Hi Todd, I really appreciate the diamond buying tips and advice. My girlfriend likes the split shank French halo setting from Ritani, but they don’t seem to offer hearts and arrows diamonds that are comparable to the Brian Gavin Signature, Crafted by Infinity, or James Allen True Hearts diamonds that you recommend. How important is a hearts and arrows pattern for a round brilliant cut diamond? How does a hearts and arrows pattern affect the sparkle factor? I’m looking for a round diamond, 1.20 – 1.30 carats, G/H color, VS clarity; perhaps with a little bit of blue fluorescence, but nothing too extreme. Thanks for your time, I’ll be sure to use the links you provide so you receive credit. — Patrick D.
I’m quite confident that you’ll love the split shank French Halo setting from Ritani because another one of my clients ordered it the other day and loves it! She told me that the ring feels nice and light on her finger and that she likes how delicate it looks. She also really likes the way the tiny diamonds add sparkle to the outside of the diamond that I helped her select from Ritani. The picture featured to the left shows the split shank French Halo setting by Ritani from the two side profiles. I have no doubt that this ring would look amazing set with this 1.20 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, round diamond from Ritani, which has a cut grade of GIA Excellent.
With a crown angle of 34.5 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees, the proportions of the diamond are well within the scope of my preferred selection criteria, which is outlined in the article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success. The diamond should exhibit a high volume of light return with a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) however I do feel that the sparkle factor would be intensified by the presence of a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows that is exhibited by diamonds that are cut to the highest level of optical symmetry.
It is important to understand that this 1.20 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, round diamond from Ritani is easily within the Top 2% of the round brilliant cut diamonds that are produced in the average year, but there are diamonds available which are within the Top 0.001% of annual production. The decision that you have to make is what level of optical symmetry and diamond cut precision meets your personal preferences… and yes, there are likely to be differences in the sparkle factor presented by the various options for several reasons.
The pattern of hearts and arrows exhibited by this 1.207 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond provide more than just something interesting to look at through a Hearts and Arrows scope because a hearts pattern this perfect is the direct result of cutting the diamond to an exceptional level of optical symmetry. The consistency of facet shape and alignment that is required for the hearts pattern to form correctly, combined with the precision of facet indexing, results in a higher degree of light return and creates a higher number of virtual facets, which are also larger in size than the virtual facets exhibited by diamonds cut to a lesser degree of precision.
An article titled the “Evaluation of brilliance, fire, and scintillation in round brilliant gemstones” which was based on a study conducted by the American Gem Society Laboratory, and published in the September 2007 edition of Optical Engineering magazine, indicates that “the size and distribution of the virtual facets have an impact on the visual appeal of a stone.”
The term “virtual facets” refers to the perception of facet shaped objects which are created virtually by the overlapping of actual facet shapes which are present on the surface of the diamond. The appearance of virtual facets changes with every degree to which a diamond is tilted or rotated.
The article also states that “If the size of the virtual facets approaches the limit of the eye’s resolution then fire and flash scintillation will tend to appear as pinpoint events. If the size of the facets is several times larger than the eye’s resolution then the effect of facet interplay can be observed. This effect is desirable and consists of the sudden change of appearance of groups of alternate facets becoming dark, illuminated, or colored. Facet interplay is reminiscent of the sudden changes in pattern produced by a kaleidoscope when it is in movement.”
The degree of static contrast which is created by the presence of a strong pattern of hearts and arrows tends to result in a higher number of virtual facets and the perception of sparkle.
In addition to creating a higher number of virtual facets within a diamond, a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows also increases our perception of diamond sparkle when the diamond is actually being viewed in low lighting circumstances, because the degree of contrast that exists between the arrows pattern and other sections of the diamond creates the illusion that the diamond is sparkling.
Therefore this 1.207 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond is likely to exhibit a higher volume of light return, a higher degree of both actual and perceived sparkle, and flashes of light which are broader, brighter, and more intense, than the 1.20 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, round diamond from Ritani, which was probably not cut to exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows… How do I know? Well the fact that Ritani doesn’t post photographs of their diamonds as seen through a hearts and arrows scope is a pretty good indication; but so is the 45% star facet and 80% lower girdle facet lengths indicated on the diamond grading report if you happen to be enough of a diamond geek to know how those measurements would screw up a hearts and arrows pattern.
