(Closed) Would you sacrifice carat size for color and clarity?

posted 6 years ago in Rings
Post # 62
199 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - Casa de España

@GG_Vega:  I chose color and clarity… It looks so much prettier and the clarity makes it look much bigger than it is.

Post # 63
814 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

DEFINITELY the smaller stone! My .73 carat F color VS1 clarity stone looks a million times better than my SILs 1 carat I color I3 clarity stone! 

Post # 64
853 posts
Busy bee

@mrsdfarrar6714:  But that’s an I3 which is really, really included so naturally it doesn’t look great. These are two great stones that the OP has a choice of.

@Jalapeno:  Exactly. The people talking about picking a good quality stone over a ‘poorly cut’ stone seem to have forgotten that the both stones are cut well and have good colour, it’s just that one is cut a little better and is a little whiter than the next. Neither is poorly cut nor yellow-coloured.

I’d go with the bigger size also. While high-quality stones definitely cost more than equally-sized stones of lower quality, the one C that determines price above all else is Carat. Larger diamonds are, and have always been, in high demand and highly-valued and as a result, you pay accordingly for it.


Post # 65
28 posts
  • Wedding: November 2014

@Arshim:  Amen. Some diamond marketer out there got their wings on this thread. Guaranteed: when you get it, and people are rude/intimately acquainted enough to ask, it will be “how big is it?” and never “what clarity is it?” and if size didn’t matter, why look at big ‘uns to begin with?


Post # 66
302 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

2.10 is plenty of diamond. You will not regret choosing the better quality 2.10 over the lower quality 2.5

Post # 66
537 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

GG_Vega:  Colour is a personal choice I think. Depends on your preference. Clarity would affect the sparkle however so I wouldn’t compromise on that. The carat sizes are similar though so you shouldn’t see much of a size difference? You won’t always see them side by side after all.

Post # 67
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

It depends on the size of your fingers. I have small hands and relatively thin fingers so for me yes I would sacrifice carat size for color and clarity.

Like other bees mentioned it is also a fiancé’s choice. While I provided my description of an ideal ring to my future husband, he made the final decision and I am happy about that. This is a gift that represents his/her commitment to you so you should be appreciative you got one (and are marrying the love of your life)


Post # 68
6547 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Overall, by my personal “sweet spot” for diamonds, the larger stone would not be a sacrifice. An H stone is plenty white for me, and the difference in clarity should not be visible. I would make a point of looking at the stones in different lighting environments, but NOT right next to each other. Everyone is fond of saying that comparison is the thief of joy, and comparing a gorgeous stone next to another gorgeous stone with higher specs will make the differences obvious. What it comes down to is how colour sensitive you are and whether the difference between the stones will haunt you if you don’t take the higher quality one. That’s a personal decision and not a value judgement, IMO.

And keep in mind that Tiffany stones are commonly graded in-house. That’s not necessarily bad, but the cuts can vary, even between stones that are supposed to be the same. So the lower carat stone may even have a better cut, makiing it more lively in the light. If that’s the case, then it may not even be the higher specs that make it stand out, but the cut. If that’s the case, I’d definitely go for the smaller stone. Cut is king, and the best specs in the world cannot make up for poor cut. Can you get the angles and measurements to see how they rate on the HCA? That might give you another tool to help judge with.

Post # 69
17 posts
  • Wedding: July 1976 - Newport News City Park at Newport News, VA.

mrsdfarrar6714 :  You said – “DEFINITELY the smaller stone! My .73 carat F color VS1 clarity stone looks a million times better than my SILs 1 carat I color I3 clarity stone!”

I should hope to smile!! My gosh! An I color I3??? That is, other than lowering the color, which in this case it doesn’t sound like you could see much of anyway, the worst grade on the market! Was she SO set on that “magic number” size of 1 carat that she absolutely had to sacrifice everything else to get it? That’s really sad, because it sounds like she just had to have – OR her SO just had to buy – a one carat stone, no matter what else had to be given up to do it.

So, now she’s got “the big rock” that I bet you she’s always dreamed of having and showing off to her friends, but it sounds to me like it’s not even pretty or sparkly to look at. It really makes me wonder just what went on in that purchase transaction. Was it a chain store purchase? Online order, basically bought sight unseen? I really have never seen an I3 stone that looked like it was really worth half the tag price, or even half of that! I’ve always thought those grades of stones, unless there is something really unusually spectacular about them somehow, don’t even belong in jewelry most of the time. 

