In the world of round diamonds, a stone that scores an excellent rating in all three aspects of polish, symmetry and cut (3 ex) is often considered to be the pinnacle of well-cut diamonds. In fact, consumers with a better awareness of cut tend to buy diamonds specifically within the triple excellent standards.
It’s no coincidence that jewelers make use of the GIA triple excellent “branding” to market their inventory and charge a higher premium for such diamonds. However, one common misconception consumers have is that as long as they buy a GIA triple excellent diamond, they will be getting the most brilliant and most well-cut diamond.
What If I Tell You That Statement is Wrong?
The truth is, most jewelers and sales staff mislead consumers during a pitch just to close a sale. Diamonds are NOT created equal. A diamond with 3 excellent ratings in a GIA lab report doesn’t necessarily mean that it has the best possible optical performance nor does it mean that it is the best looking diamond.
Here’s an analogy I’ll use to explain this in a simplistic manner. In a school exam, students who attain a score of 75/100 or more would receive a distinction “A” grade. Herein also lies the problem of segregating the best performing students based on grades.
If student Y scores 78 points and student Z scores 99 points, both of them fall into the same “A” grade. However, if I were to pick the better student based on the merit of score, student Z is hands down the better choice. In the same way, two diamonds with triple excellent grades can have huge differences once you start looking into details.
Now, I want to go on record to say that if you blindly buy a GIA triple excellent diamond, you definitely won’t get an “ugly” looking stone. This is because each diamond has to pass through a visual inspection for fire, brilliance and scintillation during the GIA grading process.
Instead, it now becomes a matter of how precise the diamond is cut and the degree of light performance the diamond has. In this regard, a lab report by itself will not tell you anything meaningful when you make comparisons between 3Ex diamonds.
– Did the diamond barely made it to an excellent cut grade?
– Was the diamond cut so well that it sits on the zenith of the excellent grade?
Let’s get to the meat of the content now. I’m going in-depth to explain why the above examples fail to meet the cut (pun intended). For your reference, you can click the links below to access the lab reports and view HD videos of the diamonds.
Well-cut diamonds look bright because the facets position themselves to handle and return light to the viewer’s eye. So, what’s the issue with the first stone that caused me to reject it?
Let’s take a closer look at the proportions diagram from the lab report…
When choosing a round brilliant cut diamond, you need to place emphasis on the angles and proportions as they play a huge role in determining optical performance. Steep pavilion angles (> 41.0°) will usually cause light leakage beneath the table facet. To illustrate this, look at the idealscope image of the diamond below…
Here’s a quick explanation for readers who are new and aren’t familiar with the idealscope. In a nutshell, an idealscope is a simple and portable tool that anyone can use to analyze a diamond’s light performance. The red areas represent light return while the white areas indicate light leakage which is undesirable.
You can click this link for more information about using the Idealscope if you are interested.
Unlike the first example, the second diamond is cut deeper and has a depth percentage of 63.0%. This immediately raises a red flag whenever I am reviewing diamonds. Why? Having a diamond that is cut too deeply will mean that you get a smaller looking stone since its weight is hidden in the profile view.
If you do a comparison of the physical dimensions between the 1st and 2nd stone, you will notice that the diameter of stone #1 is slightly bigger than stone #2 even though it is lighter.
Also, deeper cut diamonds tend to exhibit light leakage under the table as indicated by the diagram below. We can verify this phenomenon in the Idealscope image below too…
Influence of cut on light reflection and refraction
Let’s take a closer look at the third diamond in its face up view. Note that this GIA diamond had been assigned the highest rating (excellent) in its symmetry grade.
Wait!!?? What!!? How can a diamond with an excellent symmetry grade look like this? It doesn’t even show a symmetrical patterning at all! Even for a layman, it’s obvious there is an uneven contrast patterning across the diamond. Why is this so?
The truth is, GIA grades diamonds in controlled environments and lighting conditions under 10X magnification. In the lab, the grades in which a diamond can be assigned will have a range of tolerances. This means even if a diamond achieves the highest grade of excellent, it doesn’t mean it is “perfect”.
In reality, a diamond with an excellent symmetry rating can still have slightly misshapen facets or misaligned facet junctions. When these minor deviations add up, it can result in a slightly wonky appearance as seen below.
Compared to the earlier diamonds, this idealscope image shows only a little light leakage. However, the unpleasant scintillation pattern this diamond displays makes it a poor choice. This is a classic example of a diamond that barely makes it into the triple excellent ratings and also shows you why buying blind is a bad idea.
To most people, buying a diamond involves significant financial and emotional investments. I’m pretty sure everyone wants to get the most sparkly and beautiful diamond for their budget. As a benchmark for you to do comparisons, the following diamond is an example of a truly well-cut diamond.
– 0.50 Carat G Color VS1 Round Brilliant
Did you know that the information found in this write up is actually stuff that most jewelers would never share with you for a couple of reasons?
One, most jewelers don’t have a good understanding of cut mechanics themselves. How would you expect them to properly advise you when they can’t even comprehend these things themselves? Don’t be surprised by the amount of jewelers and sales people who have poor knowledge of cut despite being in the trade for years.
Two, truly well cut diamonds are rare. Even if the occasional jeweler has indepth knowledge about cut, most would NEVER tell you about the true performance of their diamonds. Why? The more you begin to understand cut, the more their inventory would appear inept and inferior.
Most jewelers are in the business of making money even if it is done at the expense of the consumer. It won’t make sense for jewelers to place themselves in your perspective and risk losing a sale by over-educating you.
Congratulations for making it this far! Reading this article will gain you crucial insights that the majority of other consumers don’t have. In time to come, you will thank me for this knowledge when you experience diamond shopping for yourself. : )
Lastly, you probably know I don’t regurgitate the generic stuff everyone else is telling you about the 4Cs. I encourage you to spend another 15 minutes of your time to read through this step by step guide about choosing diamonds. I guarantee that it will make you a smarter and better shopper.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts after reading this article.
