Category Archives: GIA Cert

Lowest price – GIA certified diamonds.

Lowest Price – GIA Diamonds.

Many internet shoppers are under the mistaken belief that buying a GIA certified diamond on the internet is similar to purchasing a flat screen TV. Simple,  You just find the model number that you want. Then you go to the internet and you buy it for less.

In the case of a diamond, one might figure out the size, the shape and the GIA parameters that they want.  Let’s say in this case, a 2.00 carat round diamond, GIA “H” color, “SI1” clarity.  Simple. We go to the internet and buy it at the lowest price.

Stop right there.

A diamond is not a flat screen TV.  The GIA diamond certification report is not the same as a model number.  The specifications of a TV are identical.  There are thousands if not millions of the same TV made to factory specifications.  Diamonds are different.  A diamond is a creation of nature.  Each one is unique.  A GIA grading report attempts to describe a diamond like I may attempt to describe a beautiful woman.  It is very hard to do without seeing the woman – or the diamond.

The point of this is that diamonds with similar specifications on a GIA grading report are not similar diamonds.  There can be (and usually are) significant pricing differentials between two diamonds with similar GIA grading reports. And more importantly, one diamond will be significantly more beautiful than the lesser priced diamond.

Pictured below are six diamonds listed for sale on a leading internet diamond site. Each of the six diamonds weighs approximately 2.00 carats (Actual weights range from 2.01 to 2.09 carats).  Each of the diamonds is graded by GIA as “H” color, “SI1” clarity.  The prices for these diamonds ranges from $13,247.00 to $26,131.00.  YES!  One diamond is 50% “cheaper” than another.  Inversely, one diamond is 100% more than the other!

And you are on the internet in search of the best price.   Or is it the lowest price?  Best price for what?  Lowest price for what?

As a diamond merchant with more than 40 years of experience  (and two generations before me!),  I understand what a diamond is.  It is about something beautiful.  Beauty is about the brilliance and sparkle and scintillation.  Low price is about a price point.

In recent years there has been a divergence within the diamond industry – sort of a “fork in the road”.  There are many diamond companies that are marketing diamonds specifically for the internet. The diamonds that they sell via the internet are inferior to those that are sold in the traditional manner – to be sold via retail jewelry stores.  It is the difference between the beautiful GIA H/SI1 diamond and that of the diamond that is marketed solely based on “price-point” for the internet buyer who believes he has figured out the world.

The difference is, in the “old” days, people looked at diamonds in a jewelry store with their eyes and a jewelers magnifying loupe.  They were truly buying a diamond and not just a diamond grading report!.

Take a look at the info for the six diamonds featured below.  These are just a random sample of different price ranges that I found.

                                                                                         .    .    .    .    continued below

Document (1)


Document (2)

Document (2A)

Document (3)


Document (4)

Document (5)

When looking at each of the diamonds described above,  one must recognize that the pictures are fake and are all identical.  These  photos are not representative of the diamond in any way and, in fact, give the illusion that the diamonds are gem quality which they are not!

With regard to the diamonds listed above I know for a fact that it is not possible to purchase a “nice” 2 carat round diamond with these GIA specifications on the wholesale market within the price of the first three listings.

If I was buying a diamond for my wholesale business it would most likely be one of the three more expensive diamonds.  I believe that a diamond is supposed to be something beautiful. These diamonds may be beautiful diamonds – although, even with the info provided on the GIA report, it is still necessary to SEE the diamond.  The listed specifications of these diamonds provides no information with regard to the nature and location of the inclusions and, in reality, provides little insight to the overall beauty of the diamond.

One thing that I do know is that there are reasons why the cheap diamonds are cheap.  It may be the make. It may be the type and location of the inclusion. Perhaps there is a color tinge.  Perhaps there is a “cloud”.  There are many factors that effects the overall sparkle and scintillation that makes a diamond special!

Low price is just that. It is low price.  It is not a factor of value.  Value, on the other hand, is a reasonable price for a Renoir – despite the fact that it may be tens of millions of dollars.



Neil Reiff

Diamond Fluorescence: Good or Bad?

There is perhaps no characteristic of a diamond on which you will find more disagreement among diamond professionals than diamond Fluorescence.  For this reason, it is also a subject that causes much confusion among diamond professionals as well as consumers.