My maternal grandfather was a very talented and creative stone cutter/gemologist, and custom metalworker as well. He did some fabulous work, including some custom diamond faceting work for Harry Winston back in the early 70’s. I learned an awful lot about diamonds, and jewelry in general, from him before he passed away. And I’ve continued to learn from another source as well – a younger woman than myself, who also had a grandfather in the business, but hers opened and ran his own retail jewelry store, as well as being a watchmaker. She is now third generation to run the store, and has basically taken over from her parents, starting from working part-time in high school and every summer. We’ve done many projects together, since they have always had a full time goldsmith and repair person on staff in house. No sending things out, and she’s there for almost instant consultations, if not wrapped up in a project of some kind. Plus, I do lots of my own research from reputable sources. Enough of my qualifications, for what they’re worth. I can’t imagine what it take to make such a stone appear attractive. Can you? I kind of feel sad for her though. I bet she had other things in mind for her one carat diamond solitaire.

I have a .35ct F IF round brilliant stone, and it’s in a very minor, but beautifully done tulip shape white gold illusion mounting, on a 14kt yellow gold, halo profile band, with a matching yellow gold wedding band. This I wear since my husband is unable to wear his white gold wedding band due to a metal allergy we didn’t know anything about until two days after the wedding! We had to wait quite a while to make the switch from white gold to yellow, but this was the eventual result for me. I could, and did, continue to wear my white gold original set for many years, and switched my set when I could afford to create what I really wanted, so I did. 

What I mean by “minor” illusion mounting, is that it’s not a square head, like the older vintage styles, but a round one with a tulip shape prong base, with the appearance of a six prong head, and a very small white gold “collar” surrounding the diamond just enough to make it look like double its size. It’s difficult to really describe it clearly, and as it’s in the middle of the night, I can’t turn on the light to take pictures! Plus, we’re in the middle of a giant thunderstorm, and I don’t want to get up out of my comfy bed at the moment! I have one picture on here, but it’s too blurry and dark to do my rings any justice! I will try to get some tomorrow if there’s any interest in seeing them! I got the diamond from someone on eBay who was selling it, but at the time he had no idea what he had as far as stone quality was concerned. But he did take marvelous close up shots of the stone, and I could see right through it! Without my glasses or contacts, I can see up close extremely well,  I knew I had something good, even though small, but was very surprised to discover that the GIA certified gemologist I took it to, to have it thoroughly examined, told me it was completely flawless inside, and almost the same on the outside, with only a couple of minor issues with the polish! What a great buy! I got it basically for a song, so to speak, and it was worth every note! 

Post # 70
1715 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

  GG_Vega :  I’m not sure how to say this politely, so I’m going to be blunt. Stop. You don’t know what you are doing with diamonds. You and your Fiance are about to spend a lot of money and you are asking the wrong questions about diamonds

1) Unless you have a cultural reason for needs a very high-clarity diamond, you don’t need to be paying for a VVS. VS1 and VS2, verified eye-clean are fine.

2) Next, not even a gemologist could decide between the two stones you described without more information. Being a Tiffany stone does not guarantee top performance. My grandmother accompanied a friend to Tiffany’s to select a 4 carat stone (’cause it had to be Tiffany’s). After 3 hours, and millions of dollars in diamonds passing before her, my grandmother approved exactly two stones – armed only with a loupe, calipers and a table lamp. Her friend bought the one my grandmother favored after a walk outside (4.3 c, VS1, Excellent precision, symmetry, and polish; no fluorescence). What was the difference? CUT. Why a table lamp? She would make them turn off the overhead lights on the stones she liked to make sure they looked good outside of the store lights and in normal lights. 

3) Normally, I discount in-house grading reports. But, Tiffany and Harry Winston are exceptions. They did not get this far by selling junk diamonds. But, that is not the same as saying they have only the best performing diamonds.

Look at the report for every single stone you like, I’d start with G/H, VS1/VS2 stones:

a) CUT – On the Tiffany report, under PRESENCE, it will list “Precision of Cut”, Symmetry and Polish. You want Excellent or Very Good in every category. I’d drop color to get three excellents.

b) CUT – Under “CUT PROPORTIONS”, enter them into the Holloway cut Advisor. Anything that does not score a 1.9 or less is removed from the running. Scoring 1.0 vs. 1.9 is not important.


