So I was chatting with diamond cutter Brian Gavin last night about the current state of the diamond market and the reduced availability of diamond rough and the apparent shortage of truly beautiful large diamonds and it triggers one of those a-ha-moments and he says “Did you happen to see the 2.801 carat, I-color, SI-1 clarity, Hearts and Arrows Diamond that just cleared the lab?” and then shot me over a link via Skype. We spent about half an hour geeking out over the diamond and discussing the inclusions and I tossed and turned all night thinking that I should just get up and write a review about it… Why?
Because 2.80+ carats practically anything is an extreme rarity under normal circumstances, but is like the Holy Grail of Diamonds at this current time in the market when diamond rough and diamonds of excellent cut quality are in extremely short supply. The reason is simple enough, recent changes in the lending practices of banks all around the world have significantly reduced the credit lines of practically everybody involved in the diamond business (and every other business for that matter) and then there was a $50 million diamond heist in Antwerp awhile back that stifled the amount of diamond rough and finished goods. The industry is reeling from the loss and most diamond cutters have responded by choosing to produce diamonds which are larger as opposed to better cut in an effort to yield as much profit from each piece of diamond rough as possible.
There is Perfection in Imperfection:
The total depth of 62% is just a smidge deeper than my well known preference of 59 – 61.8% but does not impact the visual performance of the diamond in any way because if you look at the proportions diagram on the lab report for this 2.801 carat, I-color, SI-1 clarity diamond from Brian Gavin you’ll see that the crown angle is 34.6 degrees and it is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees which is spot-on exactly where I like them to be because it creates a perfect offset in terms of the two primary reflective surfaces which direct light through the diamond and back up towards the observer (that’s you) and that the extra depth is because the girdle measures thin to slightly thick…
If you’re going to have a little extra depth in a diamond, you want it to be in the girdle because it is more or less neutral. You don’t want the extra total depth to be held in the crown or pavilion sections because that would have an effect upon the manner in which the light moves through the diamond… this is why cut evaluation tools such as the Holloway Cut Adviser do not take girdle thickness into account, it will merely indicate that the spread of the diamond is “very good” but you’re not going to get “excellent” unless you drop the total depth of the diamond below 60.3% anyway so it’s kind of a moot point. But notice that the diamond scored “excellent” for light return, brilliance and dispersion and these are the factors that you buy a diamond for anyway…
Expressing Clarity of Thought:
So there I am on the phone with Brian reviewing the details on the lab report and as if he were sitting there in the room with me watching my eyes glance over the report, he says “Now Toddy” (yes he has called me that for years and I’ve given up trying to break him of it) “keep in mind that plotting diagrams on lab reports are one dimensional” right about the same time I exclaim “Holy shit look at the feathers in this stone!” which is funnier than it sounds if you know that Brian is a man of faith who I don’t recall ever hearing utter a swear word and I curse on a regular basis as part of regular conversation… so I say “all right Brian, tell me about this diamond because the plotting diagram is making me itch…” and he says “it’s one of those SI-1’s that looks amazing in real life, completely eye clean, but looks bad on paper because there’s a lot of red (referring to the ink color used by the AGS to indicate the inclusions on their plotting diagrams) but in real life this diamond is amazing… you would love it!”
So I continue over to the clarity photograph on the diamond details page and whip out the magnification tool and begin to scrutinize the diamond and I can see what he’s getting at… the inclusions within the diamond are difficult to see even when it is blown up to the size of a tennis ball on my monitor and the feathers all look pretty minimal. This is one of those times when a three dimensional model of the diamond and the inclusions would be incredibly helpful because I can tell that the inclusions are not all positioned at the same level within the diamond simply by the depth of field within the clarity photograph, but the inclusions look really bad on paper. Truth be told, this is a diamond which I would purchase for myself if I were in the market for such a stone and it’s a truly rare find in the current market.
Getting to the Heart of the Matter:
If you take a look at the hearts pattern of this 2.801 carat, I-color, SI-1 clarity diamond from the Brian Gavin Signature collection you’ll see that it is not 100% perfect, but it is about 99.9% perfect which is better than I can say for a lot of the hearts patterns that I’ve evaluated recently since production standards have begun to change due to increases in the price of rough and the resulting shortage of well cut goods… I’m not making excuses for anything, I’m just stating the facts with the understanding that each diamond must be evaluated upon it’s own merits and while the hearts pattern of this diamond is not “perfect” it’s really, really close. There is just a little bit of variance in the size and shape of the hearts, not enough to get all up in arms about, but enough that I feel you might notice if you were to look closely at the picture and wonder why I didn’t mention it if I didn’t mention it… did that make sense? There is also just a teeny weeny little bit of twisting at the tips of a few of the hearts, but I’m kind of wondering whether this isn’t due to camera alignment and how the diamond is sitting on the platform which holds it in place while it is being photographed. I happen to know that Brian Gavin Diamonds is training a new staff member to take these pictures… Oh before I forget, the dark spots that you see in the midst of the hearts indicate some of the inclusions which are being highlighted because the light source used to capture these pictures is located beneath the diamond and the shadow effect is not being offset by an overhead light source, this is similar to how people will appear dark when being photographed with the sun setting behind them if a flash is not used to offset the effect of the light.
Putting Things in Perspective:
Clearly this is a beautiful diamond, it is cut to a level of precision which represents about 1/10th of 1% of the round brilliant cut diamonds that will be produced in the average year and perhaps less than that since this is not an average year given the fact that there is a shortage of diamond rough and ideal cut diamonds… it also represents a rare find in terms of carat weight. Truth be told, Brian Gavin would have been smarter from a financial perspective to cut this puppy to a diamond of very good proportions (AGS-2 Very Good instead of AGS Ideal 0) weighing somewhere in the range of 3.20 carats instead of fine tuning it to super ideal cut and spending the time to align the facets so that it produces a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows.
According to Brian, the diamond is an eye clean SI-1 that exhibits a wonderful amount of brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. In a perfect world, I’d prefer to see the total depth be somewhere in the range of 59 – 61.8% but we don’t live in a perfect world and my primary focus is truly upon finding diamonds with the right offset for crown and pavilion angle and this diamond certainly has that, it is actually cut a lot like the 2.25 carat, I-color, SI-2 that I wore in my wedding ring and contains similar inclusions.
Everything looks wonderful in terms of the ASET Scope and Ideal Scope images… the pattern of contrast is consistent and evenly spaced. The diamond is gathering light from all the right places in the hemisphere (ASET) and exhibits a high degree of contrast under the Ideal Scope. Enough said, it’s a beautiful diamond and whoever wears it will probably not suffer the symptoms of diamond shrinkage syndrome for many years, if ever…