Hi Todd, I’ve been spending a lot of time on your web site researching diamonds and wanted to thank you for such a comprehensive resource. I’d like to take advantage of your (free) Diamond Concierge Service and ask for your help evaluating round ideal cut diamonds weighing between 1.20 – 1.50 carats, I-color, VS clarity, from the Ritani Reserve Ideal and Brian Gavin Signature collections, since my girlfriend likes their halo settings. There are several AGS Ideal-0 graded options available from both BGD and Ritani within this range of quality at the moment, can you help me pick the best options? I prefer AGS graded diamonds to GIA graded diamonds because of the ASET. — Tyler G.
Thank you for your inquiry. I conducted a search on Ritani for Reserve Ideal Cut diamonds weighing between 1.20 – 1.60 carats, I-color, VS-1 and VS-2 in clarity, and used the options available under the Advanced Options drop-down menu to limit the table diameter to between 53 – 58% and the total depth to between 59 – 61.9% in order to eliminate Ritani Reserve ideal cut diamonds which I feel are cut too deep, the link provided above contains my preferred presets in case you’d like to duplicate my search. Of the three diamonds which are currently available within this range of criteria, there are two Ritani Reserve Ideal cut diamonds which are of interest.
It is easier to search for diamonds on Brian Gavin, because his production of super ideal cut diamonds tends to already fall within my preferred selection criteria, so the only thing I had to do was set the sliders for carat weight, color, and clarity, to the desired range and I was presented with 10 phenomenal options to choose from… it was pretty difficult to pick my top three choices from Brian Gavin, but let’s start with the diamonds that I like from the Ritani Reserve Ideal collection:
This 1.255 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Ritani Reserve Ideal cut diamond is an excellent choice because the 34.7 degree crown angle is a great offset for the 40.8 degree pavilion angle, the combination should produce a high volume of light return with a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) while the 76% lower girdle facets are likely to produce flashes of light which are nice and bright! Note that while I tend to focus on the crown and pavilion angles when talking about diamonds with people, I also take the crown height and pavilion depth measurements into account as part of my evaluation process. Take note of the ASET diagram featured on the Platinum Light Performance Diamond Quality Document (DQD) issued by the AGS Laboratory (AGSL) for this diamond, because all of that red indicates that this diamond is going to be nice and bright![separator]
You really can’t go wrong with an ideal cut diamond like this, it is definitely within the Top 1% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds, the proportions are spot-on, and the inclusions consist of various types of diamond crystals which were trapped within the larger diamond crystal as it formed… as such they are essentially of no consequence and represent my favorite type of inclusions.
I definitely feel that the 1.255 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Ritani Reserve Ideal cut diamond would look spectacular set in the French Halo ring from Ritani, which has H-color, VS-2 clarity, accent diamonds weighing about 0.45 carats total weight. Several of my clients have ordered this ring and everybody seems to love it! One of my clients told me that the ring was a bit lighter and thinner than they anticipated it to be and that it seemed very delicate in construction, so I want to take a moment to address that… the weight of the French Ritani Halo style engagement ring in platinum is indicated as being 3.25 grams, and the width of the band is indicated as being 2.0 millimeters.[separator]
The odds are that if you’re accustomed to the heavier feel that is associated with jewelry made of platinum, that the French Halo ring from Ritani is going to feel light on your finger. This is not to say that the ring is not sturdy in construction, merely that Ritani designed the ring to be lightweight, probably in an effort to make it affordable to the widest client base possible.
Another consideration to take into account is that if the band is 2.0 mm, then the diamonds set in the band have to be smaller than that in diameter in order to fit in the ring… Of course, factors such as platinum weight, diamond size, total carat weight, diamond clarity, and diamond color, are taken into account when pricing an engagement ring, so improving any of these factors will increase the price.
