A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
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  • alongcat, Cordobabg, Lorrissey, Odyssey, Rusalka, sparkletiger
04-13-2014, 08:34 PM,
#1
A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
Hi everyone,

I'm new here, but not too new to the sim world. I was an active member over at the BTD forum, but (long story short) my honest reviews of the Amora Gem were not welcome there.

So here I am, per the recommendation of a forum friend, to share my uncensored thoughts on the Amora Gem Ultra with everyone. I ordered an AG original and an AG Ultra a couple of weeks ago. After thinking long and hard about it, I decided to return both back to BTD, because I felt that neither one lived up to the hype of being better than a diamond… or even like a diamond. I'm going to focus this review on the Amora Gem Ultra, since that's what is being sold.

Here we go:
- The color was perfect. Very diamond like: very white, but not glassy white. Nice depth. No green/yellow or blue/grey tinting. I was impressed!

- The H&A cut was superb. Especially with the Ultra being a more transitional cut, the Arrows were almost always noticeable on the stone.

- The brilliance: definitely lives up to its claim of being 200% more brilliant. It's very brilliant, arguably too much? One of the ladies on the forum took her Gem to a jeweler, and he said the excess brilliance was what tipped him off that the stone wasn't a diamond.

- The crispness of the facets underneath the table: I think the extra brilliance of the stone, and the way that light moves through the stone (more on this later), makes the facets seem hazy at times. Several jewelers have also commented that the facet edges are more rounded than a diamond, and it appears that this may be a limitation of the AG material. Here are a couple of pictures that show what I am talking about:
http://postimg.org/image/bnermgkdf/
http://postimg.org/image/knjeocrar

- The surface edges, where the table & the upper facets meet, are not as sharp & crisp as diamonds & my Asha. I can see this quality best when I tilt the stone at an angle so there is a glare ON the stone's surface; the AG looks as though it has an extra layer or two of some coating on it (even though I know it does not). There is a thread on PS on the Amora that touches on this: http://www.pricescope.com/forum/rockytal...26-60.html
Before I got my Ultra I was very weary of what they were saying on PS, but now that I have seen it I think there is some truth to their comments.

- The sparkle scintillation: this is an area where the stone fell short for me. The stone sparkled nicely in highly lit areas, but barely sparkled under low lighting and diffusely lit environments. It has a ton of surface lustre, but that's different from sparkle. This is something that is hard to pick up on videos, because they auto-caliberate for the highest contrast, which makes the stones look like they have more contrast than they actually do. But here are some videos that try to get at the effect. These are not videos of my stone, but they show what I observed:
Low light: http://youtu.be/A_nv_UPkptU
Direct light: http://youtu.be/xeggSjNIU44

Note the difference in scintillation, particularly on the main pavilion and lower girdle facets in low light vs direct light. The stone performs beautifully in direct light. Obviously I did not expect the stone to perform the same in both environments. But that doesn't mean the stone should just be flat in low light either. Even my husband, who is quite oblivious to the details of stones, noted that the stone looked glassy in diffuse lighting and preferred the look of moissanite & Asha to it.

Video of Ultra (on left) vs. Asha (on right) at dusk inside my house:
Video of Asha (on left) vs. Ultra (on right) at night with incandescent lights:

A diamond in low lighting for comparison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYHSIbdcJ08

- Fire & Dispersion: Oh man. This was the big one that the AG really fell short, and ultimately prompted me to return my stone. The Ultra has one of the most bizarre qualities of fire I have seen in a stone. In general, light moves more slowly through the Ultra. I noticed that moissanites, Asha's and diamonds throw more bolder flashes of color with more frequency. The AG seems to have fire, but it is more pin fire flash instead chunky reflections of color. It’s also very hard to see colored light illuminate an entire facet in the AG. Often, a narrow edge of the AG will catch the light and a thin spectrum of color will appear. In general, light moves more slowly through the AG. This includes colored light, such that the color seems to “linger” or “roll around” on the facets much longer than usual. In other stones, the all light quickly flashes off the facets of the stone.

