I am very impressed with your website. I have read it and singed up for your Diamond Deal Friday subscription and am also taking you up on the offer to write you personally. My wife and I would like to trade up her wedding ring for a larger diamond. Her current ring is a 3.47ct round brilliant K color with VS1 clarity. It is currently set in 14k white gold and was valued at $32K in 1990. We are looking for a cushion cut diamond that is around 6-8.00ct with J color and VS2 or higher in clarity and ideal cut. My wife wants the biggest diamond with sparkle/beauty. I have used The Diamond Genie and understand the cut proportion parameters to search under. I have checked out the various vendors you have listed. Here are a few that I like:
Since cut and look is most important I’m not sure how to deal with less carat weight vs. more carat weight. We also need some help in how to “trade in” our current diamond.
Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that ODBA has been helpful for you so far.
Ok – so you are looking to trade in a 3.47ct round K VS1. Do you have a have a lab report for the loose diamond (GIA or AGS, EGL, or IGI)?
Would you mind letting me know your maximum budget for your new 6.00-8.00ct, J (or better), VS2 (or better), ideal cushion? I’m guessing in the $90K-$120K range?
As you are looking for a very large cushion cut, this will prove to be somewhat difficult as there are very few diamonds that are cut to ideal cut proportions in your carat weight and budget requirements. Therefore, I think it is best we allow for some realistic compromise. My feedback:
1. 7.07ct I VS2 – this diamond measures 11.01 x 10.47mm and has a slightly thick to very thick girdle. Girdle width is important because if too thick, excess carat weight can be held here. The ASET image on this diamond shows a dark area under the main table facet (blue) with lots of green (indirect light source) and relatively little red (brightest direct white light reflection). This VS2 is eye-clean with grade making inclusion of scattered small feathers followed by tiny crystals, clouds and needles. The HD video shows that this cushion has good scintillation (sparkle) as a result of good brilliance/fire.
2. 8.01ct K VVS1 – this diamond measures 11.79 x 10.58mm and has a slightly thick to very thick girdle. The ASET image on this diamond is similar to the one above but has less overall red light reflection. As a VVS1 this diamond is exceptionally clean and as a ‘K’ it will show more body color than an ‘I’. The length/width ratio has this cushion being a bit more rectangle in shape. The HD video shows decent scintillation but is not a particularly sparkly diamond. It is however, much cheaper at $96K.
3. 8.51ct G SI2 – this diamond measures 11.65 x 11.46mm making this the most ‘square’. The girdle width is medium to very thick. One thing you’ll notice immediately is the crisp white color in this ‘G’ cushion. However a compromise to this are the grade making inclusions of tiny scattered crystals with the majority of them being white/translucent. The great cut and contrast pattern helps to camouflage many of the darker inclusions. There is a medium dark crystal inclusion under the table facet however the facet patterning coupled with the light return makes this inclusion difficult to see. The HD video shows that this cushion has great scintillation as a result of great brilliance/fire. Overall, a great large cushion for a very reasonable price of $112K.
4. 9.02ct K VS2 – this diamond measures 12.03 x 11.14mm with slightly thick to very thick girdle. Similar to the 8.01ct in body tonal color, this ‘K’ is larger and has a ‘crushed ice’ effect in it’s light reflection. The lack of contrast in this cushion results in a lackluster scintillation of brilliance and fire.
Overall, this is a very subjective and personal decision. Keep in mind that all the diamonds above are not exceptional precision cut diamonds. In other words, the contrast patterning isn’t symmetrical (like hearts and arrows) but they still has a unique beauty to them. What we are most concerned with is the overall 1) brilliance (as accentuated by contrast) and 2) fire (dispersion of colors) resulting in overall 3) scintillation (sparkle).
My two favorites are the 8.51ct G SI2 and the 7.07ct I VS2. You may however, opt for a cleaner diamond as in the case of the 8.01ct K VVS1, which represents a nice compromise in terms of the size that you are seeking, exceptionally clean clarity grade, good light reflection and is the cheapest of the three at $96K. I would skip the large 9.02ct K VS2.
