Hi Todd, I’m in the process of buying a diamond engagement ring and have read enough articles on your blog to realize that a Brian Gavin Signature Diamond is the best choice since I really want the diamond to be bright and full of sparkle! My budget is around $50-60k for the diamond, I’ve narrowed it down to three options, but I’m open to any others that you think I should consider. I’m really tempted to buy the 3.018 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, BGD Signature round, but am wondering whether there is any benefit to buying one of the smaller options in terms of brilliance? Should I be concerned about the inclusions within the SI-1 in terms of light return or brightness? — Thomas S.
The Effect of Inclusions on the Brightness of a Diamond:
It is extremely rare for the inclusions within a diamond with a clarity of SI-1 and higher to interfere with the volume of light return or brightness, which is created by the proportions and degree of optical symmetry. The majority of inclusions within a diamond are translucent and miniscule, and as such they don’t really interfere with how light travels through a diamond to the degree that any of us would be able to pick up on it.
The exception to this generalization would be diamonds which contain clouds which are substantial in size, or which are plentiful within the diamond, to the extent where they cover a large portion of the diamond. A cloud is a collection of tiny pinpoint size diamond crystals, which in most cases simply look like tiny specks of sparkling dust, kind of like twinkling stars within the diamond, when viewed using 10x and higher magnification.
Another type of inclusion which poses a risk to how light passes through a diamond are twinning wisps, which here again are usually not a concern if the diamond crystals trapped within the twisted crystal planes are primarily translucent in appearance, but which I tend to avoid if the diamond crystals are dark.
Beware of diamonds which are SI-1 or SI-2 and lower in clarity, which contain clouds that are not indicated on the plotting diagram, and accompanied by a statement under the comments section of the lab report which reads something to the effect of “Clarity grade based upon clouds” because it is quite probable that the clouds within the diamond are extensive enough to affect the appearance of the diamond… this statement should not be confused with “Additional clouds not shown” which is used to refer to the presence of clouds within the diamond which are too small to plot with any degree of accuracy.
Note that none of these factors are present within the 3.018 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond which you are considering, and thus I feel it is a viable option… and one of the benefits of working with a diamond dealer like Brian Gavin by the way, is that they have the diamonds in-house, and thus they are able to look at the diamonds and provide you with insight as to the inclusions.
Which Brian Gavin Signature Diamond is Best?
If we look at the proportions of the three diamonds which you are considering:
- 2.018 carat, E-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond
- 2.690 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond
- 3.018 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond
We will see that all of the measurements are pretty similar, and are well within what I consider to be the “sweet spot” or middle of the range designated for the zero ideal cut proportions rating from the AGS Laboratory:
[table caption=”Comparison of Brian Gavin Signature round diamond proportions:” width=”500″ colalign=”left|center|center|center”]
Measurement,2.018 carat,2.690 carat,3.018 carat,
Table Diameter %,57.7%,57%,55.1%
Total Depth %,61.4%,61.3%,61.9%
Thus these three diamonds are likely to exhibit a volume of light return which is virtually equal; and given the offset of crown and pavilion angle, I can tell you that they will exhibit a virtual balance of brilliance (white sparkle) and dispersion (colored sparkle) and that the combination of the Star Facets and Lower Girdle Facets (LGF’s) is going to produce nice, broad flashes of light!
Judging the Optical Symmetry of Diamonds:
Once I’ve determined that the proportions of a diamond are within my preferred range, which is outlined in the article 15 Seconds to Diamond Buying Success, the next thing which I look at are the inclusions, which are all acceptable… and then I like to look at the reflector scope images provided of the diamond to judge the optical symmetry, which is the precision of facet shape and alignment.
While the majority of online diamond dealers do not provide the reflector scope images required to judge the optical symmetry of a diamond, Brian Gavin makes them readily available on his diamond details pages.
When I pull up the hearts images for these three diamonds, I see that each diamond exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts, which is evenly spaced, and that each of the hearts is evenly shaped, with squared off shoulders, clefts which aren’t split, and tips that aren’t twisting in either direction… which would indicate that the length of the lower girdle facets are different lengths, and that the indexing of the facets was off.
Everything looks great, so I move on to the ASET images of each diamond, and see that each one looks to be extremely bright, with lots of red, which represents the brightest light; an even distribution of green, which represents the second brightest light; and great contrast, which is represented by the color blue.
Likewise the Ideal Scope images look great… so I would expect that if we were to line these three diamonds up side-by-side to compare them, we’d not be able to discern a distinguishable difference between them in terms of the volume of light return or sparkle factor… so the decision to purchase one diamond over the other comes down to a preference of clarity, color, and carat weight.
Which diamond would I choose for myself? I have to say that I’d be inclined to pick up the 3.018 carat, H-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond, simply because with all three of the diamonds being eye clean, the difference in carat weight is likely to be the most noticeable factor… there is something incredible about just being able to say “it’s three carats” when somebody asks how big it is, and they always will with a diamond of this size! It is important to note that the designation for an SI-1 clarity diamond being “eye clean” is made from a distance of 9 – 12 inches, and thus it might be possible for you to locate the inclusions within this diamond by carefully scrutinizing the diamond from facet-to-facet, unlike how anybody will ever look at it while admiring it on your fiance’s hand…
But if you want to play it safe, the 2.690 carat, G-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond offers an excellent “middle ground” by balancing carat weight, color, and clarity… it is definitely going to be eye clean, face-up bright and white, and the slight difference in carat weight between it and the 3.018 carat is not something which the average person would pick up from across the dinner table.
If you happen to be extremely color sensitive and thus able to truly appreciate the higher color provided by the 2.018 carat, E-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond, then I would certainly consider it, however I find that more people are able to appreciate a difference in carat weight over clarity or color.