I’m trying to decide between three James Allen True Hearts diamonds, and I’d appreciate any insight that you can provide that will help me choose the best option. I’m leaning towards this 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond, because I think that it provides a good balance of carat weight, color, and clarity, for the price; however I’ll spend more for the [other options described below], if you think that they are going to provide me with better light return or sparkle. I’m also wondering how James Allen True Hearts diamonds compare to other brands of hearts and arrows? The setting that I’m considering is the Royal Halo Cross Over from James Allen. — Ray H.
The hearts image provided for the 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond which is pictured above, is pretty darn good, and indicates that the diamond has been cut to a high degree of optical symmetry, which is superior to a lot of the ideal cut diamonds that you’re likely to find out there…
If you look at the picture of the hearts pattern of this 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond closely, you’ll see that the hearts are fairly uniform in terms of their size and shape, and there is just a little bit of a twist visible in the tip of the heart pictured in the relative three o’clock position… This level of perfection is pretty typical of what I’ve come to expect from the James Allen True Hearts line of diamonds; but it is important to note that I like to consider each diamond upon its own merits, regardless of brand name, by taking the individual proportions and optical symmetry exhibited by the diamond into account, on a diamond-by-diamond basis, because the reality is that hearts and arrows diamonds are polished by hand to varying degrees of precision.
The reason why I consider a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows to be an important characteristic of a round brilliant cut diamond, is because the degree of optical symmetry that is required to produce the pattern, can result in a higher degree of light return, visual performance, and sparkle.
It is important to realize that there is really no such thing as a “perfect pattern of hearts and arrows” because there is always some variation in the size of the hearts, or the shape of the hearts, or the spacing between the hearts and the arrowheads which appear beneath them, or some variation in the clefts of the hearts, and so on… so what I tend to look for are hearts and arrows diamonds which exhibit the best pattern of hearts and arrows, and this 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond is certainly a contender, because the slight twist in the tip of the heart located in the 3 o’clock position is pretty minimal, and represents a vary slight variance in the length of the lower girdle facets located in that region of the diamond.
As indicated above, the optical symmetry of this 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond is damn near perfect, and the proportions of the diamond are well within the range designated by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) for their zero ideal cut rating, so I expect that the diamond exhibits a high volume of light return with a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. While the 34.1 degree crown angle is a bit shallower than my preferred range of 34.3 – 34.8 degrees, it isn’t really an issue because of the 15.0% crown height, and the fact that the 40.9 degree pavilion angle of the diamond is a bit steeper, and provides a really good offset in terms of how the primary reflective surfaces of the diamond are aligned to reflect light through the diamond; and you don’t have to take my word for it, just look at all the red on the ASET image!
One of the reasons why I personally prefer diamonds that have been graded by the AGS Laboratory on their Platinum Light Performance grading platform, is because the lab uses Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) to measure the brightness of diamonds, and to determine how light is being reflected throughout the diamond, as a result of the combination of proportions and the degree of optical symmetry.[separator]
The ASET image provided on the diamond quality document for the 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond pictured above, exhibits a lot of red, which the AGSL uses to indicate the brightest light that is being reflected by the diamond; the color green represents the second brightest light; and the color blue represents the contrast which is created by the shadow of our heads reflecting off of the pavilion main facets of the diamond… the ASET image for this diamond looks absolutely fantastic, and I have no doubt that it is a spectacular looking diamond!
While I have not had the opportunity to see the James Allen Royal halo cross over engagement ring for myself, one of my other clients purchased the ring and absolutely loves it! I have no doubt that the 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond would look amazing set in this ring, and agree that the diamond represents a great value in terms of providing you with the best balance of carat weight, color, and clarity, for your desired price range. In my experience, the slight difference between the I-color center stone and the G-H color accent diamonds, will not be distinct, because our eyes are drawn towards the light return and sparkle provided by the larger center stone.
By the way, you’re like the third person to ask me about halo settings that feature a cross over ring design in the past week or so, it seems that cross over engagement rings are increasing in popularity.[separator]
This 1.225 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 as determined on their proprietary Light Performance grading platform, and the proportions are well within the range of my preferred selection criteria, which is outlined in the article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success, so I have no doubt that the diamond exhibits a high volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. The hearts image indicates that there is most likely a slight variance in the length of the lower girdle facets, as indicated by the slight bending of the tips of the hearts featured in the 1-3-5-9 and ten o’clock positions.[separator]
Try to keep in mind that part of my job is to help you identify the technical differences between the diamond cut quality of the various diamonds which you are considering, thus I tend to focus on what some people might consider to be minor factors of diamond cut quality, however I do so in an attempt to help you select the best diamond for your personal preferences pertaining to precision… I have clients who are simply looking for the best ideal cut diamond that they can find within their desired price range, and other clients who are extremely precise and want only the highest degree of optical symmetry and diamond cut quality possible, but the odds are that if you set this diamond next to the 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond that you would be hard pressed to determine which diamond exhibited the highest volume of light return or sparkle factor, because the differences that I see between the diamond cut quality of the two diamonds is very slight, and here again the ASET image looks great!
You might also have difficulty discerning between the body color of the two diamonds from a face-up position, since the volume of light return and sparkle factor of the two diamonds is likely to distract you from the actual body color of the diamonds, thus many people find I-color diamonds in this range of proportions and diamond cut quality, to be a perfectly acceptable option that meets their expectations for light return and sparkle factor, without requiring them to spend more money on a diamond color that they might not be able to visually appreciate… however from a technical perspective, the 1.225 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond will face-up a hint brighter and whiter, and thus it might be worth the extra money to you.
The hearts image provided for the 1.224 carat, G-color, VVS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond looks pretty good, there is a little bit of twisting that is evident in the tips of the hearts, especially in the two o’clock and four o’clock positions, but the pattern is still better than what I’ve seen in a lot of the ideal cut diamonds that I’ve evaluated over the years… thus I expect this diamond to exhibit a higher volume of light return and sparkle, especially since the 40.9 degree pavilion angle is a really good offset for the 34.0 degree crown angle, especially with the 76% lower girdle facet length which should produce bright, broad, flashes of light![separator]
No need to go back and check the lower girdle facet length of the other James Allen True Hearts diamonds that I reviewed on your behalf, they’re all in the range of 76 – 77% which is great, all of the diamonds should exhibit flashes of light which are bold and bright. I think that any one of them will look amazing set in the James Allen Royal halo cross over engagement ring that you’ve expressed an interest in; however I think that I’d be inclined to go with either the 1.23 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond, or the 1.225 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond, since I feel that they provide the best balance in terms of clarity, color, and price.
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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