I had heard “experts” and also sales people dishing out advice to along the line of: “You have to see the diamond in person and determine the cut” and “You have to view the stone physically to know what you are getting.”
This is probably another point that you might had missed.
To some extent, that is true only if you are comparing brick and mortar stores to online vendors like Bluenile where you buy blind and nothing more than a certificate is provided.
So, here’s one very important question I would use in response. Even if you are buying in person, do you know what are you suppose to look out for?
For the general consumer and laymen It isn’t that easy to tell apart a “Very Good” cut diamond from an “Excellent” cut. This is especially true when you are in jewelry stores. Did you know that the lighting in the stores are specially designed to make both poorly cut and well proportioned diamonds to come alive?
Under misleading lighting sources, it becomes easy to make a really bad decision. In fact, I had seen it countless number of times where consumers find that the sparkles and brightness of the ring significantly diminishes once they are out of store lighting.
Why? Because they bought a diamond that isn’t cut to ideal proportions and it immediately becomes obvious once they go out of the store and into fluorescent lighting environments.
Next, view the video below of an online diamond listing with this link.
Here’s a great reason why buying online is so much better than shopping in brick and mortar stores. There’s no way the majority of consumers could see diamonds in such great details inside a jewelry store with glaring lights and a simple 10X loupe. Heck, most jewelry you see would probably be mounted and could have flaws that are hidden inside the mounting.
I am in the market to purchase now, and can buy a very good cut diamond rated by GIA or DIA. Is it a “good enough” diamond or should I rather ask that they give me a 3 excellent cut diamond?
DIA isn’t reputable lab. Stick with GIA graded diamonds instead.
A “Very Good” cut isn’t good enough! For a round diamond, I recommend only Excellent cut ratings. Even then, you need to be very picky and apply more layers of filter.
If you need more help, feel free to reach out to me via email.
Might you help and briefly tell me what you think about this xxx diamond?
I saw similar stones in the brick and mortar shops and they seemed to have more sparkles. Ordering now this one online I am not sure if there is a problem with the cut or if it is simply the light at home (when using very bright and clear light the stone looks great). Thanks you for your advice!
The proportions look OK. Do you have an image or a direct link to the listing? Feel free to email me in private and I can take a deeper look into it for you.
Thanks for the awesome website, I bought an xxx cut diamond and got worried after having the ring for a couple of days. So, I started to do more research and the more information I found, the more I realize I probably didn’t make a great purchase. The diamond I bought has a crown angle of 36.0 and a pavilion angle of 41.4 degrees. After reading through the examples here, I think there’s light leakage in my GIA Ex Ex Ex diamond. What should I do now?
It sounds like a poorly proportioned diamond which is at the fringes of the 3 Ex grades. The steep crown and pavilion angles don’t bode well and I suspect that the brilliance of the diamonds won’t be as good as other triple Ex stones.
I learnt a lot of knowledge about diamonds from your website. Thank you very much for your help and efforts! What about AGS or EGL ideal cut diamonds? How does the GIA 3ex cut compare? Do those grading labs have such huge variations in cut quality as well?
For AGS triple ideals, the variation is lesser but you would be able to find those that don’t perform that well too. You probably want to read this url for more information if you are interested to find out more. The gia excellent cut vs ideal cut from AGS largely differs in the way they are graded in the lab. AGS uses ray tracing and requires tighter proportion ranges while GIA uses proportion and human-based observation to make the call.
For EGL, stay away from the laboratory. Their grading standards are questionable and they recently got into legal issues with consumers suing them for “misrepresenting” the gradings.
Hello, can you give me your opinion on this diamond:
Measurements 7.56 – 7.63 x 4.57 mm
Carat Weight 1.61 carat
Color Grade G
Clarity Grade SI1
Cut Grade Very Good
Depth 60.2 %
Table 57 %
Crown Angle 34.5°
Crown Height 15.0%
Pavilion Angle 40.2°
Pavilion Depth 42.5%
Star Length 45%
Lower Half 75%
Girdle Thin to Medium, Faceted, 3.0%
I already purchased this diamond but now I cant get over the fact that it’s a Very Good cut. The jeweler told me that it almost made it into the excellent cut category but since it was graded in 2005 they were a lot more strict. HCA score is 1.
The diamond has poor proportions because of its shallow pavilion angles. I can tell you for sure that the diamond will exhibit light leakage and have sub-par optical performance based on its proportions alone.
The HCA score of 1 is meaningless and not meant to be used in such a manner. It is a rejection tool and not a selection tool.
Paul what is your opinion on fluorescence. Many jewelers consider this an imperfection. My personal opinion is that i find that quite fascinating and beautiful that it reflects UV light in various colors.
Also would you recommend other online stores like blue nile or ritani for buying a triple x diamond?
I’m a fan of fluorescence and intrigued by the properties it has in a diamond.
This webpage should offer comprehensive information on this topic: https://beyond4cs.com/grading/fluorescence/
Both Ritani and Blue Nile have a big selection of triple x diamonds and you will need to be smart about sieving through the mediocre stones to find something great.
For a list of recommended stores, read this: https://beyond4cs.com/best-place-to-buy-engagement-ring/
A lot of good information here for people with no knowledge. However, I didn’t agree with your opinion that sales reps and jewelers are out to deceive people. I do not know what stores you have worked at or dealt with, but any good jewelry store will have Gemoligist on site and at the very minimum people that are certified with some type of diamond organization. If the store where you shop at doesn’t have staff with these qualifications I would get out soon. You are right about the GIA’s system for grading cut, the gia xxx rating is not the most thorough.
What would the price difference between 3 x excellent and a 3 x fair/poor cut diamond (GIA/HRD)?
Depends on a whole lot of factors. Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/
I am in the market for an engagement ring and I am doing some preliminary research about diamonds. I am looking for a 2.00+ carat diamond, 3x, F/G/H, VS2/SI1/SI2.
