Saturday, 8 December 2018

Memory Jewellery Promotion!

Memory Jewellery has thrown its gauntlet by offering a rather attractive engagement ring package!

Check it out:

Get in touch with them via their Facebook page!

I am not sure how good is their selection criteria, but if you stick to WhiteFlash ACA specs, you will have a higher chance to land yourself on a better diamond! Of course, diamond precision is very important as well, but at this price, I think all you can get is the actual diamond image only.

Wow! Look at this Beautiful 0.91ct G VS1 WhiteFlash ACA!

This diamond is simply amazing. Performance is really top-notch!

The tremendous performance of 0.91ct G VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
Price-wise, not cheap at all. USD 7086! That's like RM 29798.15.

In comparison, if we look at ZCOVA, we can find a 90-pointer as well, priced at RM 24766.00.

As you can see, we will have some savings in the thousands if we buy this stone from ZCOVA.

Based on the proportions, this diamond will favour brightness more. Cut is not as top-notch as the WhiteFlash piece above, but the price justifies it. Compare the table width to the diamond depth, it is a 60/60 stone, but this one, has a rather decent crown angle and pavilion angle pairing.

Of course, you can still approach ZCOVA to source you more options if the WhiteFlash piece above is too pricey for your liking and the current ZCOVA stone in picture does not meet your requirement, I am sure ZCOVA is able to assist.

Nonetheless, the video of the diamond really captures my attention and I believe this diamond will be a very exciting diamond in real life!

If you want other options, I see that this 0.915ct D VS2 Black by Brian Gavin piece is worth considering. It is slightly pricey that the 0.91ct G VS1, but you will be getting a D colour instead at the cost of 1 clarity grade lower, but yet remain eye-clean.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

ZCOVA Full-Blown Referral Tracking System!

It has been awhile since my last meeting with ZCOVA and today I finally received an email from their referral tracking system. This probably makes ZCOVA one of the first jeweller in Malaysia to implement a full-blown referral tracking system, so congratulations to team ZCOVA!

Note: The other jeweller I just found out that has an affiliate program will be Jeole Jewellery (MY) via the Involve Asia platform. They are doing fashion jewellery rather than engagement rings though.

ZCOVA's implementation of Post Affiliate Pro!
If you are thinking to buy from BlueNile, the world's largest diamond online shop, then do consider to buy from ZCOVA instead. Firstly, this is simply because for one obvious reason - BlueNile does not ship to Malaysia. Secondly, ZCOVA has inventory that is as extensive as BlueNile (other than BlueNile in-house stones). Price-wise, ZCOVA might be slightly more expensive, but might be cheaper at other times. There is one-time a reader asked me about a stone and I found out that ZCOVA is actually cheaper than BlueNile itself! Of course, some time ago, I can actually get the same stone that ZCOVA offering at a cheaper price from Zoara, another online-based company which I affiliate with. So as you can see, things can go both ways.

One thing to note is that ZCOVA won't list the whole inventory in their website due to some constraints I mentioned previously. Therefore, if you want to search for a diamond from the comfort of your home, I would suggest you to go to BlueNile. If you see a particular stone you like, feel free to contact ZCOVA to request them to source for you. I have tried that and yes, it actually works.

In any case, if you are confident that you are able to get the same stone at a cheaper price than ZCOVA, they have a price match policy that will allow them to consider to match the cheaper price, but of course, the final decision lies with them. ZCOVA will also try to match the price of a different stone which is pretty identical to the list of stones that are able to offer as well. At the end of the day, the extra that you are paying for ZCOVA is really for their one-stop service and the comfortable experience that they are able to provide.

If you are a newbie into diamond purchasing, what I would suggest you to do is to walk-in to any brick-and-mortar stores in the shopping centers around you. Have some extensive experience with them, then, make an appointment with ZCOVA (yes, they are running a lean team so it is best to make appointment) and try them out. As I have always said, whichever way that you feel best for you and your partner is the most important. No right or wrong decision.

