It seems like every time I’m driving my car, I have to be subjected to the “He went to Jared’s” jingle for Jared, the Galleria of Fine Jewelry, and I want to crash my car into a pole! Maybe it’s just because I’m a seasoned diamond buyer, but I find the very nature of the advertisements to be mind numbing and stupid. Seriously, the day the GPS in my car starts to provide me with advice on how to buy a diamond, is the day I rip it out of the dash and toss it out the window, I’ll gladly pay the fine for littering.
Apparently I’m not alone in my opinion of the “He went to Jared” advertising campaign, because when I searched the term on Google, one of the first things that popped up was this meme from Urban Dictionary which interprets the phrase “went to Jared” as meaning that (he) “is cheap and/or has poor or unsophisticated taste in jewelry” and then proceeds to mock the entire “he went to Jared” advertising campaign by inferring that all women are going to have the exact same engagement ring, because he went to Jared.
I have to admit that I find this kind of amusing… so you know what I had to do, right? I hopped in the car and I went to Jared, the Galleria of Fine Jewelry with the intent of subjecting myself to the sales staff. Let’s face it, it’s located in the same complex as Safeway, and I needed groceries… not kidding.
Thankfully when I arrived, I discovered that the store was under construction, and isn’t going to be open for awhile, so I returned home and hopped on the internet to shop for diamonds the old fashioned way, by the numbers… which in my opinion, is preferable to subjecting myself to the actual sales staff, because I can only imagine how much fun that would be.
There were three categories of diamonds on the Jared Diamonds web site which interested me, all of which I imagined, would encompass the level of precision that I am accustomed to expect from an ideal cut diamond. Specifically these are the diamonds which they call:
Starting with the Leo Diamond, I set out to find some options in the range of quality that I prefer to consider when shopping for an engagement ring, so I set the range of clarity to include SI-1 up to VVS-1, and the range of color between D and J color, with a carat weight between 0.60 and 5.00 carats… this produced a total of four Leo Diamonds for me to consider, which left me feeling rather unimpressed with the myriad of possibilities.
The available options included a 0.97 carat, I-color, SI-1 graded by the IGI [diam239863]with an overall cut grade of good; a 1.03 carat, H-color, VVS-2 [diam172029] graded by “some laboratory which I’ve never even heard of” with an overall cut grade of very good; a 1.97 carat, I-color, SI-1 graded by the IGI [diam99129] with a polish and symmetry rating of good, but which Jared’s has listed as having a “very good cut round diamond” and a 3.96 carat, I-color, SI-1 graded by the IGI [diam206515] with an overall cut grade of good.
I decided to focus on the characteristics of the 1.97 carat, I-color, SI-1 because at least the carat weight of the diamond makes it a bit unique, because it should be priced fairly well since it falls just under the 2.00 carat mark, where the price per carat increases due to an increase in the price of polished diamonds that occurs between the 1.99 – 2.00 carat marks. Plus I’m kind of curious about why Jared’s would advertise this particular diamond as being a “very good cut round diamond” when the lab report which appears to the left, indicates that the International Gemological Institute graded the polish and symmetry as only being good, standard gemological practice dictates that the overall cut grade can be no higher than the lowest contributing factor.[separator]
Even if the polish and symmetry grades of the diamond were “very good” I can’t imagine how anybody could determine that the overall cut grade of this diamond could possibly be “very good” because the IGI indicates that it has a total depth of 64.1% which is very, very deep! And the diamond has a very thick, faceted girdle, which at best would result in an overall cut grade of Fair (5) under the grading standards of the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) which is considered to be a Top Tier Gemological Laboratory.
