“Todd, I got to you through a search for Ritani reviews. I am in NYC so I have options, but still feel like the process is blind to people not in the business. I saw a ring at Tiffany’s – the Tiffany embrace and thought I could do much better trying to find a similar setting. The French Halo setting from Ritani (pictured left) seemed like a super close match.”
“The one I looked at at Tiffany’s was 1.06 carats. Something around that size, maybe from .95 karats or so up to 1.1 or so. Guidance or advice would be very much appreciated. If the center stone is surrounded by small diamonds in a Halo setting, does that affect the balance of cut/ color/ clarity etc? Thinking D, E, F color? — David”
French Halo Engagement Ring from Ritani:
The French Halo style engagement ring from Ritani which is pictured above features approximately 0.45 carats total weight of round diamonds which are VS-2 in clarity and H in color. People frequently express concern as to how important it is for the color of the accent diamonds to match the center stone, and in my experience, it is a difference which is difficult to ascertain because our eyes tend to be drawn to the brilliance and dispersion offered by the center stone.
Thus I don’t see an issue with setting a D-E-F color diamond in the middle of this ring which incorporates H-color accent diamonds. I’d say that if you happen to be extremely color sensitive and think that it might bother you if you scrutinize the ring and are able to detect a slight difference in color, that you select a center stone which is within one color grade of the accent diamonds, such as a G-color or I-color center stone.
However, I think that most people experience difficulty trying to ascertain the color of smaller diamonds, like those set in this ring, especially when they are surrounded by prongs and all you’re really going to see is the sparkle… I’ve seen people set D-color diamonds in rings like this and not seem to notice a thing, and I’ve seen people set L-color diamonds in the same rings and be just as happy with the overall look.
On a side note, I’ve had several clients order the French Halo style engagement ring from Ritani and every single one of them has absolutely loved the ring!
How to Search Ritani for Round Diamonds:
Ritani offers a wide variety of diamond cut qualities and proportions, so it is important to know how to set the advanced parameters to limit the search results. In addition to setting the range for carat weight, color, and clarity, I set the range for total depth to be between 59 – 61.8% and table diameter to be between 53 – 58% and polish/symmetry to GIA Excellent / AGS Ideal, which provided me with 32 Ritani diamonds to consider.
I then opened the diamond details page for each diamond and clicked on the lab report to ensure that the crown angle was between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees and offset by a pavilion angle between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees. While I tend to be extremely strict with adhering to the pavilion depth, with perhaps the exception of allowing it to slip to 41.0 degrees if nothing else is available, there are times when I allow for a slightly broader range of crown angle depending on the type of sparkle preferred by the client.
If you prefer diamonds which exhibit more of a balance of brilliance and dispersion/fire, then keep the crown angle between my preferred range of 34.3 – 34.9 degrees; but if you prefer diamonds which exhibit a little more brilliance than dispersion, you might consider diamonds with slightly shallower crown angle measurements, like something in the range of 33.9 – 34.2 degrees; and if you prefer diamonds which exhibit more fire than brilliance, look for options with steeper crown angles in the range of 35.5 – 36.0 degrees.
Note however that the levels of contrast exhibited between the pavilion main facets (arrows pattern) and other sections of the diamond are apt to change and become less prominent when the crown angle measurements are on the outer edges of the ranges specified above… if you like things to look “just right” by Todd’s Book, keep things in the middle of the range.
Once I finished flipping through the diamond grading reports for the 32 options which were presented initially by Ritani, the following four diamonds are within tolerance of my preferred selection criteria:
Ritani Diamond Review: GIA 6157818934
This 1.00 carat, E-color, SI-1 clarity, round brilliant diamond from Ritani is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, with a total depth of 61.6% and a table diameter of 56% and a crown angle of 35.0 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees and a thin to medium, faceted girdle and no culet. The crown angle is one-tenth of a degree beyond my preferred range, but the diamond is still going to deliver lots of brilliance and a lot of dispersion, and the 40.8° pavilion angle will produce a high volume of light return!
The primary inclusions are indicated as being clouds, which are small clusters of pinpoint size diamond crystals; some larger crystals; some small feathers, and a few needle shaped diamond crystals… nothing to be concerned about.
Ritani Diamond Review: GIA 6165758677
This 1.00 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, round diamond from Ritani is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, with a total depth of 61.4% and a table diameter of 57% and a crown angle of 34.0 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet. This diamond is likely to exhibit just a little more brilliance than dispersion because of the 34° crown angle while the 40.8° pavilion angle will deliver a high volume of light return.
The primary inclusions consist of crystals, feathers, needle-shaped diamond crystals, and there is a comment indicating that additional clouds and pinpoints are present within the diamond, but are not indicated on the plotting diagram… this is a pretty common comment and simply means that there are more pinpoint size diamond crystals present within the diamond than are indicated on the plotting diagram.
Ritani Diamond Review: GIA 6137529374
This 1.01 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, round diamond from Ritani is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent, with a total depth of 61.8% and a table diameter of 57% with a crown angle of 35.0 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet.