Anyway, ZCOVA is here to stay. With the implementation of this referral tracking system, I would say they are moving in the right direction to become a better online diamond seller. I am looking forward to see one day for them to become the BlueNile of Malaysia, and after that, they may possibly become an inspiration for other jewellers, which we will call them the ZCOVA of <some place here>.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

An Extremely Amazing 1.348ct D IF WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Stone!

This extremely amazing stone from WhiteFlash is gorgeous!

1.348ct D IF WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Diamond Image
1.348ct D IF WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Diamond IdealScope
1.348ct D IF WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Diamond ASET
1.348ct D IF WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Hearts
Being at the very top of the scale of almost everything, it is for those who aim towards perfection. You won't reach perfection because the stone is no FL yet, but you will be damn close to it. And...what I don't like about the stone? Probably the slight variances in the arrows length, which I totally don't really care too much because the arrows look fat enough to return some seriously bold sparks! Also, the Hearts look amazing! The calculated ideal weight is 1.350ct, so we can assume that this diamond is cut to maximize its beauty rather than weight retention. Also, the pairing of the crown angle and the pavilion angle is nicely done! It is close to the classic Tolkowsky ideal cut and the concept of the ideal inverse relationship between the crown angle and the pavilion angle is nicely executed here. To add on, the table is on the smaller side of things as well while the lower girdle percentage is also at 76%. All I can anticipate is that this stone will return some seriously excellent fire and some flowing bold sparks!

In my own experience studying online and understanding more about diamonds, I came to the conclusion that smaller table indeed perform better, but don't let that idea overcome you. In fact, you can safely choose any diamonds that fall within the proportions of the ACA specs. But for me, as a rule of thumb, as the diamond depth goes deeper, the diamond table should go smaller, or as the diamond depth goes shallower, the diamond table can become wider. However, in this case, the diamond depth is going deeper, yet the table is still small? Is this alright? Perfectly fine. In fact, I think this is very hard to come by and it is even better! This is because in the original Tolkowsky ideal cut, the table is 53% and the table is only 59.3%. But let me iterate again, let's not get too overly concerned on this because the diamonds provided by WhiteFlash are fully vetted by a few person before being categorized as an ACA. In real life, you can of course always find a better diamond, but I am almost certain that once you get your hands on this stone, it will be so special to you, just like your partner or other precious things in life, that you will keep wanting to look at it and cherish it for the rest of your life. It is a damn good stone.

Super Ideals are Expensive, but Brick-and-Mortar Stores Signature Diamonds are More Expensive!

Some of us may know that super ideals come with a premium, but why are these stones still selling well? In my opinion, this is because the premium that is factored into the diamond prices of those signature diamonds in brick-and-mortar stores are higher! I was quoted RM 17K for a 50-pointer together with a 18k white gold ring. Of course, this is the price before any negotiation, but I honestly do not think that I can get a few thousand Ringgit discount off the original quoted price, which is where the price of a high quality super ideal together with a 18k white gold ring stands. I can't remember the colour and clarity of the stone that was quoted to me, but I doubt it is a D VVS2 like this one.

0.508ct D VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Diamond Image
0.508ct D VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Diamond IdealScope
0.508ct D VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Diamond ASET
0.508ct D VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Diamond Hearts
This stone is extremely well-cut. I might complain about the 2 o'clock hearts which seems to exhibit an almost non-existent bending tip, as well as the 6 o'clock arrow head at the actual diamond image that shows that the arrow head is very very slighly tilted to the left side. But again, when you go to such level of details, it is crazy because this is one hell of a diamond. The fact that WhiteFlash is showing such large image is beneficial to the consumer, but not so beneficial to themselves. Why? Simple, try to zoom out your browser window, you can see the bending tip becomes less obvious, and this can easily make the diamond looks better. Not sure is because they want to be more transparent, or they simply don't mind or maybe don't care at all. Nonetheless, after seeing terrible hearts and so-called Hearts & Arrows diamond from some other places, I really can't neglect this diamond, it is very good. If I am in the market searching for something with extremely white and extremely eye-clean, this will be the one, as of now.

