Tuesday, 4 September 2018

My WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Experience

Welcome September! Welcome SST!

How will it affect us as a consumer when we import diamonds in from the United States? Well, stay tune to find out more!

0.304ct F VVS2 ACA Collection Series Diamond!
I shall take this opportunity share with you my WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series experience!

Stay tune to find out more!

Update: 20 September 2018
It is almost here! Stopping by Alaska now.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Rare Find on Zoara! A near Hearts & Arrows 50-pointer!

Wow. This diamond is pretty decent and definitely won't break the bank!






Pretty cool, right?

Let's check the proportions:
https://www.gia.edu/report
-check?reportno=2304105991&s=1534595352553

HCA is 0.8:

Ok. So below 2. Great! If you noticed, the price listed on BlueNile for the exact same piece of diamond is USD 1862.23 (wire transfer). For Zoara, the price including shipping (USD 30) will be USD 1808.00 (wire transfer). So Zoara still wins. However, the slighly higher fee of BlueNile warrants you a future upgrade of the stone, whereby you only top-up the price difference of the new diamond. For Zoara, you will need to double the price of the existing diamond. That being said, Zoara is actually your only choice in Malaysia as BlueNile does not ship to Malaysia. Besides, I don't think most of us will be upgrading our engagement diamond, right? 

Anyway, BlueNile can provide you the 360 degree video which looks pretty good. Here is a screenshot of it when facing-up:


The video shows that the 12 o'clock arrow looks slightly blurred out. I suspect this could be due to lighting, or it could be due to very slightly less precise in terms of cut. Nonetheless, overall looks fabulous.

Now, this is a within the colourless range and it has a clarity of VVS2. Therefore, this is diamond will be white and eye-clean at the same time. The only complain I have for this stone is that it is slightly heavier than the calculated ideal weight of 0.492ct. This is based on the formula 5.07 x 5.10 x 3.12 x 0.0061 = 0.492ct. The reason I am little upset is because this stone may actually be a 0.49ct if it is further polished to a higher cut precision, and thus, fails to hit the magical 50-pointer mark. There may be another reason - this diamond is actually cut to pretty high optical precision, but the extra weight is added by the mediun to slightly thick girdle. Anyway, whatever the reason may be, this diamond hits the 5.00mm mark and it will certainly look like a 50-pointer. And for such price, it is certainly hard to resist and I don't know what to call it other than best bang for your buck! The pros definitely outweights the cons a lot!

Assuming exchange rate is at 4.13, in terms of Ringgit, the price is RM 7467.04. Add on a ring setting at RM 1499 from Memory Jewellery, the final price during this tax-free period will be approximately RM 8966.04. This is definitely quite unbeatable given such quality!

Oh by the way, the ASET and Hearts images are retrieved from the supplier website. However, Zoara is also be able to provide you the same set of images simply because the supplier is able to provide those. And thanks to the ASET and Hearts images, I am confident enough to say that this will be a good purchase!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Last Month of Tax-Free Period!

We have reached the final month for tax-free period. For peace of mind, it is best to buy now even if you plan to propose later.  Of course, just my 2 cents.

I am not sure whether SST will affect the price or not, but my gut feeling tells me shipping in loose diamonds might be tax-free. If I have that extra cash to spare, may be I can find out. :p

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

WhiteFlash Recommendations!

Below are some WhiteFlash diamonds I have selected based on my own preferences. I have chosen them from 30-pointers up until 1 carat.

What I focus on is the Hearts and Arrows precision and the contrast level. I also prefer table size that is max at 56 and lower girdle of 76% and 77%. I will add on some comments later, but if you are interested in any of these, feel free to drop me an email at myengringexp at gmail dot com.

p.s. I will also make time for Brian Gavin Diamonds later.

