If you have your sights set on a two-carat diamond engagement ring, you might be in for a bit of sticker shock! Because there is a substantial price increase that occurs in the price of diamonds between the 1.99 and 2.00 carat marks. The obvious thing to do is to search for diamonds weighing between 1.90 – 1.99 carats.
However, the reality is that there are very few truly well-cut diamonds produced in this range of carat weight. I’ve got to be perfectly honest and tell you that when people tell me that they’re looking for a round brilliant cut diamond weighing between 1.90 – 1.99 carats that is cut to my standards, that I don’t have much faith that I’m going to be able to help them find what they’re looking for… But I’m willing to look and hopeful that they order the diamond immediately if I’m fortunate enough to find it, because they always seem to sell quickly.
From a financial perspective, it makes sense for a diamond cutter to produce a two-carat diamond with proportions of good to very good, as opposed to an ideal cut diamond weighing between 1.90 – 1.99 carats. Consider that the piece of diamond rough required to produce a two-carat diamond generally weighs between four and five carats, sometimes even six carats. The majority of diamond cutters are going to focus on cutting a diamond of the highest carat weight, in order to maximize the yield of return on each piece of diamond rough. But not Victor Canera! Oh no, Victor Canera is clearly crazy, because he instructed the diamond cutter who produced this 1.951 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Victor Canera hearts and arrows round diamond to cut it to the tightest proportions. The highest yield of carat weight be damned, he was looking to achieve perfection! And I’ve got to admit that I think he achieved it because the reflector scope images for this puppy look might fine!
Clearly the hearts and arrows photograph that appears at the top of this page looks stunning! So we know that the diamond has been cut to exhibit the highest degree of optical precision, and the ASET Scope image for this 1.951 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, hearts and arrows diamond from Victor Canera looks fabulous as well. This article explains what the different colors of an ASET image mean, so there is no need to get into that. Suffice to say that all indications are that this diamond is gathering light from all the right places and will be reflecting it back up towards whoever is fortunate enough to be presented with this beautiful diamond! “By the numbers” the 40.8 degree pavilion angle will produce a high volume of light return, while the 34.6 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) and the combination of the 77% lower girdle facet length and optical precision will produce broad-spectrum sparkle!
Just to put into perspective how much money you’d be saving by buying this 1.951 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Victor Canera hearts and arrows diamond instead of a two-carat diamond, check out the price of this 2.037 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, hearts and arrows diamond from Victor Canera, and realize that they’re going to face up the same in terms of light performance and sparkle factor! The difference of one color grade is very slight, and the difference between the two diamonds in terms of outside diameter is 0.09 millimeters… not a difference that you’d be able to spot from across the dinner table, but an extra $9k in your pocket (rounding up to an even number) is definitely something you’ll benefit from!
I’ve known Brian Gavin for a little more than 25 years now, so trust me when I tell you that he’s absolutely bonkers! There is no sense in denying it, I’ve purchased literally thousands of diamonds produced by Brian Gavin over the years, he is one of my original mentors in the diamond business and produced a lot of the diamonds that we sold under the private Nice Ice label. And the reason why I think he’s nuts is because he produces a fair amount of Brian Gavin Signature round diamonds that weigh between 1.90 – 1.99 carats, like this 1.902 carat, J-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature hearts and arrows round diamond. It looks truly spectacular and I know from experience that it is going to deliver the highest volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion in the form of broad-spectrum sparkle which is larger in size, and bolder, brighter and more vivid than what the average ideal cut diamond is capable of producing.
How do I know this? Because Brian Gavin used to produce many of the diamonds that we sold under the private Nice Ice label, I’ve purchased literally thousands upon thousands of diamonds produced by Brian Gavin. Unlike most diamond cutters, his focus has always been upon producing diamonds of the highest cut quality, regardless of what the carat weight ends up being…
Diamond cutting for Brian Gavin is an art, but he approaches it from the perspective of science, using state-of-the-art diamond cutting technology that scans each piece of diamond rough so that the cutting of each diamond can be carefully planned. So it would certainly be possible for him to cut a diamond such as this to weigh more and yield more profit. But instead, he chooses to cut a diamond of the highest quality, time after time, focused solely on light performance and not carat weight. My hat goes off to him, even if he is crazy from the traditional perspective of diamond cutting which focuses solely on profits.