Now, the price for this stone is USD 2701, which converts to RM 11382.22 using MoneyMatch at the exchange rate of 4.2141. Use my referral code REF_ACOO to get RM 50 off first transaction! Be ready to pay RM 8 transaction fee though.

Then, we move on to the ring. Memory Jewellery engagement ring starts from RM 1499 and the price may still be negotiable a bit. Finally, we just take the final amount of the diamond without any discount and add it to the amount of the ring setting, which we can safely assume it is RM 1499, the total will be RM 12881.22. Let's just round up to RM 13k.

So, let's look back - RM 17 vs RM 13k. And that RM 17k stone's colour and clarity is highly unlikely to be the same as this 0.508ct D VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series stone! Heck, to save further, I can even consider this Black by Brian Gavin stone - A 0.513ct E VS1 stone which is cut to exacting standard. The price? USD 2525, which converts to RM 10640.54. Let's just round up to RM 11k. They do not give out free delivery but if you are buying a Black by Brian Gavin, you can probably ask nicely for it. But from now until the end of the year, you don't have to ask because they are providing free shipping! So, 11k vs 17k for a signature diamond from brick-and-mortar store? I don't know about you, but I would prefer to save a few thousand Ringgit for my honeymoon! Despite buying from a brick-and-mortar store allows you to see the actual diamond in real life, but buying online allows you to analyze the diamond's performance images, along with the highly zoomed actual diamond video, which can be just as good, or even better because you can actually understand the details of what you are buying more. Of course, in some more affordable brick-and-mortar stores, their diamond price can compete with the super ideals I am affiliate with, but then again, we can usually only be able to see the actual diamond and not the precision of the Hearts, nor the performance images of the diamond. Because of this, I am still more inclined to buy online.

Ok, now, if we move on to normal ideal diamonds, this is where the one of the challenges to sell a super ideal diamond is. Why? This is because you can always get a normal ideal diamond at a substantial cheaper price, as far as Ringgit is concerned. What is ideal diamond? The truth is, there is really no actual definition. Some would say a GIA Triple Excellent diamond will be an ideal diamond. As for me, my definition for ideal diamond is that the diamond must meet the strict proportions of the WhiteFlash specs, with some leniency in terms of total diamond depth. And I am not saying this simply because I am affiliate with them. I am saying this because the numbers are close to the original Tolkowsky ideal cut proportions:

And they have proof to show that the proportions work. I give some leniency for total diamond depth because I find that diamonds that are deeper than 62% still do not leak light sometimes. For the savings part, I have managed to source a 40-pointer GIA Triple Excellent with ideal proportions and superb colour and clarity from Memory Jewellery for one of my clients before. That diamond shows clear and well-aligned arrows and has faint fluorescence, which is absolutely okay because AGS takes into account both GIA fluorescence none and GIA fluorescence faint as AGS fluoresence neglible. That diamond also states that it is 100% Hearts & Arrows, and although the overall look is promising, but without the actual Hearts image, it is hard to tell whether the Hearts & Arrows precision is as good as those from WhiteFlash or Brian Gavin Diamonds. There is also no ASET and IdealScope to check on the light return. Nonetheless, I believe the differences won't be as substantial as the price difference, so it is very much worth it, as far as Ringgit is concerned. Such good stones are actually hard to get, so please do not expect that all stones that are sold by Memory Jewellery is good. I can easily find tonnes of not-so-good stones compared to a very good one. You will have better chance to land on a better stone if you adhere to WhiteFlash ACA specs, and that is provided if you able to filter out any stones at all.

Ideal diamonds aside, another challenge is that the price of typical a Triple Excellent is also very tempting. When you can have a 0.4ct E VVS2 diamond together with 18k white gold ring that comes with side-stones at RM 6299.00, you will be very very tempted.