If you want a ring which is heavier in construction, and which contains diamonds which are larger in size, then I recommend buying the Brian Gavin Round Halo setting, which is custom built to order and contains larger diamonds, resulting in a total diamond weight of about 0.75 carats, which is one third of a carat more diamonds! I’ve had the opportunity to hold both the Ritani French Halo and the Brian Gavin Round Halo setting, and the ring from Brian Gavin does feel noticeably heavier, but it also costs almost fifteen hundred dollars more… is it worth it? It’s a matter of personal preference, but I can tell you that the one from Brian Gavin felt a lot more substantial and richer to me.
The other thing to take note of is that the accent diamonds used by Brian Gavin are F-G color and VS-2 or higher in clarity, and they are cut to the same exacting standards as larger Brian Gavin Signature hearts and arrows diamonds, thus they are going to provide a higher volume of light return and rival the sparkle factor of the center stone…[separator]
Personally I think that both halo style engagement rings have a lot to offer and find both of them to be stunning, but if the difference of fifteen hundred dollars is within the scope of your budget, I’d go for the one from Brian Gavin because it is just a more substantial piece, and the price difference of fifteen hundred dollars seems pretty minimal when you consider that this ring is going to be worn for a lifetime.
By the way, I can provide you with a Brian Gavin coupon code that will help to offset some of the price difference between the two rings, send me an email and request the code if you decide to go with BGD.
The only other option that I found interesting from the Ritani Reserve Ideal diamond collection, is this 1.566 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, round ideal diamond from Ritani, which is graded by the AGSL with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0. As you can see from the ASET image provided on the diamond quality document, it is also exhibiting a lot of red with just a touch of green, and strong contrast as represented by the color blue. This should be a stunning diamond, the combination of the 34.3 degree crown angle offset by a 40.9 degree pavilion angle is going to provide a high volume of light return with a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion! Here again, this diamond is easily in the Top 1% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds, and the inclusions consist of various types of diamond crystals.[separator]
While the two Ritani Reserve ideal cut diamonds reviewed above happen to be cut to proportions which are in the center of the range designated for the zero ideal cut proportions rating, and look really good in the ASET image provided on the diamond grading report, it is important to note that the majority of the Ritani Reserve Ideal cut diamonds do not meet my selection criteria for proportions and the degree of optical symmetry.
As with the majority of diamond brands which I have evaluated, I find that there is a fair amount of inconsistency in the production standards of the diamonds chosen for the Ritani Reserve Ideal collection, and thus it is important that every diamond be considered on an individual basis to select the best options available.
For instance, this 1.238 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Ritani Reserve round ideal cut diamond may have an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0, but the facet structure of the diamond clearly lacks optical symmetry, as demonstrated by the inconsistencies evident on the image provided on the diamond grading report which was created using Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) which measures diamonds for brightness, contrast, and other factors of light performance. If you look at the proportions of the diamond, you’ll see that the total depth is 61.9% and the table diameter is 58.9% which is almost 1% beyond my preferred range of 53 – 58%, however, this is tolerable because the 34.6° crown angle is an excellent offset for the 40.9° pavilion angle and those surfaces have the most impact upon the volume of light return and the balance of brilliance and dispersion.[separator]
Take a good look at the ASET image provided on the diamond grading report above, and pay close attention to the structure of the pavilion main facets which are indicated in blue, which is the color used on an ASET image to represent the contrast created by our head blocking light from reflecting off of the pavilion main facets. Contrast brilliance is an important feature within a diamond because it contributes to our perception of sparkle.
Do you see how the arrows pattern created by the pavilion main facets is broken and inconsistent? That arrows pattern should POP off the page and be even in tone, not splintering apart. The same degree of inconsistency within the pavilion main section of this diamond in the high-resolution video provided on the diamond details page for this 1.238 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Ritani Reserve round ideal cut diamond. If you look closely at the pavilion main facets of the diamond in that video, you’ll notice that the pavilion mains exhibit a mix of light and dark diagonal stripes which run across the shafts of the arrows and that the tips of some of the arrows fade out at the edge of the diamond.[separator]
If you’ve read my article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success, then you know that the 34.6 degree crown angle offset by a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees provided by this diamond is well within my preferred range, so you might be thinking that the reason this diamond isn’t looking so hot in the ASET image is because of the 58.9% table diameter, but that is probably not the culprit. A more likely cause is the crown height, pavilion depth, and 81% average lower girdle facets, combined with less precise optical symmetry.