This 1.91 carat, D-color, VS-2 clarity, Blue Nile Signature round diamond does not exhibit the same extremely high degree of optical precision as the hearts and arrows diamonds from Brian Gavin or Victor Canera that appear above, but it is a very nice looking ideal cut diamond. Understand that not all diamonds that are cut to ideal proportions and which have an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent or AGS Ideal-0 will exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows. In fact, the majority of ideal cut diamonds will not exhibit an exceptional pattern of hearts and arrows. Fewer than 0.001% of all round brilliant cut diamonds produced in the average year actually qualify for what I consider to be hearts and arrows.
If you look closely at the hearts pattern exhibited by this diamond, you will see that the left side of the heart pictured in the relative eleven o’clock position is blacked out, whereas the rest of the hearts are uniform in color. There is also a bit of variation in the size and shape of the hearts and a bit of twisting in the tips of the hearts, thus I know that there is a slight variance in the length of the lower girdle facets and in the shape and indexing of the facets, which is not something that is taken into account by the Symmetry grade reflected on GIA or AGS diamond grading reports. However, this diamond is still cut to a range of proportions and overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, which places it well within the Top 1% of the annual production of round brilliant cut diamonds.
The pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees is going to produce a high volume of light return, while the crown angle of 34.5 degrees is going to produce a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) and the 80% lower girdle facets should produce pin-fire type sparkle that is kind of like the tiny flashes of light that can be seen reflecting off of a disco ball.
The little known challenge with “ideal cut diamonds” that are cut with lower girdle facets in the range of 80 – 82% is that it tends to produce smaller pin-fire type sparkle; and the problem with that is that our human eyes have difficulty dispersing the smaller flashes of white light (and it’s all white light) into colored light/sparkle/fire. Thus, diamonds cut like this tend to appear more brilliant, than exhibit a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion, even when the overall proportions would normally yield that balance of light return.
This is of course largely a matter of personal preference, however it should also be noted that diamonds cut with 80% lower girdle facets tend to perform wonderfully in pin-fire type lighting conditions, e.g. candlelight, and jewelry store halogen lighting; however they tend not to perform as well (as diamonds cut with 75 – 78% lower girdle facet length, with the same center range proportions) when viewed in diffused type lighting environments, which is what most of us live and work under.
This 1.91 carat, F-color, SI-1 clarity, Blue Nile Signature round diamond is also not a hearts and arrows diamond, take a good look at the hearts and you will plainly see that the right side of the hearts located in the upper right quadrant of the diamond are blacked out on the right side, unlike the hearts featured on the Brian Gavin and Victor Canera diamonds, which show light reflecting evenly across them. Here again, it is simply a nice ideal cut diamond. The pavilion angle of 40.6 degrees is going to produce a high volume of light return, while the 35.0 degree crown angle will produce a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion, and the 80% lower girdle facet length should produce pin-fire type sparkle that is very similar to a disco ball.
Do not mistake the clouds (small groups) of pinpoint size diamond crystals indicated along the edge of the diamond on the plotting diagram for feathers (minute fractures) because they are not, they just look like that if you glance quickly at the plotting diagram… Once again, this diamond is easily within the Top 1% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds and should make somebody very happy!
So you might have guessed that there is more to buying a diamond than necessarily meets the eye, it’s not as simple as just running a search for diamonds on your favorite web site, such as:
You’ve got to know which combination of crown angle, crown height, pavilion angle, pavilion depth, table diameter, total depth, girdle thickness, and culet size mix together to create a diamond that is going to perform exceptionally well. And it helps to know what you’re looking at, if and when ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, and Hearts & Arrows Scope images are provided.
I scoured the globe to find these few 1.90 – 1.99 carat diamonds for you to consider, and there were quite a few diamonds that got rejected along the way because they didn’t quite live up to my standards. If you’d like to take the guesswork out of buying a diamond, take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service. I’ll be happy to put my thirty years of professional diamond buying experience to work to help you find just the right diamond so that you can get back to doing whatever it is that you do best!
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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