Here you go:

0.305ct F VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3981476.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.548ct D VVS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3988046.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.544ct F VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3988023.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.508ct D VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3952905.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.531ct G VS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3880118.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.544ct H VS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3876816.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.543ct E VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3765677.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.538ct E VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3746451.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.678ct H VS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3981507.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.66ct G VS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3981504.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.623ct D VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3974687.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.605ct F VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3964568.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.605ct G VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3964557.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.614ct F VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3954425.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.617ct D VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3952912.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.608ct E VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3823405.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.706ct  G VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3842184.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.715ct H VS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3936426.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.80ct F VVS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3988042.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.818ct H VS WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3964553.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.81ct H VS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3876802.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

0.918ct G VS2 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3955160.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

1.007 G VS1 WhiteFlash ACA
https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3929342.htm?a_aid=myengringexp

Thursday, 31 May 2018

A Powerful 30-Pointer WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Diamond and Perhaps a Golden Period to Get Diamonds Online!

This 30-pointer certainly looks great. The IdealScope, ASET, and Hearts images look excellent. The calculated ideal weight shows is 0.304ct, meaning the actual diamond is cut to a high degree of precision and not cut for weight retention. I do have to highlight that relying on images to determine a stone’s performance is the more important factor, in comparison to the calculated ideal weight.

0.304ct WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Actual Diamond Image
0.304ct WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series IdealScope Image
0.304ct WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series ASET Image
0.304ct WhiteFlash ACA Collection Series Hearts Image
Now, at F colour and VVS2 clarity, this diamond falls under WhiteFlash’s Collection Series, which is the top collection available in WhiteFlash's inventory. Now, the diamonds within this collection is simply part of the original WhiteFlash A CUT ABOVE diamonds. However, due to the rarity of the combination of “colourless” and “very very slightly included” diamonds, this warrants them to stand above the rest and to become a collection series in their own rights.

The above 15% crown height and the 34.7 degree crown angle gives ample space for the light to refract into beautiful rainbow colours and increases the fire of the diamond. The rule of thumb is that the steeper the crown angle, the better the fire and I find that the proportions for crown angle, which is between 34 degree to 35 degree provided by WhiteFlash is more or less sufficient enough to land you a diamond with excellent fire. Personally, I would try to make sure it is at least 34.3 degree as suggested by Todd Gray from Niceice. Why? My personal view is that this is to make sure that the diamond you may be getting online has a higher chance to be as excellent as possible. Another thing is that I will tend to look for diamonds with star facets above 50. This is to make sure that the diamond will have enough contrast. It is pretty evident on the AGS certificate from WhiteFlash

Speaking about certificates, please note that the certificates used by WhiteFlash is actually the top certificate available from AGS. It is the Platinum Diamond Quality Document. This certificate is definitely better than the Diamond Quality Document provided by some brick-and-mortar stores (if they ever carry any AGS stones) because it includes the light performance result. 

In fact, personally, I feel that AGS certificates give more accurate details as they do not round up crucial angles such as crown angle and pavilion angle. For instance, 33.8 degree angle and 34.2 degree angle is always rounded to 34 degree for GIA, but for AGS, the result will remain the same. Also, AGS provides a diamond’s carat weight up to 3 decimal places while GIA maintains 2 decimal places only. This means a 0.596ct diamond will be shown as a 0.596ct diamond on a AGS certificate while the same diamond will be shown as a 0.60ct diamond on a GIA certificate. To add on, the Platinum Diamond Quality Document will provide the inclusion plot diagram that depicts the location of each inclusion clearly. Last but not least, as mentioned before, you will also be able to see the light performance image of the diamond itself. 

Now, since WhiteFlash is using the Platinum Diamond Quality Document for most of its in-house diamonds (if not all), this means that even if your diamond is a 30-pointer diamond like the one I am recommending here, you will get a better overall view of the diamond compared to a 30-pointer GIA diamond, whereby it will only come with a GIA Diamond Dossier most of the time. This certificate does not contain any information regarding the location of the inclusions, which is only available for GIA Diamond Grading Report that mostly comes with a diamond that is at least one carat and above. And of course, light performance is not available for GIA reports. However, some major diamond cutting companies start to capture light performance images themselves even the stones are graded by GIA as they probably start to see the value by doing so.

Alright, I am drifting away, so let us get back to this diamond. Now, the lower girdle percentage of 76% is definitely great. This makes the arrows look fatter and thus make them to return bold sparks that are mesmerising. At VVS2, this diamond is definitely eye-clean so there is nothing to worry about. And F colour? Well, this just makes the diamond to be highly desirable as it is within the colourless range. Overall, this is one of the best 30-pointers money can buy!

