James Allen vs Brian Gavin Diamonds 1.75 carats++

“Hi Todd, I just wanted to thank you for providing me with excellent advice and guidance in choosing an e-ring. The articles that I’ve read thus far have been extremely helpful! I’ve tried putting your advice to use during my search, and would love you have you comment on what I’ve found thus far. All these [outlined below] are ones that I’ve found using the filters on James Allen and Brian Gavin Diamonds, as well as looking at the GIA/AGS reports. Your expert opinion/thoughts// rationale is much appreciated! Thank you in advance…” — Desmond

Thank you for your inquiry Desmond, this is a fantastic selection of diamonds that you’ve put together and I’m happy to review them for you.  Let’s take them in order of carat weight:

James Allen True Hearts Diamond weighing 1.56 carats, VS-1 clarity, H color with negligible fluorescence graded by the  American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) on their Platinum Light Performance grading platform as AGS Ideal 0.  The fact that this diamond received an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal 0 on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform of the AGSL is a great place to start because fewer than 1% of all round brilliant cut diamonds produced in the average year are cut well enough to receive this cut grade!  This grading platform uses a proprietary Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool (ASET) which was developed by the AGSL to measure Light Performance by determining how the diamond interacts with the light which it is exposed to in a virtual room which is designed to mimic the light conditions of our hemisphere.

The ASET image representing this diamond on the AGS Diamond Quality Document (DQD) indicates that the diamond is performing as expected (hence the AGS Ideal 0 grade for Light Performance) with lots of red which indicates that the diamond will be quite brilliant and there is excellent contrast as indicated by the dark blue section, the little bit of green is perfect.  Without getting overly technical, let me just say that you’re off to a great start!

The proportions of the diamond are spot-on in the middle of the range designated for the zero ideal cut proportions rating, the diamond has a total depth of 61.4% with a table diameter of 56.0% and a crown angle of 34.7 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet.  This is exactly what I look for when selecting diamonds to consider in terms of proportions… as far as the inclusions go, the AGS Laboratory indicates that they are nothing more than needle and pinpoint shape diamond crystals.

The lower girdle halve length is 76% which is well within the range needed to produce a nice looking Hearts and Arrows Diamond, that range is between 75% – 80% by the way with 77% being the target.  The length of the star facets average 53% which is well within the range of 40 – 58% needed to produce a proper pattern of Hearts and Arrows.  This is a good looking Hearts and Arrows Diamond; but at first glance it looks like the table facet of the diamond is off center, it isn’t… it’s just that the diamond was tilted slightly when it was photographed.

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“Brian Gavin Blue” Diamond weighing 1.740 carats, I-color, VS-1 clarity with medium blue fluorescence graded by the AGSL with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal 0 on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform.  According to the AGSL this diamond has a total depth of 61.1% with a table diameter of 58.1% and a crown angle of 34.9 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet.  The lower halves average 77% and the star facets average 54.0% so everything looks good and the ASET image on the lab report looks spot-on!  The primary inclusion seems to be a tiny diamond crystal located in the center of the table facet

I have to admit that I’m quite partial to diamonds with blue fluorescence, I love the way that they look when exposed to black light… they glow a beautiful neon blue color and the blue fluorescence helps to lift the body color of the diamond just a bit which is quite nice.  From speaking with Brian, I know that the diamonds from the Brian Gavin Blue collection are produced on the same production line as the diamonds from his Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamonds and every one that I’ve seen has exhibited an amazing amount of sparkle factor!

This GIA Graded 1.75 carat, VS-1 clarity, J-color, round brilliant cut diamond from James Allen is pretty comparable to what you’re likely to find in most brick and mortar jewelry stores as their high end / top quality diamond, but honestly it never would have made it on to my desk when I was the diamond buyer for Nice Ice because the proportions are beyond the scope of my personal preferences… The diamond has a total depth of 62.4% with a table diameter of 58% and a crown angle of 35.0 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 41.2 degrees with a medium to slightly thick girdle.  Now I’ve never been a fan of round brilliant cut diamonds with a pavilion angle steeper than 41.0 degrees, especially when they are offset by a steeper crown angle like 35.0 degrees which this one is… but the lower girdle halves average 80% so I’m inclined to think that this diamond will give off a fair amount of light return in terms of volume, but it’s not going to be near as brilliant (reflected white light or white sparkle) or as fiery (reflected colored sparkle, a.k.a. dispersion) as the diamond would be if the crown angle were between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees and offset by a pavilion angle between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees… so while this diamond is not a total dog, it’s not high on my list of favorites and I’m inclined to pass on it.

