I want to share a personal story about a family diamond that might be helpful to someone with similar circumstances.
Years ago I inherited a diamond ring from my late mother-in-law that had belonged to her aunt, so it was a stone that I definitely wanted to keep in the family. Unfortunately, it was not my taste at all. The mounting was too large, fashioned of textured white gold, and it did absolutely nothing for the diamond.
Secondly, the stone itself was unattractive. It was a brilliant-cut round diamond that supposedly weighed over 2.00 carats, but it was as dead and lifeless as could be. When I studied diamonds
in my GIA coursework, one example of a poorly cut stone was described as a “fisheye,” and my newly inherited stone could not have been a better example. The stone had been cut too shallow. Light was falling out through the bottom of the diamond because of its flatness, which resulted in a dull grey ring around the center and a loss of brilliance.
As a gemologist and a detail-oriented perfectionist, I could not bring myself to wear the stone, no matter how it was set. Every time I looked at it I recoiled. It was so unpleasant a feeling that the ring sat unworn for years.
To resolve these issues, I finally had the stone unmounted, and then I sold the unwanted ring for scrap value. Using my GIA training, I calculated how much of the stone’s weight would be lost if I had the diamond recut to what the industry considers “ideal” proportions, to maximize its brilliance. On the negative side of the spectrum, these changes would result in the loss of a half-carat of weight, which is considerable, and a diamond with a smaller "face-up" appearance. One the other hand, once recut, it would be full of life, throw off a rainbow of colors, and I would enjoy looking at it on my finger. The price of recutting was several hundred dollars, but I gained about that much with the sale of the original, heavy, white gold mounting, so those two factors cancelled each other out.
So I decided to proceed. In brief, I instructed the New York cutter to leave the top “table” facet and the culet (the point at the bottom of the diamond) as they were, but to bring in the circumference of the stone, thereby creating steeper angles for the facets. He was to cut it to ideal proportions. A few weeks later, my “new” 1.50ct. brilliant-cut round diamond arrived. One glance at it tipping back-and-forth in the diamond paper told me that I had made the right decision. It was sparkling, enticing, and a pleasure to behold. Soon afterward I found a lovely, 18-karat gold estate mounting into which my diamond was set, which I now wear all the time.
What had been a lifeless rock was transformed into a beautiful diamond that now will be treasured for generations. Who knows? Some day it could be an engagement ring stone for my son, or half a pair of earrings for my daughter. Wherever it ends up, it is a diamond that the future owner will be truly proud of.
If you own a family stone that isn’t being worn because it is so unappealing, the simple solution may be recutting. Let’s get together and talk about it.