Al Gilbertson

The GIA Diamond Cut Grading System

Not even staying the night in a Holiday Inn Express would have prepared me for this evening. This evening, our diamond grading world changed forever.

Al Gilbertson has blessed us before, a few years back, when he came from GIA headquarters in Carlsbad, CA, to delineate the history of the American Round Brilliant Cut Diamond, and to bring us up to date on the state of the research which culminated in tonight�s presentation.

GIA's Al Gilbertson with chapter member Chuck Hyland

GIA’s Al Gilbertson with chapter member Chuck Hyland

Now, with the results of more than fifteen years of research and the examination of over 70,000 round brilliant cut diamonds, Al�s mastery of the topic made the mysteries of the 4th C a bit less of an enigma.

The GIA could have no better point man for the job of sharing this latest development than Al Gilbertson. He is a man with tremendous industry experience and an impeccable reputation for thoroughness. Al has worked tirelessly for years on this very project. It was an eye-opening evening that touched only the tip of the “eyes-berg”. GIA plans a three hour presentation on this topic in conjunction with the 2006 Door-Step program.

Shirleen Bradbury and Martin Fuller obviously enjoyed the evening

Shirleen Bradbury and Martin Fuller obviously enjoyed the evening

In a system simply comprised of three major descriptive components containing a total of seven sub-categories, based on a total of twelve measurements and observations, we arrive swiftly at one of five grades, to put it in a nutshell. In the end, we have Diamond Cut Quality Grade categories of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair or Poor.

To derive the new and improved Diamond Cut Grade, the GIA incorporates all of it’s current measurements and observations as noted on the present Diamond Grading Report, with several new measurements and observations. These new bits of information include star facet and lower half facet percentages, crown and pavilion angles, as well as girdle minimum and girdle maximum measurements. Mix it together and what have you got? One of the five new cut grades.

The curious result of these possible parameter permutations reveals that there is more than one way to cut a diamond of “Excellent” cut quality. At the same time, the current criteria for an “Excellent/Excellent” cut diamond will not necessarily give you an “Excellent” grade in the new system. You might not even rate a “Good”, if your heretofore “Excellent/Excellent” diamond is overly “painted” or dug-out”. Whew! It may be easier just to skin a cat. I still think beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’m just here to report the facts.

Speaker Gilbertson meets with members before the talk

Speaker Gilbertson meets with members before the talk

The new system will be implemented January 1st, 2006. We may be longer in tooth, but those of us who have lived long enough to see this system come to fruition should be ready to jump for joy. Everyone in the trade will have no trouble dancing to the beat of this new industry jig, as they’ll feel light as a feather once they’ve finished paying for their GIA DiamondDock (at approx. $1,650), standardized, balanced and consistent lighting and viewing environment. And if you can’t afford the Sarin or OGI machine (starting at $5,850), a $500 reticle will help you all who charge by the hour for appraisals.

For those who prefer the “Free” route, the GIA has developed an on-line cut grade predictor called, “FACETWARE” (just fill in your own observations). Before you do however, this is one EULA (Short for End-User License Agreement) you HAVE to read, because clicking the “I ACCEPT” button might turn your cursor into a cloven-hoofed curser. In particular, read the paragraph on PUBLICITY. ( ) I decided to decline, so I could legally relay my hopes and fears.

We had a large turnout for GIA's new Cut-Grade talk

We had a large turnout for GIA’s new Cut-Grade talk

As the president of Kassoy mentions regarding the new GIA system in his essay (New Diamond Cutting Grading Standards ), the Chinese character for crisis and opportunity are the same. The crisis is the challenge to the trade and the public to adopt a new set of stone tablets from on high with the high hopes that no one from the Color Master project had anything to do with this, and the opportunity is for equipment manufacturers to do what they do best, sell more gear.

In closing this Pandoran box, I would encourage everyone to learn as much about this new system as possible, because it, and several other new systems are making attempts at scoring the Cut Grade Grail. To learn more, go to the GIA information site, GIA | On Diamond Cut , as well as some of the discussion forums such as Pricescope Forums .

Knowledge is power. Most importantly, beauty is beauty, and it still lies in the eye of the beholder, and no one to my knowledge has the patent or copyright.

Martin Fuller, GG

Photos by Bill Scherlag

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