Diamond shopping can be quite a headache if you're keen on picking a diamond for you or your loved one that is high quality.
With so many different shapes, diamond grades, and every store telling you that their diamond is the best, it's easy to get overwhelmed.
Most people that walk into a diamond store to buy an engagement ring don't know anything other than their ring size, let alone diamond grades.
Super ideal cut diamonds have to come into the market recently as a diamond with superior cut grades that surpass ideal cut diamonds.
In this LearningJewelry.com guide, you will learn the following;
- What is a Super Ideal Cut Diamond?
- What is Light Performance?
- Are Super Ideal Cut Diamonds Expensive or Cheap?
- Where To Buy A Super Ideal Cut Diamond?
- And much more!
But are these diamonds worth buying? This buying guide will analyze all your burning questions about super ideal cut diamonds as well as give you some diamond education to avoid biased sales presentations.
What is a Super Ideal Cut Diamond?
Before you know what a super ideal cut diamond is, you'll need to know what an ideal cut diamond is.
An "Ideal" diamond is a type of diamond cut that specializes in perfect symmetry for optimal light performance.
The ideal cut was created by Marcel Tolkowsky who was not only one of the biggest diamond cutters in history but a mathematician as well. His math calculations were one of the reasons the symmetry and light return is so precise.
Both ideal cut and super ideal cut diamonds have surpassed the standard by the most prestigious name in diamonds, the Gemological Institute of America, also known as the GIA.
The highest cut grade from the GIA is Excellent Cut. The ideal cut can be applied to round diamonds, princess cut diamonds, and cushion cut diamonds.
Anatomy of a Diamond
Ideal and super ideal cut diamond proportions are dependent on the measurements of the diamond's anatomy. A diamond has two main parts, and a few parts within each.
The top of the diamond is called the crown. The bottom cone shape of the diamond is called the pavilion. The very tip of the bottom of the pavilion is called the culet.
The edge line that goes separates the crown from the pavilion is referred to as the girdle. The top surface of the crown of the diamond when you look down is called the table.
Super ideal cut diamonds are dependent on the pavilion depth, pavilion angle, the crown angle, crown height, table percent, lower girdles, girdle thickness, and facets.
GIA and AGS 0 Ideal Cut Grade
While GIA only grades up to Excellent cut, the American Gem Society (AGS) has a cut grade called the AGS Ideal 0 cut grade. GIA and AGS are standard for reliable grading reports.
Other grading reports like the IGI are less reliable because their standards are lower than the other two. GIA is top standard in all things diamonds, but AGS is a close second.
Read Also: AGS vs GIA, what's the difference?
But in the case of grading reports, AGS ideal cut diamonds are a better option if you're looking for a super ideal. Their ASET (Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool) imaging analyzes cut quality to reflect light.
The ASET is the only light performance tool created and used by gemologists all over the world. The GIA also used ASET and Idealscope images.
Is one truly better than the other? Honestly, they aren't much different. Check out this imaging comparison from Whiteflash of both of these diamonds and you be the judge.
A GIA excellent cut is almost identical to the AGS ideal cut but doesn't have the exact symmetry that makes it an ideal cut. The AGS ideal cut is the standard for all ideal cuts, including super ideal.
What is Light Performance?
The main appeal of a super ideal diamond is light performance. Light performance of a diamond is broken down into three main categories: brilliance, fire, and scintillation.
Brilliance - Brilliance is the light that is reflected through the bottom of the pavilion and the facets around it. There are many factors that affect the brilliance of a stone, though most chalk it up to the refractive index number of it.
Fire - Fire is the overall sparkle of the diamond and its color. There are more gimmicky diamonds on the market claiming to be the best in the fire, like the newer Leo First Light Diamond that came out in 2019.
The colorful rainbow effect added is a treatment to the diamond called nano prism finish. They basically paint over the diamond with a clear prism polish that breaks up the light on the surface of the diamond, displaying the rainbow effect.
It's nothing new or profound. They're just getting more money out of it now. If your diamond is cut well, it will have fire without a finish.
Scintillation - Scintillation is correlated to brilliance because it is a ton of tiny flashes of light. The more facets and the placement of facets are what affects the overall scintillation of a diamond.
A Leo First Light Diamond may have more scintillation because of its 66 facets. But when compared to the regular 57-58 facets of an ideal cut, you won't notice any difference because of the number of facets.
And the rainbow light it claims to emit? It's really a transparent rainbow film over your diamond after its been cut.
Are Super Ideal Cut Diamonds Expensive or Cheap?
Because super ideal cut diamonds take so much precision, measurement, and symmetry, they are going to be some of the most expensive diamonds you'll find. They will also have excellent craftsmanship.
At least, in comparison to a diamond with an Excellent Cut grade. Most super ideal cut diamonds are branded, and if you're a diamond shopper, you'll know that branded diamonds are so much more expensive than unbranded diamonds.
Keep in mind that the price of a super ideal cut diamond, or any diamond for that matter is dependent on multiple factors. The 4Cs have an impact on cost.
A super ideal cut diamond may have higher clarity, color grades, or carat weight based on a scale that cause diamonds to increase. Interestingly enough, you might be confused with comparing these diamonds, because sometimes a better clarity grade or color grade is less expensive than lower clarity or color grade.
Usually, when this happens, it's because there are more finite details about the diamond that doesn't get said on the grading report. This is why we have ASET and Ideal Scope imaging.
ASET imaging shows all the light that is reflected back through the diamond. Any white in an ASET image shows light leakage.
Here we have two super ideal cut diamonds from James Allen's branded line called True Hearts. These True Hearts diamonds have the same price, but the diamond grades are different.
