Hi Todd I ran across a forum post where you were talking about the different levels of precision within the hearts and arrows patterns offered by different vendors. I’m trying to decide between two hearts and arrows diamonds and would appreciate it if you would help me determine which of the patterns is more precise. The first is this 0.900 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Victor Canera Ideal Hearts Diamond and the second is this 0.914 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round hearts and arrows diamond. Both look pretty good to me, but I’m wondering what your take is on the two diamonds and which one you would choose for your girlfriend. Thanks — Ted D.
Did my girlfriend put you up to this? Man that last line of your inquiry is like a loaded gun… you do realize that my girlfriend and her friends read my blog, right? Let’s hope they don’t get any ideas.
All right the picture featured at the top of this blog post is a close-up of the hearts pattern within this 0.900 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Victor Canera Ideal Hearts Diamond which is available on the diamond details page provided by Victor Canera. The picture to the left is the hearts pattern as seen normal size. Do you see how the tips of the hearts bend slightly in both pictures? It’s obviously more noticeable in the view which is magnified, but it is also clearly visible at this focal depth. Now I’d say it might be a matter of focal depth, but do you notice how the tips of the hearts located in the relative two and three o’clock positions are bending in opposite directions? That’s not a matter of focal depth, that is caused by slight differences in the length of the lower girdle facets. If you look very closely, you might also notice that the hearts in the relative three o’clock position is slightly smaller than the hearts located directly above and below it. This is due to how the facets are indexed upon the diamond.
The heart located in the relative six o’clock position is also a hint smaller than the rest. Before I go any further, I want to be clear about something… this is a pretty fine looking round brilliant ideal cut diamond and it exhibits a pretty decent pattern of hearts and arrows. The pattern is certainly better than a lot of the patterns of hearts and arrows that I see dealers trying to pass off as “hearts and arrows diamonds” these days.
I thought that the manner in which Victor Canera framed this hearts and arrows image was pretty cool, so I gave him a call to talk about it. Naturally we took a few minutes to discuss the pattern of hearts and arrows exhibited by this particular diamond. Victor indicated that the diamond actually exhibits a very nice pattern of hearts and arrows, but that they are in the process of fine tuning and perfecting their imaging system. Thus far they’ve been getting mixed results.
Based upon years of experience photographing hearts and arrows diamonds for presentation on the web, I can tell you that this sort of thing presents a real challenge. The thing is that when buying diamonds online, the reflector scope images are a critical part of the decision process. We use the ASET Scope, Hearts & Arrows Scope, and Ideal Scope images to judge the degree of optical precision exhibited by the diamond. It’s up to the vendor to provide us with the best image quality possible, and in many instances when we are comparing diamonds of similar carat weight, color, clarity, and overall cut grade, the degree of optical precision exhibited in the reflector scope images are likely to make or break a stone.
Since you asked me to dissect the patterns and help you determine which one is more precise, I’m getting pretty technical about picking apart a diamond which is definitely in the Top 1% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds. As far as the characteristics of the diamond as provided on the Diamond Quality Document (DQD) issued for it by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) the diamond has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 on their proprietary Light Performance grading platform, with a total depth of 61.3% and a table diameter of 58.2% and a crown angle of 35.0 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and no culet. Technically speaking the crown angle is only one tenth of a degree beyond my preferred range of 34.3 – 34.9 degrees; it’s a difference which is acceptable since the pavilion angle is a great offset and will produce a high volume of light return. The ASET image indicates that the diamond will be nice and bright and the pattern of light return is nice and even, this looks like a beautiful diamond. I’m quite certain that this hearts and arrows diamond from Victor Canera will be a top performer that will take your breath away. It will definitely look stunning in one of Victor Canera’s custom settings!
The hearts pattern exhibited by this 0.914 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Hearts and Arrows round brilliant ideal cut diamond is picture perfect. There is nothing about it which prevents it from being used as a “text book” example of what a hearts pattern should look like… Without a doubt, the optical symmetry of this diamond is spot-on! The shape of the hearts is consistent, as is the size of the hearts, and the tips of the hearts are not twisting in one direction or the other, and there is even spacing between the tips of the hearts and the arrowheads beneath them, as well as a suitable gap between the arrowheads themselves. Like I said, picture perfect! Now I realize that it can be difficult to try to compare the precision of hearts and arrows patterns while having to move up and down the page to look at the patterns individually and then try to remember the subtle differences in the quality of hearts patterns, so I placed the images side-by-side in this graphic:
It is more likely that now you can clearly see the difference in the precision of the hearts pattern displayed by the two diamonds, the 0.914 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round pictured on the left clearly exhibits a pattern of hearts which looks more consistent and precise to me.
But what about the other factors of overall diamond cut quality that contribute to the volume of light return and sparkle factor? Both diamonds are graded by the AGSL with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 on the proprietary Light Performance grading platform and exhibit ASET results which are quite similar. However this diamond from Brian Gavin is cut just a little tighter in terms of proportions, the total depth is about the same at 61.2% but the table facet is more to my liking at 57.8% and the crown angle of 34.9 degrees is actually within my preferred range that is published in the article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success and is a great offset for the 40.8 degree pavilion angle. The inclusions within this diamond consist of small clusters of pinpoint size diamond crystals known as “clouds” which are located along the outer edges of the stone, which is perfect for covering with prongs if you so desire. The inclusions contained within the diamond from Victor Canera consist of crystals, feathers, and needle shaped diamond crystals; they are no more noticeable to me than the inclusions within the 0.914 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round, but I’ll take pinpoint size diamond crystals over a feather any day of the week, even when the feather is of no real consequence, it’s just a “mind clean” kind of thing.
You might have noticed that the 0.914 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Hearts and Arrows diamond is selling for $6,796.00 while the 0.900 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Victor Canera Ideal Hearts diamond is selling for $6,494.00 based on the cash discount / wire transfer price listed for each diamond.
There are several factors which contribute to the difference in the price of these two diamonds, one of which is the slight difference in carat weight; another is the fact that clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals are considered to be a more desirable type of inclusion than a feather. Then there is a distinct difference in the precision of the hearts patterns between the two diamonds…
At the end of the day, the difference in price between the two diamonds is only $220.00 per carat, which seems like a pretty small price to pay for perfection. I’m inclined to say that in this particular situation, if I were forced to choose between these two diamonds and pick one for my girlfriend (as you so boldly suggested) that I’d choose the Brian Gavin Signature Round Diamond weighing 0.914 carats, G-color, VS-2 clarity. I feel that it exhibits better optical symmetry and for a difference of only two hundred bucks, I get the peace of mind of knowing that I purchased the best cut diamond possible.
Allow me to help you make the best choice between diamonds which you are considering from different vendors, or even multiple diamonds offered by the same vendor. The 25+ years of experience I have as a diamond buyer enables me to decide which diamond is the best choice based upon the diamond details provided much faster than you will probably be able to do so, this leaves you free to focus your energy and time on doing whatever you do best. There is no charge for using my Diamond Concierge Service and I might be able to save you a little money by providing you with a coupon code where applicable! Be sure to tell me details like your budget, setting preference, and the characteristics of the diamond your are hoping to find and/or send me a link for the diamonds which you are considering.
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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