What would be the perfect proportions for a 2.00+ carat diamond that would make the diamond have ideal optical brilliance?
Use this as a guide: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/round/ideal-proportions/
I suggest that you follow my step by step guide because numbers are only a prerequisite and aren’t enough to make selections.
I found a GIA certified xxx cut diamond from the website located in NY. The price is lower compared to other similar stone. The store said if buy it, they can guarantee the authenticity but it is final sale, they don’t offer return policy due to the stone does not have photo/image/data available. I asked why didn’t it have photo/image and the rep said may be the supplier does not have the tool to take pictures or something…It will be tough for them to resale. Does that make sense to you? Is it risky to buy that stone? Is photo/image/photo important or as long as GIA graded then we are good? I need your educated advice. Thanks
You need to read this:
There is no lack of jewelers who can offer you indepth details of the diamonds they sell. So, the important question is, why would you choose to settle with this jeweler when there are better options out there?
Even if a diamond is graded by GIA as a triple excellent cut, the range of cut quality and light performance is too broad. That’s the main problem with the current GIA grading system.
Here’s a list of vendors that do offer additional details on their listings. I recommend checking them out: https://beyond4cs.com/best-place-to-buy-engagement-ring/
Hi Paul. What is your opinion?
round 1.7 c
7.80-7.84 x 4.59
I color IF cl
gia triple x
D – 58.6%
T – 61%
CA – 33%
CH – 12.5%
PA – 40.8%
PD – 43%
SL – 50%
LH – 75%
G – thin to medium (faceted) 3%
C – none
Thank you for sending your book and for your website!
Proportions don’t look very promising. The best way to verify light performance is through the use of the ASET scope.
Just read your article and it definitely sounds a lot more complex than I had originally anticipated. I have a close family friend that is looking for diamonds and came upon this as his recommendation:
Measurements: 7.30 – 7.33 x 4.60 mm
Carat Weight: 1.52 carat
Color Grade: H
Clarity Grade: VS2
Cut Grade: Excellent
Depth 62.8 %
Table 56 %
Crown Angle 36°
Crown Height 16.0%
Pavilion Angle 41.0°
Pavilion Depth 43.5%
Star Length 43.5%
Lower Half 75%
Girdle Slightly Thick, Faceted, 3.5%
I’d be curious to get your thoughts on this GIA xxx cut diamond. Thanks for all your insight and help!
Sorry, the Girdle for the above is actually Medium-Slightly Thick (faceted) 3.5%
Mediocre diamond. The crown angles are too high and the depth is a little steep as well.
I need your advice! Have you heard of Ashoka cut? It’s a patented cut which everyone says it’s rare and therefore sometimes you wouldn’t ask too much on Clarity when you can find/ afford one! The one I am looking at is 0.9ct centre stone, E color, cut grade is Excellent polish, Very good symmetry, and it sits in a well-known brand. The ring comes up with 0.55 ct halo and platinum shank. Price is 15k. For the weight of the centre stone, it does look like twice as big as it actually is, perhaps due to the method of cut and halo. But still 15k is A LOT of money. My bf and I wonder whether it’s worthwhile to push the budget for it. Thank you!
15k is beyond Tiffany prices and is extremely ludicrous. The Ashoka cut is nothing special and in my opinion, not the best cut diamonds for light performance.
Hello, recently I purchased a diamond of gia with triple x
Carat wt. 33 I vs1
Depth – 61.3%
Table – 59%
CA – 33.5
CH – 13.5%
PA – 41.4
PD – 44.0%
STAR LENGTH – 50%
Lower half- 80%
Girdle – medium to slightly thick, faceted, 4.0%
Plz help me is it brilliant diamond or not.
Not able to tell you much except that the proportions are mediocre. Without even looking into the next level of details, this diamond would never get recommended by me in good faith.
Hi Paul. Have you heard of the Solasfera diamonds? Can you share your thoughts on it? Thank you!
Hi Paul. This website is awesome.
I am interested in one of these options with ex ex ex diamond cut. Whats your opinion?
Measurements: 4.11 – 4.15 x 2.49 mm
Carat Weight: 0.25 carat
Color Grade: E
Clarity Grade: VS2
Cut Grade: Excellent
Crown Angle 33.7°
Pavilion Angle 41°
Girdle Thickness Thin – Medium
Culet Size None
Measurements: 4.10 – 4.13 x 2.53 mm
Carat Weight: 0.26 carat
Color Grade: E
Clarity Grade: VS2
Cut Grade: Excellent
Crown Angle 35.5°
Pavilion Angle 40.6°
Girdle Thickness Medium – Slightly thick
Culet Size None
Nothing much I can tell you except that those proportions don’t look appealing.
Am currently looking at purchasing a diamond with these proportions, what do you think about it? HCA score is 1 with excellent in all 4 categories.
5.52 – 5.54 x 3.31 mm
Thin to Medium, Faceted, 3.0%
Proportions on paper look fine. However, that says nothing about the diamond’s appearance or light performance without further details.
Good day mate,
doing my research on diamonds and came through your website, really helpful. please let me know what you think of the diamond details bellow:
Diamond ShapeRound Carat1.02 ct.
If you could suggest me what numbers i should be looking at according to the table above would be appreciated.
You can check it against the table here: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/round/ideal-proportions/
Wow very good site, but unfortunately I was late to find it! Just purchased a ring yesterday and now based on what the article is saying I am not as confident in it anymore.
Can you give an opinion on this diamond?
l/w ratio: 1.01
depth %: 62.90
table %: 56.00
crown ∠: 35.00
crown %: 15.50
pavilion ∠: 41.40
pavilion %: 44.00
Cheers and thank you Paul,
I’m sorry to say this but you bought a mediocre diamond. The extremely high pavilion angle is guaranteed to have excess light leakage in the diamond.
Thanks Paul for your comment !
