A returning client of Nice Ice asks “What diamonds do Brian Gavin, James Allen and Blue Nile have on hand at the moment that meet your selection criteria in F-G color and VS-2 clarity?” I happened to mention this to Brian earlier today and this is the picture he sent me… he’s a funny guy! And Brian Gavin Diamonds has plenty of options to choose from in the range of two carats and larger.
The foundation of my diamond selection process is built upon a foundation of light return and visual performance because I don’t see the point of spending thousands of dollars on a rock unless it’s going to exhibit a degree of sparkle factor that is intense enough to knock your socks off… with this in mind, it is critical to ensure that the crown angle and pavilion angle which are the primary reflective surfaces of the diamond in terms of directing light through the diamond and back up towards the viewer (that’s you) are precisely aligned for maximum light return which is the volume of light, not sparkle which we’ll get to in a moment.
To ensure maximum light return, the crown angle of a round brilliant cut diamond should be between 34.0 – 34.9 degrees and I really prefer that it be between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees and the pavilion angle should be between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees with an allowance of a tenth of a degree in either direction “under the right circumstances” as will be discussed below.
Note: Blue Nile changed the format of how deep links were created when they switched their affiliate network from GAN to CJ, and thus the original links to the following diamonds were broken and have been replaced with links directed to their diamond search engine, which is fine since these options have probably sold by now. Please use my free Diamond Concierge Service if you would like me to help you find the best options currently available, but the information that can be obtained by reading the article is still applicable even if the diamond details pages can not be accessed.
This 2.01 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, Round Brilliant Ideal Cut Diamond from Blue Nile is cut “pretty close” to the way I like it in terms of proportions with a total depth of 61.8% and a table diameter of 57% and a crown angle of 34.5 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 41.0 degrees with a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet. If the pavilion angle were a mere one tenth of a degree shallower with an average of 40.9 degrees I’d be absolutely thrilled with it… Now before you think I’ve lost my mind and I’m quibbling over something as insignificant of a tenth of a degree when all else is perfect, the fact of the matter is that we have no way of actually knowing that all else IS perfect because Blue Nile does not provide us with the scope images or proportions analysis data necessary to make that call…
You see the crown angle and pavilion angle measurements stated on the GIA lab report are the average measurement of eight individual measurements and without knowing what those other measurements actually are, we have no way of knowing whether the 41.0 degree pavilion angle is the result of a spread which is really narrow or really broad, if the high is something like 41.1 degree and the low is 40.9 degrees then I might be tickled pink!
But if the range is something like 40.5 degrees for a low and 41.5 degrees for a high, then I’m not going to be so happy because there is likely to be a lot of light lost in the shadows so-to-speak… now if Blue Nile had images of the diamond as seen through an ASET Scope, an Ideal Scope and a Hearts & Arrows scope readily available on their diamond details page, I’d be able to give this diamond the proper consideration that it deserves and we’d know for certain whether this diamond is cut for maximum visual performance or merely cut to the minimum standards necessary to eek past the grading standards for the GIA overall cut grade of Excellent… which aren’t all that difficult to eek by in my opinion which is why I’m not all that fond of GIA graded diamonds, ahem.
On a more positive note, the inclusions within the diamond consist of a cloud, feather, needle, crystal and a natural, all of which are of no consequence and within the specifications of my selection criteria. The diamond has an overall cut rating of GIA Excellent and has the potential for being a nice performing diamond… Let me know whether the diamond is of interest and I’ll push Blue Nile for some images.
This next diamond falls into the classification of “it’s probably better than what you’ll find in most brick and mortar jewelry stores” but it’s not my type of ideal… but I’ve been told by more than a few people within the diamond industry that I’m a “Diamond Snob” so I’m doing my best to be a little more all inclusive in my diamond evaluations and a little less of a “Classist” because I’ve been told that my selection criteria is prejudicial and discriminates against specific classes of diamonds which I consider to be less desirable because they are, well, less desirable in terms of light return and visual performance and this 2.03 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from Blue Nile is a perfect example, because while I might personally object to a round brilliant cut diamond with a shallow crown angle of 34.0 degrees which is offset by a steep pavilion angle of 41.2 degrees, the reality is that there are times when it produces pretty nice light return.