Now, at USD 846, this diamond will cost us RM 3384.00 (assuming an exchange rate of 4). I would highly recommend you to use MoneyMatch to perform the wire transfer simply because they provide the best overall rate so far, thanks to the one-time RM 25 discount for new registration, provided that you mentioned my name “Yang Kin” when you are doing the e-KYC video call. Just tell them that “Yang Kin introduces you to MoneyMatch” to get the RM 25 discount code. In case the promotion is no longer available, then do use the discount code REF637 to get RM 15 off, which is still not bad!

With the removal of GST in June and the pending reintroduction of SST in September, I strongly believe this item will be tax-free within this period. Therefore, assuming I am right, we will be saving around RM 203.04 without the GST. So, let us move on to choose a very decent ring setting at RM 1500.00 from Memory Jewellery, we can get the whole engagement ring done at approximately RM 4884.00. And yes, again, the RM 1500.00 ring settings from Memory Jewellery are pretty decent. They look thick enough and classy enough. You can always message them and enquire more details from them! 

Alternatively, you can also look for iDo Jewellery at Bukit Jalil as she also offer ring customisation service. Although her price is higher, but she uses palladium in her 18k white gold alloy (according to iDo Jewellery's info) and this makes the ring to be hypoallergenic. This is definitely a good news for those who are sensitive to nickel, which is used in standard 18k white gold. Do note that the people that are sensitive to nickel are quite rare.

I hope you find this article useful, and I sincerely hope that you guys can really enjoy the very possible tax-free period between June til September. So if any of you that read this article buys a diamond from WhiteFlash, do let me know if it is really tax-free so that other potential buyers can know! Many thanks and good luck!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

1.012 Carat of Awesomeness from Brian Gavin Diamonds!

This 1.012 Carat L VS1 Brian Gavin Blue Diamond can make your 1 carat wish come true. First of all, I will consider this a high precision cut diamond despite that no H&A image is provided. This is because Brian Gavin Diamonds is famous for its H&A and the cut quality should be applicable across all their in-house diamonds. Of course, you can still say that no image means no proof, well, that's good news, at least you know what you want. But for me, I think I am fine with the stone as long as it is from Brian Gavin Diamonds.

1.012 Carat L VS1 Brian Gavin Blue Diamond

1.012 Carat L VS1 Brian Gavin Blue Diamond ASET
1.012 Carat L VS1 Brian Gavin Blue Diamond IdealScope

So, what's so good about this stone?

Apart from being a VS1 stone, which guarantees eye-cleanliness, the calculated weight of this stone is 1.011ct. As the difference between the actual weight and the calculated weight is pretty minimal, I would say that this stone is cut to maximize its beauty. Next, its ASET images shows that there is no weaker light return whatsoever and the IdealScope image shows that the light return is very strong. We can be picky and penalize on the slight leakage at the 5 o'clock position of the IdealScope but that is really about it. Now, the 76% lower girdle facet will guarantee that this diamond will return bold sparks!

Next, the pairing between the wide table (56.9%) and the diamond height (61.2%) looks good to me. This is because I have observed that a lot of H&A diamonds that have a wide table will tend to have a shorter diamond total depth.

We now move on to the colour of this diamond. Despite it is an L colour diamond, the presence of the medium blue fluorescence will probably help this darling to look whiter by complementing its L colour yellowness. Because of the colour, I would say that this diamond is pretty unique as I don't think that there are many high precision cut diamonds that come with this colour. To me, it is really a selling point as it makes one stand out from the norm. How often do you hear your friends or family saying that "Oh, this is an L colour diamond?" Also, it looks kind of cool just to tell people around that "I am wearing an L colour high precision cut diamond that has blue fluorescence." Cool right? Or it is just me? :p

Of course, the best part is the price. With such colour and fluorescence drilling down the price, it is absolutely a value buy for those who appreciate such "uniqueness". No pun intended, I am actually serious. To add on, with April being the Diamond Month, Brian Gavin Diamonds is running a promotion of 10% discount (including 3% wire discount), further dropping the diamond's price.

