One of the challenges that comes with discovering the impact that diamond cut quality has upon the light performance and sparkle factor of a diamond, is the realization that your diamond buying budget is not likely to stretch as far as you thought it might. Most people start out shopping for a diamond engagement ring, by simply shopping a few local jewelry stores to find out how much diamond they can get for their money, and that is usually when they are introduced to the concept of the Diamond 4C’s and more often than not, told that the 4C’s of Diamond Grading are as follows:
And then perhaps you decided to scour the internet to learn more about diamonds, and came to the realization that your local retail jeweler is working off of some pretty high margins as compared to the prices that you found for comparable diamonds online… And hey, somebody has to pay for their space in the high rent district, all those fancy displays, and high watt halogen lighting, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be you, right?
You can appreciate the fact that they provided you with a basic understanding of diamonds and diamond grading, but the reality is that you’ve read my article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success, and in all likelihood surpassed their level of diamond expertise at this point, or you’ve learned enough about diamonds to be more or less equal to them as far as they understand what they’re peddling, so there’s no need for you to overpay for a diamond engagement ring.
After all, they told you that the Diamond 4C described as Cut referred to the shape of the diamond, and you discovered in your research that industry professionals use that term to refer to the Overall Diamond Cut Quality, which is comprised of the individual grades for Polish, Symmetry, Proportions and Optical Precision.
If you’re like most people, you began your quest with an idea of how much you were prepared to spend on a diamond engagement ring, and then perhaps you discovered that diamonds were more expensive than you originally imagined them to be, and thus you either decided to increase your budget, or purchase a diamond smaller or of a different quality than you originally planned on buying.
Perhaps you decided that you could afford a round brilliant cut diamond in the range of 1.50 – 1.60 carats, G-H color, and VS-2 clarity, that is graded by the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory; but then you tripped across the diamond grading tutorials provided on this web site and others like it, which focus on the importance of diamond cut quality, and it dawned on you that everything we say makes sense:
And if all of those statements are true, and the fact of the matter is that they are, then the only reasonable action that you can take is to buy a Hearts and Arrows Diamond from cut by a master diamond cutter like Brian Gavin, or Paul Slegers of Crafted by Infinity; but that also means that your diamond buying budget is not going to stretch as far in terms of carat weight, color, or clarity, but you’re going to end up with a diamond that is a real treasure, because it is going to outperform practically everything else you’ve seen in terms of the volume of light return, the balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) and it is going to exhibit incredible scintillation (sparkle created while the diamond, observer, or light source is moving) and broad spectrum sparkle, which is sparkle that is larger in size, bolder, brighter, and more vivid than what the average ideal cut diamond exhibits.
So then you conduct a Search of Brian Gavin Signature and Crafted by Infinity Diamonds (via High Performance Diamonds which is their distributor online) and you quickly arrive at the conclusion that you’re not going to be able to afford the 1.50 carat, G-H color, VS-2 and higher clarity, AGS Ideal-0 Hearts and Arrows cut diamond that you have set your sights upon, because those hearts and arrows diamonds cost more, a lot more in some cases if you’ve been looking at the drek sold by most maul stores! Spelling mistake purely intentional, tongue in cheek and all that…
Hearts and Arrows diamonds cost more than traditional ideal cut diamonds that are cut to the standards of GIA Excellent or AGS Ideal cut, because it takes about four times longer to polish a diamond to the higher level of optical precision required to produce a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows, and there is a more substantial loss of diamond rough.
It also requires the highest level of skill and craftsmanship to cut a true hearts and arrows diamond, and the diamond cutting equipment has to be of the highest quality, which also means that the diamond cutting wheels have to be replaced more often and balanced more precisely, all of which costs money, but the clear benefit is that the extra money that you’re paying has a direct impact upon the overall light performance and sparkle factor of the diamond, you’re not just paying a high price for retail jewelry store overhead.
But what you really want to know is whether the extra expense is worth it? And whether it is better to buy a hearts and arrows diamond that might be slightly smaller in carat weight, or lower in clarity and/or color than you originally anticipated being able to purchase for your price range, and the answer across the board is a resounding “YES” in my professional opinion, because the volume of light return and the intensity of sparkle that a true hearts and arrows diamond exhibits, will show up from across the room, whereas the slight difference in carat weight, color, or clarity will not even be apparent from across the dinner table!