Diamond florescence refers to the effects of ultraviolet light on a diamond.  According to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), approximately 25% to 35% of all diamonds have some degree of fluorescence.  Diamonds that have fluorescence will exhibit a “bluish” glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.  In most cases, this glow is minimal and will never be seen outside of laboratory conditions.

A study conducted by the GIA concluded several key findings that are significant with regard to fluorescence:

1) Nearly 1/3 of all diamonds certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) have some degree of fluorescence noted on the grading report.

2) Only 10% of those diamonds with fluorescence had any degree of florescence that may affect the appearance of the diamond.  Quite simply, this means that fluorescence, even when indicated on a GIA grading report, has no significance to the diamond 90% of the time.

3). For the overwhelming majority of diamonds, the strength of fluorescence has no widely noticeable effect on appearance. In fact, the average person could not make a distinction between a diamond with fluorescence and a diamond without fluorescence.

4). In many instances, observers preferred the appearance of diamonds that have medium to strong fluorescence.  Again – Most observers preferred the appearance of diamonds that are fluorescent!

According to another diamond industry “authority” known as the “Rapaport Report”  (a publication for the Diamond trade), “Fluorescence may add value to lower color stones as it gives the stones a whiter, brighter appearance.”

Now that I have given you the findings of the GIA study on fluorescence, I will share some of my thoughts on the subject . . .

As stated above, there is perhaps no element of a diamond grading report that is more misunderstood and controversial than that of fluorescence. The negative thoughts with regard to fluorescence date back to different times of the diamond trade.

Firstly, in the days before diamond certification, fluorescence was considered to be “bad” because a diamond with fluorescence might be seen to be better than than it really was – and therefore, the buyer may be fooled. If you really think about this, fluorescence was thought to be bad because it made a diamond look better!

Additionally, another reason for the negativity about fluorescence dates back to 1980 when there was an “Investment Diamond” craze in which people were sold a bill of goods about buying diamonds as an “Investment”.  During this time, it was thought that in order to buy an ‘investment grade diamond”, the diamond must be only the best quality (i.e., D to F color, Flawless or VVS clarity) and have no fluorescence.

Regardless of the thoughts about fluorescence at the time, the value of diamonds skyrocketed based on investment speculation before falling precipitously. People who invested in diamonds during this time ended up losing a lot of money – but the connotation that fluorescence is a “bad thing” has lived on for no apparent reason!

So where does this bring us today . . .

It is my opinion that “Faint” fluorescence means nothing!!  Faint fluorescence is something that will never be seen by the consumer and something that has absolutely zero effect on the beauty of a diamond! “Faint” fluorescence is something that should NEVER deter you from buying a particular diamond.

It is my opinion that “Very Strong” fluorescence should be AVOIDED.  A “Very Strong” fluorescence grade is that which is most likely to give a diamond a “smokey” or “milky” or “cloudy” appearance.  Diamonds that are of Very Strong fluorescence trade at discounts of 20% to 30% less than similar diamonds with none or lesser degrees of fluorescence..

The issue of fluorescence is more convoluted when dealing with Medium or Strong fluorescence.  In almost all cases within these fluorescence grades, the fluorescence will have either no effect of the overall beauty of the diamond or, alternatively, the fluorescence will have a beneficial effect. In many cases, medium or strong fluorescence will enhance the beauty of a diamond – particularly in “JKLM+” or lower colors. In these colors, the diamond will appear whiter when mounted in a ring than a similar diamond without fluorescence.

In some cases, strong fluorescence may be a negative factor.  In such cases, the diamond may have a milky or cloudy appearance as mentioned above with regard to “Very Strong” fluorescent diamonds. It is my opinion that Strong Blue fluorescent diamonds should be acceptable in many cases – with the exception of DEF/IF -VS graded diamonds. As with the case of Medium fluorescence, “Strong” fluorescence is usually a benefit to lower color diamonds as these diamonds will look considerably better when mounted than a similar lower color (JKLM+) diamond without fluorescence.