Using USD 4182.00 as base, which is the price without the 3% wire discount, let's apply a 10% discount to it. This will make the price of this diamond to be USD 3763.80. As Brian Gavin Diamonds does not provide free shipping, therefore, please add another USD 55 for shipping. This will make the price to be USD 3818.80. Using MoneyMatch's estimated exchange rate of 3.9, the price for this diamond in terms of RM will be RM 14893.32. Add on 6% GST, and the price becomes RM 15786.92. Now, add on RM 100 for misc. charges (I have used RM 100 to provide more buffer. In reality, it should be lesser), and the price becomes RM 15886.92.

For ring setting, if you engaged Memory Jewellery at Sentul, the price should be from RM 1000 for standard designs while between RM 1000 - RM 1500 for custom design. Yes, I have checked with them before and apparently the price does not increase with size. At least not for 1 carat diamond. So, assuming this diamond is mounted onto a simple 6 prongs custom design solitaire with rose gold in order to complement the diamond's yellowish tint, the final price will be RM 17386.92.

Not too bad, right?

Thanks for reading and let me know if you need any help. You can look for me at Lowyat forum. My username is kambingkoh. Alternatively, you may email me at myengringexp at gmail dot com.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Brian Gavin Diamonds April Promotion!!! And why Signature Blue?

This is absolutely great news! Brian Gavin Diamonds in throwing in a 10% off promotion this whole week! Just use coupon code APRILDIA181 when you check out! Offer valid until 15/09/2018 11:59pm (Houston time).

Use coupon code APRILDIA181 this whole week!
Yes, I know - No Black by Brian Gavin for this promo, but then this does not mean you can't get anything decent from them! As a matter of fact, it is much harder or almost impossible to get something that you would want to return to them right away. I just have absolute faith in Brian Gavin's product.

This time around, my focus is on Signature Blue. So, you may me wondering, why Signature Blue? Why choose a diamond with fluorescence? Isn't fluorescence a bad thing? So, let me show you this link to one of Malaysia's famous private jeweller - Suen Jewellers:

According to the post, she (assuming the writer is a she) mentioned that:
Actually, the visible effects of faint to medium fluorescence are perceptible only to a gemologist using a special UV light source.
Follow by:
Overall, fluorescence should not be a major factor in the diamond purchase since its effects on appearance are negligible, if not slightly positive. The exception would be to exercise caution in purchasing a diamond with strong or very strong fluorescence in D-H color diamonds (which do not possess enough yellow color to offset the blue fluorescence).
Also, according to Todd Gray from NiceIce - http://niceice.com/blue-fluorescence-diamond/:
In the 25+ years I spent as a diamond buyer, I literally graded and evaluated thousands and thousands of diamonds and during that time I recall seeing very few diamonds which were negatively impacted by the presence of blue fluorescence and every one of them had been graded as having a level of fluorescence which was “extremely strong blue” or “distinct blue” which are synonymous grading terms used to describe a level of fluorescence which is beyond very strong.

If you wondering who is Todd Gray, he is my go-to-guy for any diamonds related matters, I would consider him my teacher provided if he sees me as his student. Haha! I would say he is a close friend to Brian Gavin and he is extremely picky when it comes to picking diamonds.

So, I can conclude that not only fluorescence can bring down the diamond price, but at the same time, it can make lower grade colours to appear whiter! Speaking of which, lower grade colours can also bring down the diamond price as well!

I am not sure about you, but I find this piece decent and price-friendly - 0.808 J VS2 SIGNATURE BLUE ROUND! Great proportions, great IdealScope, great ASET. No Hearts image though, but then, it is very hard to doubt that it is not cut to a very high degree of optical precision as there are no light leakage detected on the IdealScope and no weaker light return detected on the ASET. Also, the arrows are also sharp and crisp, therefore it is highly likely that this is Hearts & Arrows diamond. In fact, I don't think Brian Gavin's cutter can cut something that is not as good! I am not sure why they would choose to omit it, but my best guess is that they want to save the time spent on photographing the Hearts. Just take it with a pinch of salt though. Anyway, the price? USD 2508.00! Oh wait, remember we can have 7% off now by entering APRILDIA181 when we check out?! Why 7%? Because the 10% discount is inclusive of wire discount of 3%, and the price I listed here is the wire price, so, 7% off it is! So, after factoring in this, the price should be: USD 2332.44. Please note that this is just an approximate price because I am not sure which price they will use as the base to calculate the final price, nonetheless, it should be close! Now, at this price and be able to get something at this size with such great quality, it is pretty remarkable! Besides, it may look whiter than a J colour!

