of similar carat weight. When you see overly deep diamonds or excessively large table facets, those are tell tale signs of cutters trying to maximize the yield from a rough diamond at the expense of cut quality.

Besides the mediocre proportioning, the diamond is also out of shape too. The edges of the diamond aren’t symmetrical and it also takes up a rectangular-looking appearance which detracts from the usual princess cut look.

As if these issues weren’t enough, the price premium on this diamond graded by an “unknown” lab, GSI, will make you cringe. At $8,300, you are paying an insane premium for a stone which doesn’t deserve to command such a high price at all.

Now, if you compare it against this 0.928 ct G VS2 A CUT ABOVE® Super Ideal Princess Cut Diamond from, you will see stark differences in terms of value and cut quality.

whiteflash vs. leo princess

The WhiteFlash diamond is top-of-the-line and is accurately graded by AGS for its material properties. Also, this diamond has better color and clarity ratings compared to the Leo diamond and it costs about 45% less! In this comparison of WhiteFlash’s ACA vs the Leo Diamond, the winner is really obvious.

Next up, we will take a closer look at this 1.47 Carat I-I1 Leo Princess Diamond from Kay.

i1 leo square cut disaster inclusion

Circled in red is a huge colored inclusion under the table facet which will be extremely obvious to the naked eye. I’m sorry to say this but if this diamond is ever going to be used in an engagement ring, you better hope that the recipient is blind as a bat and oblivious to unsightly inclusions.

Now, let’s compare the diamond to a Brian Gavin signature princess cut that’s a million times better. The differences in quality I’m going to reveal will probably make you think twice about buying a Leo.

brian gavin versus leo

First of all, look at the HUGE carat size differences between these 2 stones.

The Leo diamond has a carat weight of 1.47 while the Brian Gavin stone weighs 1.740 and has a significantly better clarity rating of VS1. And you know what the shocking thing is? The Brian Gavin diamond is still cheaper than the Leo diamond despite its larger size!

Conclusion of The Leo Diamond Review

Because of its unique faceting structure and additional facets, the Leo cut looks completely different from a conventional 57 facets round brilliant cut in its appearance. I had seen a number of Leo diamonds and I personally don’t like the way they look. Now, your tastes may differ from mine and that’s perfectly fine.

Most Leo diamonds do have decent optical performance if you compare them to the lousily cut diamonds in the market. To be fair, there are a very small minority of Leo diamonds that are cut to excellent standards.

However, because of the issues I highlighted above, I can’t recommend them to my readers in good faith. Given the kind of price premium placed on them and the questionable GSI/IGI certification, you will never know exactly what you are paying for.

Using the GEMEX report as a sales tool does help “prove” the Leo diamond’s performance to some extent. However, the truth is that you can easily find well-cut round brilliant diamonds that can perform to equal or even better standards than the Leo cut at significantly lower prices.

Online vendors like White Flash and Brian Gavin offer high quality diamonds that are cut to extreme precision and optical performance at significantly lower prices. If sparkle and brilliance are your top priorities, I recommend checking them out.

Related Articles

The Leo Diamond Receives a Poor Rating of 1.5/5 – Reviewed by

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  1. Groom to Be-
    December 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    How do you know that brilliant rose is the same as the Leo diamond? Also, how would you compare Hearts on Fire vs the Leo diamond? And also, the leo diamond vs tiffany ring. They are priced around the same levels.

  2. Paul Gian-
    December 21, 2014 at 5:12 am

    The Leo diamond is a patented cut. This means that NOBODY can copy the design for commercial purposes. Yet, the schematic diagram for a Brilliant Rose is exactly the same as that of a Leo Diamond.

    If they aren’t from the same “parent” company or have some business dealings with each other, you can bet that lawsuits would start flying and you will see the Leo Schachter suing “Brilliant Rose” for patent infringement.

    Hearts on Fire is a company that deals with ideally cut diamonds. I very much prefer the consistency and quality of Hearts on Fire. That said, Hearts of Fire is also a pricey brand that I would avoid unless you have plenty of extra money. Tiffany is largely branding and their diamonds are decent.

    If I were to rank the leo diamond vs tiffany vs hearts on fire, here are my rankings based on consistency and light performance.

    1) Hearts on Fire
    2) Tiffany
    3) Leo Diamond (this is a very distant third place)

  3. Ben-
    December 22, 2014 at 6:43 am

    I saw a 1 carat leo diamond engagement ring with F SI1 natural princess cut for sale at $8,400. Is that a great deal? For the kind of money paid, I could get a larger sized generic princess cut. So, is the price premium worth it? Do you think the leo diamond resale value is good?

