Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Certified Diamonds - Ideal Cut or Excellent?

Perhaps the biggest news in the jewelry industry in the past several decades is the launch of GIA's new cut grading system. Beginning this month GIA diamond reports on round brilliant diamonds will contain an overall cut grade.

After the most exhaustive scientific study ever conducted on diamond cut, GIA has settled on a grading scale consisting of five overall grades:

  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor

GIA will not use the term "Ideal" although most, but not necessarily all, diamonds considered Ideal by other labs or industry professionals will fall into the Excellent category. By the same token, some stones not considered Ideal by some will fall into the top grade!

The GIA system was developed with the use of state-of-the art computer "light ray tracing" software and validated by over 70,000 controlled human observations involving 2300 different diamonds.

The resulting system has calculated the cut results for 38.5 million proportion sets based on the assessment of seven components:

  • Brightness
  • Fire
  • Scintillation
  • Weight ratio
  • Durability
  • Polish
  • Symmetry

GIA will only provide a cut grade on round brilliant diamonds initially, but plan to extend grading to fancy shapes using the same basic technology and methodologies. The first fancy shape to roll out will be Princess cut at a time yet to be announced.

It will be very interesting to see what impact the new system has on the certified diamond market. Will all the competing claims surrounding Ideal diamonds be silenced? Or will certain entities in the diamond world dispute the validity of GIA's system? It will be very interesting to to watch it shake out.

It is likely that because of GIA's global stature and the extensive research that has gone into this project, that their cut grading system will become the new standard. It is also probable that all those companies selling certified diamonds who have been marketing feverishly around the terms Ideal and Super Ideal will resist abandoning those terms. There will almost certainly be a period of controversy and repositioning of marketing strategies as the certified diamond industry adjusts to the new paradigm.

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