Personally, I find that the video of this 0.310 I VS1 SIGNATURE BLUE ROUND is even more remarkable! I am obsessed with its sparkles! Wire price is USD 580.00, so reducing a further 7% will make the price to become USD 539.40. Again, this is just an approximation. The actual value should be closed.

Now, you will probably have to pay for the shipment no matter which diamond you buy. The price will be approximately USD 55.00, but you can try to negotiate with them and see if the price can be waived totally or reduce a little. Using the 30-pointer as example, and assuming the final price is SD 539.40 + USD 55.00 = USD 594.40. This converts to around RM 2318.16. Then, add on 6% GST and the value becomes RM 2457.25. Lastly, add RM 50 as misc. charges such as 6% GST on freight and insurance, and the final payable will become RM 2507.25. Add on a ready design ring setting from Memory Jewellery at Sentul, assuming the price is RM 1000, the final price for this lovely 30-pointer will be RM 3507.25! You can look for them at the KL PJ wedding fair next Friday - Sunday (20/04 - 22/04). Overall, I would say this is certainly a great route for those who have a tight budget, but wanted something that brings the best bang for money! 

Oh, by the way, Brian Gavin chooses each Signature Blue personally to make sure it has no negative impact, so you are certainly in safe hands!

Alright! Let me know if you need further help. You can either look for me on Lowyat forum, my username is kambingkoh. Alternatively, you can email me at myengringexp at gmail dot com.

Good luck!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

A Rather Decent GIA 60-Pointer from Zoara

This 0.6ct F VVS2 diamond which is graded by GIA looks lovely.

GIA-1288262653
This diamond definitely has precise arrows. However, since Zoara does not provide ASET image, IdealScope image, and Hearts & Arrows image, we have no way to be sure how good are the hearts. However, you can always engage their friendly consultants via the online chat button at the bottom right:
Click on this button to consult a Zoara sales consultant
Sometimes, if you are lucky, the supplier does provide the necessary images, which then Zoara can forward it to you for your reference. Based on experience, this diamond at most will be considered a near H&A diamond instead of a true H&A diamond, as we can see some dark areas a the lower half of the diamond. Nonetheless, my guess is that the cutting precision is more or less there and its proportions are better than a lot of diamonds out in the market. Check it out below:

GIA-1288262653 Cert
Despite I like 75% lower girdle percentage for the bolder sparks, but this 80% somehow looks more like 78% because GIA will round up this figure and I believe this is the case here. If it is really 78%, then it is actually not bad.

The calculated ideal weight for this diamond is 0.596ct. Although it may look like it has not reached 0.6ct yet, but based on GIA standard, this will be rounded to 0.6ct. Besides, the difference between a real 0.596ct and a 0.6ct should be pretty negligible, won't you think?

Next, the HCA score returns a score of 1.1:
GIA-128262653 HCA Score
This is expected as this diamond has tight proportions that meets even WhiteFlash's ACA requirements. So based on this, one can always expect this diamond will score 100% on Enchanted Cut Score, which is the case here:
GIA-128262653 Enchanted Cut Score
Of course, all this HCA and calculator thingy are more for "feel good" or reassurance which should be used as a rejection tool rather than a selection tool. Images are still more powerful and should be considered as part of the selection process. In this case, why am I recommending this diamond? This is because there can be people that do not feel it is worth to pay a premium for the best of the best, but rather, it is more feasible to maximize the carat weight simply because well, the size is more obvious than anything else! There are also people that desire to have a super ideal but found that his/her budget cannot achieve their desire requirement, such as minimum carat weight, therefore, Zoara is here to provide an alternative. There are also people that only needs a GIA Triple Excellent diamond, so, Zoara it is. And, if you are lucky enough, you may be able to receive the ASET image and Hearts image. But of course, since this diamond already has tight proportions and the arrows are precise, it is highly likely that this diamond can perform well. In worst case scenario, you can simply return the diamond to Zoara within 60 days. You will have to bear the shipping and misc. cost though:

Zoara International Returns
Zoara is well-connected to multiple suppliers and the prices really beat a lot of competitors using the same way to sell diamonds. If a competitor has a certain diamond that can be found on Zoara, usually Zoara will have the cheaper price. Speaking of price, guess how much does this diamond cost? USD 2167.00. The exchange rate should be around USD 3.91 using MoneyMatch. You may see it higher now because usually night time rates will be higher. They will usually update their rates at 9am and you will most likely get better rates in the morning before 12pm. Anyway, using 3.91 as base and adding on 6% GST together with misc. charges of RM 50.00, this diamond will cost around RM 9155.69.

Then, setting the diamond using a ready design ring setting from Memory Jewellery at Sentul will cost you around RM 1000. Custom design will range from there until RM 1500. You can always make an appointment with them via Facebook. Ultimately, you should be able to grab yourself a 60-pointer GIA Triple Excellent F VVS2 diamond mounted on a 18k white gold/rose gold/yellow gold solitaire engagement ring with the price between RM 10155.69 - RM 10655.69. Not too bad, eh?

As usual, let me know if you need further assistance. You can always reach me via email by sending to myengringexp at gmail dot com.

Good luck and all the best!

Monday, 2 April 2018

My Zoara GIA Triple Excellent Experience

Stay tune for updates! ;)
Finally, my review has completed! Enjoy reading!

Update 23 July 2018
Update links.
Update video.

Update 23 July 2018
Update content.

Finally, I have the time to update some details about my experience with Zoara!

Now, the reason I bought this diamond is because I find that a lot of YouTube videos or comparison websites are usually comparing a super ideal with excellent proportions against a standard GIA Triple Excellent with not-too-good proportions, such as a diamond with 41.4 degree crown angle. Therefore, it makes me wonder, how does it fare if a super ideal is placed side-by-side against a standard GIA Triple Excllent with pretty decent proportions and pretty decent cut (meaning the arrows are pretty much well-aligned) without considering the Hearts precision? I won't be expecting I am getting a Hearts & Arrows diamond from Zoara, but with decent proportions and decent arrows, I am betting on the diamond to exhibit pretty decent Hearts as well.

Here, have a look at the diamond I bought:
https://www.zoara.com/diamonds/p_round_excellent_cut_e_vvs2#?p=8832676&a_aid=myengringexp
GIA 0.22ct E VVS2 - 6282249302

GIA Cert 6282249302
This diamond is actually recommended by Zoara's diamond consultant (Kevin). I just passed him my specs and my budget and this is the best result he can come out with. He has been very helpful and patient in assisting me. In fact, all of the consultants I dealt with are pretty high quality.

I requested for the performance images - Hearts, Arrows, ASET, and IdealScope... without much hope of expecting them to have it. And not to my surprise, Kevin told me that they do not have the ASET image (and thus I assume all other images as well). Well, no problem at all, as this is well within my expectation and the actual diamond image looks pretty okay. I proceed with my purchase and not too long after, another consultant (Gabriela) followed-up with me with an apology note, stating that they did have the images, and she attached the ASET, the Hearts, and the Arrows for me. No IdealScope though, but seriously, this really surprised me and I am thrilled!

ASET

Hearts

Arrows

As you can see, the ASET is not the best out there. However, it shows minimal light leakage and the contrast level is pretty good. As for the Hearts, it is obviously not Hearts & Arrows, but I would say this is a near Hearts & Arrows diamond. You can see that they are some bending tips at most of the hearts and some clefts in some of the hearts. For the arrows, there is some slight misalignment at the 12 o'clock position. Overall, this is a rather decent diamond that stands out of the crowd and it will be better than a lot of diamonds out there in the market. You may even notice some retailers will even try to sell these kind of diamonds as Hearts & Arrows diamond when it is actually not quite.

At this point, you may be wondering why do I even bother writing about this, shouldn't we focus on super ideals or Hearts & Arrows only? My answer is I am actually trying to share my findings about my curiosity with you, and I wanted to give standard GIA Triple Excellent a fairer overview and not blindly saying that we cannot get a decent diamond at a cheaper price. However, please note that my view is subjective, "decent" or not is really subject to individual.