In terms of diamond pricing, a diamond with medium fluorescence should be priced approximately 3% to 15% below that of a similar diamond without fluorescence. The amount of this reduction depends on the color grade of the diamond.  In lower colors, the price differential is insignificant.  In DE and F color diamonds and VVS clarity diamonds, the price differential should be more significant.

A diamond with Strong fluorescence should be priced at 10% to 25% less than a similar diamond without fluorescence. This discount will be less as you drop down the color scale as the benefits of fluorescence become more desirable.

I realize that this brief discussion may run counter to other information one may find with regard to the subject of fluorescence.  One must understand that fluorescence is often a subject used by a diamond seller to dissuade one from purchasing a diamond from another seller. For instance, “That diamond has fluorescence; You shouldn’t buy that diamond!” It is BS comments like this that perpetuate the controversy of this subject.

As a professional within the diamond industry for more than 40+ years, I can honestly tell you that I purposely selected a diamond with Medium fluorescence for my wife’s engagement ring!! Yes, I purposely chose a “I” color diamond with Medium Blue fluorescence!   I honestly believe that fluorescence can be beneficial to a diamond in that it can enhance the overall beauty of a diamond and bring down the cost of a diamond by a few percentage points.

Perhaps, the GIA has said it best when it comes to fluorescence . . . “A diamond’s appearance must be taken as a whole. . . Other factors can influence appearance more strongly than fluorescence, such as how the diamond has been cut, . . .” Perhaps the most important statement on the subject is also from the GIA: “On GIA’s Diamond Reports, fluorescence is a description, not a grade”.

The bottom line is this. What makes a diamond one of the most treasured items of nature is the beauty of a diamond. There are many different things noted on a GIA grading report. We have turned the beauty of a diamond into characteristics noted on a piece of paper. A diamond is about the beauty of the diamond. – and not the piece of paper!

NOTE: This discussion of fluorescence deals with Blue fluorescence which is the type of fluorescence most commonly found. Any other fluorescence -yellow or white fluorescence which is indicated as such on a GIA grading report should ALWAYS BE AVOIDED. This type of fluorescence always has a negative impact on the beauty of a diamond.

Excellent Cut in a Fancy Shape Diamond

Many diamond buyers who are in the market for a Fancy Shape diamond are searching for an “Excellent Cut” diamond. “Fancy Shape” – is the generic terminology for an Oval, Cushion Cut, Emerald Cut, Pear Shape, Princess Cut , Radiant Cut and all other non-round diamonds. These buyers must be aware that there is no such thing as an Excellent Cut in regard to a Fancy Shape diamond – at least to the extent of a GIA grading report!

As a result of the lack of cut grade – for Ovals or Cushion Cuts or any other fancy shape diamond, many consumers are under the mistaken impression that the Polish and Symmetry grades for these shapes are integral to the beauty of the diamond. There is no truth to this assumption.  Polish and Symmetry have nothing to do with the overall beauty or Cut of a fancy shape diamond.

GIA: Excellent Polish. Excellent Symmetry.

I happen to think that many fancy shape diamonds are ugly. I also think that there are fancy shape diamonds that are spectacular.  In most cases, what makes one fancy shape diamond nicer than another is all about the diamonds “cut”.  However, the “cut” that makes a fancy shape diamond spectacular almost never has anything to do with Polish and/or Symmetry.

In my personal experience, I often prefer fancy shape diamonds in which the Polish and/or Symmetry is only “Good”.  Many times I find that the fancy shape diamond that has “Good” polish and/or symmetry is much more beautiful than another fancy shape diamond that is Very Good or Excellent.

This is not to say that the fancy cut diamond is more beautiful because the Polish and/or Symmetry is only “Good”.  It is because the Polish and Symmetry is usually inconsequential to the big picture – which is “How beautiful is the diamond?“.

GIA: Excellent Polish. Good Symmetry.

Unfortunately for the consumer, the Polish and Symmetry grade on a grading certificate does not give even the slightest inkling of whether or not a particular diamond is beautiful. The beauty of a fancy cut diamond is about the proportions of things such as length by width – or the depth and table. It is about the brilliance and “life” of the diamond.  It is about what the diamond looks like when you actually look at it as opposed to looking at a grading report!