Any opinions on this diamond ? Relative to the other one I posted above?
polish: Very Good
l/w/d (mm): 5.73*5.75*3.53
l/w ratio: 1.00
depth %: 61.50
table %: 55.00
crown ∠: 33.00
crown %: 14.50
pavilion ∠: 41.00
pavilion %: 43.50
Cheers thank you,
What are your thoughts on the following proportions for an ex ex ex diamond cut?
Depth: 62.6 %
Table: 56 %
Crown Angle: 36.0°
Pavilion Angle: 40.6°
Girdle: Medium, Faceted
Proportions look slightly better but don’t tell the complete story.
Poor. Crown angles and depth too high.
Please advise me on my diamond studs which one I should buy ( No A or no B ) The 4 diamond are GIA
A = VS2 G colour Size 0.50 depth 60.3% table 57% crown angle 32% pavilion 41.0
A= size 0.51 depth 62.7 table 57% crown angle 35.0 pavilion 42.2
B= VS2 F colour size 0.50 depth 61.3 table 59 crown angle 33.0 pavilion 41.2
B= size 0.50 depth 62.3 table 58 crown angle 35.5 pavilion 41.0
None. Diamonds are exhibit mediocre proportions to begin with. Read this as well: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
oh really, thanks for your reply. Now I am really comfused that how will I know how to buy the diamond what I should look for the proportion on this size 0.50 round cut diamond. Please could you help me ?
Can you take a look at the diamond below for me?
BIG fan of strong fluoro esp given the J color. Seems like a GREAT value as it is just below 1.5 and should face up exceptionally white and bright given the BG cut.
Any opinion on the exact proportions of the cut? Looking for the most fire and sintilation and thought the slightly smaller table would help with this. Thanks!
(reserved it and need to finalize asap!)
Amazing website and information!
I am currently looking at this diamond for $9,000 Canadian dollars. Can someone please help me determine if this is a good buy. Appreciate any advice!
Report for NGLC
Report Number: 55515701
Carat Weight: 1.29
Date of Issue: 2015-09-21
Shape and Style: ROUND BRILLIANT
Clarity Grade: SI2
Color Grade: D
Cut Grade: IDEAL
Polish: VERY GOOD
Symmetry: VERY GOOD
Measurements: 6.86 X 6.82 X 4.33
Crown Height: 14%
Crown Angle: 34°
Pavilion Depth: 44%
Girdle: SLIGHTLY THICK To:
Girdle Condition: FACETED
Hearts and Arrows: NO
Nope. You are asking to get ripped off by buying a diamond without a reliable grading report from GIA or AGS.
Paul, thank you very much for the response, I will stick to GIA reports and 3 excellent diamonds.
Does the crown angle appear too shallow on this round brilliant, given the other proportions?
Crown angle 33.5
Pav angle 40.8
Slightly thick faceted
GIA Triple-ex with med fluorescence
A 33.5 degrees crown angle is still acceptable. Get an idealscope or ASET to reveal more details about light performance.
Can you advise on the below with your expertise:
GIA report # 7213537285
7.71-7.76 x 4.86mm
Crown angle 36.5
Pav angle 40.6
Medium faceted 3.5
GIA Triple-ex with none fluorescence/cutlet
Poorly cut diamond with extremely high crown angles.
This link may get removed (http://ideal-scope.com/online-holloway-cut-adviser/) but if it does, google ‘Online Halloway Cut Advisor’ and it should come up. The site allows you to enter a diamond’s proportions and gives you some information on “Light Return”, “Fire”, “Scintillation” and “Spread”.
This is not an advertisement! Paul Gian gives amazing advise and I really appreciate him for sharing. I found much of this information in various locations and through trial and error so when reading his pages, I see how much I’ve learned.
Don’t get caret-shock. A local jeweler told me ‘when it comes to diamonds, size matters’. I was immediately disturbed; they tried pushing a 1.6 caret, excellent cut, SI2, L-color (GIA #1203328065) [https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=1203328065]. It was a very well cut diamond (I viewed through various scopes) but the L-color was too much for me (think for rounds, BlueNile sells up to J color, and JamesAllen up to K). The L was obviously yellow and even in a yellow-gold setting, it’s just a lower value stone (Local jeweler selling for $6,025). Beautifully cut, full hearts-and-arrows but too yellow for my tastes.
In summary, start with cut and work your way up (in price) to what you’re comfortable with. My well-cut stone is < 1 caret but will outshine (literally) many 1+ caret stones because often times, buyers go for a large caret stone over a smaller amazingly cut one.
im looking to get this diamond for under 3000.
its .86 J VS1, 3 EX , pavilion angle 40.6, deprh 62%, medium faceted 3.5.
GIA certified. Ideal Cut
off the bat, would it be worth it on a budget?
Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
Great website. I am looking at a 3 excellent diamond with the following pertinent specs:
Crown Angle: 34.0
Pavilion Angle: 40.6
Girdle: Medium (3.5%)
The HCA tool grades it at 1.0. My question is, the table (59%) and the depth (60%) are outside the “ideal proportions.” Do these numbers look promising? I’ve requested ASET/Idealscope images and will see what I get but would like to know if the numbers are okay to start with.
Proportions aren’t fantastic. Get the scope images. The diamond could be great or could be a dud.
hi paul, can I get your take on both these diamonds:
1) .80, I, VS2
2) .85, J,VS1
both are eye clean, excellent, ideal cut but does color truly matter between the I and J if the price of the J is more affordable?
First stone is terrible. Second stone is mediocre.
None of which I would buy when they fail the preliminary stages of filtering diamonds by proportions.
thanks for the previous reply, helps alot.
so i read alot of your articles/links. if i want to keep a budget, what do i look for other than GIA specs and cut quality, is idealscope pattern/hearts n arrows view the best way to determine ‘the’ diamond to invest in? where can i safely sacrifice in C’s when comparing diamonds? If Cut is important proportionately and how the light is distributed and held evenly and Clarity is eye clean or better and so on, what do You look at overall to say ‘that IS’ a good diamond?
Diamonds are bad investment vehicles. If you buy diamonds with the mindset to invest, you are throwing your money away. Buy the stocks of the mining companies or use your money elsewhere.