This video (not mine) shows the rolling effect quite well: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7867nYgXmvE
I emailed Less, the CEO of Better Than Diamond, & even asked publicly on the BTD form why the AG handled light in this way, but he never responded to me. I’m assuming his silence means it’s a limitation of the material of the stone that can’t be modified?

To show how the fire of the Amora Gem Ultra differs from an Asha and a FB moissanite OEC, here are videos of all three in the same exact environment. It is under the most intense spotlighting, so all three stones are showing their maximum fire. If you view the videos side by side, I think it is quite clear that the Ultra’s optics are noticeably different from the other two. The Ultra seems to have lustre or surface sparkle, whereas the other stones show sparkle/scintillation coming deep from within the stones.
FB Moissanite OEC & Asha (Set the quality to 1080): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOInmeDIEl4&feature=youtu.be
Amora Gem Ultra:
Sorry the quality isn’t great in the last video. If you download the video and play it off your computer it’s a little better.

In summary, based on the promotional material released by BTD and all the elated posts on the BTD forum, I bought the Ultra with the expectation that it would be 90-95% like a diamond. But in reality, I would give the Ultra a 75% rating. For comparison, I would rate the FB OEC as 90% diamond-like (it's just a very warm diamond), and the Asha 88% (because of the windowing and the grey/blueness it takes on sometimes & because it's not permanent). The thing that turned me off about the AG was the sparse sparkle & the slow movement of light through the stone. No diamond performs that way, regardless of cut. And it is definitely something that can be noticed with the unaided eye. If you are looking for a permanent diamond simulant, I think it is more wise to wait until the Amora Gem goes through further R&D. It sounds like between BTD and C&C, there will plenty of options to choose from in 2015. Cheers to that!

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04-13-2014, 08:43 PM,
#2
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
Hi Patricia! Thanks for such a thorough review, your diligence is much appreciated.

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04-14-2014, 04:46 AM,
#3
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
Hi Patricia and welcome to our forum. You are very, very welcome here. I really enjoyed your appraisal of the AG. I could see exactly what you meant in the videos. Looks like the AG has a long way to go still !

Thanks again, and I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future!

Merlin

P.S. Just of a matter of interest, if you had to keep an AG or an AG ultra, which one would you keep. Do you think the ultra has been over cooked now? I am just wondering, as folk who have an AG, will be wondering whether to trade in for the ultra. Tough call if you haven't been able to compare both side by side.

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04-14-2014, 05:22 AM,
#4
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
Welcome and thank you Patricia. That is very thorough and honest review of a product that most of us won't see for quite some time due to the patents. Your analysis does make me a little wary. I am not sure whether to drink the kool aid yet until I see more photos and hear more reactions from a more diversified group outside of that other place. Lol
@merlin "over cooked" haha

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[-] The following 3 users Like Bling It On's post:
  • JuBe, Slick, sparkletiger
04-14-2014, 06:22 AM,
#5
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
Hi Patricia,

Welcome to TFL! We had a bit of a chat over at the BTD forum (I'm becleeham over there). Thanks for taking the time to post such a thorough analysis of the new ultra. Definitely food for thought!

So sorry to hear that the AG didn't live up to your expectations, it sucks when you've been waiting for something and you get it and go "is that it?".

As you know, I had the original AG and really liked it but decided to trade it in for the Ultra after seeing pics and video of the new cut. I felt like the Ultra looks to be a more lively stone than mine was and has more fire than my original did. To me, the original looked like a diamond (cut, colour, brilliance) but I'm no diamond expert (having only ever owned one of a smallish size.) I also felt that my original AG looked better inside, in natural light as well as in diffuse lighting than in direct sunlight where it went white. Weird!

I also didnt pay that much attention to the crispness of the facets or the surface edges of myAG, but I will this time when I receive my ultra.
You've really given me something to think about. The last time I received my AG ring, I put it on, looked at it in various rooms in my house + outside and went 'oooh pretty!'. I took some pics and videos comparing the AG to CZ and diamond but my analysis was in no way as in depth as yours.

