idealscope and demo stonesOne common problem that I always hear from people is: “I am neither a gemologist nor an expert in diamonds. How do I determine whether a diamond is well cut (brilliant) or whether it had been cut to less than acceptable standards?”

This problem is further compounded when diamonds are viewed under strong lighting in a jewelry store. You see, every jewelry store’s lighting system is carefully designed to make their products look amazing and sell better.

Unfortunately, this happens to be one of the most common pitfall that unwary consumers fall into. Under such conditions, even diamonds with the worst cut quality can be made to sparkle. And to the untrained eye, it is very difficult to differentiate between the truly well cut diamonds from the poorly cut ones.

This is the reason why a diamond ring can suddenly lose its sparkle once it leaves the jewelry store. If you intend to buy diamonds from a physical store, I recommend that you purchase an ideal scope and use it to view the stones on-site.

This is the easiest and most portable method for you to critically select or reject diamonds based on its optical performance. Compared to the costs of buying a diamond, the ideal scope is only a tiny investment (~$50) that will help you make objective decisions.

Such a Simple And Wonderful Tool, Yet So Obscure in Stores

While I can’t make a sweeping statement for local stores near your location, NONE of the leading jewelry stores in Singapore have ideal scopes in-house. In fact, the majority of the sales assistants are totally clueless when it comes judging a diamond’s cut (reading a cut grading off a report is what they can do at best).

Most big-name jewelry stores (e.g Zales, Kay, Cartier, etc…) in USA, Australia and Europe don’t provide IdealScope data as well. Likewise, the phenomenon of poorly trained sales staff is very common worldwide. You are very much dependent on yourself to make the most informed and educated decision when comparing diamonds.

gia triple excellent - good and bad

Both Diamonds Have GIA Triple Excellent Ratings – Shop Without an Idealscope at Your Own Risk
Images Courtesy of Whiteflash.com

Under the Idealscope, the characteristics of the diamond’s cut will become clear and objective. Not surprisingly, most jewelers do not have this tool available for their clients even if they know what it is. Why? The truth is, once you view their inventory under the Idealscope, you would most probably not want to make a purchase.

Did you know that most diamonds in the market today aren’t cut for optimal light return? Instead, they are cut to retain weight at the expense of optics so that jewelers can sell the stones for more and maximize their profits.

You Won’t Need to Buy An Idealscope If You Shop Online

Online vendors like WhiteFlash, James Allen and Brian Gavin have the capability to capture idealscope images with a professional setup. All you need to do is to put in a request and you can expect to receive the information in a few business days.

Get an Idealscope Image And Make Comparisons Here

idealscope chart reference for light return and symmetryimpact of facet proportions on light return and visual appearance

Reference chart is used with permission from IdealScope.com

On the next page, I will show you real-live examples of 2 round diamonds that look similar on first glance. However, once you use tangible data obtained from the Idealscope, the differences will soon reveal themselves.


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22 Comments

  1. Jeremy-
    December 22, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Awesome information! I’m still trying to figure out how to read ideal scope images and corresponding them to what our eyes see in real life.

    How does the HCA fit in here and what is a good HCA score to aim for?

    Do you have videos that depict different diamonds from the various categories in the reference chart?

  2. Paul Gian-
    December 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

    The HCA tool is only a predictor and used to narrow down your options. For selection purposes, the ASET or Idealscope image will tell you much more about the diamond’s light performance.

  3. Oliver-
    April 1, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Where can I get one of these? Is an ideal scope the same as a hearts and arrows viewer? That’s all I can seem to find online when I look for idealscope under shopping.

  4. Paul Gian-
    April 2, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    The idealscope is not the same as a H&A viewer. They are used for totally different purposes. To buy an idealscope, you can get in touch with Diane (diane@datlas.com for US) and Arthur (arthur@ideal-scope.com for Non-USA)

    The thing is, you don’t need to spend money buying a scope. There are many reputable vendors who have professional setups where they offer idealscope images readily in their listings. You can find these vendors here: https://beyond4cs.com/best-place-to-buy-engagement-ring/

  5. Alia-
    December 20, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Hi, Is the IdealScope and the Hearts On Fire Purple Proportion scope the same?

  6. Paul Gian-
    December 21, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    It’s different.

  7. Cat NK-
    January 2, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for creating a useful website! I’m going to purchase a diamond ring and I already found some loose diamonds.

    I have two options. Could you please take a look and give me advice?

    1 . https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.80-carat-d-color-vs2-clarity-very-good-cut-sku-1891525

    2. https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.72-carat-d-color-vs1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-2278576

    Thanks in advance!