  4. Paul Gian-
    December 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Who graded the 1 carat Leo diamond engagement ring to be a F color SI1? Is it Gemological Science International ( or IGI? The grading report does matter.

    Anyway, a well-cut 1 carat princess cut diamond from a respectable grading lab will cost around $5,400 This means you are paying a significant premium for the LEO.

    Diamonds have very terrible resale value and I can tell you that you are going to take a very very big loss if you sell your leo diamond ring on the secondary market. That’s because you are paying alot of premium in the retail prices when the worth of the diamond is probably just a tiny fraction of the cost.

  5. helaine-
    August 20, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    now i’m even more confused I am looking for an anniversary ring and thought the leo would shine better. Are leo diamonds good?

  6. Paul Gian-
    August 21, 2015 at 3:01 am

    That’s what the salesman wants you to believe in and tells you. Try walking into another store and the salesman will tell you their diamonds “shine” better than the Leo.

  7. Ashley-
    September 16, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    i just chose a Leo diamond from an independent diamond broker as a replacement for my diamond that cracked and my insurance was replacing (at no cost of course). I didn’t know anything about the Leo diamond, but of the diamonds I looked at to choose from, this was slightly bigger than my original diamond, and clear with no internal flaws that could be detected by myself or husband even under the magnifier (I am not sure who graded it but we did see the paperwork). Much clearer then the other options I was presented with, and even seemed like an upgrade in size and quality from my original. After reading this post, I know that I am still happy with the look of it, it is gorgeous, but wondering about its true worth and quality. I did notice that the top facet is a different shape from my original, hence why I started in on my google- research quest, leading me here. Luckily, I know I didn’t over pay, since it was a replacement diamond. What are your thoughts and what other insight can you give to me?

  8. Paul Gian-
    September 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Read and look around at more diamonds (especially AGS triple 000 stones). Use this step by step guide here to help you select a stone:

  9. Troy-
    November 12, 2015 at 1:44 am


    I went to 7 different jewelry stores today, to make things simple I wanted to compare 1ct round on a simple setting. I told the sales person “I don’t want the cheapest diamond in the store and I don’t want the most expensive” and see what they showed me and worked up from there.

    I went to a Kay’s and to a Belden Jewelers (which are both owned by Sterling Jewelers) The quality of the first diamond they show you is horrible and when you ask for something nicer they quickly move to the Leo diamonds.

    The first thing I noticed about the Leo diamonds was the price, is astronomical! The second thing I noticed was The Leos seemed to sparkle. I mean just sparkle. There are no yellows, no reds, no blues … There was just no fire to their diamonds. And the third thing I noticed was the quality, I can’t believe they are selling such poor quality stones at those prices.

    Is hard for me to see the inclusions at naked eye, my eye seems to get distracted and takes me a while to find the inclusions at naked eye. In all the Leo diamonds I saw today there where obviously large inclusions right on the top of the stones and I’m talking about $8,000 dollar stones!

    Then, they pull out this magnifying glass contraption that has LEDs build in around the magnifying glass that shine away from you so you can see the “shine” of the Leo diamond. … and they shine the light on it. This made me chuckle, because is not like anyone is going to be shining a flashlight on to your girlfriends ring finger.

    I couldn’t believe how much poor quality is out there, I’m not going to quote quality from the 4 C’s because to me is only some what relevant. If you look at a diamond and it looks good it will looks good to most people but if you look at a diamond and immediately looks bad, is probably going to look bad to other people … I just can’t believe these jewelry stores are asking such a premium for such poor quality stones.

    Thanks for your review and the time and work you are putting in to keeping people informed.

  10. Leonardo Mastache-
    February 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Just bought a 1.4 caret Leo diamond from a UK jewellery store, I’m not impressed. For 8k the pitting and scratches where out of control. I have the paper work and will challenge the workmanship on a later date.

  11. Paul Gian-
    February 16, 2016 at 2:32 am

    I’m not sure what good would that do to you now that the purchase has been made. If you are unhappy about the 1.4 carat diamond ring purchase, try to see if they allow refunds or exchanges if you don’t like your purchase. Also, this article here about buying engagement rings in UK should offer some insights as well. Do let us know how things go.

  12. Reene-
    December 17, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Well, all I can say is that I own a Leo Diamond anniversary ring 1 and a 1/4 cts tcw, and it sparkles like nobody’s business in all types of lighting. I have other diamond jewelry ranging from I I1, H VS2, F VVS2 which are all beautiful with excellent cut grading and I have to say that my Leo ring out sparkles them all and receives the most compliments about the shine and sparkle. I am very happy with my ring and regardless of this article would love another piece of the Leo collection.