The overall beauty of a fancy shape diamond has nothing to do with Polish and Symmetry. Most fancy shape diamonds have Polish and Symmetry grades of “Good” or Very Good.  Unlike Round diamonds in which “Excellent” or “Very Good” is more common, a grade of Good” in Polish and/or Symmetry is the “norm” for fancy shape diamonds.

This is one of the issues of buying a diamond online or strictly buying a diamond based on the certification paper. The simple truth that I know after spending a lifetime in the diamond trade is that the beauty of a fancy shape diamond – whether it is a Cushion Cut, an Oval, or an Emerald Cut or any other fancy shape – has nothing to do with the Polish and/or Symmetry grade (except in cases of Fair or Poor). The beauty of a fancy cut diamond is about the diamond itself. It is about how that diamond disperses light.

Unlike a round diamond in which there are scientific parameters when cutting which provide for maximum brilliance, there is no scientific formula for cutting a fancy shape diamond. Most often when cutting a fancy shape diamond, the diamond cutter is working within the parameters of the rough diamond that he starts with.  The beauty of the finished diamond is the direct result of the diamond itself.

The creation of a fancy cut diamond is similar to the work of a sculptor. A diamond cutter cuts the shape and dimensions from a rough diamond that has been extracted from the earth. Trust me in that the minor detail of the facet alignment or the smoothness of the surface is inconsequential to the overall appearance of this diamond.  A sculptor may achieve a beautiful smooth finish that one could say is “Excellent” or “Very Good”.  But that may overlook the fact that the sculpture is ugly!

The bottom line is this. Stick to “Excellent” and/or “Very good” in a round diamond.  Understand that in a fancy shape you are fooling yourself if you think that the Polish and Symmetry grade gives you any inkling of the beauty of the diamond.

  • *   *   *   *

On the subject of EXCELLENT CUT in a Fancy Shape diamond I recently came across this comment on a diamond discussion forum that reinforces my discussion in the above blog post from someone who asked about the ‘best” specifications” of an Oval diamond.  Here is the response to that inquiry . .

“Welcome to Pricescope!

A few things stand out immediately to me

First- I would not limit polish/symmetry to EX.

The reason is that the difference between EX,VG and G are not perceptible to the eye 99% of the time. “




Best Proportions in a Fancy Shape Diamond – Oval, Cushion Cut, Emerald Cut, Pear Shape, Radiant Cut, Princess Cut

Best Proportions in a Fancy Shape Diamond – Oval, Cushion Cut, Emerald Cut, Pear Shape, Radiant Cut, Princess Cut


The best answer to the question of “What are the best proportions of a fancy shape diamond (the generic term for an Oval, Cushion Cut, Emerald Cut, Pear Shape, Radiant Cut, Princess Cut, among others) is that there is not any best proportion.  No laboratory assigns a grade for the proportion of a fancy shape diamond.  Moreover, there are no scientific parameters for determining what is or is not the “proper” dimension or ratio of any particular fancy shape diamond

The idea of what is “best” in regard to proportion is somewhat like asking “What should a beautiful woman look like?”.  Everyone has there own idea of beauty.  It is something that cannot be put on paper with any degree of authority.  At best, we can perhaps come up with a “range”.  Even then, we must assume that there will always be a multitude of exceptions – whether it be a beautiful woman or a diamond.  Some are truly beautiful despite being different from our preconceived notions or parameters.

Perhaps the best guide that we have in determining  what are “proper” or “best” proportions is to utilize the “calibrated” sizes and their corresponding ratios of semi-precious stones – such as Amethyst or Blue Topaz.   Unlike diamonds that are often cut with regard to the “rough” diamond, semi-precious stones (because of the lack of concern about weight loss) are cut to calibrated sizes that have endured through time – whether it be an Oval, Emerald Cut, Pear Shape, or other shape.

Additionally, my 40+ years of working within the diamond trade has given me a thorough understanding of what dimensions are most desirable and advisable.  Even with such an understanding, one must understand that often the proper dimensions or ratio will change depending on the type of mounting that will be utilized in setting the diamond.  For instance, it is my experience that a three-stone ring may often look better with a longer Emerald Cut that that which might be in a plain “solitaire” mounting or in a classic “Tapered Baguette” mounting. Furthermore, a “Halo” style  may require something different from either of the above mounting styles.