All right, below are the Hearts I captured myself at home:

Hearts captured by me at home, hey looks pretty alright!
ASET (Amateur shot) - The white light below is from my phone screen and the plastic looking thing behind is actually cellophane tape which I use to tap the bottom of my diamond to the phone screen so that it can stand. Overall, looks pretty excellent!

Another try on the ASET. It looks slightly whitish beneath the table, most likely because of my iPad camera and also because the screen brightness. Overall, looks great!
The IdealScope - Looks very red. Great light return!
IdealScope Shot 2

Now, let's compare with my super ideal - 0.206ct E VS2 Black by Brian Gavin!

0.206ct E VS2 Black by Brian Gavin

Hearts - 0.206ct E VS2 Black by Brian Gavin
ASET - Shot 1

ASET Shot 2

IdealScope Shot 1

IdealScope Shot 2

IdealScope Shot 3

IdealScope Shot 4

All right, needless to say, the ASET looks perfect! However, the IdealScope seems to lose a bit to Zoara? Again, the slightly whitish table is probably attributed to brightness level. If you look at shot 2 and shot 4, they look rather decent. If you look again closely, the Zoara's table did look contain some very slight whitish as well, just that it is not as white as Brian Gavin's stone. If my memory serves me right, I did change the brightness level of the background when taking the pictures, so that is one variable to take into consideration. Another variable will be the auto mode on my iPad Pro 10.5 camera that I used to capture all these ASET and IdealScope images. It may be slightly different between shots. If you are curious how my IdealScope look at Brian Gavin's side, here it is:

0.206ct E VVS2 Black by Brian Gavin ASET
Now, as you can see, it is very much dependent on camera settings and the environment that we capture the stones. For Zoara, the ASET captured by the diamond supplier looks slightly worse that what I managed to capture. While for Brian Gavin, the IdealScope I captured looks slightly worse than what the diamond supplier managed to capture. One thing I know is that we do not have to be concern about the light return of both stones because they are both pretty excellent already. If you ask me, I would still stick with Brian Gavin for guarantee performance, but I would stick with Zoara for overall value for money stones - Stones that can perform and do not break the bank. These stones however, is quite hard to come by.

Now, enjoy the video below which shows a comparison between my Black by Brian Gavin vs my Zoara in my dark study room with my Galaxy Note 5 flash light moving on top of both diamonds horizontally. Video captured using iPad Pro 10.5.


Left - 0.206ct E VS2 Black by Brian Gavin.
Right - 0.22ct E VVS2 GIA Triple Excellent from Zoara.

And below are my screen captures on MoneyMatch, showing the transaction for both diamonds:

Zoara's stone at USD 453.55.
Brian Gavin's stone at USD 532.24.
To be fair, the rate when I bought my Zoara is better (RM 1 = USD 0.2566) compared to the time I bought my Black by Brian Gavin (RM 1 = USD 0.2346) Also, I had a RM 25 voucher to apply on Zoara's stone. Nonetheless, the price is still cheaper, the stone is slightly bigger, and the clarity is 2 grades higher. The performance? In the video, both looks great, with Zoara showing more bold flashes and Brian Gavin showing more glittering facets. This is because the Zoara has bolder arrows. Bold arrows gives bold flashes. If I remember correctly, at some point of the video, I did make the light source to move slightly slower on top of each diamonds respectively. The result did make the diamonds to look better.

Now, what about Hearts & Arrows or super ideal? There is a subtle difference if you ask me. When I pull the light source away from both diamonds, I can see that the Black by Brian Gavin shows small spark at the edge of the diamond. The question whether it is worth it or not, is entirely up to individual. Before I answer that question, I have to say personally, I am a fan of Hearts & Arrows (if not I won't be writing this blog). The higher quality in terms of precision makes me feel that I bought something worthwhile. It is an art, and it is about workmanship. If you want consistency, you can hardly go wrong with Black by Brian Gavin. However, now, when it comes to price, Zoara is very value for money in this case if we take into consideration the 4Cs alone. There is really no right or wrong answer no matter which side you choose.