As for your diamond trade-in, I recommend you first familiarize yourself with this process by reading my article here: https://www.onlinediamondbuyingadvice.com/diamond-education/diamond-buyers/
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks so much. My budget is about $120K. My wife doesn’t mind a square/rectangle shape. She wants the largest cushion diamond one can get for about $120k which will emphasize beauty, sparkle, etc and is at least 6-7ct with 7ct preferred.
Thanks for article. I have arranged for the diamond to be evaluated by GIA. I feel that is the first step. Once I have the report I’ll contact you. I was told it will take 3-4 weeks.
That’s a good idea to send it to GIA for grading.
$15K In 1990 – $32K In 2015 (Trade In Value)
I bought the diamond 25 years ago from an estate jeweler who is a personal friend and told us that it was a 3.47ct K VS1 with no gem lab report. We paid $15,000 for it at the time. I’ve since taken the diamond to a recommended jeweler in New York and sent it to GIA. Disappointingly the report came back as a 3.46ct L VS2 with very good cut, and good polish/symmetry. The jeweler said that the Rap price was something like $9,200 per carat but because of the very good cut and good polish/symmetry the value was reduced by 55% for trade in. She seems awful anxious for me to trade this in at 55% reduction.
I asked about ASET technology from two different jewelers. One got bent out of shape and told me to take my business elsewhere. The other NY jeweler said they never use ASET. Interestingly when I asked the NY jeweler about the different gem lab reports, she only mentioned EGL! When I asked her about AGS she seemed to shrug her shoulders. However, according to your website AGS is the only lab that uses ASET technology. I’m thinking it’s more advantageous to get an AGS report for my diamond.
So how can I get an AGS report? How do I make sure that it includes the ASET technology?
Thanks so much for your help so far…
Please understand that many jewelers are not fully educated on advanced diamond technology. The ASET and ideal-scope both serve to offer critical information on light performance and are still relatively new technologies even though they are very simple tools to use and very easy to understand. Also, keep in mind that the diamond industry got away with a lot of misrepresentation over the years as they knowingly took advantage of consumers not being informed. Whether or not the two jewelers you visited really aren’t aware of either the AGS or ASET (angular spectrum evaluation tool) technology is anyone’s guess – but I wouldn’t let this deter you from taking advantage of this advanced technology in diamond evaluation and assessment.
AGS is the strictest gem lab in terms of cut grade and light performance technology. Generally jewelers know if a diamond will garner an ‘ideal’ cut and will send these premium stones to AGS to get the coveted lab report. If a diamond isn’t cut well, it is not to a dealer’s advantage to send to AGS for a low evaluation. They would rather send to GIA which is generally more loose in their grading. Therefore, if your diamond has come back with a ‘very good’ cut from GIA then it very likely it wouldn’t get an ideal cut grade from AGS.
In the likely case that your diamond doesn’t have great proportions, this would then lower your resale ability. You could accept this and trade-in based on this or you can get the diamond recut to have ideal cut proportions. For example, Brian Gavin Diamonds out of Houston, TX specializes in the super-ideal Hearts and Arrows cut and they will recut your stone to Brian’s H&A super ideal cut proportions: http://www.brianthecutter.com/diamond-recut-service/. The service is anywhere from $300+ depending on carat weight. (You could also ask to see if BGD would want to purchase your diamond. They also sell beautiful super-ideal cushion cut diamonds.)
However, this will take another few weeks and it depends on if you want to get that invested in the whole process. As you now have a current GIA report you can run your options past any diamond vendor to see if they will offer you a deal if you decide to purchase an upgrade cushion with them.
I’m confused, are you saying you can increase diamond value by recutting? Would that result in an ideal cut? BTW, my budget for the cushion is not dependent on the value of this round diamond. I would rather keep it than give it away. But your idea is very intriguing.
Carat weight is the largest pricing determinant in diamonds. Recutting your 3.46ct would result in a smaller diamond and it is unknown how much carat weight must be eliminated to yield an ideal cut with perfect proportions. Therefore, I cannot say definitively that your diamond will increase in value. However, if you aren’t dependent on selling the diamond, then recutting provides a unique option for you to keep the diamond and greatly improve on its brilliance and fire resulting in increased sparkle/scintillation. I think it’s a great idea and definitely something to think about.
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