Stunning Engagement Ring Challenge

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Take the engagement ring challenge and discover how to buy a stunning-looking diamond in less than 30 minutes using our time-proven sparkle factor formula.

An engagement ring is one of the most expensive and significant purchases that most people will make in their lifetimes. That is, next to the cost of buying a house, or a luxury automobile.

In that case, you can drive yourself nuts and waste a lot of time running all over the place. While trying to read every diamond buying tutorial that you can get your hands on.

Or, you can simply read this one. Then, reap the benefits of the last 35+ years of my experience as a diamond buyer.

How to Buy an Engagement Ring from Brian Gavin.

Brian Gavin Signature Engagement Rings.

It’s one thing to simply buy any old engagement ring in 30 minutes or less. Whereas I’m going to teach you how to buy a spectacular performing diamond in the same time. We'll use my time-proven system for buying ideal cut diamonds to get it right.

The 30 Minute Ring Buying Challenge:

Half Moon 3-stone engagement ring.

Half-moon 3-stone from Blue Nile.

In this article, I’m going to share with you the exact selection criteria that I’ve relied on throughout the years. This is the formula that enabled me to purchase thousands upon thousands of ideal cut diamonds for our private label.

But just because I’m sharing my secret formula with you, doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service. Drop me a note, if you’d like my help finding the very best diamond available within your desired range of characteristics.

Consequently, it doesn’t matter whether the diamond is from one of my preferred vendors, or one that you’ve found elsewhere. Because I’m here to serve by helping you create a stunning looking engagement ring.

Our Favorite Places to Buy Online:

Best Proportions for Ideal Cut Diamonds:

By now you’ve probably realized that you need to buy an ideal cut diamond engagement ring if you want the diamond to exhibit the highest amount of light performance. But you’ve also probably discovered that the definition of "ideal cut” is rather broad.

My definition of what constitutes an ideal cut diamond tends to be a lot stricter than what most vendors promote as being ideal. If you’re looking for the very best, then I suggest restricting your search to the following range of proportions:

  • Total depth between 59 – 61.8%.
  • Table diameter between 53 – 58%.
  • Crown angle between 34.3 – 35 degrees.
  • Pavilion angle between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees.
  • Lower girdle facet length between 75 - 80%.
  • Girdle between 0.7% thin to slightly thick.
  • Culet: GIA "none” or AGS "pointed” (same thing).
  • Polish of AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent.
  • Symmetry of AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent.

* Note that if you’re considering diamonds graded by the GIA, that they round off the measurements for crown angle, star facet length, and lower girdle facet length. Thus a crown angle of 34.75  – 34.9 degrees will be rounded up to 35.0 degrees.

The challenge is that a crown angle slightly steeper than 35.0 degrees might also be rounded down to 35.0 degrees. This is one of the reasons why I personally prefer diamonds graded by the AGS Laboratory.

Crown angle measurements shallower than 34.2 degrees are likely to produce a higher degree of brilliance (white sparkle). Crown angle measurements steeper than 35.0 degrees are likely to produce a higher degree of dispersion (colored sparkle). Diamonds with a crown angle between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees will usually deliver a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.

If you strictly adhere to the ideal cut diamond proportions outlined above, you’ll be miles ahead of the curve. I’m going to assume that you can follow simple instructions and that you’re going to do just that.

However, you might be the type of person who likes to fully understand all the intricacies of what you’re buying. In that case, be sure to read the one minute diamond buying guide for more insight about proportions.

The Best Engagement Ring from Brian Gavin:

If you really want to take the guesswork out of buying an engagement ring online, then simply focus your efforts on Brian Gavin Signature Diamonds. Either those with blue fluorescence or those without. It doesn’t matter.

Brian Gavin Diamonds offers diamonds of exceptional quality. The proportions will always be within the range outlined above.

Halo Engagement Ring by Brian Gavin.

Halo Style Engagement Ring Brian Gavin.

At the same time, the degree of Optical Precision is superior to just about everything else out there. The degree of optical precision exhibited by a diamond has as much to do with the sparkle factor as the proportions!

What is Diamond Optical Precision? Quite simply, it is the consistency of facet shape; size, and alignment. In addition, it also takes into account the consistency of facet alignment from the perspective of 360 degrees.

It’s important to note that Optical Precision is not the same as the diamond symmetry grade on the lab report. That is "meet point” symmetry, which is mostly about how the points of the facets meet up with each other. It is critical to take the Optical Precision of an ideal cut diamond into consideration.