The Marcela split shank halo from Brian Gavin was recently custom designed for one of my clients, it features two rows of pave set diamonds around the ring shank, and the prong configuration is accented by diamonds, making it a more elaborate piece than the split shank French Halo from Ritani. The Marcela from Brian Gavin costs about 1.4 times more than the ring from Ritani, but it is also sporting more than four times the diamond weight, and the diamonds are F-G in color instead of H-color and are cut to the same standards of precision offered by Brian Gavin Signature rounds. Higher levels of cut precision make diamonds of all sizes appear brighter and sparkle more!
While Brian Gavin does not provide photographs for the diamonds featured in his Brian Gavin Blue collection, like this 1.231 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Blue fluorescent diamond, he does provide images of the diamond as seen through an Ideal Scope which is designed to provide insight into the degree of optical symmetry, and determine the extent to which a diamond is leaking light. You want to see a lot of red and pink when viewing a diamond through an ideal scope, with just a little bit of white around the edges of the diamond, and strong contrast in the arrows. This is exactly how a round diamond should look through an Ideal Scope, but that’s not really surprising because…
I have it on “good authority” that Brian Gavin Blue diamonds are produced on the same production line as Brian Gavin Signature round hearts and arrows diamonds… you could even say that I heard this straight from the horse’s mouth. Which is not to say that they will all exhibit perfect patterns of hearts and arrows, but do you really think that his diamond cutters are paying attention to whether a diamond has fluorescence?
And do you think that a Master Diamond Cutter / Craftsman is suddenly going to change his approach to diamond cutting simply because a diamond exhibits blue fluorescence? Not hardly… I flew out to Houston, Texas last August to meet with the staff of Brian Gavin and look over their operations; I had the opportunity to look at quite a few Brian Gavin Blue diamonds while I was there, and every one of them looked fantastic through a hearts and arrows scope. Therefore I would not hesitate to buy something like this 1.231 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Blue that exhibits medium blue fluorescence. It’s going to look amazing!
Another diamond which I like the look of is this 1.20 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity round diamond which exhibits a pattern of hearts and arrows that is sure to please! Diamonds cut to this level have a sparkling personality which commands attention from across the room! And you don’t have to take my word for it, read the testimonial written by Sandy who recently purchased a Crafted by Infinity diamond from my friend Wink over at High Performance Diamonds, this is the type of review that diamond dealers wait their entire lives for! I don’t see a split shank halo setting featured within Wink’s custom made dream collection, but I’m confident that he can design one for you.
This 1.225 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond presents kind of a middle ground between the diamond from Ritani and the diamonds from Brian Gavin and Crafted by Infinity. If you look carefully at the photograph of the hearts pattern provided to the left, you’ll notice that the tips of the hearts appear to be bending on the hearts located in the five, nine, and eleven o’clock positions, this is due to differences in the length of the lower girdle facets and the indexing of the facets; it is what is referred to within the diamond industry as Azamet Shift. In order to fully understand why the tips of the hearts are “bending” you need to know how the hearts pattern is created.
This James Allen True Hearts diamond has the proportions that I look for in a round brilliant cut diamond, the 34.4 degree crown angle is an excellent offset for the 40.9 degree pavilion angle, and the diamond has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0, so it is definitely a contender in my book… it just exhibits a little less optical symmetry than the options provided by Brian Gavin and Crafted by Infinity, the decision that you have to make is what degree of diamond cut quality are you willing to settle for and how much are you willing to pay for it… Based upon the insight provided by the study conducted by the American Gem Society Laboratory, we know that the degree of optical symmetry does affect the visual performance of a diamond.
If you found this review of Brian Gavin, Crafted by Infinity, James Allen True Hearts, and Ritani ideal cut diamonds helpful, and would like help reviewing the diamond options available in your preferred range of quality and price, feel free to take advantage of my free diamond concierge service. Who knows, I might even blog about it…
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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