Hi Todd, thanks for the nice article that you wrote recently [Brian Gavin Blue Review]! Its amazing to see what a difference the outside diameter of a diamond can make in its price. You had helped me choose among a few 1.75 carat choices [James Allen vs. Brian Gavin 1.75+ carats] recently, but now the time is closer and I have mostly settled on what I can afford and want to buy. I would like to stick closer to $15-17k, and get the best bang for the buck (meeting your criteria, of course) for a round that is 1.5 carats or bigger (although your argument in the first article makes so much sense). I do like the 1.538 carat BGD diamond that you mentioned in your article, and other choices that I’ve come across are [discussed below]. Alternatively, I could push myself to buy the Crafted by Infinity diamond at HPR that you wrote about previously, although it is a little beyond my range. Would you have any other recommendations? The engagement ring will be a solitaire in a classic “Tiffany-type” setting. As always, your expertise is very much appreciated! BTW, I’ve spent quite some time on NiceIce.com, including clicking all those “big scary affiliate links” every time I want to view a diamond you wrote about 🙂 ~ Desmond
First off Desmond, thank you so much for taking the time to read so many of my blog posts and for clicking on the “big scary affiliate links” which help to keep this web site going and which contribute to my dark chocolate and wine fund! Your continued support is truly appreciated! I can see from the characteristics of the diamonds which you’ve selected that you’ve learned a lot about selecting diamonds for light return and visual performance by reading this site! This is going to be fun because these are some beautiful diamonds! I’m going to review the diamonds which you provided me with links for in order of carat weight:
Brian Gavin Signature Hearts & Arrows Diamond weighing 1.520 carats, H-color, VS-2 clarity as graded on the AGSL Platinum Light Performance grading platform with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0. According to the AGS, the diamond measures 7.33 – 7.40 x 4.54 mm with a total depth of 61.7% and a table diameter of 56.8% and a crown angle of 35.0 degrees and a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. Since you’re a fan of my work, you probably realize that the 35.0° crown angle is 2.0 degrees steeper than my preferred range which is between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees.[separator]
I’m confident that this is a beautiful diamond which exhibits an exceptional amount of light return and a full range of brilliance, dispersion and scintillation, because the overall cut rating of AGS Ideal-0 combined with the presence of a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts & Arrows is a clear indicator of that… however I would truly be more comfortable recommending this diamond if the 35º crown angle were a little shallower, like somewhere between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees. Now I know what you’re thinking… “Todd man, I know you’re a perfectionist, but 35.0 degrees is not that far off of 34.9 degrees” and you’re right… and that’s why I’m not totally killing this diamond.
But if I were choosing between this diamond and the one which we’re going to talk about next, which is cut to proportions which are within my preferred range of measurements, I’m more likely to go with the next time and I’ll tell you why in a minute… But first I just want to mention that the that primary inclusions within this diamond consist of clouds, crystals, needles, feathers and pinpoints, and they all look pretty minimal. Now let’s move on to the next option.
Brian Gavin Signature Hearts & Arrows Diamond weighing 1.538 carats, H-color, VS-2 clarity also has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0. According to the AGSL, this diamond measures 7.40 – 7.44 x 4.58 mm and has a total depth of 61.7% with a table diameter of 55.7% and a 34.3º crown angle which is offset by a 40.9º pavilion angle with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. The primary inclusions are clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals, a feather and needle shaped diamond crystals. Now if you’re paying attention, you noticed that I said that I would choose this diamond over the other option from Brian Gavin mentioned above, and that is because it is cut within the range of proportions that I personally prefer. But did you also notice that the diameter measurements of this diamond are just a little bit larger? The total depth of both diamonds is 61.7% but this one faces up just a little bigger because the crown angle is just a little bit shallower and it’s subtle differences like this that will lead me to choose one dynamic option over another one when everything appears to be equal.[separator]
Now I have to admit that I’m kind of excited about this next puppy, because I’m truly partial to diamonds which exhibit medium to strong blue fluorescence. To the extent that every diamond which I have ever selected for myself personally has exhibited medium to strong blue fluorescence and one even had very strong blue fluorescence! Not only can the effect which blue fluorescence has upon a diamond be very cool when the diamond is viewed under black light, it can also help lift the body color of a diamond visibly when the diamond is exposed to strong ultra-violet light… which is not to say that it will lift the body color of the diamond all the time, but specifically when it is exposed to strong ultra-violet light. And because of a little shift in the market created in the last century by an investment firm which decided to preclude fluorescent diamonds from their diamond investment portfolios, it just so happens that there is a slight discount applied to diamonds which exhibit fluorescence… For me this is like having your cake and getting to eat it too!
Brian Gavin Blue Fluorescent Diamond weighing 1.562 carats, H-color, SI-1 clarity graded by the AGSL as having an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0. The picture to the left shows what this diamond looks like when viewed under black light! It’s a little known fact that these blue fluorescent diamonds from Brian Gavin are produced by the same diamond cutters, on the same production line, as the diamonds featured in his Signature Collection of Hearts & Arrows Diamonds ~ so they are going to deliver the same incredible light return and visual performance! But don’t tell anybody because I think that’s supposed to be a secret 😉[separator]
According to the AGSL, this diamond measures 7.46 – 7.47 x 4.59 mm with a total depth of 61.5% and a table diameter of 56.7% with a crown angle of 34.9 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. The primary inclusions consist of feathers, crystals and clouds. All right, so this diamond faces up right around the same size as the 1.538 carat, H-color, VS-2 from Brian Gavin which I reviewed above, and the exact same color grade, and one clarity grade lower, but it faces up “eye clean” according to a conversation which I just had with a representative from BGD, and it has the blue fluorescence which I happen to love, and it costs a little more than $3K less… Uh yea, no question, I’d buy this puppy in a heart beat!