Furthermore the “diamond grading report” issued by the IGI for this diamond, doesn’t even provide us with the crown or pavilion angle measurements, so all we know is that it’s cut quite deep… As near as I can tell, the only thing that could possibly be “very good” about this diamond, is if Jared’s managed to sell it, and get it out of their inventory! The lack of optical symmetry is readily apparent in the clarity image of the diamond which appears to the left, notice the lack of consistency and contrast in the arrow shafts? This type of variance is caused by variations in the size, shape, and alignment of the facet sections, it’s known as azamet shift and it affects sparkle big time![separator]
And did I mention that this 1.97 carat, I-color, SI-1 clarity, Leo Diamond from Jared’s [diam99129] is listed for twenty six thousand dollars? It’s right there in black and white, right along with their claim that it has “very good proportions” which arguably can’t be disputed without the crown or pavilion angle measurements, but there is that AGS-5 girdle edge.[separator]
Naturally I decided to shop around and see what sort of diamond I could purchase online for this kind of money. It didn’t take me very long to find this 2.201 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, round brilliant ideal cut diamond from the Brian Gavin Signature Collection which is selling for $27,936.00 which is a little more money, but keep in mind that it’s graded by a top tier gemological laboratory, with a higher clarity grade, and it is well over the 2.00 carat mark, which represents a significantly higher price per carat. And do you see the contrast created by the superior optical symmetry? This diamond is cut for maximum light return and sparkle factor with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0.[separator]
And the diamond from Brian Gavin exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts & Arrows, which is a clear indication of superior optical symmetry, which will produce a higher number of virtual facets, larger flashes of light, and better sparkle factor. But you don’t have to take my word for it, take a look at the ASET image provided on the diamond grading report issued by the American Gem Society Laboratory, the diamond is making full use of all of the light which is being provided to it.
Obviously this diamond would cost less if it were the same carat weight, color and clarity of the 1.97 carat, I-color, SI-1 clarity, Leo Diamond graded by the IGI, but this is the closest comparison that I could find in terms of relative value. I’m not even going to get into the fact that most of my friends in the diamond industry consider the IGI to be a second and possibly even a third tier gemological laboratory, that’s a rather long post which is best suited for a separate article.
Now one thing that I want to point out is that the facet structure of the Leo Diamond and this diamond from the Brian Gavin Signature Collection of Hearts & Arrows Diamonds is slightly different, and it’s a difference which I think has a dramatic effect on the visual properties of the diamond, especially when it comes to sparkle. Look closely at the pavilion (lower) section of the facet diagram for this diamond from Brian Gavin and the structure of the Leo Diamond represented on the lab report above, and you’ll see that the Leo Diamond has 16 pavilion main facets, instead of the traditional eight. I’ve been told that this creates a diamond which is more brilliant, and that might seem like a good thing, until you realize the visual price that you pay for “a more brilliant diamond” in terms of sparkle.[separator]
Here is what you need to know about brilliance and dispersion (fire) and how it is affected by increasing the number of facets on the surface of a diamond… the higher the number of facets, the smaller the flashes of light will be, and thus the light reflected by the diamond will appear to be “more brilliant” but only because the flashes of light being produced are so small that our human eyes are unable to see color!
Now if you prefer a diamond that exhibits a lot of brilliance (flashes of white light, or white sparkle) that’s fine, but understand that as our eyes age, our ability to clearly see those tiny flashes of light will dissipate and your diamond is going to become more and more lifeless… which is why I personally prefer the traditional facet structure of a round brilliant cut diamond, which has not been modified to be more brilliant, but that’s because I recognize the importance of selecting a diamond which exhibits a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion (also known as “fire” which are the broad flashes of colored light).
By the way, I got a chance to see the 2.201 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Diamond in-person today and it’s absolutely gorgeous! This is what it looked like when I popped open the parcel paper, I took this pic with my camera phone, so it’s not the best quality, but I think it shows that the diamond is full of sparkle… and I was sitting in a room with fluorescent office lighting when I took the picture! Fluorescent lighting is absolutely the worst for evaluating diamonds, because it doesn’t provide any UV lighting for the diamond to react with. All of the inclusions appear to be translucent when viewed using a 10x diamond grading loupe, and were not that easy to find.[separator]
And unlike the Leo Diamond referenced above, which Jared’s is advertising as a “very good cut round diamond” this diamond has AGS Ideal-0 cut proportions, as verified by the overall cut rating of AGS Ideal-0 on the Diamond Quality Document provided by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) and it’s actually better than that… because the measurements are all in the middle of the range specified for that rating and are within tolerance of the design specified by Marcel Tolkowsky as being the formula for optimizing light return in a round brilliant cut diamond.
Since this post is turning out to be rather long, I think that I’ll tackle the review of Jared’s Tolkowsky Cut Diamond and their Hearts Desire Diamonds another day… but feel free to ask me to review the details of any Jared Diamond that you happen to be considering, I’ll be happy to look over the details for you, hopefully your shopping experience will be more inspiring than my online shopping experience, and then your girlfriend can say “He went to Jared’s Galleria of Fine Jewelry.
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