Get Ready, Set, Search:

Search Brian Gavin Diamonds

Search for Brian Gavin Signature Diamonds.

This search for 1.00 carat, F-G color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamonds, took about 30 seconds to run.

The search provided me with seven super ideal hearts and arrows cut diamonds. Every single one of the diamonds met my strict selection criteria. As a matter of fact, there was no guesswork required. Because every BGD Signature diamond that I’ve seen has been absolute perfection.

In other words, every one of these diamonds will be drop-dead gorgeous. Consequently, it took me another three minutes to find a halo style engagement ring in 18 karat white gold. In that case, I wrapped up my engagement ring shopping trip in under 10 minutes.

Needless to say, the halo style engagement ring from Brian Gavin diamonds is going to be absolutely spectacular! Now I can spend more time on this, but the fact of the matter is that the diamonds offered Brian Gavin are the very best.

That makes it extremely easy to buy the engagement ring of her dreams in 30 minutes or less. With absolute confidence provided by a high-resolution video of the diamond, clarity photographs, and reflector scope images necessary to determine the degree of optical precision. This is why Brian Gavin diamonds is my preferred vendor of choice!

Buying an Engagement Ring from James Allen:

In the first place, be sure to use this selection criteria to search James Allen for ideal cut diamonds. In those case, the search yielded 20 potential candidates and took 3:32 minutes to run. That includes the amount of time that it took me to open up twenty diamond details pages. And then look over the details provided on the diamond grading reports.

James Allen True Hearts Engagement Ring.

James Allen True Hearts Diamond.

This time around there were five ideal cut diamonds from James Allen that met my selection criteria. My top pick of the group is this 1.06 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond. The diamond has super ideal proportions, that means that the proportions are within my preferred range outlined above.

As you can see, this diamond exhibits a very good pattern of hearts and arrows. Although there are minor inconsistencies and variances in the size and shape of the hearts.

In that case, this diamond is basically on the high end of the scale for an ideal cut diamond. However, it’s not quite what I consider to be "Hearts and Arrows” by Japanese standards.

That’s because there is just too much variance in the spacing between the tips of the hearts and the arrowheads that appear in the center region. Be that as it may, this diamond is well within the Top 1% of the annual production for rounds. In that case, it’s definitely worthy of your consideration!

Additional Choices from James Allen:

The other four ideal cut diamonds from James Allen that meet my selection criteria are as follows:

As a matter of fact, I think it took me longer to write this description than it took me to search James Allen. In that case, it certainly won’t take you more than 26 minutes to select an engagement ring. Under those circumstances, we'll be moving on now.

How to Buy an Engagement Ring from Ritani:

Buying an engagement ring from Ritani is a little more hit or miss than buying from Brian Gavin or other vendors. That's because Ritani does not always provide high-resolution video, nor clarity images for all of the diamonds in their inventory.

However, they do provide clarity photographs for about half of the diamonds in their virtual inventory. Thus far, I have not been able to obtain reflector scope images with any degree of regularity. In that case, it does makes it difficult, if not practically impossible to judge the degree of optical precision.

This puts Ritani on par with industry giant Blue Nile, who also primarily works off of virtual inventory. Ritani offers a wide selection of GIA and AGS graded diamonds.  However, there is a lot more guesswork involved. Therefore it might take me a little longer than 10 minutes to select a diamond from their inventory.

It took me less than a minute to adjust the sliders and set the settings to search for ideal cut diamonds on Ritani. Then again I know what I’m doing. After all, I’ve probably done this a thousand times before, whereas it might take you 3 to 5 minutes.

Searching Diamonds for a Ritani Engagement Ring.

Build an Engagement Ring on Ritani Diamonds.

In this case, there were five options between the range of 1.00 to 1.20 carats, F-G color, VS-2 clarity. Consequently, this search took me one minute and six seconds. Including the time it took the pages to load, and determine that none of the diamonds met my selection criteria.

As a matter of fact, none of the diamond detail pages for the five diamonds presented contained a clarity image. Under those circumstances, you would be buying a diamond blind from Ritani.

In other words, you would only be armed with the details provided on the diamond grading report. Be that as it may there are sometimes more details available upon request.

Obviously, I did not happen to find anything that I liked this time around on Ritani. However, it is certainly worth looking for options another day. Ask me for help if you want assistance finding the best diamonds from Ritani Diamonds.

Build Your Own Engagement Ring on Blue Nile:

In this case, it took me seven minutes and three seconds to open up 58 diamond details pages on Blue Nile for my consideration. Once again the range of characteristics that I was considering were round brilliant cut diamonds weighing between 1.00 – 1.20 carats, F-G color, VS-2 clarity, with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent.