Tailored Jewel Promotion

ZCOVA Promotion
At the end of the day, only you yourself knows what to get for your partner. My advice is, always stick to your budget and try to get what your budget can bring you. If sacrificing cut can get your a bigger stone, which is what you prefer, then by all means do that. If sacrificing size for a better cut, which is what you prefer, then again, by all means, do that. Heck, if you prefer to buy from a traditional brick-and-mortar store, you can just do that as well. There is really no right or wrong. I am usually just giving you options to choose from based on your budget. Best of luck for those who are on the hunt for an engagement ring!

Monday, 26 November 2018

Actual Diamond Videos - How can They Benefit the Consumers?

Actual diamond videos are helpful, especially when determining how eye-clean a diamond can be.

Experience WhiteFlash diamonds in 360 degree HD video!
They are also useful in determining the scintillation, the brilliance, and the sparkle of a diamond, as long as the diamond retailer provides it like how WhiteFlash did. It will help you gauge how well a diamond can perform in real life. Of course, this is highly magnified videos so sometimes you may not see the minor details such as the minor sparks in real life. Nonetheless, personally I find it rather useful as I have a client that upgraded his diamond and the diamond he has chosen has tremendous performance on the video with bold flashes and coloured sparkles which correlates with its real life performance. But then, don't solely rely on the videos alone, make use of the proportions to gauge the performance as well.

Now, let's take a look at a practical usage for the video provided by WhiteFlash. We take a look at the video of this wonderfully cut diamond 0.62ct H VS2 WhiteFlash Expert Selection. At first glanced, I was deeply surprised to see this diamond falls into the category of Expert Selection, as this diamond is more than enough to fall under WhiteFlash ACA category, based on both performance images and proportions! If we are buying solely based on those images and proportions, I would say it is a good catch! However, in this case, not so, so what exactly has gone wrong?

Here is the some images captured from the diamond video at 3 different angles.

Do you see it has a cloudy appearance? Apparently this diamond has worse than VS2 clarity in real life. In reality, this diamond has excessive cloud inclusions that the grader decided not to take it into account. How can we know? Well, it is actually stated in the grading report: Clarity grade based on clouds not shown. Now, this practice is not only limited to AGS only, but GIA as well. You can read more about this in Beyond4Cs.

Now, I have to give it to WhiteFlash for being transparent in this matter. Without the video, it can easily fool many people as the actual photograph of the diamond itself looks pretty nice and the other performance images are simply excellent.

Sweet Spot Proportions (WhiteFlash as Example)

So, after viewing diamonds online for 2 years and study what I can get online, I can summarize what I learned about the sweet spot proportions as below:

1. Table (<=56%) - Better fire. Table (>=57%) - Better brilliance. Personally I tend to prefer better fire, but I would also prefer wider table if the diamond depth is slightly on the shallow side. The pairing of deeper cut diamond with smaller table and the pairing of shallower cut diamond with wider table is what I have observed in those super ideal diamonds inventory, hence, I come out with this theory.

2. Crown angle (34.0 degree to 35.0 degree) and Pavilion angle (40.6 degree to 40.9 degree) - The steeper the crown angle gets, the more fire it will gain. As for pavilion angle, what is a suitable angle really depends on the crown angle, but in general, the range provided above, which is the range for ACA specs, is safe to pair with any crown angle between 34.0 degree to 35.0 degree. These 2 angles are the most important criterias in choosing diamond.

Always remember - Steep crown angle must paired with shallow pavilion angle while shallow crown must paired with steep pavilion angle. This being said, 41.2 degree is actually acceptable, it is actually the steepest pavilion angle you should get, but it comes with a caveat - it is advisable not to choose a steep angle like 35 degree because it is highly unlikely to work well. A 34 degree crown angle may work well instead because it is towards the shallow side. As for 34.5 degree crown angle, I will have to review the performance images first before I am willing to put my money down.

