Diamond Solitaire Pendant Buying Guide Anniversary Gift

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July 25

Hi Todd, I bought my wife’s engagement ring from you about 10 years ago when I was based in England. I’m now coming up on an important birthday and want to get her another diamond solitaire, something ~1 carat or $5,500 range. Do you still supply or can you advise? Many thanks – Ian

It’s great to hear from you again Ian, thank you so much for remembering us! Let’s see what we can find for you… given the reference to a one-carat diamond, and the desired price range, I’m going to approach this from a slightly different approach than I usually take and suggest a few options which are not quite the same quality of super ideal cut diamonds which I’m known for specializing in so that I can provide you with some options on both sides of the fence.

Beginning with a focus on carat weight, this 0.94 carat, H-color, SI-2 clarity, Value Select diamond from High Performance Diamonds is a good option in terms of price at $5,042.00 but it’s not going to exhibit the same amount of light return and visual performance as an ideal cut diamond. However, it should be in the range of “very good” if that makes sense… It has a total depth of 59.7% and a table diameter of 60% with a crown angle of 34.5 degrees and a pavilion angle of 41.0 degrees with a thin to a medium, faceted girdle and no culet.  This is kind of acceptable to me because the crown angle and pavilion angle offset are “close” to my preferred range which is provided below and it gets you close to a carat in size while staying within your desired price range.

Total depth between 59 – 61.8%
Table diameter between 53 – 57.5% (maybe 58%)
Crown angle between 34.3 – 34.9 degrees
Pavilion angle between 40.6 – 40.9 degrees
Girdle thickness between 0.7% thin to medium, possibly slightly thick
Culet size: GIA “none” or AGS “pointed” (same thing)
Overall Cut Grade: GIA Excellent, or AGS Ideal-0 (preferred)

Now the odds are that this SI-2 clarity diamond is not going to be 100% “eye clean” because the majority of SI-2 clarity diamonds contain inclusions that can be seen without magnification, but the H-color is going to face-up nice and white. Everything with diamonds is a little bit of giving and take, the characteristics can be massaged around to fit different parameters, but deciding which factors to adjust depends on what is most important to each customer…

Is carat weight your primary concern? Or are you willing to consider slightly smaller diamonds that will exhibit more light return and better sparkle factor? Personally, I’d rather purchase a smaller diamond that is going to sparkle so incredibly that people notice it from across the room, because it is cut incredibly well, than buy a larger diamond that is lifeless, heavily included, and quite possibly really warm in color.

And my second choice would be to purchase a slightly larger diamond that is cut incredibly well, and which is warmer in color, than a diamond which is not cut well… but I’m not spending your money, I’m helping you spend yours, so only you can make this decision.

For instance, this 1.07 carat, K-color, SI-1 clarity, Value Select Diamond from High Performance Diamonds will get you over the one-carat mark for $5,039.00 but it’s going to warmer in color than the diamond mentioned previously but is most likely “eye clean” and the 40.8 degree pavilion angle is a good option in terms of light return… it’s still not going to be as bright, or as sparkly, as one of our super ideal cut diamonds, because the crown angle is a bit steep at 35.5 degrees, but it’s a good option if price and carat weight is your primary concern. I’ve looked over the ASET scope and Ideal scope images for both of these diamonds and they’re better than I would expect them to based on the proportions of the diamond, then again, they were hand-selected by Wink, who’s a guy who shares my passion for diamond cut quality and visual performance… he started his Value Select line, in an effort to compete with some of the big-box online retailers who focus on price, but he’s still trying to walk the line between price and performance.

Options based on Light Return & Visual Performance:

If the overall brightness of the diamond and sparkle factor are your primary concern, then I recommend dropping down in carat weight to something in the range of 0.80 – 0.99 carats, which enables you to make use of the price increase per carat which occurs between the 0.89 – 0.90 and 0.99 – 1.00 carat marks, and buy a diamond that meets the selection criteria which I rely upon as a diamond buyer… so you’ll be buying a diamond that is of a quality that I would buy myself if I were giving it as a gift. Once again, I feel obligated to point out that my primary focus is on light return and visual performance.