You can find answers to your other questions by doing a simple search on the search bar as well as in the header menus.
Heading to Antwerp and was wondering if you know anything about Ajediam Diamond dealers, Antwerp, Belgium? Or if you could recommend any one in Antwerp to purchase from. We have set up an appointment to go and look and maybe buy a loose diamond. Also in your opinion is a brilliant round diamond better than a princess cut diamond? Thanks Paul, Cheers Sue
Hi Paul, I’ve been looking at Diamonds and the best I could find to come close to the best proportions is…..
Table – 57%
Depth – 62.4%
Crown Angle – 36
Pavilion Angle – 41
I wish that crown angle was 35.
But with my budget this is the closest I’ve been able to find.
How much damage will that crown angle do?
I know it wont be an ideal reflection but does it at least come close?
Depends on a case by case basis. You’ll just have to be realistic about what your budget can get you. Compromise on the other Cs like clarity or color BUT never on CUT.
Your amazing with your honesty and knowledge .
I just got engaged so exciting my ring is pretty most times depending on the light and where I’m located which makes me sad .Its a 1.20 round brilliant cut i.G.i certified from Jareds its
6.67 -6.80x 4.28 mm color F clarity is Si2 cut very good ,polish symmetry good/good .My problem is when I look at it I see all the imperfections and it looks white in color .2 other jewelers said it has fluorescent in it. He paid 9k for the diamond alone and when I took it back they said I could only exchange it for one of a similar sz and shape and price but no refund .But now im scared that I’ll get a worse diamond from them . Any advise please and thank you have a blessed day .
Exchange it and start over. This time with the guide here: https://beyond4cs.com/step-by-step-guide/
Hi there, excellent website and tons of good information. I’m deciding between the 2 diamonds, what are your thoughts? Diamond A is about 2k CAD more than diamond B. Both are GIA Certified. Which diamond would you go for?
Cut – Very good
Polish – Excellent
Symmetry – Excellent
Fluorescence – Faint
Slightly thick faceted 3.5%
Star length – 50%
Table size – 59%
Total depth – 59.8%
Crown height – 13.0%
Pavilion depth – 43.0%
Crown angle – 32.5 degrees
Pavilion angle – 40.8 degrees
Lower girdle facet length – 80%
Culet size – none
Cut – Excellent
Polish – Excellent
Symmetry – Very Good
Fluorescence – None
Slightly thick faceted 4.0%
Star length – 50%
Table size – 62%
Total depth – 61.1%
Crown height – 12.5%
Pavilion depth – 44.5%
Crown angle – 33 degrees
Pavilion angle – 41.6 degrees
Lower girdle facet length – 75%
Culet size – none
Thanks for your help, much appreciated. Keep up the good work!
Neither. Both are terrible diamonds.
Thanks Paul. That’s disappointing. With a 12k CAD budget, what do you suggest?
Check these out:
What do you think of this diamond? And can you recommend a diamond closer to 1.5 cts?
Would this diamond be acceptable?
It’s a good stone. For something closer to 1.5 carats, these would be great choices:
Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
Great site! Was hoping you can share your thoughts on this stone I’m considering. thanks in advance
Direct link to GIA cert:
Shape: Round Brilliant
Measurements: 7.32-7.34 x 4.55
Weight: 1.51 ct
Cut: Excellent (Triple X)
Crown Angle: 35.5%
Crown Height: 15.0%
Pavillion Angle: 41%
Pavillion Depth: 43.5%
Star length: 50%
Lower Half: 80%
Girdle: Thin to medium
It’s not a promising stone by numbers.
Can you be more specific? It is an ex ex ex diamond cut. I thought that it fell within the GIA ideal cut diamond proportions nicely.
This should help: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/round/ideal-proportions/
Go through the step by step guide if you haven’t done so.
You have a reader in Seoul, South Korea.
I am currently looking at this diamond below. Can you please help me determine if this is a good buy?
1.30 carat / E / VS2
6.95 – 6.98 x 4.34 mm
Crown Angle: 34.5%
Pavilion Angle: 40.8%
Pavilion depth: 43%
Crowh Height: 15.5%
GIA triple excellent.
After reading your articles, one thing I’m concerned about is the depth of 62.4%. Will this matter a lot making this stone only mediocre?
Proportion wise, it looks like a decent stone. You need more information and tangible cut data in order to make the call on this diamond.
Thank you very much. I will not ‘buy blind’ :)
Thank you for all the help and guidance you have provided us folks with very very limited knowledge on diamonds. I am looking for a diamond in the 8k-9.5k range and I found this diamond:
would this be a mediocre diamond? any suggestions of better diamonds?
Thank you in advance!!
It’s a fine stone. The crown angles are a bit on the high side but the video depicts a well cut stone.
Thank you so much for your help! And thank you for putting this site together, very grateful for the help.
I am hoping to get your opinion on this GIA diamond
Table – 59% / Crown – 35.5 / Pavilion – 41.2 / Depth 62.9
2.78 ct. – Color J – Clarity SI2 with characteristics Twinning Wisp, Feather, Knot (Comments: Additional twinning wisps are not shown. Surface graining is not shown.)
I appreciate your help, thanks.
Poor proportions. You can do better than this mediocre stone.
Seeing how GIA 3 Ex can be poor light performers,
1) Doesn’t GIA need to fine tune their cut grades so that there is a grade for truly excellent light performers where buyers can rest assured that a diamond is truly well cut based on that grade?
Revise their grading system so that only truly well cut diamonds make it to 3 Ex?
2) Why doesn’t GIA do that???
I think there’s something I want to be clear here. You won’t get an “ugly” diamond by buying one with a GIA 3EX rating. My standards for cut are extremely high and this is reflected in much of beyond4cs.com’s article. I don’t settle for OK stones but will only recommend fantastic diamonds. And that’s what I’m showing readers how to do the same.