The only thing I can advise is that if you are buying from Zoara is that always check out the proportions first! The pavilion angle, the crown angle, and the table size percentage are important. For example, a 41.4 degree pavilion angle is 99% guaranteed to leak light, a 35.5 crown angle is risky enough, and a 36 degree crown angle is an almost guaranteed light leaking angle. If there is an actual diamond image, it may speed up your choosing process as well. However, if there is only certificate, do not go ahead and buy blindly, instead, talk to their friendly sales consultant and request for the actual diamond image (must have), the actual diamond video (if any), and the other performance images (if any). In fact, you can leave the diamond choosing work on the shoulder's of the sales consultant, just give them the proportion range you are looking for, together with the 4Cs and your budget.

Now, the hiccup.

The hiccup I faced when I purchase from Zoara is that initially, they provided me with an Hong Kong account number for me to remit the amount in USD (by default). This is definitely not recommend as MoneyMatch will have a surcharge for transferring a foreign currency that is different from the destination's country local currency. For this, you can simply request for Zoara's US account in USA. By this way, you can prevent the unnecessary surcharge.

Now, the next hiccup, while MoneyMatch has successfuly transmit the amount to their partner to proceed with the payment, but there is no way for them to attach the order id for their partner. Because of this, the shipment has been delayed. FYI, I successfully transferred the money on the 3rd of April 2017 but I only received my diamond on the 12th of April 2017. Overall, considering this is an overseas purchase, some may think it was already fast enough, but given the fact that diamonds from other vendors like Brian Gavin Diamonds and WhiteFlash can ship even faster, I would say this was slower than expected. However, I have to stress that the fault is not with Zoara, instead, I would say MoneyMatch should have passed the order id as the remark to their partner. Zoara had explicitly stated that need that order id in order to map back the purchase. If not, you can also pass Zoara the payment slip and they will do the necessary. But then again, the payment slip was from MoneyMatch's partner and MoneyMatch will not provide it unless you ask for it. So, please always remember to ask for the partner's payment slip if you ever transfer to Zoara via MoneyMatch. It will be something like this:
Payment slip from MoneyMatch's partner.

Pass this payment slip to Zoara's sales consultant along with your order id, and they will do the necessary. My diamond was shipped from Hong Kong, so it actually took only 1 day to arrive via Fedex International Priority, which is very reliable.

Now, the packaging. Have a look:
Secure packaging.

Very presentable box. Huge!

Nicely done inside as well, by the way, the box can be magnetically locked.

Appraisal letter and GIA cert within the rectangular envelope.

A round loose diamond box within the LED ring box!
Some introduction to GIA.

Some introduction to fluorescence.

The GIA dossier/cert.

Receipt.

Appraisal letter, in case needs to buy insurance perhaps?
Oh what's this?

This is actually a cushion to hold the engagement ring once you have set the loose diamond on a ring setting. You can then put back this cushion into the LED ring box earlier! How thoughtful!

To conclude, my Zoara experience is definitely fantastic. Yes, we need to find harder to get the right stones, but the savings may be worthwhile. Also, they are one of the cheapest online diamond seller and usually, it can be cheaper than local ones as well, provided the local vendors do not do any promotions. But even if they did do promotions, the higher the carat weight goes, Zoara can still be cheaper. Is Zoara the cheapest? Not exactly, not always. They are other similar online vendors that are running on multiple listing service as well. But overall, they are one of the cheapest. If you ever find a GIA graded diamond online, there is a chance that Zoara carries the same stone and you will then be able to make price comparison. If you wish to find out the price, please email me at myengringexp at gmail dot com.

To illustrate on what I have said, refer to the two links below:
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.30-carat-f-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-5294972 - USD 840

https://www.zoara.com/diamonds/p_round_excellent_cut_f_vs2#?p=9291618&a_aid=myengringexp - USD 694

They are actually the same diamond, but one costs USD 840 while the other costs USD 694. I am not sure whether James Allen includes shipment or not, but I know Zoara has not include the shipping price for Malaysia, which is a nett USD 30. So, let's add that in. Now, it is USD 840 vs. USD 724. See, still cheaper!

Okay, that's all for now, I will update the links later. ;)http://whiteflash.com?a_aid=myengringexp