Author Topic: An explanation of diamond grading at Harry Winston  (Read 4220 times)

Offline Diamondsbylauren

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An explanation of diamond grading at Harry Winston
« on: January 02, 2009, 08:25:07 PM »
Lucky my mom was born before me!
I was 18 and not all that interested in Queensboro Community College, where I was enrolled int he music program.
My mom was a secretary for Harry Winston....well not for Mr Winston himself, but rather one of the executives.
So she was able to get me an interview for the diamond assorting "school".
It was a program where the graders at Harry Winston would train young guys and gals to grade diamonds. There was no "graduation" per se- once the grader was trained, they work assorting and  grading for Harry Winston- at the time the largest polished loose diamond seller in the world.


I don't mind "imperfect" diamonds if the price makes them a real bargain.
I use the quotes around the word "imperfect" because it has such a negative connotation.
When I was learning to grade diamonds, the ones with spots , or "gletzes" or white thingies inside were far more interesting than the boring VVS's.

At Harry Winston there was a grading system that roughly correlated with GIA.
62349578
No, that's not a phone number, that's the grades
6=IF
2=VVS1
3=VVS2
4=VS1
9=VS2
5=SI1
7=SI2
8=I1

BUT_ there were subdivisions of the "Number 8" grade
Things like 8Special, and 8Specialb.

It was considered an art to be able to grade Number 8's.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2009, 05:02:05 PM by Diamondsbylauren »
David
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Offline ah2bqat

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Re: New Parcels of Yellow Diamonds for Earrings and......
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2009, 09:11:10 PM »
But David - you can't leave us hanging... it's bad enough to leave us all with our   :DropGob: :drool: over your new acquisitions.

What's an 8 special or an 8specialb?Do they have something to do with an 8* rating?

Why are IF at 6, VS2  at 9,  and 8's subdivided? 

And by the way.... can you have an IF that has External flaws?  How would that happen? :Confused42:
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Offline oldmancoyote

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Re: New Parcels of Yellow Diamonds for Earrings and......
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2009, 05:19:48 AM »
But David - you can't leave us hanging... it's bad enough to leave us all with our   :DropGob: :drool: over your new acquisitions.

What's an 8 special or an 8specialb?Do they have something to do with an 8* rating?

Why are IF at 6, VS2  at 9,  and 8's subdivided? 

And by the way.... can you have an IF that has External flaws?  How would that happen? :Confused42:

I can answer that last one - yes. Generally polish details (striae/grain), or a natural or extra facet - which are external rather than internal characteristics. Infact there are "flawless" diamonds where these features are not present. Also - note that practically no diamond (possibly except CVD synthetics) is truly "flawless" - the IF and FL grades refer to what is visible by a trained observer in optimal lighting conditions using 10x magnification. Use a microscope with 100x, and a whole new world opens up.

For the rest, I think, we need to wait for David to let loose some more of this interesting stuff. I suggest we collectively send him a nice bottle of whisky to lubricate the brain...  :5160
« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 05:20:20 AM by oldmancoyote »

Offline Diamondsbylauren

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Re: An expaliantion of diamond grading at Harry Winston
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2009, 01:26:44 PM »
What?!
No FIYs?!!
:angry5:

Why didn't that grading system follow the usual: 1 is best, 2 is next and so forth?

I think it was designed to be purposfully complicated.  Probably it was easier to sell them to the stores if there was some mystery. Plus it gave us a lot more to memorize!

The colors were a straight numerical system.
61 was a D-E-F/IF
62 was an G-H /IF
David
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Offline Diamondsbylauren

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Re: New Parcels of Yellow Diamonds for Earrings and......
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2009, 01:34:09 PM »
And by the way.... can you have an IF that has External flaws?  How would that happen? :Confused42:

Great explanation OMC!!


What's an 8 special or an 8specialb?Do they have something to do with an 8* rating?

Why are IF at 6, VS2  at 9,  and 8's subdivided? 

Great question ah2bqat!

The reason has to do with the nature of imperfect diamonds.
Once a diamond is more imperfect than an SI2, GIA gives it an I1 clarity grade.
This is one area where I agree with EGL's grading system.
They have a grade called SI3.
GIA clarity grades make no allowance for the differences in imperfect diamonds from I1 and below.
You see, a stone that only slightly too imperfect to be an SI2 is a heck of a lot better than a stone which is just a little better than an I2.

In the real world, there's a huge difference in value between a stone with a small black carbon spot, and one that has a huge black spot- necessitating a better calibrated system for grading imperfect diamonds.

I actually have forgotten all the subdivisions of number 8 grades- but I still have some buddies from my Winston days that might remember......
David
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Offline GIAGirl

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Re: An expaliantion of diamond grading at Harry Winston
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2009, 11:44:58 AM »
That is super interesting.   It had to be super complicated for a reason.  Goodness.

Offline Diamondsbylauren

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Re: An explanation of diamond grading at Harry Winston
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2009, 05:12:42 PM »
It's possible that when Mr Winston designed it he decided that having a "mystical" grading system might help sell some fo the lesser quality stones.....
But if you think about it, maybe grades would be better if they didn't seem to indicate some concrete division- rather a more organic holistic approach.

The best example I can think of is the difference between a Fancy Light Yellow, and a Y-Z grade.
The difference is subtle to a certain extent- yet some people consider the FLY a "Fancy Color" and the Y-Z to be "off white"- or something less pretty than a fancy color.... which it isn't.

Another would be an SI2 diamond that's totally eye clean- some are even loupe clean!
I've seen imperfections that were totally hidden due to placement, or other factors. But the presence of the imperfection would still require the diamond to be graded SI2 ( for example) no matter how difficult it is to see the imperfection
Compare that to an SI1 who's imperfection is a black carbon placed right over a facet where it's easy to see.

Which is the better diamond?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2009, 06:50:10 PM by Diamondsbylauren »
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Offline oldmancoyote

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Re: An explanation of diamond grading at Harry Winston
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009, 06:38:52 PM »
Easy answer - the SI2, especially since it probably cost the same or even less...