You can still see 41.4 degree pavilion angle diamond being graded as an GIA Excellent Cut diamond but this is one of those diamonds you should avoid. It will very likely to leak light most of the time, if not, then the crown angle will be very shallow to compensate for it, and this may cause the girdle to be very thin and may compromise the integrity of the diamond (meaning the diamond will be fragile).

Nonetheless, when hitting the sweet spot proportions like what that are stated in the ACA specs will guarantee you a decent performer with excellent IdealScope and excellent ASET. They are really the bullseye for excellent light performance.

If you are wondering whether there are any more things we can further narrow down to select a better diamond, there is one thing you can do - You can still apply the same principle of the inverse relationship of crown angle and pavilion angle within the tight proportions of an ACA! For example, I find that 34.3 degree crown angle, 34.4 degree crown angle, and 34.5 degree crown angle, when paired with a 40.8 degree pavilion angle. As you can see, those crown angles are towards the shallow side to the exact middle nunber (34.5 degree is the middle) of the crown angle on ACA specs, while the 40.8 degree pavilion is slightly towards the steeper side. I always think that the best relationship of the crown angle and the pavilion angle will exhibit a Hearts pattern similar to the one below in the diamond grading report:
Hearts image with best relationship of the crown angle and the pavilion angle (in my opinion).
Of course, this is really a bonus. In reality, ACA specs are really tight enough. Personally, I may choose a diamond with 34.7 degree crown angle that is paired with a 40.8 degree crown angle if the Hearts image is better than a diamond with 34.5 degree crown angle and 40.8 degree pavilion angle. Of course, this is not all, personally, I would also rely on the actual diamond video to see which diamond really captures my eye. If the 34.5 degree crown angle and 40.8 degree pavilion angle manage to capture my attention, it is highly likely that I will go for that instead of the very slightly better Hearts diamond. Again, personal preference. I also like 35.0 degree crown angle diamond that is paired with a 40.6 degree pavilion angle. Can't say no to some extra fire, technically. ;)

Another tip, but take it with a pinch of salt
3. Star Length (>=50%). I find that diamonds with star length 50% or more will exhibit more contrast, making the diamond look busier and subsequently improve the fire of the diamond. WhiteFlash has a minimum requirement of 48% star length, but personally, I find that higher star length gives me the necessary peace of mind that the diamond will exhibit more interesting sparkles. 52% to 55% seems to be an excellent choice. Using the actual diamond grading report, we can observe the contrast level of the diamond better. Below is an example of the ASET on the grading report that exhibits good contrast level:
ASET with Good Contrast. Notice the Blue Burst in the Middle.
I tend to favour higher star length when Brian Gavin Diamonds firstly release their Black by Brian Gavin Collection, I saw that most of the diamonds produced by them exhibit great contrast. I learned from Black by Brian Gavin because this collection is produced by one of the best cutters in the world - Brian Gavin, and Black by Brian Gavin is the pinnacle of his work. Nonetheless, as time goes by, more variances start to pop-up. Some Black by Brian Gavin starts to show lesser contrast in the ASET. Are those bad stones? Definitely not. Brian Gavin's stones are one of the top in the world and the Hearts are very precise. Just that personally, I still prefer 50% - 55% star length, regardless of the contrast level shown on the grading report. I am overly particular about star length because my 0.53ct F VS2 WhiteFlash ACA exhibits more white flashes than colour flashes and star length is the thing I suspect. Please take this with a pinch of salt as I am just relaying this theory based on my own experience. One point to take note is that videos do help on knowing the actual performance of the diamond. I have actually written a separate blog post regarding this.

At the end of the day, WhiteFlash ACAs represent some of the very top diamonds in the diamond industry. Although there are hit-and-miss sometimes, but with the largest AGS online inventory, you have quite some selection to choose from. Their consistency has certainly improved little by little, especially with the introduction of their best of the best Collection Series - excellent eye-cleaniless with excellent optical precision. Perfection? No diamonds are absolute perfect. But factoring in price, quality, return policy, upgrade policy, and absolute top-notch customer service, WhiteFlash is seriously good.