Regarding the rolling effect you talk about above - is that Brit's video you are referring to? I actually loved that the AG did that, I thought it was a super cool effect. I will try to reproduce it at home when I get mine to review. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

I also feel that like diamonds, the AGs in the Ultra cut we have seen are not created equal. Some of the photos/videos of AG Ultras are fantastic and look like they live up to all the hype, but some other ones dont look as good. Not sure why this is happening as they are all cut by robot, but definitely it looks like some AG's are more lively and scintillating than others. I hope the one that is delivered to me is one of the good ones!!

@Merlin - I am a big AG fan as you know, but yeah I think the AG Ultra is also overcooked now, much like the original AG was. I fell for the
hype the first time and was really excited to get one. Though I really liked it, it isn't the 'Ultimate gem' and once people start realising that, they can enjoy it for what it is - another great alternative to diamond just like moissanite, Asha etc
My ultimate gem for apperance/beauty alone is still probably diamond (though I havent seen an Ultra yet and may change my mind.) But in reality, the cost of diamonds for me is prohibitive and diamonds lose a lot of points for that. The AG allows you to have a pretty colourless stone for a much more sensible price (as does moissy) and this is worth a lot in my book.

@Slick - thanks for being excited with me about my new ring. I think I'm as excited about my planned custom DK setting as I am about the AG ultra! For those on the fence about the AG like you are, i think its best to wait until the patent is lifted and you can see one in person rather than making an impulse buy like I did!

She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten
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04-14-2014, 07:58 AM,
#6
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
@PatriciaLeung thank you for the amazing review. I'm sorry your honest opinion wasn't welcomed as it should have been. I feel like it is a very thoughtful and fair critique and will help others users have the right expectations. It's too bad all the hype prevents real discourse sometimes. several users are no longer on BTD because their questioning of the AG wasn't wanted, and once you realize he only wants the cheerleaders over there it's hard to keep drinking the BTD juice. This is a much different community and very supportive and I hope you stick around because you will add lots of value and meet friends.
@Bling it on I agree and hope that when the hype cools down and Less starts allowing more natural discourse that hopefully the AG can just be seen as it is. Not better than everything else, just another option. High color but different sparkle, etc. More options are always great and everyone likes something different! If BTD had marketed the AG as an option, rather than the ultimate, I think less ladies would be disturbed.

It's seems like the marketing for AG should focus on being whiter than moissy, less expensive than diamond, and more durable than Asha. Thats what I'm gathering from valuable reviews like Yours and Patricias.

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04-14-2014, 10:17 AM,
#7
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
Thank you for such an in depth review!! It is definitely beautiful, but knowing the differences between it and traditional moissy and diamonds is very helpful. Sorry it was not the gem for you... What will you do now, do you think?

@bling it on, I don't think you should feel bad!! It is still a great alternative to diamond. More options are always a great thing. Smile I think that if people purchase this expecting it to look exactly like a diamond, they are bound to be disappointed. But if you want a sparkly white stone, it may be the perfect fit!

Joseph Schubach Jewelers
please email jenniferc@schubach.com for quotes and inquiries
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[-] The following 1 user Likes Bling It On's post:
  • Bluespawkles
04-14-2014, 10:49 AM,
#8
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
@jenncent - I don't feel bad, I think the AG is perfect for me as I like its colourlessness and the fact that it is durable and can be a 'forever' stone. I learned from all the hype from the original AG that it's not perfect but still beautiful and sparkly. I also don't think that any one stone can be everything to everyone.
I DO hope that the Ultra is better than the original though or I will be pretty cranky. I've invested a bit of money in getting one (can't get a refund on the trade in just exchange) so hopefully the hassle to exchange will be worth it!

She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten
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04-14-2014, 12:01 PM,
#9
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
I hope you love the new one too!

Joseph Schubach Jewelers
please email jenniferc@schubach.com for quotes and inquiries
Visit this user's website
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04-14-2014, 02:00 PM,
#10
RE: A Thorough Review of the Amora Gem Ultra, photos & videos included
Thank you for your in depth review. It was very informative!

I'm glad there are plenty of sparkly options (including AG) out there for us.

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