Catia- I'll be completely honest here- as usual- your posts make me feel as though I've failed to give you enough info- at least based on what you've written.
Lets' compare internet diamond sellers, and computer dating- just for a minute.
Having been single for a while back i the early 2000's, I can say ,with experience, internet dating is not a lot of fun.....
But my point revolves around photos.
Why would someone not
put a photo?
Unfortunately, that was never my experience.
Then you have the ones with photos that are too nice- glamour shots.
Again, usually a bad omen.
How does this relate to diamond shopping?
If a seller does not publish photos, the same reasons may apply- they don't want you to see what they are selling.
Another good reason is that they don;t possess the diamond- instead they're selling off a list of diamonds they've never seen- and may never see, as the shipping may be done by a third party.
This is absolutely the cheapest way to sell- these sellers can't evaluate the stones. They never offer trade up policies.
Basically they sell, then run away.
This may work for some- but from my perspective, it's a horrible way to buy.
Well, I have access to lists with hundreds of thousands of wholesale diamonds- the same ones you see on the sites selling without photos ( and even a few that do)- so I can actually "shop" wholesale diamonds using a similar type of search
Experience has taught me that the GIA report- plot and all - omit the most vital aspects of what I consider desirable in a diamond's cut.
Therefore picking a stone off a list blind is akin to a nice game of Russian Roulette.
Two stones that are virtually identical based on GIA color, clarity, depth table, and even plot- can look totally different. One is a winner, and the other is the loser in the game of Russian Roulette ( wait, how do you win that game?)
It's true that great advice is to only consider stones with GIA reports- however it's just as important to advise folks not to pick a diamond based solely on that GIA report.
Basically, no matter how much anyone studies Table/Depth - or even CA and PA- ( not listed on a GIA report for a cushion) they'll not be able to accurately relate the GIA to the actual diamond's appearance- and desirability.
This means you can look at a million plots- and have no more information than someone who's looked at not a one. ( plus you'd have a huge headache:)
ETA- sticking with Polish and Symmetry of VG or EX: does that help your chances of getting a great stone?
NOT THE LEAST LITTLE BIT- plus you'll eliminate some amazing candidates. In this specific aspect, shoppers can easily mistake things they cant see, with the far more important aspects like corner shape, and facet placement- neither if which are indicated anywhere on a GIA report
This one really is a subject from your earlier post that needs addressing:
I KNOW I do not like the *crushed ice* appearance for me, but on the same token, I also am not entirely certain I want some of those super chunky types either.
Here's what I've found- there's a vendor who HATES crushed ice- and in fact does not even really know what it is ( based on their videos)
These videos are recommended to others on PS ad infinitum till "crushed ice" gets a bad name on that site.
So- I ask with all earnestness- if you're not sure what you DO want, how can you be sure what you DON'T want?
Another vital aspect is the ring: I advise shoppers to consider both ring and diamond together, and for many reasons.
First and foremost- if one buys a diamond from vendor A, and a setting from vendor B, who's responsible for the final result.
If it does not look correct, each can blame the other- although it's really not an issue because the consumer can't possibly have a money back guarantee on both items, purchased from different vendors- this removes accountability from each.
Second of all, certain stones look Way better in certain rings- so it's smart to consider both together.
The good thing here is that this is an experiment- and I assume you're still within your money back period....
PS: +10000 to Squiggies excellent post above.