  13. Reene-
    December 17, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Leonardo Mastache: You bought a Leo diamond and yet you have all these complaints. I guess my question to you is, why did you buy it then?? When I shop for diamond jewelry it takes me a long time to make my decision because I inspect it and test it, cover it with my hand to see how it shines when shaded, I ask the employee to bring the item out into the mall so I can see it under less of the jewelry store lighting. I request to use their loop so I can see it under magnification my self. I just find it odd that you bought the item and then complain about it here. Why didn’t you just return it??

  14. Paul Gian-
    December 18, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Leo Diamonds are a mixed bag with little consistency (especially in cut quality) in the branding. There are some better ones and there are many in the lower end of the spectrum. And for the price premium the consumer is paying, you had better knowledgeable enough to pick out the better ones. Most consumers don’t have such expertise.

    As a practical person (and sensible one as well), it dumbfounds me to see the amount of people who commit the same mistake over and over again. And let me tell you, this is a recurring problem globally I see in consumers and many other brands. It is not just isolated to the US or any particular part of the world.

  15. Reene-
    January 2, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Paul: What mistake in consumers are your referring to? I feel the Leo Diamond is beautiful with extreme sparkle. The proof is in the pudding, so if a consumer loves the ring and proudly wears it as I do, then what is the problem? This diamond would not be so popular world wide without a reason for it. Many love it and isn’t that what having a piece of jewelry all about? Let’s face it, unless you purchase a flawless diamond which not many do, diamonds are not an investment as so many jewelers claim they are. So basically it is about have a diamond that you think is beautiful and makes you happy with tons of compliments as a bonus.

  16. Paul Gian-
    January 3, 2018 at 1:14 am

    You should read up more on the website and get a better understanding of how the diamond industry works. The reliability of certification when shopping for a diamond is the key to knowing what you are actually buying.

  17. Reene-
    July 15, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    I have done plenty of research and unless you own a piece of Elizabeth Taylor’s or Beyonce” collection, you will never get what you paid for if you sell your diamond ring, Never. I disagreed with you, and you seem to have a problem with that.

  18. Paul Gian-
    July 16, 2018 at 1:44 am

    I don’t have a problem with readers disagreeing with what I write.

    In fact, I welcome it. Let me put this straight; diamonds are terrible investments and was this something I disagreed on? If you actually did your research and read the website, you will know we are actually in agreement.

    What I have an issue is how some bad actors in the industry utilize unreliable grading reports and appraisal documents to rip consumers off by inflating “value” and blatant misrepresentation. The bottomline is, if anyone wants to buy a diamond, it better be graded by GIA or AGS.

  19. Paul Nilsson-
    June 27, 2019 at 2:11 am

    Paul, I don’t think it is fair that you slam a product that competes with the brand that is paying you to write this hogwash. I hope you realize that Reene was probably deeply upset by your unqualified comments. Shame on you! You are also incorrect about the GIA. Their grading reports can be just as incorrect as IGI or GSI. I know, I have seen thousands of them over the 35 years I have been grading diamonds.

  20. Paul Gian-
    June 27, 2019 at 3:49 am

    To be clear, no one paid me to write this article and that’s something you wrongly assumed. You don’t have to argue about opinions. Look at the facts and the kind of quality controls that a business has and anyone would be able to come to their own conclusion. I would say this, for someone in the industry to say that GIA is just as “incorrect” as GSI goes to show how little they know about the grading standards and the kind of integrity they have. In fact, just ask any professional who knows their stuff in the industry whether they would trust a GIA/AGS report for grading accuracy or a GSI or any other reports when buying or selling a diamond.

    Case in point, if you can find a fool in the industry who would choose to pay the same amount of money for a D VVS2 diamond graded by GSI or Gemlab report instead of a D VVS2 diamond graded by GIA, let me know. And if you can’t, why?

  21. Jon-
    July 15, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    I’m looking for a First Light diamond review by Leo. It’s a recently released cutting style that is sold at Jared. What are the differences of first light diamond vs leo diamond (old version)? If you can offer any insights into this, it would be very helpful.

  22. Paul Gian-
    July 17, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    The First Light diamond is basically a Leo diamond that is polished with a nano prism finish. This finish isn’t something new and there’s a similar process called a Fire Polish. As a result of the nano surface finishing, light is broken up like a prism and down into its blue, orange, red, yellow flashes of light (fire).