Here’s the cheat sheet for rounds (compiled from various experts on PS):
depth – 60 – 62%
table – 54- 57%
crown angle – 34- 35 degrees
pavilion angle – 40.6- 41 degrees
girdle – thin to slightly thick, thin to medium, etc (avoid very thin or thick)
polish and symmetry – very good and above

note – with crown and pavilion angles at the shallower ends ( CA 34- PA 40.6) and steeper ( CA 35- PA 41) check to make sure these angles complement in that particular diamond – eyeballs, Idealscope, trusted vendor input – check as appropriate!

Also, configurations depend on each other. A little give here can still work with a little take there.

With that said, here”s a “Cliff”s Notes” for staying near Tolkowsky/ideal angles with GIA reports (their numbers are rounded): A crown angle of 34.0, 34.5 or 35.0 is usually safe with a 40.8 pavilion angle. If pavilion angle = 40.6 lean toward a 34.5-35.0 crown. If pavilion angle = 41 lean toward a 34.0-34.5 crown.

GIA “EX” in cut is great at its heart, but it ranges a bit wider than some people prefer, particularly in deep combinations (pavilion > 41 with crown > 35). In other words, there are some GIA Excellents that are better than others.

Also, always check diameter to be sure stone faces up as large as it should, ex: 1 ct. 6.5mm, 1.5 cts. 7.4mm, 2.0 = 8.0 mm, 2.5=8.5 mm, etc.

c) Flouresce – This is a non-issue if a gemologist will verify it does not cause milkiness or haziness (at a 2+ carat stone, this should also be visible to you).

d) At this point, you narrowed the selections to only the best performers. Line those up crown up. Look only at the sparkle and faceting. Spend some time at this. Have them accompany you into real daylight (indirect).  Does your eye keep coming back to one? If so, that is probably a winner. If you get way out of your price range, drop the color first and consider SI1 stones that the gemologist says are eye-clean. 

e) Do you need to own a diamond from Tiffany’s? If not, you can find all of this analysis done for you along with a huge price difference at some of the highly reputable online vendors that do this process for you. Here are just a few. Every one of these also will call in stones for you and they all make a ‘tiffany’ inspired setting.  For any stone you like, they will get a ASET and tell you which look the best. 

  • Whiteflash – A Cut Above
  • Good Old Gold – Ascendancy Hearts & Arrows or Solasfera (different facet pattern)
  • Victor Canera – Hearts & Arrows
  • Brian Gavin – Signature

There are lots of other details, but if you follow this approach with a round, you’ll be selecting one of the top 5% diamonds on the market. 

Whew! Good Luck Bee!

Post # 71
3114 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman

If the cut is the same, I would choose the larger stone for sure. The specs are still really good on the larger one, but if it’s a poorer cut, I would choose the smaller one. 

Post # 72
171 posts
Blushing bee

It’s been 3 years, pretty sure OP has purchased her ring by now lol 

Post # 73
1203 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2002

Both of those will face up white, and both have excellent clarity. I would base it upon cut and their HCA scores. I would want the one that performed best. The size difference would mean nothing to me, especially with those high carat weights

oops….old discussion!!  

Post # 74
17 posts
  • Wedding: July 1976 - Newport News City Park at Newport News, VA.

GG_Vega :  Yes, this is quite “late out of the gate,” so to speak, but for the benefit of others with basically the same question, I offer the following:

All things considered, I would always take better quality over bigger size with poorer quality. There are numerous ways to compensate for less in the size department, such as the design of the mounting, the inclusion of microscopic pave around the center stone, and so forth, but it’s difficult to make a cloudy, or included, or poorly cut stone look much better, and even so, a bigger stone shows those things more clearly. 

If it were up to me, I would sacrifice a few points in size for a really dazzling, sparkling, delightfully brilliant, slightly smaller stone. The money saved in size of the stone you can devote to a more special, more beautiful mounting that would play up the beauty of the stone over the little bit you lose in size. I think you’d be happier in the long run looking down at your hand to see a beautiful, glittering stone, as opposed to more of what’s only mediocre. 

Now, I of course realize that the time for making the decision that was originally referenced by the question is long past. But, my answer to this question still stands no matter who is asking it, or when, because it’s surely likely to come up again as time goes on. 

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