Before we dive into this very interesting topic, we’d like to highlight that the term “GIA Triple Excellent” is sort of a marketing stunt used by salespeople to sell some not-so-worthy diamonds at pretty high prices!
GIA has absolutely no mention of any “Triple Excellent” or “GIA XXX” diamonds for that matter, in any of its official reports!
Many terms are used to identify diamond characteristics and group them into specific sets. Let’s take a look at these two diamonds:
The first one is considered a GIA Triple Excellent, 1 carat, excellent cut, symmetry, and polish, you can see it in 360 here.
The second one is not a Triple Excellent, also 1 carat, excellent cut & polish, but has v.good symmetry, here is it in 360 as well.
We doubt that -under any circumistances- you will ever be getting the one on the left! Let’s see why.
You can hear some definitions like “AGS Triple 000” zero being the best, a term given to diamonds that have grades of zero in color (D), zero in clarity (flawless), and zero in cut (ideal).
Another term however is the “GIA XXX or Triple Excellent Diamond“, “3 Excellent Diamonds”; which you might hear frequently when you shop from your local diamond store (and even with some online vendors as well)
In this post, we will take a look at these diamonds, before breaking down the term to see what it means exactly and what factors actually make a GIA XXX, it’s important to build some ground knowledge on some basics together! (Diamond 101)
What Are Diamonds Main Characteristics?
Characteristic is a term used to define and describe the specifications of diamonds. The main characteristics are called the Diamond 4Cs. They consist of:
Cut: How well-proportioned is the diamond in temrs of symmetry & light reflection (more here).
Carat: The weight (not size) of the diamond (more here).
Color: How much yellow (if any) is contained in the diamond (more here).
Clarity: How “pure” is the diamond in terms of inclusions, visible & non-visible ones (more here).
It’s not really possible to go over all of these in detail here, but, as you can see, most of the terms (blue-color ones) are hyperlinked to other posts; which explain in more depth what each term means.
If you’re a bit fresh on the subject, we really encourage you to go over our Diamonds Starter Guide for a better understanding of diamonds.
What are GIA Triple Excellent Diamonds?
When GIA experts assess a diamond, they grade it in almost all of the above-mentioned characteristics; when it comes to Cut, for instance, you have a complete Cut Grade Chart that contains 5 grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.
Now, for the term “Triple Excellent”, it means that a particular diamond has 3 Excellent grades on Cut, Polish, and Symmetry.
Yes, it’s that simple, Triple Excellent Diamond means that a diamond has all Excellent on these three, and diamond sellers will brand it as “Triple Excellent diamond” and charge higher prices for such diamonds.
In order to test this theory, we need to understand which are the most important characteristics of diamonds.
In another article, we’ve mentioned multiple times that Cut is the most important one and this means that this part; the “X” in Cut in the Triple Excellent term is true.
Now, where do Polish and Symmetry come into play (in order of importance) in a gem? And are they considered effective factors in increasing the sparkle and the shine as well?
In most cases, when you’re getting an excellent (ideal) cut diamond, you’re already getting excellent grades for polish & symmetry, so what’s the deal here?
In short, GIA XXX diamond is “almost” the standard case when you’re getting an ideal cut, so ALWAYS pay attention to other factors when you hear the term GIA XXX (so they are not trying to hide other lower grades by promoting a Triple Excellent).
Do Triple Excellent Diamonds Guarantee Great Sparkle?
Is this fuss about the “Triple XXX” really reasonable though?
This is an image with SI2 clarity, but it’s “Triple Excellent” in terms of Cut, Polish, and Symmetry!
Want 360-degree images of Triple Excellent Diamonds? Take a look at this diamond on James Allen; it’s a “Triple Excellent” for those who use this term to market gems (James Allen doesn’t use this expression by the way), but would you buy it?
Even if it’s at $3,000 (As the time of writing this, it’s priced at $6,650), would any salesperson have the guts to recommend it to you?
What about this one, where on earth can you find a 1-carat diamond with this price (currently at $3,270)? Do you see the inclusions on it? We would never recommend such a diamond, even if you will get it for almost nothing!
Hundreds of “Triple Excellent” Diamonds are available for sale on James Allen’s, take a look here for more options and see for yourself the quality you “may” get even with triple excellent diamonds.
Every diamond on earth is unique! Each has its own unmatched characteristics that give it its beauty and brilliance.
Therefore, it’s not technically logical or true to guarantee a great sparkle by confirming only these three characteristics; a diamond’s brilliance relies on many more factors.
So as an answer to the above question: Why Triple Excellent is marketed to have great sparkle?
It’s just a promotional thing, sales came up with it to create a feeling that these diamonds are special and unique; for the sole purpose of charging more for them!
Are Triple Excellent Diamonds Worth it?
Yes and No.