Crafted by Infinity Hearts & Arrows Diamond, weighing 1.738 carats, I-color with very strong blue fluorescence, VS-2 clarity, offered by High Performance Diamonds with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform. According to the AGSL, this diamond measures 7.73 – 7.76 x 4.77 mm with a total depth of 61.6% and a table diameter of 56% with a crown angle of 34.3 degrees offset by a 40.7 degree pavilion angle with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. The primary inclusions consist of diamond crystals, needle shaped diamond crystals and an extra facet.[separator]
All right, so this option from Crafted by Infinity is definitely cut like a dream… but I have to point out that CBI should probably stop taking hearts and arrows images of their diamonds and supplying them to their vendors if they’re not going to take the time to properly align the diamond on the platform so that the tips of the hearts don’t come out skewed, because I think that it is a practice which is costing them a lot of sales online… If you’re looking for a diamond with a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts & Arrows, and you take a look at the hearts image provided on the diamond details page, you’d most likely reject the diamond because the tips of the hearts are bent and all wonky looking… Fortunately I happen to know that this is a glitch in the photography department at whatever company CBI pays to produce these images for them and not with the actual cutting of the diamond, which has always been top notch! Believe me we discussed this in-depth at the JCK Trade Show at the beginning of this month… If you want to verify that the hearts look good, ask Wink at High Performance Diamonds to send you a picture, or just look at the image provided on the AGS Diamond Quality Document, because the hearts look perfectly symmetrical on there.
Beyond that, everything about the diamond meets my selection criteria as you know from the feature article which I wrote on this dimaond, it’s a gorgeous looking diamond, but I know that it’s priced well beyond where you’ve indicated that you want to be in terms of price Desmond, and it’s a color grade lower than the other options which we’ve discussed thus far and I’m not sure that I see a justification for going there. It’s literally kind of one of those flip a coin things. And honestly, I find myself leaning just a bit towards this next option:
Blue Nile Signature Diamond weighing 1.83 carats, I-color with faint blue fluorescence, VS-2 clarity with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent which is the highest rating available from the GIA. According to the GIA, the diamond measures 7.85 – 7.89 x 4.84 mm with a total depth of 61.5% and a table diameter of 56% with a crown angle of 34.0 degrees and a 40.8 degree pavilion angle with a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet. The image to the left shows the results from the Brilliance Scope as provided on the GCAL diamond grading report. It’s based upon the same premise that the ASET image provided on the AGS Platinum Light Performance report, but it’s not quite the same…[separator]
The Brilliance Scope image provided above gives us an idea of how the diamond is absorbing light which enters it from different positions in the room and how it is reflecting light back up towards the viewer… Suffice to say that I agree with the assessment that the diamond has excellent light return. But there is a difference in the technology and how the diamonds are scanned in both instances, so when I say that it is similar to the AGS ASET, I also need to be clear in stating that it is not the same technology.
The hearts image provided on the GCAL report, looks fairly decent, I would not go so far as to suggest that this diamond exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows, because I can clearly see that it does not… but it actually has a more consistent pattern of hearts and arrows than I have seen in the majority of Blue Nile Signature Diamonds that I’ve evaluated the characteristics of. Which I feel puts this diamond well within the Top 2% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds and I definitely think that this diamond has potential… and you certainly can’t beat the price!
The 34.0 degree crown angle is clearly a little shallower than the range of 34.3 – 34.9 degrees which is my preference, but this is better than a steep crown angle in my opinion… more than likely it is a very pretty diamond, which is exhibits just a hint more brilliance than it does fire (dispersion), but it should still exhibit more dispersion than most diamonds and I’ve seen a lot of beautiful diamonds which were cut just like this. Oh by the way, the primary inclusions consist of crystals, clouds and feathers, and they all look perfectly fine.
Now while you’ve selected some truly spectacular diamonds, I have to throw a monkey wrench into the works and point out one puppy which caught my interest while I was looking at the characteristics of the diamonds which you mentioned. I’m kind of smitten with this 1.585 carat, G-color with very strong blue fluorescence, SI-1 clarity, from the Brian Gavin Blue collection because of the way it’s cut. The total depth of 60.9% is going to give the diamond a little more “spread” which translates to a larger outside diameter (visible surface space) than diamonds of the same carat weight which are cut in the more normal range of 61.0 – 61.8% total depth.[separator]
And just look at how perfectly round this puppy is! The outside diameter is 7.52 x 7.53 millimeters, it’s as perfect a round as I’ve ever seen… The table diameter is a smidge beyond my preferred range of 53 – 57.5% but you’ll notice that in a lot of my writing I’ll mention that I’ll go up to 58% if all the other conditions are right and they definitely are for this diamond, the crown angle is 34.9º and the pavilion angle is 40.8º with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet.
You might have passed on this diamond because the feathers located within the lower half of the diamond, as indicated on the lower plotting diagram on the lab report, look pretty bad… but notice how they’re not intersecting and they’re not breaking the edge of the diamond? They’re running in parallel to the girdle edge and are plotted in such a way that it tells me that they are well within the body of the diamond and that they are unlikely to pose any sort of durability risk… they’re what we call a benign inclusion. And you can’t beat the price! Yea, I’m kind of fond of this one…
I think for my money, it comes down to the following options:
Have a great day Desmond, I hope that this analysis of the diamonds is helpful to you… Feel free to ask me any other questions which pop up as you continue your journey along the diamond education highway!
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