It is not easy to shop for diamonds, especially if you particular about the quality of diamond you want for you or the person you love.
There are different grades of diamonds that come in different shapes as well. There are equally many jewelry stores that convince you of stocking the best pieces. With all these, you can easily get overwhelmed.
Most customers who are interested in buying diamonds walk into a diamond shop only with the ring size in mind, with no idea of the diamond cut, color, clarity, or carat weight they want.
Previously, the diamond market had ideal cut diamonds but recently super ideal cuts have gained ground and are superior to ideal cuts.
In this simple guide, you will get information about:
- What exactly is a super ideal cut diamond?
- The cost of buying a super ideal cut diamond
- Where can you buy a super ideal cut diamond
- Meaning of light performance
- And a lot more!
Are these kinds of diamonds worth buying? This article will give you all the information you need as well as answer all your questions. In the end, you should be able to make an informed decision when buying super ideal cut diamonds.
What is a Super Ideal Cut Diamond?
Let’s look at an ideal cut diamond first, so that it is easier to understand what a super ideal cut diamond is.
An ideal cut diamond is a kind of diamond stone that has a cut with perfect symmetry to allow maximum light performance.
This cut (ideal) was innovated by Marcel Tolkowsky, one of the renowned diamond cutters of all times. He was also a mathematics specialist. His extensive knowledge in math calculations was among the reasons light return and symmetry is excellent.
GIA (Gemological Institute of America) acknowledges that ideal cut diamonds and super ideal cut diamonds have gone beyond the expected standards.
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An excellent cut is the highest rated cut by GIA. An ideal cut can be used in princess, cushion, and round cut diamonds.
Structure of a Diamond
How the diamond anatomy measures has a great impact on the proportions of both ideal and superior ideal cut. There are two main sections of a diamond; each of those parts has subparts.
The two main parts are the crown and the pavilion. The crown is found on top of a diamond piece white the cone shape at the bottom is the pavilion. The tip at the bottom-most part of the pavilion is called a culet.
The line that separates the pavilion from the crown is known as the girdle. When you look at the diamond from above, the surface that is on top of the crown is known as the table.
For a diamond cut to be referred to as a super ideal cut, you need to carefully look at the pavilion angle, depth of the pavilion, girdle thickness, lower girdles, facets, crown angle, the height of the crown, and table percent.
GIA and AGS 0 Ideal Cut Grade
The topmost cut grade for GIA is an Excellent cut. AGS on the other hand has a “0” ideal cut grade. Both these agencies are standard bodies for grading diamonds.
IGI is another body that produces grading reports but the reports are not as reliable as those from GIA and AGS. The most trusted grading body is GIA. AGS comes in at second most reliable.
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However, when you want to buy super ideal cut diamonds, the AGS grading report is a better pick for an ideal cut. Their Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool (ASET) evaluates the cut quality to reflect light.
Gemologists throughout the world use the ASET tool to analyze how a diamond performs in light, after all this is the only tool for this task. GIA also uses ASET as well as Idealscope pictures.
There is no much difference between Idealscope and ASET imaging. The imaging below is a comparison gotten from Whiteflash, check it out.
AGS ideal cut and GIA excellent cut are almost identical, only that the GIA cut does not have exact symmetry to make it ideal. AGS ideal cut is used as the standard measure for every ideal cut, super ideal included.
What Is Light Performance?
The main appealing feature about a super ideal cut diamond is its light performance. There are three classifications of how a diamond reacts to light: fire, scintillation, and brilliance. Let’s look at each of them.
This is the spectrum of light that gets through the bottom of the pavilion and the facets that surround it. The refractive index is the main factor that affects a diamond’s brilliance, though there are other factors as well.
This refers to how sparkly the diamond and its colors are. You may come across some gimmicky diamond stones that claim to have the best fire like Leo First Light Diamond released in 2019.
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A form of diamond treatment called nano finishing was used to bring about the shiny rainbow effect. In this treatment, the diamond is painted with a clear prism of polish which reflects light to the surface of the diamond thus displaying the rainbow illusion.
This is nothing new, only more money is being gotten out of it presently. If you buy a well-cut diamond, it will have an absolute fire even without any finishing.
This refers to many small light flashes, almost similar to brilliance. The number of facets and how they are arranged affects a diamond’s scintillation.
The Leo First Light Diamond has more scintillation because of the 66 facets it has. When we compare this to an ideal cut with normal 57 or 58 facets, you will not notice any difference.
Price of Super Ideal Cut Diamonds
Super ideal cut diamonds are known to have signature precision, symmetry, and measurement; for this reason, their prices are among the highest for diamonds. Their craftsmanship is also excellent when compared to excellent cut diamonds.
Many of the super ideal cut diamonds are branded. If you have been shopping for a while, you may have probably noticed that branded diamond pieces are more expensive than stones that are branded.
The price of diamonds in general and super ideal cut diamonds in particular also depends on the 4Cs.
A higher color grade, clarity grade, or weight carat can make the price of diamond go up. These are some of the jewelry scales that affect price. Something funny is sometimes when you compare these diamonds; you realize that a diamond piece with better clarity, carat weight, or color may be cheaper than a stone with lower grades.
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Where this is the case, it may be because the diamond has other limited details that are not mentioned in the grading report. This is where the importance of Idealscope and ASET imaging comes in.
ASET imaging analysis shows all the light reflected through a diamond. Where there is white light that is an indication of light leakage.
Above are two True Hearts branded super ideal cut diamonds from James Allen. The two diamond pieces have the same price but different grades.
The True Hearts piece on the left has a 1.07 carat weight which is higher than the one on the right. Its E color grade is also better. The True Hearts piece on the right has 1.04 carat weight and color grade G, a lower color grade than that on the right.