    Cat

  8. Paul Gian-
    January 3, 2017 at 6:52 am
  9. Matt-
    May 3, 2017 at 4:11 am

    Hi Paul,

    Wonderful website. I am trying to purchase a relatively large diamond (>2 carat) with a budget ~$18,000-20,000 for the stone. Do either of these look reasonable–I’m having difficulty telling when you think the cut is sufficient so thought I would ask? Also-do you think I need to purchase higher than “I” for such a large diamond (would be in a white gold or platinum setting)?

    https://www.bluenile.com/build-your-own-ring/diamond-details/LD08490413

    https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD08379299

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    -Matt

  10. Catherine N-
    May 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Paul ,
    Just checking about which scope do you recommend .
    Beginners scope or expert scope on ideal scope website ?
    Do you recommend an ideal light ?
    Catherine N

  11. Paul Gian-
    May 3, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    The beginner scope is absolutely fine. If you are buying a loose diamond, the ideal light will be useful. Otherwise, just the scope will do for mounted rings.

  12. Carolina-
    May 15, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Paul. Is it possible to view the cut of the diamond with the ideal scope if the diamonds have been mounted on the band? I am looking to purchase this wedding band with diamonds, which Jared has promised “ideal cut,” G color or better with VS1 clarity: http://www.jared.com/en/jaredstore/r6-rings-101524–1/diamond-anniversary-band-2-ct-tw-round-ideal-cut-18k-white-gold-532171408

    I want to use the ideal scope to make sure the diamonds are as promised, but wasn’t sure if I could get a good read on the diamonds once they have been mounted.

  13. Paul Gian-
    May 16, 2017 at 1:48 am

    If you expect to see the diamonds returning ideal light performance in that ring, you will be in for a huge disappointment.

  14. Darryl Williams-
    August 10, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Hey Paul – I am thinking about purchasing the GIA #7172509777 – The Jeweler is charging me about $4100-4200 – is that about right?

  15. Darryl Williams-
    August 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Keep in mind – I am also getting a custom band made (he said it would be around $900 for custom band done with auto-CAD) and total was going to be around $5K and he is offering no sales tax and a small discount of $300 off – so total I am paying $4300 for the diamond and custom band – is that a good deal?

  16. Paul Gian-
    August 11, 2017 at 2:58 am

    The proportions on the diamond is mediocre at best due to the excessively high crown angles. If you to do price comparisons, read this: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/

    Seems like you are veering off course and if you want to make a purchase that compromises on cut quality, I hope you understand this affects the overall sparkle and how lively the diamond will look.

  17. Dani-
    September 25, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Paul.

    Thanks for all of your brilliance. I wanted to check what do you think of this diamond? my concerns are crack-in the inclusions, no grading on cut. Would this stone be waste of money? It’s priced $10,500. Thanks a million.

    https://www.gia.edu/sites/Satellite?reportno=2181034813

  18. Paul Gian-
    September 26, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    You cannot make an educated purchase based only on a GIA report alone. Get the scope images and I can tell you more.

  19. Brandon-
    March 18, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Paul, I have been studying and evaluating the information in your post and have found it to be quite helpful in aiding me select the best diamond. I think that I may have made a mistake though and wanted to ask your expert opinion on the measurements. While I know your information serves as a “guide”, I tried to stay within the parameters. The depth of y diamond is more than you outlined, and I want to see if you think I should keep or seek for a better diamond. The fire on this diamond is great and under the ideal scope, it is very clear with defined hearts and arrows, I have a 0.90 carat diamond (F- VS1)… Cut=Very Good; Polish=Excellent; Symmetry=Excellent. Shape=round.

    Measurements: 6.13-6.16 x 3.91mm
    Table: 52%
    Depth%: 63.6% (deeper than I would want)
    Crown Angle: 35.0°
    Pavilion Angle: 41.0°
    Lower Girdles: 80%
    Star Facets: 50%
    Girdle Thickness: Medium to Slightly Thick (Faceted) 4%
    Fluorescence: None
    Cutlet: None

  20. Paul Gian-
    March 18, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Well, I can tell you outright that this is NOT a well cut diamond. It’s a big mistake to buy a deeply cut diamond as it affects face up size and brilliance. If you are still within a refund period, do a return and start fresh.

  21. robby-
    March 26, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Hi Paul,

    First of all, thank you for creating this site. It has been very helpful and informative.

    I found a site called picescope.com and used their HCA score calculator. Are you familiar with this site? Do you know if the score they give is quite accurate?

    Also I was looking at this two options for diamonds from James Allen. Could you please look at them and give me your honest opinion? Thanks in advance.

    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.05-carat-i-color-vs1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-4356459

    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.00-carat-h-color-vvs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-3498906

    Robby

  22. Paul Gian-
    March 27, 2018 at 7:15 am

    The HCA tool is an outdated tool which causes more confusion than help in the modern day. I suggest you completely ignore whatever results the tool spits out given the kind of other tangible data available from vendors today.

    https://beyond4cs.com/2012/09/is-the-hca-score-always-reliable/

    Both diamonds are decently cut but not good enough for me to personally buy them. On top of that, one of them is an IGI graded diamond which makes reliable ratings an uncertainty. Ditch both of them. I would recommend this instead:

    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.01-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-true-hearts-cut-sku-4407583

    This stone is much better cut and is eyeclean. It has better sparkle than the 2 you chose.

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