    Now, the appearance of the diamond is completely changed as a result of altering the facet surfaces and the diamond has an oily looking glean to it. If you go to a departmental store and look at the cheap costume jewelry section where they have plastic looking gemstones mounted into earrings/rings, that’s what a fire polished diamond looks like.

    There’s a video here that shows a comparison:

    Some people like it, some don’t. I personally don’t like the fake looking appearance of the First Light diamond after it is treated with the nano polish.

  23. AJ-
    September 9, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Hi – I’ve just purchased a Leo diamond ring from Jordan through a family acquaintance (259295) for 4900 USD. I got it priced in Dubai, which in return they told me that stone (with better specs in terms of clarity, etc.) would be 2,900 USD. Basically, in the Middle East, the LEO brand means nothing, and they don’t care, if anything the labs that have certified it are unknown. As you can imagine, this has upset me and has put quite a bit of strain on a few relationships.

    I’m just really surprised how the market is and what is flying about, the ring has been on my fiancee’s finger since August 8th, and now every time I look at it, I am entirely jilted.

    I don’t know what to do here – I want to return the ring, but the guy doesn’t seem game, and I am not convinced that I will get my money back.

    If anyone is reading this – steer clear from branded diamonds – it is all dog shit and will not help at all in resale value. Get something customised, and honestly, a flight to Dubai and back would be much better for you. Given the prices I’ve seen online doing research, you’ll get your money’s worth and a holiday on top.

    Paul – please any pointers would be highly appreciated, as currently, I feel like I’ve been royally screwed.

  24. Paul Gian-
    September 10, 2019 at 2:44 am

    It isn’t just branded diamonds. If you buy diamonds with the expectations that you have better resale value on them, then you are making a very wrong assumption about how the industry works. I know a lot of jewelers market their goods by saying how the value will appreciate in the future. It’s just bullshit. If someone says that, get them to put in down in writing that they will take the item back in cash for a higher amount in the future. Let me tell you that 99.99% of jewelers would only talk and don’t do the walk. If they are so confident about what they are selling, why won’t they do it? I think you can probably guess why.

    Now, branding isn’t the problem here. It just serves to mark up the goods at a premium with the “rationale” of differentiating the product. What I would say is that there are only a handful of brands in the world that actually offer consumers a better product and you need to have tangible data to prove that.

    Your problem here is the scummy grading reports used to certify the diamonds. So, let me tell you how insiders buy diamonds. They buy only GIA or AGS graded diamonds because they know what they are getting instead of inflated claims made of the diamond’s quality. When you see a dubious and unreliable grading report that is used by a jeweler to market a diamond, it will usually mean the consumer receives the short end of the stick.

    Also, this article on buying diamonds in Dubai will also offer some insights:

  25. AJ-
    September 10, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks Paul – would you recommend that I return the ring?

    Reading through your Dubai article again I find a lot of your comments very insightful and true.

    I’ve been geared towards a shop in the Gold and Diamond Souq and they have downloads in sachets just as you have explained in your article. However when I went there today the guy showed me great rings ready made and with diamonds that they are happy for me to get checked.

    I agree with your point about grading, my ring doesn’t have any of those two: GIA and AGS (and both have been mentioned quite a bit). Now I’m not sure how to proceed.

  26. Paul Gian-
    September 10, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    It really depends on what you can and want to do. Personally speaking, I would return the ring and if I could if there are no implications involved. When I buy a ring, it needs to be something I am absolutely happy with and there’s no second guessing about the purchase decision. Otherwise, it will just ruin any enjoyment of the jewelry I own.

  27. AJ-
    September 10, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Thank you Paul, again you’re article is a must read before anyone buys any of these diamonds.

    I simply cannot highlight the importance of what you said when comes to grading: don’t buy anything that’s not GIA or AGS.

    With that said I’ve just spent 20 minutes speaking to the Leo Schachter Diamonds LLC staff. Now I’m even more confused. They said my ring was meant to be sold in the US, the other market they are in is in the UK. In both markets they work through wholesalers (Kay in US). I spoke to a woman who couldn’t get why and how that much product showed up in the Middle East.

    After all said and done, this is a lesson learned the hard way for me. Always do your research, and as far as I’m concerned I was taken for a ride by the manufacturer and the retailer.

    I would personally recommend you stay away from this house of pain. DO NOT BUY A LEO DIAMOND.