There’s some bureaucracy and political issues if GIA were to revamp their cut standards. The industry won’t take it well. Speaking of change, beside cut grading issues, there are other issues with clarity and fluorescence reporting that could be improved as well.
Which in your expert opinion is the best diamond out of these three? All are GIA graded, round brilliant. The first two are same price, different jewelers, the third is about $1,300 more…
3.24 ct. (9.44 x 9.49 x 5.85 mm)
Table – 58% / Crown – 34.0 / Pavilion – 41.2 / Depth 61.8
Color J – Clarity SI1 with characteristics Cloud, Feather, Crystal, Needle (Comments: Additional clouds are not shown. Pinpoints are not shown.)
3.30 ct. (9.58 x 9.59 x 5.91 mm)
Table – 56% / Crown – 34.0 / Pavilion – 41.2 / Depth 61.6
Color I – Clarity SI1 with characteristics Cloud, Crystal, Needle (Comments: Additional clouds, pinpoints and surface graining are not shown.)
3.52 ct. (9.65 – 9.71 x 6.05 mm)
Table – 56% / Crown – 36.5 / Pavilion – 40.6 / Depth 62.5
Color I – Clarity SI1 with characteristics Crystal, Feather, Cloud, Needle (Comments: Pinpoints are not shown.)
Neither. All 3 have mediocre proportions that result in light leakage and lesser brilliance.
im currenty searchig a good diamond for an engagement ring.
Im currenty stuck with these two:
GIA Report: 6221261904
GIA Report: 1218733706
I really don’t kown with one I should take. The price and weight are the same.
How I’mportant are the Clarity Characteristics?
If it’s not I’m trending to the first one.
I hope you can help me.
Read this article about buying a diamond based on a grading report.
Wonderful site!! I’ve learned a lot — hoping this is a reasonable stone with excellent xxx ratings.
Comments on this 2.29 E VS2 stone?
Crown Angle: 35.0 degrees
Pavilion Angle: 40.8 degrees
Star facets: 50%
Lower girdle facets: 80%
Thank you very much in advance!
FWIW, I’ve seen this stone in person (to my untrained eye it is beautiful!), and it scores <2 on the HCA.
What do you think about this?
Measurements 5.84MM X 5.81MM X 3.61MM
Girdle: MED TO SLIGHTLY THICK
pavilion angle: 40.6
crown angle: 36
I have reserved this diamond already but nothing is set in stone and I will get to look at it in store before the purchase is complete.
If you have seen it in person, that’s good enough to make a decision on it. The proportions are OK.
The diamond’s crown angles are a tad too high.
I went to look at diamonds for the first time. This was already after I’ve done extensive reading on 4cs and the proportions. I have a loose diamond on hold right now but I just wanted to double check and get a second opinion before I shell out $5k (that’s my gf’s budget for this ring not mine). I looked at the diamond in black light and the symmetry looks perfect to me with hearts and fire angles, and besides the crown angle, all other proportions were within “range” from that table you usually link to. Can you tell me if this seems like a good diamond? This is from the GIA report. Thanks!
5.92 – 5.96 x 3.68 mm
Medium, Faceted, 3.5%
Nope. This is not a great diamond. The excessively high crown angles are not diamond cut proportions I would like in a round stone.
Thank you for sharing. I am curious to know what you think about this diamond? It looks gorgeous in any light and looks bigger than my friend’s 2.00+ carat stone even though it is only a VG diamond. We looked all over for the perfect stone and saw a few others but we loved this one even despite the less than Excellent cut. With all that said, I honestly can’t believe it’s only graded as a Very Good cut. How much would a consumer expect to pay for a stone of this rating?
Measurements – 7.73 – 7.79 x 4.61 mm
Carat Weight – 1.64 carat
Color Grade – F
Clarity Grade – VVS2
Cut Grade – Very Good
Depth – 59.5 %
Table – 58 %
Crown Angle – 33.5°
Crown Height – 14.0%
Pavilion Angle – 41.2°
Pavilion Depth – 43.5%
Star Length – 45%
Lower Half – 75%
Girdle – Thin to Medium, 2.0%
Culet – None
Polish – Very Good
Symmetry – Very Good
Fluorescence – None
The diamond proportions are bad. The pavilion angles are too steep for this stone to be any good.
As you suggest, I decided to go with ACA diamond form white flash.
Now next I need to choose color and clarity.
Do you think J and SI2 is good enough for 0.4~0.5 carat?
Of course the higher the better but I am on a tight budget so if the changes are not that noticeable then I will stick to this but if you really think at least color or clarity needs to be changed, please let me know.
Color and clarity is largely up to personal preferences.
If there is a diamond with a depth of 61.8% and table of 63%, does this automatically disqualify the quality? I don’t have the angles on the pavilion information
Other info I have is round brilliant 6.79-6.8x 4.20
There is one small pinpoint in the table but other inclusions look like they can be hidden by prongs in the setting.
What is your opinion?
Yep. Terrible choice of diamond. You don’t need the pavilion/crown angles information to tell you that this is not a well cut stone.
So glad I discovered your website, it’s been interesting and informative, a fantastic resource.
You highlight this as a benchmark for a truly well cut diamond, https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.50-carat-g-color-vs1-clarity-ideal-cut-sku-1299454.
If I was looking to purchase a 0.5 carat 3ex diamond, would that be one you’d recommend or is there something other than the cut which makes it a less than ideal choice? I notice it is listed as having a knot inclusion, I couldn’t find anything on your inclusions page about knots, is that something to be concerned about.
The diamond is well cut and one that I would personally buy. With regards to the knot inclusion (an embedded crystal inclusion that is exposed on the diamond’s surface), it is not an issue at VS1 clarity.
Not sure if my comment went through yesterday. Repost just in case it didn’t, as well as adding links to reports.
Thank you for this!–found it informative and helpful. I was wondering if you could please give advice/your opinion on the two diamonds below?