Perhaps you might not be able to afford the 1.50 carat diamond that you originally had your sights on, but you might be able to afford a stunning diamond that weighs “just under the mark” that weighs between 1.40 – 1.49 carats; which will cost a lot less than a 1.50 carat+ diamond of comparable quality, because of the price increase that occurs in the Price Per Carat (PPC) of diamonds between the 1.49 – 1.50 carat marks.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few incredible options that I ran across today, which are the inspiration for this article. I’m going to review these diamonds in order of carat weight, because I believe that all of these diamonds are comparably cut, and thus that they are going to offer the same high degree of light performance:
This 1.441 carat, E-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity hearts and arrows round ideal cut diamond has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 and exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows, which is proof that the diamond has been cut to the highest level of optical precision, it’s going to light up the room and sparkle like crazy! The diamond looks spectacular in all of the reflector scope images, including the hearts photograph that appears to the left. The ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, and Hearts and Arrows scope photographs are provided on the diamond details page, and “by the numbers” this diamond has everything that I look for in a diamond! The 40.8 degree pavilion angle is going to provide a high volume of light return; while the 34.7 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion, and the 77% lower girdle facet length is going to provide the broad spectrum sparkle that I look for in a diamond. The VS-2 clarity grade ensures that the diamond is going to be totally eye clean from a top down perspective, and the E-color will ensure that the diamond faces up whiter than socks that have been bleached![separator]
This 1.442 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity hearts and arrows round ideal cut diamond also has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 and exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows; the arrows photograph is pictured to the left, and the ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, Hearts and Arrows scope images are provided on the diamond details page. Once again “by the numbers” this diamond is rocking the “sweet spot” that represents the center range of the spectrum for the zero ideal cut proportions rating, the 40.8 degree pavilion angle is going to provide a high volume of light return; while the 34.6 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion, and the 76% lower girdle facet length is going to provide the broad spectrum sparkle that I look for in a diamond. And at 1.442 carats this puppy is so close in outside diameter to this 1.545 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity hearts and arrows round ideal cut diamond, that I think most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference between them from more than one or two feet away; however I guarantee that your pocket book will feel the difference of three thousand dollars![separator]
The VS-1 clarity ensures that the diamond will be absolutely eye clean from a top down perspective, and I selected an I-color diamond for my own wedding ring, so obviously I’m okay with the color grade… The increased volume of light return and sparkle factor will make that more difficult to ascertain anyway. I’d be perfectly comfortable setting this diamond in a white gold or platinum prongs, in fact doing so will tend to have the effect of increasing the perceptible color of the diamond by about one color grade.
This 1.450 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity hearts and arrows round diamond also has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 and exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows. It looks fantastic in the Ideal Scope image provided to the left, as do all of the diamonds that I am reviewing within this article; the Ideal Scope images indicate that these diamonds are not leaking light substantially; in fact, the little bit of light that they are leaking is perfectly normal for a super ideal cut diamond, and is purely intentional as part of the facet design, it is intended to increase the contrast brilliance of the diamonds. The other reflector scope images, such as the ASET Scope and Hearts & Arrows scope images are provided on the diamond details page. Here again, the 40.8 degree pavilion angle is going to provide a high volume of light return, while the 34.5 degree crown angle produces a virtual balance of brilliance and dispersion, and the 77% lower girdle facet length will produce broad spectrum sparkle! The VS-1 clarity grade ensures that the diamond will be 100% eye clean from a top down perspective.
This 1.442 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, Crafted by Infinity hearts and arrows round diamond looks fantastic in the ASET Scope image provided to the left, this article explains what the different colors of the ASET scope image mean. The diamond also looks fantastic in the Ideal Scope and Hearts & Arrows scope images, but that’s to be expected from Crafted by Infinity, they were one of our primary suppliers when I was the diamond buyer for Nice Ice, and I never rejected a single CBI diamond for diamond cut quality or optical precision, their production is top notch! The diamond has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0, and 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 and dispersion, and the 76% lower girdle facet length will ensure that the sparkle is broad spectrum. By this point in the conversation, you probably know that the VS-1 clarity grade ensures that the diamond will be completely eye clean from a top down perspective.[separator]
Brian Gavin Diamonds did not have anything in this weight class to consider at this point in time, but there are plenty of options provided herein from Crafted by Infinity which is distributed online by High Performance Diamonds, please tell Wink that you learned about CBI / HPD on Nice Ice.
And if you like the type of insight provided in these Crafted by Infinity and Brian Gavin diamond reviews, and would like the benefit of almost 30 years of diamond buying experience while picking out your next diamond, feel free to take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service. Be sure to tell me what diamond shape you are looking for, as well as the range of carat weight, color, clarity, and price that you are working with…
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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