Hi Todd, I’m trying to decide between this 1.20 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond, and this 1.23 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond, which I believe both meet the selection criteria which I read on your web site and have an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0. I’ve read good things about both vendors on various diamond forums, but many people seem to feel that the hearts and arrows diamonds from Brian Gavin are more precise than James Allen True Hearts, which means that they will have more sparkle, right? Is that why there is an eleven hundred dollar difference in price between the two diamonds? Can you tell me whether online diamond prices are negotiable? What’s the best way to negotiate better diamond prices from Brian Gavin or James Allen? I’d like to be around $10k for the diamond and around $3k for a pave setting. — Simon G.
The reality is that the prices offered by the majority of online diamond dealers like Brian Gavin and James Allen are already significantly less than you could expect to find at your local jewelry store for diamonds of comparable quality, this is because online diamond dealers are competing globally and not just locally for your business.
As a result of competing for diamond sales globally, online diamond dealers are working off of much slimmer profit margins than the average jewelry store which is usually working on a 2x or 3x keystone profit structure where the cost of items are multiplied two, three and sometimes even four times, just so they can run a seasonal diamond sale… such a deal!
Thus it is pretty unlikely that you’ll get any sort of substantial discount by asking an online diamond dealer for a discount, but there are some specials which are available from time to time. For instance, the Brian Gavin Stone of the Day promotion which features a different diamond every day! It is a fun and innovative approach to providing people with the opportunity to save a little money when buying a diamond online. The challenge is that Brian Gavin carries an extensive inventory of ideal cut diamonds, and thus you never know if or when a diamond which might be of particular interest will be offered at a discount.
One of the fastest and most effective ways to get a discount when buying diamonds and jewelry online is to ask an affiliate like myself whether we have any special promotional coupons available for a particular vendor… For instance, right now I have a Brian Gavin Coupon Code that will save you money when ordering a setting in conjunction with a diamond from either the Brian Gavin Signature or Brian Gavin Blue collections. How do you get a Brian Gavin coupon code from me? Submit an inquiry and ask, because I’m not permitted to publish the codes on the web site… be sure to tell me the details of your diamond quest if you’d like my opinion or help finding a diamond.
I also have a limited number of coupon codes for Blue Nile and can tell you how to save some money on a setting from High Performance Diamonds… I don’t have anything available from James Allen at the moment, but things change so it’s always worth checking with me.
Note that vendors will usually not allow you to take advantage of more than one coupon code or discount at a time, things like Brian Gavin coupon codes are designed to be an incentive for you to conduct business with them and not a way to leave them without any sort of profit… sorry to disappoint your inner coupon queen, but you won’t be able to stack up coupons and discounts and run away with your diamond for free.
Keep in mind that a vendor who doesn’t make some sort of reasonable profit on every transaction, is not likely to be around to serve your needs in the future, or be around for you to be able to trade-in or upgrade your diamond at some point in the future, so be reasonable and fair in your use of discount codes when buying diamonds online.
I’ve got to tell you, the details for the 1.208 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond which you found look pretty good! The diamond is graded by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 with a total depth of 61.7% and a table diameter of 56.5% with a crown angle of 34.9 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.7 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. The proportions of the diamond are cut to the center of the range, which I consider to be the “sweet spot” in terms of producing the highest volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion!
This particular James Allen True Hearts diamond exhibits a pretty nice pattern of hearts and arrows, there is some minor variation in the size and shape of the hearts, and just a little bit of twisting visible within the tips of the hearts, and some swirling towards the ends of the arrowheads, but it truly is very slight and tells me that the optical symmetry of this diamond is on the high end of the scale… which combined with the proportions and overall cut quality of the diamond, should result in a higher number of virtual flashes and broader flashes of light which our eyes interpret as sparkle!
The only thing that I don’t like about the diamond, is that it was submitted to the AGSL for grading in 2012, which is seven years after they implemented the Light Performance grading platform which relies on Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) and for some reason the cutter elected to go with the older report format which doesn’t provide the ASET results on the diamond quality document… and since James Allen Diamonds no longer provides reflector scope images on their diamond details pages, we get to be at a complete loss in terms of the levels of brightness exhibited by this diamond and the distribution of brightness, which would be provided by an ASET image. Okay that’s the end of my rant, I’m getting off of my soapbox now.
At first glance the characteristics of this 1.232 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond might seem to be exactly the same as the James Allen True Hearts diamond referenced above, but for one thing it is graded on the Light Performance grading platform which provides an ASET image of the diamond, so we can see that the diamond exhibits an exceptional level of brightness and that the distribution of brightness is evenly distributed throughout the diamond.
Just in case you’re not familiar with what an ASET image looks like, it is the round diagram located on the diamond grading report pictured to the left, which uses red, green and blue to represent different levels of brightness and contrast being exhibited by a diamond. One look at the ASET results for this diamond and I know that this puppy has a sparkling personality that will capture your heart!
Another indication that this Brian Gavin Signature round diamond has been cut to a superior level of optical symmetry, is that there is less inconsistency in the hearts pattern of the diamond which is pictured to the left. This means that the indexing of the pavilion main facets and lower girdle facets is much more precise and this, in turn, will result in a higher volume of light return and better sparkle. Obviously it takes more time and skill to cut diamonds to this level of optical precision, the question is whether you are willing to pay slightly more for it… I think of it as spending a little extra money to buy the turbocharged version of a high-performance automobile.
In terms of proportions, the diamonds are essentially equal. The 1.232 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond has a total depth of 61.0% with a table diameter of 56.7% with a crown angle of 34.8 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. Both diamonds have overall cut grades of AGS Ideal-0, but once again the BGD Signature diamond is graded on the Light Performance grading platform which provides ASET results indicating the brightness levels of the diamond, while the diamond from James Allen only indicates that the diamond qualified for the zero light performance rating.
If you want to see how extreme the variation in the patterns of brightness can be within “ideal cut diamonds” take a look at the different ASET results featured within my comparison of Ritani Reserve Ideal vs James Allen True Hearts Diamonds. How do they compare?
Of course one of the easiest ways to save money buying a diamond online is to simply adjust the selection parameters slightly so that you are able to maintain a higher level of diamond cut quality and optical symmetry, without sacrificing carat weight, light performance or sparkle factor… For instance, by dropping down just a little bit in clarity, I was able to find a 1.236 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond which delivers the same size and visual performance for significantly less money, it’s even under budget!
Or you could go with something like this 1.22 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond and pick up a color grade without dropping down in carat weight… the reality is that an SI-1 clarity diamond deemed as being “eye clean” by Brian Gavin is going to face-up exactly the same as a VS clarity diamond to the naked eye, but the difference of a color grade or two can result in a slightly brighter-looking diamond.
The best way to save money buying a diamond online from vendors like Brian Gavin and James Allen is to work with somebody like myself who knows which of the 4C’s of Diamond Grading to adjust in order to select a diamond that delivers the best overall look and visual performance, while providing you with the best value possible… and since my Diamond Concierge Service is free of charge, there is no reason not to take full advantage of it.
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)
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