Hi Todd, I need help choosing a diamond please. By reading your post, I see that at least you are objective in your view instead of leaning towards one vendor. My goal is to get a diamond with the least amount of maintenance that sparks into eternity (if that even exist). I am debating between JA and BGD. My budget is $6.5K. Looking for something between 0.8 – 1.0 carat. Highest cut quality to give bring out the brilliant and fire. The rest I can forgo, such as color and clarity as long as they are eye clean. Thank you — Annie.
Thank you for your inquiry Annie, since you’ve specified that you want a diamond which is eye clean, I limited my search to diamonds which are SI-1 clarity and above, since they are more likely to be “eye clean” from a distance of 9 – 12 inches, which is the industry standard for making that determination. Note that if it is important for the diamond to be absolutely eye clean from a top-down perspective, like under close scrutiny, then I recommend a diamond clarity of VS-2 and higher.
Since you specified that you are looking for the highest cut quality in hopes of finding a diamond which exhibits the best brilliance and fire, I started my search with Brian Gavin because his production is cut to the highest level of optical symmetry, which results in diamonds which offer the highest volume of light return and superior sparkle. The two primary factors which contribute to the sparkle factor of a diamond are the proportions, and the degree of optical symmetry, or diamond cut quality. The best way to judge the optical symmetry of diamonds like this 0.810 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond is to look at the precision of the hearts and arrows pattern.[separator]
The combination of proportions and the degree of optical symmetry required to produce a crisp and complete pattern of hearts like the one pictured above is so precise, that you are practically assured that the diamond is going to exhibit the highest levels of light return and sparkle.
This 0.810 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond is definitely one which I would consider, it has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 as determined on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform which relies on Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) to measure the brightness of diamonds and takes into account other factors of diamond visual performance which contribute to the sparkle factor of a diamond. The results of the ASET scan for this diamond, which appear in the middle of the diamond grading diagram pictured to the left, show lots of red, which happens to be the brightest light possible, with a good balance of green which is the second brightest light, and excellent contrast which is indicated by the color blue. The distribution of color is nice and even, which is another indicator of superior optical symmetry.[separator]
Obviously the proportions of this diamond are well within the “sweet spot” of the range of proportions designated as the parameters of the zero ideal cut rating, as outlined in my article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success, and the inclusions meet my selection criteria… as will be the case for all of the diamonds mentioned in this article.
I also like the look of this 0.891 carat, F-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond, which I just spoke to Brian Gavin about and he assures me that it is eye clean… the primary inclusions consist of twinning wisps, which are crystal planes within the diamond crystal which twisted during formation and which usually contain tiny crystals, they appear to be pretty translucent in the high resolution video of the diamond.
This 0.907 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond is priced just a few hundred dollars beyond your desired price range, but I felt that it is worthy of honorable mention just in case you have a little bit of wiggle room in your budget.
The crown angle of this 1.040 carat, J-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond is only one tenth of a degree beyond my preferred range of 34.3 – 34.9 degrees, and as such it is acceptable because the 40.9 degree pavilion angle provides it with an excellent offset which should result in a high volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. Now if you look at the tips of the hearts pictured in the relative 2-4-7-8 and 10 o’clock positions in the photograph provided to the right, you’ll see that the tips of the hearts are bending slightly, this is a tell tale sign that the lower girdle facets of the diamond differ ever so slightly in size and length.[separator]
The diagram pictured to the left, created by Brian Gavin Diamonds, provides a visual example of how the hearts of a hearts and arrows diamond are formed. If you look at the pavilion main facet located in the 12 o’clock region which is colored green for your reference, you will see that it is reflected across the diamond, where it is split into two halves, and reflected off of the lower girdle facets which are separated by the pavilion main faceted located in the six o’clock position. If the length, size, or indexing of the lower girdle facets is off just even a little bit, the two sides of the heart will be uneven in size and it will make it appear that the tips of the hearts are bending or twisted.[separator]
With this explanation in mind about how hearts are formed in round brilliant cut diamonds, it is reasonable to assume that there is some minor variation in the length, size, or indexing of the lower girdle facets of the 1.040 carat, J-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond, but it does appear to be fairly slight, and the hearts pattern is certainly better than what I’ve seen in the large majority of round ideal cut diamonds which are not cut specifically to exhibit patterns of hearts and arrows… thus this remains an excellent option if you’re not looking for an extremely high level of precision and optical symmetry.
This 1.062 carat, J-color, SI-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond offers a similar level of optical symmetry as the option referenced above, as you can see from the photograph of the diamond to the left, which shows the diamond as seen through a hearts and arrows viewer, the tips of the hearts are bending a bit as a result of slight differences in the indexing of the lower girdle facets, especially as seen in the 2-3-7-8 and 9 o’clock positions. Note that the optical symmetry of the diamond appears perfectly fine in the ASET image provided on the diamond grading report, which is why I also like to see reflector scope images when judging diamonds for optical symmetry.[separator]
I just realized that I neglected to expand the range of color to include J-color diamonds during my search for diamonds from Brian Gavin, so I went back and ran a fresh search, which revealed this 1.008 carat, J-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond that looks great! As you can see by the photograph provided to the left, the pattern of hearts looks fantastic, hence we know that the optical symmetry of this diamond is top notch! Note that the dark spots which are visible within the hearts pattern are merely reflections of the inclusions within the diamond, which are visible because of the magnification being used to capture the hearts image.[separator]
I also like the look of this 1.064 carat, J-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond, needless to say that both of these diamonds meet my selection criteria, and I feel that they provide you with excellent options in terms of the best diamond for $6.5k and provide you into the differences between Brian Gavin Signature vs James Allen True Hearts diamonds.
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