The True Hearts on the left has a higher carat weight of 1.07 and better color grade as an E. The True Hearts diamond on the right has a carat weight of 1.04, and a color grade of G, which is lower than an E on the color grade scale of diamonds.
How To Buy A Super Ideal Cut Diamond?
With so many different super ideal cut diamonds on the market, it can be difficult to determine which company has the best cut ideal diamond. While no super ideal cut diamond brand is necessarily better than another, there are some things to consider when buying your first super ideal cut diamond.
Super Ideal Cut Brands
Almost every online diamond company has its own branded version of super ideal diamonds. You're less likely to find anything above ideal cut in local jewelry stores like Kay or Jared.
They may show you two images of a hearts and arrows pattern, but they made not even have ideal diamond proportions, which we will talk about in the FAQ. Let's get real though, super ideal cuts are kind of gimmicky.
Any diamond brand that has super ideal cut diamonds is inflating the price way beyond what it needs to be. A GIA excellent cut diamond can have close to the same proportions as a super ideal diamond, but be $1000 less.
Branded diamonds always come with a premium. It's a way for companies to get more $$ out your wallet for a diamond that isn't $1000 better, but rather like maybe a couple hundred.
So, when shopping around, don't fall for the gimmick that there's nothing like their super ideal, because I guarantee it is, and it's $1000 bucks cheaper.
Grading Reports and Certifications
If you're looking for a super ideal cut diamond, you HAVE to purchase one with a grading report from either a GIA or AGS.
Also Read: 4 Diamond Labs To Avoid
My ideal cut Tolkowsky diamond ring came with a GemEx certification and a GSI grading report. It tells you all of the diamond grades as well as two ideal scope images of the hearts and arrows pattern.
A GSI grading report is not sufficient to support the supposed diamond grades. I didn't know a whole lot about grading reports back then, but now I know better.
You see, the Gemological Science Institute was created for-profit. They marketed themselves to diamond industry giants like Jared and Kay. They get away with making a diamond look better than it actually is.
If I were to send my Tolkowsky ideal cut to the GIA or AGS grading labs, it would come back with different and lower grades than it is on the GSI report. And seeing as my center is an I1, that's not reassuring.
I will most definitely be buying my future upgrade from James Allen, who has similar rings with GIA grading reports and better diamond grades for less money.
Note: I will say, I do like that GSI graded diamonds come with a serial number inscribed on the diamond. GIA and AGS also do laser inscriptions on their diamonds. You can even get your own serial number on a diamond from home. Serial numbers allow protection from theft and resale.
While a light performance certification is not the same as a grading report, it can show the specifics of the appearance of your diamond. My Tolkowsky has a GemEx light performance report, which isn't necessary, but still kind of cool. Check it out below!
Where To Buy A Super Ideal Cut Diamond?
While most brands have a version of their own super ideal cut diamond, there are a few companies that I recommend you purchase from.
James Allen's True Hearts diamonds are among the most popular purchased super ideal cut. They all come with a GIA grading report or an AGS grading report, both of which are reliable and acceptable grading reports.
The round brilliant cut diamonds come with ASET imaging that reveals the hearts and arrows pattern, although this is not necessarily indicative of a super ideal cut. James Allen also offers True Hearts diamonds in princess and cushion cut but does not have ASET images.
A couple of other great places to buy super ideal diamonds are going to be Blue Nile with their Astor collection or Whiteflash with A Cut Above collection. These are all reliable and recommended places to buy a super ideal cut diamond.
Are Super Ideal Cut Diamonds Also Hearts & Arrows?
Yes and no. An ideal cut Tolkowsky diamond is also a hearts and arrows diamond, yet it is just an ideal cut. But just because a diamond is a hearts and arrows diamond, doesn't necessarily mean it's ideal or super ideal.
"Hearts and arrows" is a coined term for precision cut round diamonds. The symmetrical proportions allow viewers to look through a tool and see the shapes of hearts and arrows within the tool or microscope.
Is Cut More Important than Clarity?
If you're looking into diamonds, you'll undoubtedly have heard of the 4Cs: cut, clarity, color, and carat. Each of these 4 factors is used in determining the overall quality of the diamond.
An excellent cut is better than diamond's clarity, and I'm a huge clarity person. I'd rather have a smaller carat weight than sacrifice clarity.
But clarity should not take the front seat when measured against cut quality. Diamond cut quality is the foundation of your diamond's overall sparkle and light performance.
A poorly cut diamond that is clean of visible eye inclusions like a clarity grade of VVS2 will not sparkle near as much as a super ideal cut diamond with a clarity of VS1.
Both ideal and super ideal cut diamonds are also cut well enough that even if you had some small visible inclusions, you might not be able to see them at all because of the superior light performance. If you just had a "Very Good" cut grade, those inclusions would be more apparent.
Does Light Performance in A Super Ideal Cut Matter?
Light performance in a diamond matters, that much is true. But does it matter as much when a super ideal cut or ideal cut diamond is compared against the light performance of GIA excellent cut diamond?
To be honest, it really doesn't make that much of a difference. On paper, a super ideal cut diamond would seem better, but to the naked eye, you can't really tell the difference.
There are plenty of GIA Excellent cut quality round cut diamonds that are just as beautiful as a super ideal cut diamond.
In fact, the International Gem Society states that it'd be a better use of your money purchasing a GIA Excellent cut or AGS Ideal, rather than a super ideal diamond because the difference is minimal. The price is not worth the difference.
It may not have the perfect symmetry and light performance, but the only people that will tell a difference is going to be you and a jeweler. But some people are really wanting the most sparkle they can get out of a diamond and there's nothing wrong with that.