However it will not exhibit the same balance of brilliance and dispersion that the diamond would display if the crown angle were between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees and the pavilion angle were between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees and it probably won’t be as vibrant in terms of light return, but it is likely to be better than most of the diamonds that you’ll find out in retail-land and thus it’s a viable option to consider if you’re looking for a two carat puppy that maximizes size without breaking the bank. The primary inclusions within this puppy are crystals, clouds, feathers and needles and once again they are of no consequence. The overall cut rating of the diamond is GIA Excellent.
Now of the three options which I selected from the vast number of two carat diamonds which Blue Nile currently has available, I like this 2.01 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from Blue Nile the best because the proportions are closest to my preferred range of criteria. According to the GIA the diamond has a total depth of 61.3% with a table diameter of 55% and a crown angle of 34.0 degrees offset by a pavilion angle of 40.6 degrees with a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet. While the crown angle is a little shallow, the pavilion angle is perfect and so the light return of this diamond should be outstanding and there is likely to be a little more brilliance (white sparkle) and perhaps a little less dispersion or “fire” which is colored sparkle.
Once again, if you’re looking for a virtual balance of both brilliance and dispersion, look for options where the crown angle is between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees and the pavilion angle is between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees, but this diamond is definitely going to be a contender in terms of light return. The primary inclusions are crystals, clouds, feathers and pinpoints, nothing to be concerned about.
This 2.115 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, True Hearts Diamond from James Allen is a little outside the requested parameters because it exhibits medium blue fluorescence, which is something which I’m quite fond of, but the client specified a fluorescence rating of none to faint blue. But since this is one of the best options which I’m seeing at the moment in terms of the other preferred characteristics, I’m going to review this diamond…
One of the things which I like about this diamond right off the bat is that it’s graded by the AGS Laboratory on their Platinum Light Performance grading platform which incorporates Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) to determine where in the room the diamond is gathering light from and how it is performing in terms of using that light and this diamond is quite literally lighting up the room based upon the ASET scan provided on the AGS Diamond Quality Document (DQD).
The diamond has a total depth of 62.1% with a table diameter of 55.7% and a crown angle of 34.9 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle o f 40.7 degrees with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. According to the AGSL the primary inclusions consist of crystals, a cavity and a feather… now I normally automatically reject diamonds for having a cavity listed as a type of inclusion, but I’m experiencing mixed emotions in this case because the cavity appears to be really small and located in the center region of the pavilion which is the lower half of the diamond and most of the time I see them located in the table facet which is right on top of the stone…
The cavity indicated within this diamond is small enough that it probably doesn’t present any sort of durability issue, but it’s still a cavity and it kind of bugs me, but not enough for me to flat out reject the diamond since everything else about it is perfect including the pattern of hearts and arrows based upon the images provided on the diamond details page.
So “hmmm, I don’t know…” but this is a rather significant investment of capital, and the reality is that the cavity presents a minute durability risk, and they can fill up with dirt and grime over time and start to look like a dark spot that is difficult to clean, I’m prone to pass on it, but it’s your money.
If money is no object, then my money is on this 2.185 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity, Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin because it is quite literally cut like the Cat’s Meow… however it’s literally twice the amount of the budget which the client was hoping to spend, but since none of the options are within that price range anyway, I figure why not review it BECAUSE it looks yummy!
It is graded by the AGS Laboratory with an overall cut rating of AGS Ideal 0 on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform and it exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts and Arrows. The presence of a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows is critical to visual performance because it can only be achieved if all of the sections of the diamond are symmetrical and in alignment with each other.
This higher degree of diamond cut precision results in a higher number of virtual facets and larger flashes of light which will give the diamond a higher degree of sparkle factor and more overall beauty… since you’re spending enough money to buy a fairly decent car, I figure you’d might as well get the most visual performance possible and this is the type of diamond which delivers it in spades.
The diamond has a total depth of 62.0% with a table diameter of 54.4% and a crown angle of 34.8 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a thin to slightly thick, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. The primary inclusions are a few diamond crystals and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals… it has all the makings of a Rock Star in the Diamond Hall of Fame and it’s likely to fight off symptoms of Diamond Shrinkage Syndrome for many years to come!
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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