Hearts pattern, Brian Gavin Signature Diamond, AGS #104063255078

The first option which I found for you to consider is this 0.802 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round brilliant ideal cut diamond, which exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows. This diamond is comparable to the diamonds which we offered through Nice Ice when we sold diamonds directly, so if you’re looking for another piece of Nice Ice, this is the cut quality that you want to focus on. The precision of vertical and horizontal, three-dimensional facet precision which is required to produce a hearts pattern this precise, combined with the center range, zero ideal cut proportions of this diamond, results in optimum light performance and sparkle factor!

This diamond is graded by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 on the Platinum Light Performance grading platform, which is the highest grade available for the factors Polish, Symmetry, Proportions, and Light Performance. The diamond measures 5.96 – 5.99 x 3.69 mm with a total depth of 61.7% with a table diameter of 55.6% and a crown angle of 34.3 degrees which is offset by a pavilion angle of 40.8 degrees, with a thin to medium, faceted girdle and a pointed culet… this diamond is optimized for light return, in accordance with the tolerances based upon Tolkowsky’s Diamond Design. The primary inclusions are a couple of needle-shaped diamond crystals, diamond crystals, and small feathers, nothing which gives me pause. The diamond is selling for $4,895.00 and a slight discount is available for payment via cash/wire transfer. It’s going to face up, bright, white, eye clean and it’s going to sparkle like a disco ball!

AGSL Platinum Light Performance DQD, AGS #104063637016

This 0.822 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Round is just as impressive, as well it should be, since it’s part of the same collection and is comparable to the diamond reviewed above. Pictured to the left is the AGSL Platinum Light Performance Diamond Quality Document for this diamond, it indicates that the diamond has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0. And the red, blue and green, image located in the center of the report is the result of the Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool (ASET) which the AGSL uses to determine whether the diamond is optimized to produce a maximum light return, the image looks exactly like I expect it to look. This diamond is selling for $4,836.00 and the inclusions consist of needles, crystals, feathers, and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals, a cloud is simply the word the labs use to refer to a grouping of pinpoint size crystals.

Plotting Diagram, Brian Gavin Signature Cushion, AGS #104065157001

Now I have to tell you that if I was buying a diamond for an anniversary gift, I would very seriously consider this 0.917 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature Cushion Cut diamond which only became available this week! Quite seriously, this is a Kick-Ass stone that rivals the Brian Gavin Signature Rounds for Light Return and Visual Performance! Be sure to read my detailed review on this cut that I wrote last week! And this tutorial on the Brian Gavin Diamonds web site that explains how the Brian Gavin Signature Cushion cut diamond is measured.

However, to get you started in the right direction, the longest tip-to-tip measurement of this diamond is 6.54 mm which is about the same as the average diameter for a 1.00 carat round brilliant ideal cut diamond; and the shortest edge-to-edge measurement. e.g. North to South, or East to West, across the diamond is 5.49 mm, so it is going to face up quite large! And the price per carat is less than it would be for a round, so you’re able to buy more diamond for your $$$, speaking of which, this one is selling for $5,514.00

I’m truly mesmerized by these cushion cut diamonds from Brian Gavin, I had the rare privilege of being included in the development process of this shape, which is so unique, that it has its own patent! It exhibits a stunning pattern of hearts and arrows, and rivals the beauty of Brian’s Signature Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds… Click here to watch a video of the diamond!

Hopefully, this provides you with some insight into the type of diamonds which I look for as the diamond buyer for Nice Ice, let me know if you’d like to change the parameters around a bit now that you have an idea of what kind of options are currently available and I’ll be happy to make some additional recommendations. And if you just happen to be reading this article to gain some diamond buying knowledge and would like to receive a similar analysis of diamonds that fit the parameters of your diamond quest, just drop me a note!

About the Author

Todd Gray is the CEO of Gray Matter Development, LLC., DBA Nice Ice Diamonds. He is also a trade consultant and diamond buyer with 35+ years of experience specializing in light performance. Todd also ghostwrites educational content for online ventures and is an avid Freediver.