Build Your Own Engagement Ring on Blue Nile.

Build Your Own Engagement Ring on Blue Nile.

Consequently, I did not open up the diamond details pages for any of the options indicated as having a small culet size. After all, those do not meet the selection criteria outlined above.

Of the six options remaining, I eliminated one diamond because it contains a knot inclusion. A knot is an included diamond crystal that breaks through the surface of the diamond. As such, it could be knocked loose and leave a cavity in its place. In that case, knots are one of several types of inclusions that I recommend avoiding.

5 Additional Diamonds from Blue Nile:

Today's Top Pick from Blue Nile:

Blue Nile Signature Diamond Engagement Ring.

Blue Nile Signature Diamond Ring.

All of these diamonds meet my selection criteria by the numbers. However, Blue Nile only provided images for one of the diamonds. This 1.14 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, Blue Nile Signature round diamond. Which does not exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows by my standards. Those hearts look more like lawn darts to me.

Under those circumstances, Blue Nile Signature diamond is not comparable to the true hearts and arrows diamonds from Brian Gavin. However, it is a nice ideal cut diamond that is in the Top 1% of the annual production for rounds.

It took me another seven minutes to find images for three of the remaining four diamonds. So let’s see, where does that leave me in terms of time? I’ve spent a little less than fifteen minutes searching for diamonds on Blue Nile.

I found six GIA Excellent cut diamonds with proportions within my preferred range. And I was able to locate a clarity image and/or reflector scope images for all but one of the diamonds. That’s pretty good. I’ve got fifteen minutes left to find an engagement ring to set the diamond in. That shouldn’t be too difficult.

The Best Engagement Ring from Victor Canera:

Last but not least. I invite you to to search for diamonds on Victor Canera. It took me less than two minutes to run a search for hearts and arrows cut diamonds. All three of the ideal cut options presented met my proportions criteria.

Victor Canera Engagement Ring.

Victor Canera Diamonds for Engagement Ring.

All three of the diamonds on the left contain inclusions that meet my selection criteria. In this case, the hearts and arrows patterns aren’t absolutely perfect, but then again, they never are.

As a matter of fact, I put them in the same classification as James Allen True Hearts and Whiteflash ACA diamonds. Because the hearts patterns tend to exhibit minor imperfections pertaining to optical precision.

Although that may be true, the hearts patterns are better than you’re likely to find in the majority of ideal cut diamonds. Consequently, it's normal for "Hearts and Arrows Ideal Cut Diamonds” to exhibit varying degrees of perfection. Just as there are differences to be found in the myriad of GIA Excellent and AGS Ideal Cut diamonds being offered.

Top 3 Picks from Victor Canera:

Victor Canera Halo Style Engagement Ring.

Halo Solitaire Engagement Ring Victor Canera.

Any of those diamonds will look stunning set in this Twisted Shank Halo setting by Victor Canera. In that case, I’ve got about ten minutes invested in buying an engagement ring from Victor Canera.

As a matter of fact, most of that time was spent pondering the numerous options presented in his online catalog of custom engagement rings.

One of the differences that set Victor Canera apart from the pack is that he hand-forges every ring that he makes. In that case, the engagement ring on the left was not designed using Computer-Aided Design (CAD). In other words, the wax for the ring was not produced using a computerized lathe.

Victor does not rely upon lost wax casting like most of the industry. Rather, he hand-forges each ring that he makes. Each ring is quite literally made by hand. That makes them a bit pricey, but it also makes each ring individually unique. In some ways, this is similar to how the internal components of a Rolls Royce are fabricated by hand. Because every masterpiece engagement ring by Victor Canera is hand-fabricated.

It's Possible to Buy an Engagement Ring in 30 Minutes or Less!

I think I’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s possible to buy an engagement ring in 30 minutes or less. And an exceptional engagement ring at that! You just have to know what to look for and the best places to buy online.

Everything that you need to purchase a gorgeous engagement ring is contained within this article. However, if you would like help selecting the diamond for your engagement ring, please take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service. I will be happy to take a few minutes to help you select the very best diamonds available from each vendor that I work with.

Super Charge Your Diamond Buying Skills:

Follow the Steps in The Nice Ice® Diamond Buying Blueprint™ and Unlock the Secret for Maximizing Sparkle Factor and Light Performance. These are the Tips & Tricks from the back office of Nice Ice Diamonds.