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Buying a Super Ideal Cut Diamond
The market is so flooded with different kinds of super ideal cut diamonds that it becomes difficult for one to know which diamond retailer has the best piece. As much as no super ideal cut diamond is better than the other, it is important to keep in mind some factors before buying your first diamond.
Super Ideal Cut Diamond Brands
All online diamond retailers have their own special branded super ideal cut diamonds. In stores like Jared and Kay, you may not find any diamond piece that is better than an ideal cut.
You might see images of hearts and arrows patterns but the ideal diamond cuts may not be proportional. You can read more about this in the FAQ section. To be honest, super ideal cut diamonds are somewhat gimmicky.
Diamond brands that have super ideal cuts tend to inflate diamond prices much more than they are supposed to be. A GIA excellent cut may be $1000 less in price even when the proportions may be something close to a super ideal cut diamond.
Most branded diamonds carry a premium, which is a way for the vendors to get more cash from you for a diamond piece that is not $1000 more valuable, but only a few hundred.
So, as you are shopping for a super ideal cut diamond, do not fall for the story that one diamond from one particular retailer is better than the other. The truth is there is and it is 41000 less costly.
Grading Reports and Diamond Certificates
There is no debating on this; you MUST buy a super ideal cut diamond that has a grading report, preferably one from GIA or AGS.
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I bought an ideal cut Tolkowsky ring that came with a GSI grading report and a GemEx certificate. The reports had all information about the diamond grade and two idealscope pictures of a hearts and arrows pattern.
When I got the GSI grading report, I did not know so much about diamond grading but now I know that this kind of report does not have enough information about diamond grades.
Gemological Science Institute (GSI) is a diamond grading body that was created for noncommercial purposes. They started by promoting themselves with jewelry giants like Kay and Jared. This institute can easily get away with spinning diamond grades to look better than they actually are.
I am very sure that if I take my Tolkowsky ideal cut diamond to AGS or GIA laboratories for grading, it would return with completely different and even lower grades than the report I got from GSI. Given that my centerpiece is I1, I don’t find that reassuring.
When I buy an ideal cut diamond in the future, I will definitely buy my upgrade piece from James Allen, they have the same ring with better grades and a GIA grading report but at a much lower price.
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Note: like the laser inscriptions on diamonds with GIA and AGS certificates, GSI graded diamond pieces also come with their serial numbers inscribed. The good thing is that you can also have the serial number inscribed in the diamond from home. Serial numbers are very important as they protect the diamond from resale or theft.
A light performance certificate is as important as a grading certificate and will show the diamond characteristics as it will appear when it reflects light. My Tolkowsky diamond ring came with a GemEx light performance report. It may not be necessary but it certainly is cool. Here is the report.
Where to Buy Super Ideal Cut Diamonds
Most jewelry retailers have created their own version of super ideal cut diamonds, but there are only a few retailers that have better quality pieces.
James Allen has its own true Hearts diamond brand which is one of the most popular super ideal cuts that jewelry enthusiasts buy. All these branded diamonds come bearing either a GIA or AGS grading report, both of which are reliable reports.
Their round brilliant cut diamonds have ASET imaging that allows you to see the hearts and arrows pattern, although this does not necessarily show that the diamond is super ideal cut. The True Hearts diamonds are also available in cushion and princess cut but these do not bear ASET images.
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Other reliable places that you can buy super ideal cut diamonds are Blue Nile and Whiteflash. Blue Nile has their Astor brand collection while Whiteflash has A Cut Above branded pieces. From these diamond shops, you can be sure to get good quality super ideal cut diamonds.
Are super ideal cut diamonds the same as hearts and arrows?
Both yes and no. an ideal cut Tolkowsky diamond also qualifies as a hearts and arrows diamond. However, a hearts and arrows diamond does not necessarily qualify to be a super ideal cut diamond.
Hearts and arrows is a term that was formed to mean precisely round cut diamonds. The symmetry of proportions makes it easy for customers to look through a microscope and see the hearts and arrows shapes.
Which is more important between cut and clarity?
If you have been reading about or shopping for diamonds, you most likely have come across the 4Cs. The 4Cs of diamonds stand for color, clarity, carat, and cut: each of these is used to determine the quality of a diamond stone.
When given an option to choose, I go with clarity. I can sacrifice the other Cs but not clarity. However, an excellent cut is much better than clarity.
When measured against the cut, clarity should not take center stage. The diamond cut is what determines how your diamond will sparkle or how it will perform when light passes through it.
However much eye-clean a diamond is, whether VVS2 or VS1, it will not have an excellent sparkle if it is poorly cut.
Ideal and super ideal cut diamonds are cut so properly that even if they have visible blemishes you may not actually see them because of their great light performance. If the cut was “Very Good” then the inclusions would be visible.
Is light performance of a super ideal cut diamond important?
There is no doubt that the light performance of any diamond is important. However, does this matter so much if it is a super ideal cut diamond being compared against a GIA graded excellent cut diamond?
Although on paper there is a difference, when seen by the human eye, there is no difference in the light performance of these two kinds of diamond cuts.
Many GIA excellent cut diamonds are round cut which is just as attractive as super ideal cut diamonds from AGS.
IGS says that you are better off buying an AGS ideal or a GIA excellent cut than buying a super ideal cut diamond since the difference is insignificant. There is no need to pay a higher price for something not noticeable.
GIA Excellent cuts may not have the preferred symmetry or light performance but only you and the jeweler will notice the difference. If you are the kind of person looking for the most sparkle out of a diamond, go for the super ideal cut.