GIA #7211555932 https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=7211555932 (also comes with a GSI light analysis report http://wg.gemscience.net/PDF/H15077800502.VVIMIOSPNB.pdf –excellent for brilliance, fire, scintillation, and contrast effect, and very good for efficiency)
AGS #104046879034 carat=2.018 http://www.agslab.com/pdf_sync_reports/104046879034-PDQDFK.PDF
Note: The diamonds both look beautiful in person. The GIA, SI1 is eye clean. But, both don’t seem to fit 100% into the varying ideal proportions listed online…and I am getting so confused. Any help would be much appreciated.
Proportions wise, the AGS stone is mediocre and I would drop the stone for sure. As for the GIA diamond, the numbers look OK on paper. While the GSI report isn’t one that I would trust, it’s ratings on that report makes the stone worth further investigating.
I can see your passionate about spending wisely on a diamond.
I’m currently trying to decide on how important a diamond is to me versus other stones for an engagement ring.
I’m very drawn to the luster and sparkle a diamond can offer, but am curious if you’re partial to diamonds or if any there are any other stones that are just as brilliant in your opinion?
There’s a reason why diamonds are typically used for bridal jewelry. Their hardness makes them less susceptible to wear and tear. On top of that, the inherent properties of a diamond allows them to be polished for better brilliance and scintillation as compared to other gemstones.
I just want to say thanks for all your help here on your website.
For other readers I will just explain my story up to buying the diamond
First I looked at multiple jewellery stores but I always felt I didn’t know enough about the diamond trade so I would make a bad buy.
I then got in contact with a jeweller through a colleague. Within my price range he could offer me a 0.3 carat in yellow gold. I am soon going to propose to my girlfriend and I know she prefers yellow gold, so that was fine.
He seemed reasonable priced but it was the idea that I didn’t have full control over the details that I didn’t like. So I called him and said I would buy my own diamond and then have it set.
Then I did a lot of research, both on YouTube and multiple sites including this one. First I looked at 77diamond and asked Paul about a few diamonds, which he couldn’t recommend. The diamonds I looked at was triple excellent and the angles etc. was find when you type those into the HCA tool. But I would still be buying blind because there is no 360 degrees’ video on their website, so you can’t see how the diamond will reflect light.
Since I live in Denmark it has to be an online dealer which ships through a European country so I wouldn’t be imposed of an import tariff, which would happen if it came from the US.
So I ended up with Bluenille because they offered 360 degrees’ video and ships through Ireland.
On their website I used their filters and choose excellent the places you can choose that, then table between 53% and 58% and depth between 59 % and 61.8 %. Since the diamond is going to be set in yellow gold I went with F-J colour (properly choose two colour grades lower than J if it’s set in a white metal ring, but it depends on you in the end) and VS2-FL in clarity. Last option I choose was Ideal and Signature Ideal and my budget was at maximum 1200 dollars.
I then had 15-20 choices. I then looked at diamonds which had a crown angle between 34.3 – 34.9 and a pavilion angle between 40.6-40.9
I first had a look at a 0.37 I colour Signature Ideal but in my second search I included the Bluenille Ideal which lead me to this 0.46 carat J VVS2 which I bought:
Through all of this Paul was really helpful explaining my questions and hopefully some can use my story in their hunt for a diamond :)
Hi Paul, I am in the market for å ring. I just receieved the GIA for the center diamond. It is an xxx daimond. I am all new to this and this is the first diamond ring I buy to my loved one so I want it to be as perfect as possible within my budget. Here is the link to the certificate: https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=6221954337
And here is link to the ring:
Would very much appreciate your view on this center diamond.
Ps. I will buy the ring in Norway.
There’s nothing much I can tell you about the stone. Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/
Hi, I tried to get pictures and videos without luck. Their statement was that diamonds of this size and the details I was looking for would not be percivable with the naked eye. But if i went for the ring I could choose whatever stone I wanted based on the GIA certificates.
Well, you should be seriously reconsidering who you are doing business with when there are other vendors out there who will do more for consumers: https://beyond4cs.com/best-place-to-buy-engagement-ring/
what is the ideal proportions that one should lookout for while purchasing a diamond apart from it being the triple X.
Was doing some surveys on diamonds and I find below specs pretty interesting based on your guidelines. Would appreciate your feedback if I’m making a correct selection as I’m focusing on sparkle small carat diamond. Will it makes a big difference in terms of presence against a lesser grade in color and clarity but higher carat with similar proportions?
carat weight: 0.33
cut: True HeartsTM Ideal
l/w/d (mm): 4.41*4.45*2.76
l/w ratio: 1.01
depth %: 62.20
girdle: Thin – Slightly Thick
table %: 54.00
crown ∠: 34.00
crown %: 15.50
pavilion ∠: 40.80
pavilion %: 43.10
Found this from James Allen
This is a well cut diamond for sparkle. However, D color is extremely white and overkill if you ask me. Since you are shopping on a shoestring budget, it makes sense to go for a larger diamond with lower clarity (i.e. G/VS2) without compromising cut quality. It should enable you go larger in carat size and this is what people usually notice when they look at an engagement ring.
Hi! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, I have learnt a lot from your site. I have found this diamond that i am in the process of buying for an engagement ring. Below are the specifications:
GIA triple Excellent
0.61 ct weight
Measurements: 5.48 – 5.51 x 3.34 mm
Crown angle: 34.0
Pavilion angle: 40.8
Girdle: Medium, Faceted 3.5%
This is an SI2 with twinning wisps, but while I don’t see any inclusions to the naked eye, when I see the diamond through the Hearts and Arrows scope, I notice various black dots. Should I be worried? Also, even though it is triple excellent, when viewing the diamond through the H&A scope on the pavilion view, I notice the hearts are not clearly visible (I need to move the position of my head to see the shapes otherwise it doesn’t look as neat.). Many thanks and I look forward to reading your thoughts.
With the hearts and arrows scope, you do need to align your head correctly to a perpendicular angle to the diamond (which needs to lie on a flat surface). As for the various black dots, I am guessing they are inclusions.
