Betty writes: Our son James is in the US Navy and is currently in A-school in Annapolis, Maryland preparing to be an officer. He is hoping to get married when he graduates (July 22) and would like to get his girlfriend a nice ring. He has little time to research, shop for a ring and asked for my help. I live in Montana. I suggested that he try the online sites that I am familiar with-namely Brian Gavin and Blue Nile which were compared in your article Brian Gavin Signature Diamonds vs Blue Nile Signature Diamonds. I was leaning toward Blue Nile only because their website has a really nice, easy way to “shop” for a diamond and a setting, provide financing and ship free via Fed Ex. I do however like the H&A diamonds and the detailed mapping of the diamond provided by Brian Gavin. I really want to help our son choose a nice ring and am feeling a bit overwhelmed and nervous with the prospect of buying a diamond without seeing first hand it’s “sparkle.” He is looking for a round, H&A or ideal cut .85-1.0 cw with G/H color and a minimum of VSI clarity. Budget with financing $7-8,000 Can you help?
Thank you for your inquiry Betty, I am more than happy to help your son James find a diamond to present to his bride upon his graduation from Annapolis. Please thank your son for his service, my own son served in the USMC for two tours and I can appreciate what this means for your family.
The primary difference between Blue Nile and Brian Gavin Diamonds is that the business model of Blue Nile is geared primarily towards helping people buy a diamond which is comparable to the quality offered in traditional brick and mortar jewelry stores, but at prices which are more competitive. The Blue Nile web site is masterfully designed as a sales funnel which makes it easy to select a diamond and build your own engagement ring, but it can be difficult to determine which diamonds are the best in terms of light return and visual performance because this is not their primary focus.
Brian Gavin Diamonds is best known for their production of Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamonds and the equally stunning diamonds contained within the Brian Gavin Blue collection of round brilliant cut diamonds with blue fluorescence. The Brian Gavin Diamonds web site is a little more difficult to navigate because it is not designed specifically as a sales funnel, but rather is more of a diamond education web site which also sells diamonds. The information provided on the diamond details pages of Brian Gavin are exceptional and provide me with all of the data I need in order to make an informed decision about a diamond… this is an area where I feel they really shine and it’s easy enough to put a diamond on-hold while you look through their extensive catalog of engagement rings or arrange to have a ring custom designed. Brian Gavin Diamonds also offers Financing through Get Financing subject to credit approval.
I’m partial to the round brilliant ideal cut diamonds featured in the Brian Gavin Signature Collection of Hearts and Arrows Diamonds because people can select a diamond which displays superior amount Light Performance and Visual Performance without having to know very much about diamonds. The fact is that round brilliant cut diamonds which exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows will produce a higher number of virtual facets, which will result in larger flashes of light and better sparkle factor than diamonds which do not. This means that we’ll see more sparkle in the diamond and it will show up better from across the room. It should be noted that the round brilliant ideal cut diamonds contained within the Brian Gavin Blue collection are produced by the same diamond cutters who produce the Hearts and Arrows Diamonds, but the focus is on the presence of blue fluorescence and not the hearts and arrows pattern. All of the diamonds are graded by the AGS Laboratory on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform which ensures that the light performance of the diamond is top notch.
So we’re looking for round brilliant ideal cut hearts and arrows diamonds weighing between 0.85 – 1.00 carats, G/H color and VS-1 in clarity, but it’s important to note that because of the way the carat weight search is designed on the Brian Gavin Diamonds web site that we need to set the range from 0.80 to 1.10 carats because if we set the upper limit to 1.00 carats it will not produce any results weighing 1.00 carats or more.
And actually I’m kind of glad that their web site works like this because otherwise I might have missed this 0.838 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond which I think is worthy of consideration. I realize that you specified VS-1 as the preferred clarity, but actually VS-2 is a really good balance for the G/H color grade because both are considered to be kind of a middle ground in terms of characteristics so they are a good match in terms of value. All of the diamonds which we are considering from Brian Gavin are graded by the AGS Laboratory with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal 0 on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform and exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts and Arrows, so the diamond cut quality and visual performance are all top notch! The primary inclusions within this diamond consist of small feathers and diamond crystals which appear to be minimal, so I think this is a good option and the closest option available to the 0.85 carat mark available at the moment.
This 0.903 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin is also a viable option worthy of consideration in the VS-2 clarity grade. The primary inclusions are diamond crystals and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystal which seem to be rather translucent as pictured in the clarity photograph, I could barely locate the inclusions using the magnification tool.
Jumping up to the desired VS-1 clarity grade, there is a 0.927 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin which has clarity characteristics consisting of needle shaped diamond crystals and regular shaped diamond crystals… the primary difference between the inclusions within this diamond and the 0.903 carat mentioned above is simply the size of the inclusions, they will be a bit more difficult to locate using magnification. To the naked eye, the two diamonds will look virtually identical, but the difference in price is about $800.00
This 0.932 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin is also an excellent option, the primary inclusions consist of tiny clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals…
And finally the last diamond we have to consider in the 0.90 – 0.99 carat range is a 0.946 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin. The clarity grade of this diamond is based upon diamond crystals, needle shaped diamond crystals and small feathers. This diamond is kind of right in the middle of your desired price range and is actually a really good way to maximize the visible size of the diamond while maintaining the diamond cut quality and visual performance with the only sacrifice being a slight adjustment in clarity and once again it’s not going to make a visible difference in terms of what you see without magnification.
As you’re probably aware, there is a substantial price increase which occurs between the 0.99 – 1.00 carat marks and thus the only option which is within a thousand dollars of the desired ceiling of $8,000.00 and close to the other parameters is this 1.050 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin. The primary inclusions consist of clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals, feathers and a cavity. Since I’m guessing that you are wanting to include the price of a setting in the overall budget, this probably isn’t the best option even though it’s a beautiful diamond.
Now I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t show you this next diamond because it should be absolutely gorgeous and it pushes the carat weight well over the one carat mark. but it’s not exactly what you asked for. I’m really fond of diamonds which exhibit blue fluorescence, but I openly admit that this is a matter of personal preference… some people think the effect is really cool and other people prefer diamonds without fluorescence. Literally every diamond which I’ve ever worn personally has exhibited medium to strong blue fluorescence and one of the hidden benefits of blue fluorescent diamonds is that they tend to cost a little bit less due to a residual effect upon the market created by investment bankers back in the 1980’s which had everything to do with the perception of their investors and nothing to do with reality. It enables you to pick up this 1.10 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Blue Diamond with Strong Blue Fluorescence for just a little less money than the 0.927 carat, G-color, VS-1 referenced above… it is certainly something to think about!
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