I am looking to purchase an engagement ring in the 3/4 carat range. I would like to spend between $2500-3500 (but would really like to stay closer to the <3k range if possible). I had been looking at James Allen and BGD. Currently, this 0.745 carat, J color, VS-1 Brian Gavin Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond [edited to link content] is looking very tempting, but not 100% sold on going w/ J. What are your thoughts? It will be placed in a white gold solitaire setting. Thanks! ~ Richard S.
Thank you for your inquiry Richard, my inclination is to steer you away from a J color diamond if you’re already questioning the color because in my experience people will see warmth and color in a diamond when they are looking for it and you’re going to be looking for it since you’re already expressing concern… and the white gold mounting is not going to help things, but preference for diamond color is a purely subjective matter and each person will have different preferences and sensitivity to color. Since I grade diamonds for a living, I tend to be pretty sensitive to color and prefer diamonds in the D to I color range.
Now to be clear, I don’t have an issue with diamonds of warmer body color, such as those that are J and lower in color when the diamonds have been cut to super ideal proportions and exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts and Arrows because I find that the sparkle factor of the diamond serves to help mask the body color from a top down view. However the brilliance, dispersion and scintillation of the diamond will not mask the body color entirely and the body color of a diamond will definitely be visible from a side profile. According to material presented by the GIA in their gemology course, the average diamond sold in the United States has a body color of “N” so a “J” color diamond is definitely going to face up whiter than the majority of diamonds sold in America.
That said I’m more inclined to steer you into something like this 0.754 carat, G color, SI-1 clarity Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin because people tend to see body color before clarity. The SI-1 clarity grade indicates that the diamond contains inclusions which are readily visible when the diamond is viewed using 10x and higher magnification. According to the plotting diagram on the AGS Diamond Quality Document (DQD) the primary inclusions are diamond crystals which are simply tiny diamonds that were trapped within the larger diamond crystal as it formed.
The ASET image on the AGS DQD and the one provided by Brian Gavin on the diamond details page both indicate that the diamond has exceptional symmetry in terms of the consistency of facet shape, size and alignment. The clarity photograph, Ideal scope image and Hearts image will be added shortly, the diamond just arrived back from being graded and is in the midst of being processed, however I am assured that it exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows. The overall cut grade of the diamond was graded as AGS Ideal 0 for polish, symmetry, proportions and light performance by the AGS Laboratory and I’m confident that the diamond will face up quite nicely in a white gold setting.
I also really like this 0.733 carat, H color, SI-1 clarity Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamond from Brian Gavin and it will also face up quite nicely in a white gold setting. According to the plotting diagram on the AGS DQD the primary inclusions are clouds (small clusters of pinpoint size diamond crystals), crystals and feathers, all of which look minimal on both the plotting diagram and on the diamond clarity photograph. The diamond received an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal 0 from the AGS Laboratory and looks exceptional when viewed through an ASET Scope. This diamond is definitely a winner!
Now I tend to be kind of partial to diamonds which exhibit blue fluorescence and thus I feel obliged to point out this 0.77 carat, H color, SI-1 clarity diamond from the Brian Gavin Blue collection because I think that it’s going to be gorgeous! The diamond is graded by the AGS Laboratory on their Platinum Light Performance platform and received the top grade of AGS Ideal 0 for polish, symmetry, proportions and light performance.
The primary inclusions are indicated as being pinpoint size diamond crystals and diamond crystals which again are simply tiny diamonds that were trapped within the larger diamond crystal as it formed. The medium blue fluorescence is going to help lift the body color of the diamond just a bit and the diamond will glow a nice medium neon blue color when exposed to black light and I think that is very cool… it certainly looks cool. The ASET and Ideal Scope images look spot on and the diamond was produced by the same diamond cutters who produce the diamonds for the Brian Gavin Signature line of Hearts and Arrows diamonds so I’m confident that the facets are precisely aligned and that the sparkle factor will be off the charts.
And finally if you can stretch your budget just a bit, this 0.805 carat, I color, VS-2 clarity round brilliant ideal cut diamond from the Brian Gavin Blue collection looks pretty tempting. I realize that an I color diamond doesn’t seem like much of a jump from a J color diamond, but when you add the strong blue fluorescence into the equation it is quite a leap in terms of body color. Here again the diamond was produced by the same diamond cutters who cut the diamonds for the Brian Gavin Signature line and the diamond received an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal 0 from the AGS Laboratory.
The inclusions are indicated as being pinpoints, crystals and feathers and they all look minimal. This diamond is a pretty good balance in terms of blending the options for diamond color and diamond clarity and it enables you to pick up some size, but it is definitely pushing the upper range of your budget a bit… it sure is a tempting option though.
The only option that fell close to my selection criteria from James Allen was this 0.780 carat, I color, SI-1 clarity True Hearts Diamond and the 35.1 degree crown angle is just a little steeper than my preference which is between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees, but the pavilion angle is spot on at 40.7 degrees and that is the primary reflective surface in terms of light return. The plotting diagram on the AGS DQD indicates that the primary inclusions consist of crystals and feathers which are readily visible in the clarity photograph as would be typical for an SI-1 clarity diamond. The diamond received an overall cut rating of AGS Ideal 0 from the AGS Laboratory as graded on their Platinum Light Performance grading platform and it is likely to be a lively looking diamond.[separator]
So these are the options that I would consider from the diamond inventories of James Allen and Brian Gavin, since you’re looking around and trying to find an extremely well cut diamond I’ll provide you with a little additional insight… Assuming that visual performance and sparkle factor are a consideration in your decision making process, I would look carefully at the ASET Scope and Ideal Scope images for the diamonds as these things will dramatically improve the more consistent the patterns within the images appear. Irregularities in the size and shape of the hearts indicate azimuth shift which are continual adjustments in the facet structure of the diamond during the polishing process which will reduce the number of virtual facets and thus reduce sparkle factor.
Specifically keep an eye on the “V” shape cleft at the top of the hearts and look for splitting at the base of the cleft which twists inconsistently in different directions as this is a major indication of azimuth shift… so is twisting of the tips of the hearts. Crisp and complete patterns of Hearts and Arrows are the result of extremely precise alignment of the facets combined with consistency of facet shape and size… inconsistencies are produced when the diamond is adjusted repeatedly during the cutting process and will result in a lesser degree of visual performance and sparkle factor. It is easy to see the difference once you know what to look for and now you’ll be able to separate the turbo charged diamond from the standard production of ideal cut rounds.
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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