It is important to understand that the measurements provided on diamond grading reports represent the average measurement for that section of the diamond, which means that the 43.3% pavilion depth is the average of measurements which are higher and lower than 43.3% such as maybe something like 43.0 – 43.6% and that would prevent the facets from properly catching and reflecting light… it also appears that the surface of the pavilion facets themselves are cut to slightly different angles, which causes the light which reflects off of them to be reflected in a pattern which lacks symmetry.
You might be thinking that collectively all of these minor issues might prevent this Ritani Reserve diamond from receiving an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0, and that would be the case if I were the director of the AGS Laboratory, because I would reserve the AGS Ideal Cut classification for the very best that the industry has to offer. However, the “symmetry” grade that appears on diamond grading reports issued by the GIA and AGS gemological laboratories refers to “meet point symmetry” and not “optical symmetry” and this is a major oversight in my opinion.
Thankfully it is possible for you to learn how to judge the optical symmetry of a diamond using the various reflector scopes which have been designed for that purpose, and the majority of online diamond dealers have the capability of producing these images for you upon request… Ask for them if they’re not already provided on the diamond details page, and then forward them to me for review if you’d like me to look them over for you.
Suffice to say that “ideal cut diamonds” can be produced in a variety of production qualities and some will have better proportions than others, the selection standards for the Ritani Reserve Ideal cut diamonds are definitely more generous than I personally prefer, but there are some pretty nice diamonds to be found on occasion.
The only way to judge optical symmetry in a round brilliant cut diamond is to view the diamond through a hearts and arrows scope, to determine the extent to which the diamond exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows. The 1.214 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond, pictured to the left, exhibits an excellent pattern of hearts and arrows when viewed while unmounted through a hearts and arrows scope. Although the inclusions within the diamond are visible throughout the hearts pattern exhibited by this diamond due to the magnification, the hearts pattern itself is consistent and evenly spaced, indicating a superior level of optical symmetry.[separator]
Round brilliant ideal cut diamonds with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0, which are cut to the level of precision necessary to produce the crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows that is pictured above, are so rare that they actually represent the Top 0.001% of the annual production of round brilliant cut diamonds, and they are a wonder to see because they exhibit higher degrees of sparkle, and generally produce broader flashes of light / sparkle, which is brighter in intensity than round brilliant ideal cut diamonds cut to the same proportions, but which exhibit less precise optical symmetry.
The 1.214 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond also looks exceptional when viewed through an Ideal Scope, as can be seen by the picture featured to the left. It is also clear that the pavilion mains, which create the arrows pattern of the diamond, are evenly shaped and exhibiting strong contrast. Professional diamond graders use the Ideal Scope to judge diamonds for optical symmetry and to determine the extent of light leakage, which is indicated by the white areas located along the outer edge of the diamond, a pattern which is perfectly normal and typical of an ideal cut round diamond by the way. The Ideal Scope image is picture perfect![separator]
A lot of the ideal scope images that I see posted for ideal cut diamonds produced by other diamond cutters, exhibit signs of digging and painting along the girdle edge of the diamond, which is done in an effort to increase the carat weight of the diamond by increasing the girdle thickness of the diamond. And many of the diamonds exhibit signs of light leakage under the table facet, like this one pictured to the left. Those light grey areas located along the edge of the table faced, which are highlighted by yellow arrows are pointing to in the picture to the left.The most likely cause of the light leakage that is visible under the table facet of the diamond pictured above, is the pavilion facets being cut too deep.