Before continuing, I have one very important bit of advice.  It is not advisable to purchase a fancy shape diamond simply based upon dimensions or ratios or any other descriptive element contained on a GIA grading report!  I see hundreds of diamonds every week.  The information that is contained within the grading report has almost nothing to do with the overall beauty of the diamond!  This is something that must be observed with you eyes -preferably live and in person – or at least in a photograph. To make you purchase decision based solely on a paper report is setting yourself up for disappointment.

AND now for my suggested parameters: .  .  .

OVAL Diamond Proportions:  The standard calibrated ratio of Ovals is approximately  1.25 : 1 to 1.40 : 1.  In other Oval Proportionwords, standard calibrated sizes will be 8x6mm or 9x7mm or 10x8mm.  In my own experience, this ratio range seems to be the “proper” proportion. While I would not suggest going much below 1.20 : 1 (a slightly shorter and wider dimension), some people may prefer a somewhat longer length : width ratio.  I would  consider going up to a ratio of 1.50 : 1.  This, however, is considered long and must be taken into consideration with many other factors of the diamond.

The 2.02 carat Oval pictured here measures 9.15 x 6.82mm. The ratio is 1.34 :1.


EMERALD CUT Diamond Proportions: The calibrated sizes for Emerald Cut diamonds is basically the same as that for Ovals.  The ratio is approximately 1.25 : 1 to 1.40 :1.  Again, this ratio may be somewhat less (likeEmerald Cut Proportion 1.20 : 1), however a longer Emerald Cut may be preferred.

A ratio of 1.55 : 1 is close to the maximum range that I would recommend  for anyone who is seeking a “long” Emerald Cut shape. One must be aware, however, that it is somewhat difficult to find a “long” emerald cut that is lively and bright and “well-cut’.

The 1.28 carat Emerald Cut picture here measures 6.97 x 5.51mm. The ratio is 1.27 : 1.

A ratio of 1.50 : 1 is often referred to as a “credit card” shape as these dimensions are represented by any standard credit card.

ASSCHER CUT Diamond Proportions:  An Asscher Cut diamond is basically a square Emerald Cut.  A ratio of 1.05 :1 or less is most preferred. It is important top note that GIA will designate Square Emerald Cut within this ratio.  A  ratio of up to 1.10 : 1 will still appear square when set into a mounting, although this ratio mayAsscher Cut Proportion be discounted more than the 1.05 : 1 ratio as the GIA designation will not designate “Square”.  The ratios between 1.10 and 1.20 : 1 is the “lost” area between Emerald Cut and Asscher Cut and are usually less desirable and less expensive..

This 3.00 carat Asscher Cut diamond measures 7.83 x 7.62mm. The ratio is 1.03 :1.



CUSHION CUT Diamond Proportions: The Cushion Cut has become the “IT” diamond shape over the past several years – replacing the Princess Cut as the “hot” non-round brilliant shape. I personally think that this is for good reason as a Cushion Cut combines the brilliance of a round diamond with a somewhat square shape.  For this reason GIA refers to this shape as a “Cushion Modified Brilliant” or “Cushion Brilliant”.

There is no preferred length by width ratio for a Cushion Cut diamond.  Most Cushions are Cushion Cut Proportionsomewhat square in dimensions.  Others may be somewhat rectangular, although it is extremely difficult to find a Cushion Cut that is of the rectangular dimensions of an Emerald Cut or Oval.

The 5.00 carat Cushion Cut diamond pictured here measures 10.5 x 9.29mm.  The ratio is 1.11 : 1.

Cushion Cut diamonds, more so than any other shape, can be exceptionally beautiful or not pretty at all.  It is not a question of dimensions that make a Cushion Cut beautiful; it is a question of the overall shape and faceting – none of which is characterized by any information on a GIA grading report, including the Polish and Symmetry grades.  Cushion Cut diamonds must be purchased based on their actual appearance.  To purchase a Cushion Cut in any other way will lead to serious disappointment.  (For more insight, please see my post  Buying a Fancy Shape Diamond – BUYER BEWARE!