So based on the descriptions provided for similar diamonds above, we know that this diamond is going to exhibit a high volume of light return with a good mix of brilliance and dispersion. The primary inclusions are indicated as being clouds and crystals.
Ritani Diamond Review: GIA 2166789673
This 1.04 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, round brilliant cut diamond from Ritani has an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent with a total depth of 60.9% and a table diameter of 58% with a crown angle of 35.0 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.6 degrees with a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet.
This option is different than the other diamonds with 35.0° crown angles that we’ve considered so far because the pavilion angle is on the shallower side of my preferred range and levels of brilliance and dispersion should be balanced.
The primary inclusions consist of twinning wisps which are twisted crystal planes, these aren’t my favorite type of inclusions because they can be littered with black pique like diamond crystals… this is not to say that I wouldn’t consider this diamond, I would simply ask the gemologist at Ritani to confirm whether the inclusions within the diamond are light or dark in color.
All right so we’ve completed this review of the Ritani diamonds which are currently available within the scope of the clarity and color range that works well with the setting you selected from Ritani. All four of the diamonds are worthy of consideration, but none of them meet my selection criteria exactly, they’re just reasonably close and easily within the Top 1% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds. The question is whether these are “good enough” or if you’d like to explore additional options which meet my selection criteria exactly and which exhibit a higher degree of optical symmetry, like this Hearts and Arrows diamond from Brian Gavin:
Brian Gavin Signature Diamond Review: AGSL 104061658007
This 1.012 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond is graded by the AGS Laboratory with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 which is more difficult to obtain than an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent because of the additional scrutiny that the diamond undergoes due to the use of Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) which measures the brightness of the diamond and provides insight into how light moves through the stone. The diamond is also cut to a higher level of optical symmetry, which results in the diamond exhibiting a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows when viewed through a special scope.
This diamond has a total depth of 61.4% with a table diameter of 57% and a crown angle of 34.4 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.9 degrees with a thin to slightly thick, faceted girdle and a pointed culet. The proportions of this diamond are spot-on in the middle of the spectrum for the zero ideal cut proportions rating, which is considered to be the “sweet spot” of diamond proportions because it delivers a high volume of light return with a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion.
One of the benefits of diamonds cut to this level of optical symmetry is that they tend to exhibit higher levels of contrast and broader flashes of light because of the higher number of virtual facets that results from this type of cut precision. Another benefit is that the diamond will appeal to be sparkling when it is viewed in fluorescent lighting, like that which is typical of most office environments, where the diamond is not actually going to sparkle because there isn’t any ultraviolet light… the perception of depth created by the higher levels of contrast make the diamond appear to be sparkling when it is not, it makes for a diamond which looks exceptional all the time!
The only dilemma is that the two settings which are similar in concept to the French Halo setting from Ritani cost more because they have significantly more carat weight. For instance, this custom halo style ring from Brian Gavin contains 0.75 carats total weight of accent diamonds, which are F/G in color and VS-2 in clarity, instead of the 0.45 carats total weight, of H-color, VS-2 clarity diamonds that are contained in the French Halo setting from Ritani… so the setting costs more, but it is also more ring if that makes sense. If the setting happens to interest you, I can offer you a coupon which will save you some money on the setting, but I can’t publish the Brian Gavin coupon code online.
Another option is this Fishtail pave halo style engagement ring from Brian Gavin which has a total weight of about 0.78 carats, which are F/G in color and VS-2 in clarity. Here again, the setting costs more than the French Halo from Ritani because of the higher total weight of diamonds and the higher color grade. Unfortunately, Brian Gavin doesn’t offer a halo style setting in a lower carat weight, but I can tell you that their production quality is top-notch and absolutely amazing.
James Allen True Hearts Diamond Review: GIA 2156824426
This 1.17 carat, F-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond is the only one which I found that meets my selection criteria within the range of carat weight that you specified. Unfortunately, it exceeds the price range which we discussed via email, but I feel it is worthy of mention because somebody might find it of interest.
There is a little more variation in the hearts pattern than exhibited by the Brian Gavin Signature round referenced above, but it is still likely to be a much better pattern than exhibited by any of the Ritani diamonds mentioned in this review which are not likely to be cut to this level of optical symmetry, which makes this diamond a really good option!
As you would expect, the diamond is graded by the GIA with an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent and has a total depth of 61.8% with a 56% table diameter and a 34.5 degree crown angle which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees with a medium to slightly thick, faceted girdle and no culet… which puts the proportions of this diamond right in the middle of the range designated for the zero ideal cut rating and it’s going to exhibit a high volume of light return and a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion. Since you live in NYC, you might want to make an appointment with James Allen to see this diamond in-person and see how you like it.
I haven’t seen this halo setting from James Allen personally, but maybe they have one in stock that you can look at while you’re checking out the diamond. It has a total weight of diamonds which is close to the French Halo from Ritani, which are F/G in color and VS-2 to SI-1 in clarity, so it’s priced in the same range. I hope that this provides you with some options to consider and that one of them appeals to you. Let me know if you’d like to expand the search criteria or make any adjustments.