Brian Gavin Signature vs Blue Nile Signature Diamonds

Andy T. writes: Thanks for the time you put into the search for the diamonds with my search criteria. I understand more now of the intricacies of the cut that make a difference in the light return and have done some soul searching and decided I would like to find a diamond with new specifications. I would love for you to be my “consultant” during this process as I appreciate the detail and thought process for choosing a diamond that will have the greatest light return.

Andy continued by asking: If you could please see what available diamonds there are with these new specifications and let me know if having a budget around 30k is feasible, that would be greatly appreciated.

Carat = 1.80-1.90
Clarity = VS1
Color = F
Cut = Ideal as you interpret
Fain to no florescence

Another question I had was how much difference there is from what is provided on the certifications vs. how the diamond looks in person? Have there been times where you have looked at 1 diamond with perfect Cut specs that looked/performed the same as 1 diamond with excellent but not quite perfect specs that you would recommend due to the decrease in price?

Also I was wondering what were your thoughts on the difference between colors G and F and clarity VS1 and VS2 and whether money spent on either jump is worthwhile.

Here is a diamond I found on Blue Nile that I thought was very nice and just wanted to get your thoughts:

The Blue Nile Signature Diamond in Question:

1.85 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity, Blue Nile Signature Diamond graded by the GIA as measuring 7.83 – 7.87 x 4.85 mm with a total depth of 61.7% and a table diameter of 56% with a crown angle of 34.5 degrees and a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees and a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and a small culet.  The overall cut grade of the diamond is GIA Excellent which is the highest cut rating available from the GIA.  At the time this article is being written, the diamond is being offered by Blue Nile for $31,940.00

The Pros and Cons of this Blue Nile Signature Diamond:

I wish that I could rubber stamp this diamond as “Approved” 100% because the proportions of the diamond are spot-on in terms of the total depth, table diameter, crown angle and pavilion angle… but I don’t really like the fact that the diamond has a small culet because there is a chance that it might show up through the table facet of the diamond as a small white circle upon close examination… so I truly prefer a culet size of either GIA none or AGS pointed.

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Now if you look at the arrows pattern of the diamond as featured on the GCAL report pictured to the left, you’ll see that there is a variance in the contrast of the arrows… it’s not bad, but it’s far from perfect.  More importantly take a look at the variance in the size and shape of the hearts in the section which I’ve highlighted using blue… There is no consistency of size or shape and many of the tips of the hearts are twisting which is an indicator of Azimuth Shift (keep reading and I’ll explain).

Now here’s the dilemma in my mind…

The question at hand is “What Level of Perfection and Visual Performance do you seek?” because what I’m best known for is helping people find diamonds with exceptional visual performance which is a direct result of extremely precise diamond cut quality.  While this Blue Nile Signature Diamond is probably within the Top 1% of the annual production of round brilliant cut diamonds, I tend to focus on the puppies which are in the Top 1/10th of that 1% because I’m more interested in sparkle than carat weight.

And one of the best ways I know of to ensure Maximum Sparkle Factor is to focus on finding round brilliant ideal cut diamonds which exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts and Arrows like this 1.706 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, Signature Diamond from Brian Gavin pictured to the left.  Can you see the difference in the consistency of size and shape of the hearts in this picture and those pictured in the GCAL image for the Blue Nile described above?  This is exactly how the pattern of hearts should look! The hearts are evenly spaced, even in size with complete clefts and tips which don’t twist.

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The Effect of Azimuth Shift on Sparkle Factor:

One of the most important things to understand about a diamond is that they are a prism by design, in addition to ensuring that the primary reflective surfaces or “mirrors” such as the crown and pavilion angle are properly aligned so that they direct the maximum amount of light back up towards the viewer; it is also critical to ensure that the facets are precisely aligned to create the maximum amount of sparkle!

Sparkle in diamonds is controlled by the number and size of the virtual facets which are created by the overlapping of facets as the diamond is rocked back and forth… extensive research conducted by the American Gem Society on the subject of virtual facets has determined that diamonds with a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows tend to produce a higher number of virtual facets and larger flashes of light which our eyes interpret as sparkle.

Since one of the main reasons we purchase diamonds is for the sparkle, it makes sense to purchase a diamond that exhibits maximum sparkle factor and that is going to be the one which exhibits the best pattern of hearts and arrows… In this particular instance, it is this 1.706 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin because the option from Blue Nile simply does not exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts and Arrows…

Carat Weight vs Perception of Carat Weight / Price:

Now I do realize that you asked me to help you find diamonds weighing between 1.80 – 1.99 carats, but I’m simply not finding any suitable options within that range of carat weight at this moment in time… but the reality is that there is only a slight difference between the two diamonds in terms of outside diameter.  The average outside diameter of the Blue Nile Signature Diamond is 7.85 millimeters and the average outside diameter of the Brian Gavin Signature Diamond is 7.67 millimeters which is not something you’re really going to be able to see consistently from across the dinner table, however the diamond from Brain Gavin is currently selling for $25,970.00 which makes the difference in price between the two diamonds about $5,970.00 which is considerable.

Of course there is a difference in carat weight of about 0.15 carats and one color grade… returning to your question from above: YES there ARE times when I look at two diamonds with slightly different cut qualities and think that it makes more sense to purchase one over the other because it simply pencils out better and this is that scenario… I’d buy the 1.706 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin and leave the diamond from Blue Nile for somebody with less precise selection criteria than my own.

About the AuthorTodd 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)

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