Jumping up quite a bit in terms of size and price, we’ve got this 2.015 carat, VS-2 clarity, I-color, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from the Brian Gavin Blue collection which is graded by the AGS Laboratory with an overall cut rating of AGS Ideal 0 on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform.  All right, so we know that the diamond exhibits maximum light return and I can tell from looking at the ASET and Ideal Scope images that it’s going to be vibrant in terms of sparkle factor!  It also exhibits strong blue fluorescence which is going to be gorgeous in an I-color diamond… the proportions of the diamond are right where I like them to be with a total depth of 61.8% with a table diameter of 56.3% and a crown angle of 34.8 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.5 degrees with a thin to slightly thick, faceted girdle and a pointed culet.  The lower girdle halves average 75% and the star facets average 56.3% so this puppy should be bouncing in the light… inclusions are simply diamond crystals and pinpoint size diamond crystals, it’s all good.  There is a price increase which occurs in the price per carat between the 1.99 – 2.00 carat marks, so things went up quite a bit in terms of price but then again you get to proudly say that “it’s two carats!” when people ask you how large the diamond is and there’s something pretty cool about that because very few people are rocking two carat diamonds on their fingers!

Next we have this 2.03 carat, VS-1 clarity, J color, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from James Allen which according to the GIA has a total depth of 61.7% with a table diameter of 57% and a crown angle of 35.0 degrees offset by a pavilion angle of 41.0 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and no culet.  The diamond has an overall cut rating of GIA Excellent and the lower girdle halves average 80% and the star facets average 55% so it is likely that this diamond has really good light return and exhibits very good brilliance and dispersion… Here again, it’s pretty much equivalent to the high end / top shelf merchandise of better quality brick and mortar jewelry stores.  The primary inclusions are just a few diamond crystals and pinpoint size diamond crystals.  I can’t say much more about the diamond without seeing ASET Scope and Ideal Scope images, other than I’m pretty confident that it’s not going to exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows just because of the 35.0 degree crown angle and the 80% lower girdle halves, but hey I’ve been wrong before… nah, I’m kidding.  So why is a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts and Arrows important?  Because it is indicative of diamonds which have been faceted with an extremely high degree of precision and that level of precision creates a higher number of virtual facets, which in turn produce a larger number of flashes of light and an increased amount of sparkle and that’s really the whole point of buying a diamond, isn’t it?  The sparkle factor is everything.

I like this next 2.05 carat, VS-1 clarity, J-color, True Hearts Diamond from James Allen much better than the last one… It’s graded by the GIA with a total depth of 61.6% and a table diameter of 56.5% with a crown angle of 34.8 degrees and a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet which puts the proportions of the diamond in the “sweet spot” that I look for when selecting diamonds.  It has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal 0 on the AGSL’s Platinum Light Performance grading platform, so we know that the light return is going to be top notch!  The diamond exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts and Arrows as can be seen by dragging your mouse over the image of hearts and arrows pictured on the diamond details page just to the right of the clarity photograph of the diamond.  Speaking of which, the primary inclusions are simply diamond crystals and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals, which I’m perfectly happy with.

All right, so after the dust has settled, of the six diamonds which we’ve considered, the ones which continue to be of interest to me are the following:

1.56 carats, VS-1 clarity, H color with negligible fluorescence from the James Allen True Hearts collection

1.740 carats, I-color, VS-1 clarity with medium blue fluorescence from the Brian Gavin Blue collection

2.015 carat, VS-2 clarity, I-color, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from the Brian Gavin Blue collection

2.05 carat, VS-1 clarity, J-color with negligible fluorescence from the James Allen True Hearts collection

In terms of overall visual performance, I’m pretty confident that all four of these diamonds will command attention when they enter a room!  The proportions of all four diamonds are within the center range of the spectrum outlined for the AGS Ideal 0 proportions grade.  I openly admit that I’m partial to the insight provided by the AGSL Platinum Light Performance grading platform and tend to lean towards diamonds graded by the AGSL for this reason… I believe that the ASET provides valuable insight into the light performance levels of a diamond and that it takes a lot of the guesswork out of buying a high performance diamond online.

I hope that this in-depth evaluation is helpful to you in narrowing down the options Desmond, let me know if I can help you further.  And by all means, I’d love to know which diamond you end up going with… If anybody reading this diamond review would like similar assistance in selecting a diamond, I invite you to Contact Me and/or leave a comment below.

Todd Gray
Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)
Todd Gray

@NiceIceDiamonds

Professional diamond buyer with 30+ years trade experience in the niche of super ideal cut diamonds. In my free time, I enjoy freediving & photography.
The incredible #story behind the Sirisha diamond necklace by @BrianGavin 71 #Diamonds cut to order #Amazinghttps://t.co/dHOo1T99xT - 2 years ago

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