  28. Dap-
    November 30, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    Great article. I did abundant research before buying my engagement ring. I had no intention of purchasing a Leo Ideal Cut halo ring at Kay, but I went in to see what kind of deals they have. I bought promise rings there before for great deals and told salesman i’d be back. Came back 4 months later and they had 25% off whole store. The Leo Ideal cut, E, I1, 1.04 ct (halo, 1.33 ct tw, GSI cert) sparkled more than any other diamond in the $10,000 range that I examined from 5 different stores. Salesman recognized me and i got a total of 40% off, free extended service plan. I know no one wants I1 ring if they have a budget of $6-8K, but I found a bargain stone. The diamond 100% eye clean, inclusions around periphery on 40x view, with table 100% clean. Is this ring worth $10K? No! But, if you can find a deal like I did and want to spend under $10K, definitely consider the Leo Ideal Cut. Online vendors are great, but finding an I1 stone that’s eye clean can be very hard but worth the search if you want bang for your buck. good luck shopping!

  29. Justin Dapolito-
    December 1, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    Why was my comment not approved? It was an honest opinion of my purchasing experience. I have ring and receipt to prove. Is this a biased site? I’ll have to spread my opinion about this site all around the web if you are biased and won’t approve an honest comment from someone who found an excellent Leo Ideal Cut diamond ring. I’ll even post 40x mag views. People deserve to know the truth about how to find the best bang for their buck. Not all Leo’s are good or worth the money.

  30. Paul Gian-
    December 2, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Sorry for the late reply. Comments get held for moderation because of the amount of spam we receive on a daily basis. Feel free to share the magnified images here. And just so you know, GSI is not on the same level of reliability as GIA or AGS. And just so you know, a properly graded diamond with E color, I1 clarity that is well cut will only cost less than $3,500. You thought you got a bargain? Nope. On the contrary, I think the jeweler got the bargain.

  31. Dap-
    December 2, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Paul thanks for a response. You seem very knowledgeable. Let me also say that I had my diamond appraised by an independent jeweler and he said the 4Cs from GSI were accurate and he confirmed a symmetric hearts and arrows pattern on my diamond. Look on james allen, you cannot get a similar diamond with hearts and arrows pattern for under $6K. Ideal cut or excellent cut does not guarantee the best proportions or hearts and arrows. yes, maybe there are better deals out there, but i trust my own eyes and do think this I1 diamond looked much better than many SI diamonds I examined.

  32. Paul Gian-
    December 3, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Sure, if you believe that the “independent” appraisal is accurate. Bring the diamond/grading report to any jeweler worth his salt and you will find out that GSI does not equal GIA or AGS. You don’t have to believe what I say too. You can bring the diamond to GIA or AGS lab and get it graded by them to see how the GSI cert holds up.

    Take a photo of the hearts and arrows pattern that you claim is “symmetrical”. Show me both the hearts patterning and arrows patterning to convince me. I’ve NEVER seen them in a crisp form out of the LEO diamonds I had come across and let me tell you I’ve seen quite a number of LEO stones in my lifetime.

    In fact, you can even compare facts and data yourself.

  33. Dap-
    December 5, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    I appreciate your opinions and expertise. I unfortunately don’t have a picture of the H&A pattern of my Leo Ideal Cut, but you’re posts make me want to consider other diamonds. I’ll order a ring from James Allen with similar diamond quality and True Hearts cut and do a comparison with ASET. Will post again and hopefully results will contribute to our discussion.

  34. Lynzi Barrett-
    January 3, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Paul, I read your review on the Leo Diamond because my husband replaced my engagement and eternity ring back in 2016 with a leo set, the middle of 7 diamonds in the eternity ring looked darker but i thought nothing of it. Back last year it looked cracked but, again, at 62, the eye site isnt that great. Then yesterday, i investigated further, the top part of the middle diamond is missing and the rest of the diamond is split in two. I contacted Ernest Jones (i still have the receipt) and they are not interested. I asked how a diamond could break i to 3 pieces with no damage, wondering if, in fact, it was a genuine diamond, again, not interested. I cannot contact Leo Diamonds so decided to google what is thought of the diamond as. Can you tell me if this is ‘the norm’ or should I get the ring independently checked out?
    Thank you, Lynzi UK

  35. Paul Gian-
    January 18, 2023 at 8:52 am

    A diamond can break or chip depending on how you wear it. Most diamonds don’t chip unless excessive force is applied to them or if they have severe clarity issues. They don’t break on their own. You should bring it to the place you got the ring from and get them to check the ring. If it is damage caused by you which I suspect to be the case, there will be telltale signs of damage to the ring setting too.

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