If you have been researching or diamond shopping for a while, you will already know that cut is the most important of the Four C’s. A big impact on price and beauty means a focus on cut quality is of paramount importance for buyers in the know.

If you have already mastered the basics of diamond cut quality, you may be looking above and beyond the standard grading system toward premium selection diamonds. Step forward, GIA Triple Excellent diamonds also known as triple x diamonds.

Having a complete view of all the facts will help you decide if a GIA XXX diamond is the right choice for you.

What is a GIA Triple Excellent Diamond (or XXX Diamond)?

If a GIA diamond receives an excellent grade for polish, symmetry, and cut it is considered a triple excellent diamond. These diamonds represent the highest cut grade that the GIA awards their diamonds.

On a grading report, there will be no mention of ‘triple ex’, rather it will simply show the three characteristics with the grades listed alongside them.

Annotated GIA Report with the excellent sections highlighterBenefits of a Triple Excellent Diamond

In the world of diamonds, cut is king, so an excellent cut, polish, and symmetry grade certainly sets you on the right track for a good-looking diamond.

A well-polished diamond will have smooth, external surfaces like tiny mirrors. They create crisp light return, allowing light to be freely transmitted without distortion. There are a multitude of flaws that can occur as the result of the polishing process and these become particularly problematic if the polishing flaw has penetrated the surface of the diamond.

I am often asked if poor symmetry is the result of cutting mistakes, but this is rarely the case. Cut is the most important feature of a diamond, however a demand for ‘magic’ carat weights (1.00ct etc) forces cutters to sacrifice cut quality in favor of carat weight yield. In fact, cutters will often prioritize any given value factor over cut quality. For example, a cutter may add an additional facet to increase clarity grading as they know this will have a bigger impact on the value than the symmetry grade.

You can read my complete guide of polish and symmetry for some helpful insight into these often overlooked features.

Beautifully cut diamonds are extremely rare, so a triple excellent grading can certainly be viewed as a big positive for buyers, However, it is not the whole story.

Triple Excellent Diamonds: What You Need to Know

To find a truly beautiful diamond, every quality aspect must be working in harmony. Unfortunately, a triple ex grading doesn’t automatically translate into a perfectly performing diamond. Let me explain why.

The GIA is a trusted, internationally recognized gem laboratory and I cannot recommend them enough. However, even within an establishment as esteemed as the GIA, there are limitations. The GIA cut grades are fairly broad (broader than AGS), so even within the triple excellent ‘bracket’ of diamonds, there can be a large variance in cut precision and light performance. There will be those diamonds that just make the ‘excellent’ grade and there will be others that represent the pinnacle of cut quality – you will not be able to tell which of these you are buying from a triple ex grading alone.

High res imaging, performance reports and detailed specifications…this information indicate a vendor is confident in their diamond quality. Whiteflash takes a scrutinous look at light performance and offers an in-depth education for every customer, James Allen and Blue Nile also do to some extent.

I have seen countless jewelry vendors advertising triple excellent diamonds as the gold standard of cut quality and using the triple excellent phrasing in marketing and sales patter. The average brick-and-mortar jewelers are unlikely to have a deep understanding of cut quality; instead, they use impressive words on a certificate to enchant buyers. I have spoken with many buyers who purchase triple excellent diamonds and are disappointed with the results. Deep cuts, chaotic patterning and steep pavilion angles are just some of the undesirable traits that diamonds can display while still carrying a triple ex grading.

To keep balance, I suggest that if you buy a triple excellent diamond, you won’t end up with a complete dud. A triple ex rating offers a basic security net that your diamond will have good sparkle, but it should not be viewed in the same light as a super-ideal cut such as an A CUT ABOVE® diamond by Whiteflash. A second option could also be the Blue Nile Astor Collection.

Where Can I Buy Triple Excellent Diamonds?

For those seeking the best of the best in diamond cut quality, I recommend Whiteflash. Their in-house A CUT ABOVE® range features super-ideal cut diamonds. Cut quality and exceptional light performance are the key focus of the Whiteflash brand which is just one of the reasons I recommend their diamonds.

If you are committed to buying a GIA diamond but are looking for a truly outstanding cut, a triple excellent should act as a baseline requirement. Diamond light performance reports (such as ASET, Sarine, and Hearts and Arrows) should all be scrutinized alongside the diamond certificate.

If this task sounds challenging, help is at hand. Whiteflash also has Premium Select diamonds. These stones are GIA triple excellent diamonds that have been specially chosen for their incredible cut and light performance. Whiteflash uses its advanced diamond technology to scan each diamond for light defects and filter them out. The diamonds are then analyzed for contrast patterning and optical symmetry and diamonds with issues are sifted out. This leaves only the best-performing and optically precise diamonds in the Premium Select category.

Are Triple Excellent Diamonds Worth It?

A triple excellent grade is certainly an indicator of craftsmanship, but like all things in the world of diamonds, more information is needed to truly assess optical properties and light return.

Look for companies like Whiteflash and their A CUT ABOVE® diamonds (which I’ve reviewed in more detail here) that offer additional performance reports as standards with their diamonds.

Do not rely solely on a triple ex grade when making your decision. I would also suggest reading my reviews on James Allen and Blue Nile.

Richard Jenkins, The Diamond Guru

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