Your articles are so very helpful and I wished I stumbled onto it before making a decision to purchase. Based on very limited information from a GIA report, can you give me your honest opinion? I did view the diamond in person and it’s beautiful but now that I’m more educated I have doubts because there’s obviously levels of beauty with rounds. Thanks!
Just by diamond proportions alone, the table, depth and crown angles would have been instantly rejected by me. I would not bother spending time to even look up tangible data like ASET/Idealscope images to further investigate the stone.
Of these three diamonds, which would you say would be the best deal? Which would offer the most shine, fire, or brilliance?
Thanks in advance. This post has been very helpful so far, you seem incredibly knowledgeable and forthcoming about diamond shopping.
All 3 diamonds are absolutely horrible choices. I don’t even need to look at the ASET images to tell you this. Dump all 3 stones and read up on Beyond 4Cs and go shop again.
I’m a Certified Gemologist Appraiser GIA/AGS, and while I agree with pretty much everything Paul discussed in his article (amazing read, Paul!), I will say one thing:
In my 15 years as an appraiser, I have seen dull looking triple excellent diamonds and I’ve seen amazingly brilliant old European cut diamonds! Obviously, you’re much more likely of obtaining a beautiful diamond with the excellent cut, polish, symmetry…but every diamond is different. I’m not saying the cut isn’t important (it’s the most important of the C’s), but I’ve seen people get WAY too obsessed with it. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is how the diamond makes you feel. It may sound cheesy, but I’ve dealt with my fair share of clients with the “engineer” mentality, and they just get too hung up on table percentages, crown angle percentages, etc. If you don’t take my word as someone in the industry, please take it as a diamond-loving woman.
Hi Paul, I have been reading your website in pieces for the last couple of years and what a mind blowing treat it has been to help select the finest instead of the XXX crap that Singapore jewellers try to sell.
I want to buy a pair of stud solitaire earrings (and other stuff but later) for my wife on our 10th Ani. I am contemplating on a few diamonds from whiteflash, JamesAllen true hearts or BrianGavin. My budget is $2200 +/- few hundreds just for the diamonds.
After looking at hundreds of diamonds listings/pics, I thought maybe if I could be able to buy a JA ideal cut (not true Hearts) with keeping the following in mind: table/depth/crown and pavilion angles/HCA cut score.
I have found a few diamonds (to make as pair) appealing and I need your guidance and help on which one to buy.
1st preference: any of these (SKU1 & SKU2) –
1. 3689975 & 3996682
2. 3666148 & 4306313
3. 4307458 & (3593379 or 4416879 or 4361093)
I am fine with a GIA 3X I-VS2 (after reading GIA inclusions and seeing magnified 360 view on JA website) since I think that combi will also have similar sparkle/shine/fire as good as a G-VVS1 of similar cut quality. Am I right?
I couldn’t find any 0.86++ carat diamond pair in whiteflash or briangavin for less than $2200. However, I could find numerous 0.8-0.82 ctw pairs in whiteflash and one in briangavin blue (BLAGS-104097998099 & BLAGS-104097998100 but without images as of today).
Do you suggest I should buy from these 2 sites or is JA (non-true hearts) fine?
If none of these is good enough as pair for its price according to your standards, please suggest any other from any of your recommended sites.
Thanks a lot for writing these articles; your website is a boon for people like me.
There’s a reason why a small minority of diamonds make it to the True Hearts range and why the super ideal cut diamonds at Brian Gavin or White Flash cost more. That’s because they have better sparkle and performance. You’ve probably know this yourself once you LOOK at the stones you shortlisted and made comparisons to the truly well cut stones. For me, my priority lies in sparkle and I don’t mind paying a little more for a more beautiful stone.
This article addresses some of the issues you raised: https://beyond4cs.com/earrings/choosing-the-best-diamond-studs/
Really appreciate your help here.
The other day I viewed a diamond in the 8400-8700 price range in a brick and mortar jewelry shop. The XXX GIA report number is 5181803181. I noticed the crown angle proportion was 36 degrees, so a little outside the 34-35 degrees I read was best. Appreciate any assessment you would have on this diamond.
The crown angles are indeed high and it may affect the balance of fire and brightness. Beyond that, I cannot tell you more without tangible data. As I mentioned in this article, a tripleX doesn’t mean anything and you need cut quality data to assess performance properly. Can you get an ASET/Idealscope image? I can tell you more with those in hand.
Paul, why is the culet a thing of the past? Thanks
The placement of a culet has to do with more retro style round diamond designs. The modern cut diamonds don’t have culets.
Thanks for the super informative website! A friend of a close friend is offering me a diamond at what seems like a great deal “on account of our mutual friend.” However, it is an older GIA report so it doesnt have a grading for cut and it also mentions a very thin to thin Girdle, so I was trying to figure out if this is actually a quality diamond or not for the price. Based on the table and depth and what I see online, i assume it would put it at a Very good to Excellent cut? Price range mid 7k. Here are the specs on it.
Shape Round Brilliant. Weight 1.46 carat.
Depth 61.2%. Table 59%. Girdle – Very Thin to Thin, Faceted. Culet – None.
Polish Very Good. Symmetry Very Good.
Clarity VVS2. Color H.
It’s a diamond that’s badly cut. The poor girdle thickness and mediocre finishing (polish/symmetry) are all red flags as well. You will be better off buying a brand new diamond and picking out one that’s properly cut for light return and brilliance.
Thank you! I was actually worried about our engagement ring diamond as we got it custom designed and made (no picking from designs; this baby was all hand drawn and created from the mind to paper by our team) and after reading your report, and looking at your 1/2 carat diamond at the end, I did a double take – it looks so much like mine (hearts and arrows, perfect symmetry, excellent in the medium range depth – all explained by the jeweler, the sales person, the diamond buyer and the design consultant) and we are so happy that we weren’t ripped off. Plus – my fiancée even said the price was reasonable on our modest one-income budget. Thank you!