Does branding equate to excellence and a higher quality product?
Almost every big name jewelry retailer boosts their own line of “signature diamonds” where each stone is supposedly cut for the best sparkle and brilliance. Very often, these signature diamonds come with a hefty price premium because you are allegedly paying more for “better quality”.
Sad to say, most of these claims are mere marketing gimmicks. The truth is that very few brands in the world can consistently achieve such precise standards – on every diamond every time.
Now, one of my favorite pastimes is to walk into jewelry stores to take a peek at their offerings. And whenever I am being pitched with a store’s signature collection and how much better they are than other generic GIA/AGS graded diamonds, I instantly turn into a skeptic.
Unlike other unsuspecting consumers who simply accept the marketing fluff fed to them by a salesperson, I will start asking questions and ask for proof.
So, what really makes a line of signature diamonds stand out and justifiable for its premium pricing? How do you tell if a diamond really performs to what the marketing hype says it does?
In this write up, I’m going to show you the things you should look out for when dealing with premium cuts and how to separate the wheat from the chaff. You will also find out how to cut through the marketing BS that jewelers will say just to profit off your naivety.
Brian Gavin is a vendor that deals with super ideal diamonds and offers some of the best-cut diamonds in the industry. They are able to achieve this due to the stringent cutting parameters and selection process for their signature diamonds.
In each listing, Brian Gavin also provides in-depth technical details and information to show you exactly what you will be getting. For more details, click this link to browse through their signature diamonds.
Let’s do an analysis for a random 1 carat stone within their signature collection to see if their claim for a “signature series” is really top of the line. For this example, I had chosen an F color VS2 diamond (specifications that will offer great value for quality).
A common misconception amongst shoppers is that they need to buy a diamond of the best quality (D color VVS1/IF diamond) in order for it to be beautiful. That’s not true. A well cut K color SI2 diamond will look better than a poorly cut D color IF stone anytime.
A great thing I love about Brian Gavin is that they offer indepth data like videos and ASET/Idealscope images for their top-of-the-line diamonds. This means you can actually see exactly how the diamond looks like and will perform.
In order to determine a round diamond’s optical performance, data like Idealscope/ASET images are required. These can also be found on their listing page for your perusal. Also, with the cutting proportions/angles, we can quickly simulate the diamond’s performance with the HCA tool.
A calculation on the Holloway Cut Advisor shows a value of 1.5 – a very good score!
The ASET and IdealScope images shown below also indicate a diamond with optimum fire and brilliance.
The point to take back here is that when most jewelers claim their diamonds to be super ideal or super super ideal, you should take it with a pinch of salt. What you need to do is to be rational and objective in your diamond selection process.
Any such claims of a stone to be ‘super’ ideal must be backed up with relevant information using optical performance tools and scientific data. Instead of blindly relying on a jeweler’s claims, you should request the technical information from them and make your own analysis to determine the diamond’s cut.
If any particular vendor refuses to show you these required images, walk away because they have something to hide. From experience, they are banking on you to be unknowledgeable about cut quality so that they can take advantage of you.
Talk is cheap. Deal with someone who is willing to use real information to backup their claims instead. If the vendor doesn’t provide you with these images or comes up with all kinds of excuses that they don’t have a viewer, it’s just a clear sign for you to head to the door.
The ugly truth is, once they show you the stone under the scope, you would probably change your mind about purchasing the stone. These are how the majority of diamonds in the market look like under the ASET scope:
Likewise, any stores that claim they sell hearts and arrows diamonds MUST provide you with the evidence to back up their claims. The most common way of determining this is to view the diamond under a H&A scope.
If you are working with online vendors, photographs taken with a Hearts and Arrows viewer will enable you to inspect details with ease. Here, the details do matter and a sloppy looking hearts and arrows patterning with inconsistencies is a tell tale sign of poor cut precision.
Crisp & perfect hearts patterning & a hearts and arrows viewing scope.
Here are the critical stuff about H&A diamonds which you need to pay attention to. Many times, the hearts and arrows patterning are of sub-par standards and are passed off as ideal because consumers don’t know how to detect the subtle nuances.
Click this link to learn more about the 11 guidelines for optical symmetry in a hearts and arrows diamond.
Clearly, I am using Brian Gavin as a good benchmark in this study. Whether you are buying online or shopping for a diamond in a physical store, these are things you need to look out for. If someone claims to sell you an ideal hearts and arrows diamond, you should subject the stone to the same scrutiny as I did above.
On the next page, I am going to show you a free (and easy to use) tool that helps you reject poorly proportioned stones simply by inputting numbers from a grading report…