Yes when you’re getting a diamond that has all recommended characteristics, like at least an H or G color, an eye-clean clarity grade, doesn’t have strong fluorescence.
No when it has Excellent in Cut, Polish & Symmetry, but fails in other factors, like having a visible inclusions, or some “yellowish” look.
And to be honest, in many cases when a diamond is promoted to be Triple Excellent specifically, they tends to cover some other factors that the salespeople don’t want to share.
It’s worth mentioning though, if you want a great diamond, look for one (Triple XXX) with high grades characteristics, like Color, Clarity, and others, but not vice versa.
What we’re trying to say here is that you can’t judge a diamond’s worth if it has A or B or C characteristics only, you need to look at it as a whole.
A lot of Triple Excellent diamonds are really great, but that’s just because they match other great factors, that’s why you should NOT count on this only.
Does GIA Certify Triple Excellent Diamonds?
Again, the term only means that the diamond has these characteristics, and they will be mentioned of course on the GIA certificate of a diamond, but GIA will not “feature” the diamond as Triple Excellent on the report.
This is an example of a GIA certificate that shows an Excellent grade next to Cut, Polish, and Symmetry: (Click here or on the certificate to see the original diamond on Blue Nile)
Do you see any mention for the Triple Excellent thing? Exactly…
Triple Excellent Diamonds vs Ideal Cut?
It might sound like a weird question, but yes that’s valid, some people get confused when they hear the term Triple Excellent and they believe that they have to either pick it, or an ideal cut diamond.
Honestly, no one to blame here except those who came up with the term itself! They branded it like it’s a new thing or type of diamonds, while we already saw what does it mean.
So, for our question: GIA XXX vs Ideal cut, what to choose?
You can easily pick both! Once you get an ideal cut, in most cases you’re getting an Excellent polish, as well as Excellent symmetry, which means that you nailed a Triple Excellent diamond by picking an ideal cut one.
What to Look for in a Diamond to Get a Great Sparkle?
Our job doesn’t stop at making a compelling argument against the GIA XXX, we have bigger fish to fry here!
P.S. We always recommend our readers to educate themselves on diamond characteristics before starting their diamond shopping journey and going to any local diamond store (or even on online vendors like James Allen for that matter)
To start, you need to know that the most important factor in a diamond is the Cut! We’ve covered this in-depth in a separate article, feel free to check it for further explanation.
Once you secure an ideal cut, you can jump to other Cs, start by Color, then Clarity, and lastly let your budget control the highest Carat you can get.
To ensure that you’re spending your money on what matters, we recommend getting not higher than H or G Color.
For Clarity, make sure you get an eye-clean diamond. Most SI1 diamonds are eye-clean (let’s say all VS2 to be safer).
If you’re buying online from vendors like James Allen or Blue Nile, you can see a magnified image of your diamond so you can make sure it’s an eye-clean one; you know with their high-tech cutting-edge imaging technologies!
However, if you’re searching for a very special and luxurious diamond, we recommend you to read our expert review for Whiteflash. We’ve covered in detail where Whiteflash stands in the diamond industry and when is the best time to get your gems from their store over someone else.
As for other factors: Polish and Symmetry, for instance, you can easily find Excellent grades featuring them.
P.S. Just pay attention to ALL the above characteristics, then make sure you get these high grades.
Triple Excellent VS Regular Diamond, Decisions Decisions!
As we have mentioned previously, NOT all the Triple Excellent diamonds are the best option when it comes to a diamond purchasing decision.
Because they represent those grades based on only three characteristics, without taking into consideration any other factor that might affect the diamond’s brilliance and beauty!
That’s all besides their noticeable high prices, when you have the opportunity to get a normal diamond with great grades; but not labeled as triple excellent; which in fact will cost you less.
Being a smart shopper is what we are concerned about. Spending more time understanding and reading up on all the characteristics of diamonds will lead you to the best decision in buying the best diamond.
The good thing is that you don’t have to look far to make an extensive search, we have it right here: Our one-stop-shop diamond blog to guide you with every step of your diamond hunt!
Conclusion on Triple Excellent Diamonds: Buy or Don’t?
The answer is relative; depends on other factors! Yes, if a diamond has Excellent grades and other important factors; try to see the diamond magnified, or if in a physical store, see the diamond light reflection under different lights to see how it sparkles.
Remember, always spend your money on what matters, if the seller is trying to convince you to get the diamond just because it’s Triple Excellent, that shouldn’t be a good sign.
We always recommend getting your diamond online for a lot of reasons, our favorite store is James Allen, and some of the main reasons we recommend it are its large inventory, magnified 360 degrees images, a great reputation, and excellent customer service.
You’re still unsure about what diamond to pick? We’re here to help, please contact us through the form below and we’ll be glad to offer you a free consultancy to make sure you get a great diamond for anu budget you have.
Happy diamond shopping!