Remember that the crown and pavilion measurements posted on the diamond grading reports are “average measurements” and that means they represent the middle of a range that could be quite tight or a bit broad in terms of the difference between the high and low measurements. Now compare the ideal scope image pictured above with the ideal scope image for the Brian Gavin Signature round diamond that is positioned right above it, and you’ll know what an ideal scope image is supposed to look like.[separator]
As with all Brian Gavin Signature round diamonds, this 1.214 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond is graded by the AGSL with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 on their proprietary Light Performance-based grading platform, and it exhibits an exceptional degree of optical symmetry as evident by the Ideal Scope and Hearts & Arrows Scope images. In addition, the ASET image on the Diamond Quality Document (DQD) issued by the AGSL shows that the diamond is nice and bright, exhibits great contrast, and that light is reflecting evenly throughout the diamond. Needless to say, the proportions are well within my preferred range which is outlined in the article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success; but as you’ve learned, the optical symmetry of a diamond is just as important as the proportions in terms of maximizing light return and visual performance.[separator]
I realize that you’re looking for a single diamond for a diamond engagement ring, but this 1.242 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond would make an excellent match for the 1.214 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond that I just reviewed, they are practically twins! Both diamonds exhibit the same degree of optical symmetry, share the same total depth of 61.5% and a crown angle of 34.8 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with 76% lower girdle facet lengths, and the table diameter on this diamond is 56.1% and 56.2% on the other! Now that’s the type of consistency that I’m talking about! Naturally not all Brian Gavin Signature round diamonds are cut to these exact proportions, but we tend to follow the same formula and I’ve yet to reject a single one of his diamonds for the degree of optical symmetry.[separator]
This Brian Gavin Signature round diamond also exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows and looks spectacular in the Ideal Scope and ASET images. In addition, it exhibits strong and consistent static contrast, as is visible in the high-resolution video and clarity photograph provided on the diamond details page. Brian Gavin Signature diamonds might cost more than other ideal cut diamonds of comparable carat weight, color, and clarity, but they are also clearly superior in diamond cut quality, and that level of production quality commands a premium because it can take up to four times longer to polish a diamond to this level of perfection.
You didn’t indicate whether you were interested in diamonds with blue fluorescence, but I happen to really like the look of I-color diamonds which exhibit medium to strong blue fluorescence, so I want to share this 1.482 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Blue fluorescent diamond with you! This diamond cleared the AGS Laboratory on April 28, 2014 and I can’t believe somebody hasn’t bought it yet… Do you have any idea how rare diamonds in the 1.45 – 1.49 carat range happen to be? Especially in this level of production quality? They are extremely rare because of the price increase that occurs between the 1.49 – 1.50 carat marks.
The fact of the matter is that because of the price increase which occurs between the 1.49 – 1.50 carat mark, Brian Gavin would have been better off from a financial perspective to have pushed the carat weight of the diamond, by cutting it to a deeper total depth such as 62.5 – 63% by giving the diamond a thicker girdle edge, a deeper crown height, and a deeper pavilion height.[separator]
Apparently Brian Gavin was more focused on beauty than profits when he cut this diamond, because the proportions are spot-on in the middle of the range designated for the zero ideal cut proportions rating… the diamond has a total depth of 61.2% with a table diameter of 57.2% and a crown angle of 34.3 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.7 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. It’s a text book zero ideal cut diamond, which exhibits no signs of cheating the facet structure of the diamond in an attempt to retain carat weight.
As far as effect of strong blue fluorescence on an I-color diamond, when the diamond is subjected to a light source that contains strong ultra-violet light, such as direct sunlight, the blue fluorescent molecules become excited and have the tendency to filter out some of the underlying yellow tones which are present in diamonds which are near-colorless to yellow in tone.
I hope that you found this review of Brian Gavin Signature vs Ritani Reserve Ideal cut diamonds helpful. Feel free to take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service if you would like assistance finding the diamond of your dreams!
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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