RADIANT CUT Diamond Proportions:  A Radiant Cut diamond is, in many ways, similar to a Cushion Cut when itRadiant Cut Diamond Proportion comes to dimensions.  There is no clear cut or “proper” length by width ratio.  Radiant Cuts can be squarish or they can be somewhat rectangular.  Some may be as rectangular as a long Emerald Cut.  Most Radiants tend to be squarish; rectangular Radiant Cuts are much more difficult to locate.

The 2.54 Carat Radiant Cut pictured here measures 8.53 x 7.10mm. The ratio is 1.20 :1.  This is a beautiful “rectangular” Radiant Cut.

Like most fancy shape diamonds, the beauty of this pictured Radiant Cut diamond is not the result of any characteristics noted on the grading report.  It is simply a matter of beautiful faceting which has nothing to do with the Polish or Symmetry grades as noted on the certificate.  For more information on this subject, please see  my post  Excellent Cut in a Fancy Shape Diamond – Oval, Cushion Cut, Emerald Cut, Pear Shape, Radiant Cut, Princess Cut 



All about diamond grading certificates.

All about diamond grading certificates..

When buying a diamond I urge you to buy a diamond with a diamond grading report or diamond grading certificate. These mean the same thing – and are used interchangeably.

In a different post I have discussed the differences between a diamond grading report issued by the GIA – and those issued by other diamond labs. This can be found at

The subject of this post is not the issue of different grading labs. It is the issue of diamond grading itself.

As a diamond merchant for 40+ years, and with two generations of Diamantaires before me, I urge you to understand that just because two different diamonds have the same diamond grade does not make their value equal!

One must understand that there is a range of values within each quality grade. Though this fact may mean very little with regard to diamond color it may be significant with regard to clarity grades. This is somewhat true with regard to “VS” grade diamonds and is particularly significant with regard to the “SI1” and “SI2” and “Imp” clarity grades.

With regard to stye “SI” clarity grade, there are many “SI2” diamonds that are beautiful. This is true whether viewed with our without magnification. On the other hand there are many “SI” graded diamonds that have significant black carbon imperfections that can be seen to the naked (non-magnified) eye.

Because of these differences, diamonds within these grades may trade on the wholesale diamond market for 5%-20% differences between other diamonds of the same grade.

In the retail diamond market there are retailers that prefer these “weak’ “SI” grade diamonds (meaning at the lower end of that particular clarity classification) because these are cheaper. A cheaper wholesale price can translate into a cheaper retail price and also allow the retailer to make a bigger profit margin.

These differences in the wholesale price are also evident on internet diamond sites. It is the reason why one H/SI2 diamond may be $15,000.00 and the same size diamond of the same grade may be $18,000.00.

There are diamond sellers who understand that it is not just about low price but about a beautiful diamond. One might think that these people are the “expensive” sellers. In fact these sellers may be the ones offering the real value in that they are working within their profession or trade to better serve you with a better diamond!

Take a look at the diamond. Use your eyes. Use a magnifying “loupe” or microscope. Take a good look at the diamond grading certificate. Look at the “plot” that is on the grading report. You can see these differences quite easily.

In some cases, even though you may know very little about diamond grading, you will see that one diamond may have only a slight white inclusion (Yes, it is my opinion that this is the one you should want!) – and another diamond may contain many black imperfections. Most people do not want black carbon inclusions or black carbon imperfections in their diamond. This is usually the reason why one diamond is more expensive than another – even if the grading is the same!

As a potential retail or internet diamond buyer, one must understand that it is difficult to put on paper what the eye sees or to otherwise describe the beauty of a diamond in a diamond grading report. We are not talking about automobiles that are assembled in a factory. We are talking about diamonds. Every diamond is unique. Every diamond has it’s unique inclusions.

Trying to categorize diamonds by diamond grading is like trying to categorize a beautiful woman. Diamonds are creations of nature. Like beautiful flowers or sunsets or a beautiful woman, beauty and the elements that make up beauty cannot simply be classified by categories or be understood by a diamond grading report.

Pay attention to the diamond that you are buying. Do not simply rely on the diamond grading report to ascertain value. The real value of a diamond is based on it’s beauty and it’s own unique characteristics – and not simply in a piece of paper that attempts to describe it!