How to Choose a Halo Engagement Ring:
Hey Todd, my fiance has indicated that she wants a halo style engagement ring and I like the look of the Park Avenue Halo engagement ring from High Performance Diamonds (pictured to the left), and the Round Square Halo engagement ring from Brian Gavin, and then I was introduced to Ritani while reading your blog and found this French Halo style ring from Ritani that looks interesting also. Do you have a preference between these three diamond dealers? And I need help selecting a center stone, I want something round, one carat in size, H-color or better, VS clarity or better, and would like to be around $12-13k if that’s possible, but can stretch to $15k if absolutely necessary. Thanks — Brian D.
Which Halo Setting Should I Choose?
This looks like a fun project Brian, thank you for letting me be a part of it! All right, the first thing we need to figure out is whether the Park Avenue Halo engagement ring from High Performance Diamonds is available for a round brilliant cut center stone because it’s pictured with a cushion cut diamond. I gave Wink a call and as I expected, he said “the ring is completely custom, we can do whatever you want!”
The next factor to address is that each of these rings costs a different amount, primarily because they each have a different total carat weight of diamonds, the heaviest of which is this Round Square Halo engagement ring from Brian Gavin which has a combined total diamond weight of approximately 0.65 carats, in F-G color, VS clarity, Brian Gavin Signature melee cut diamonds; while the French Halo engagement ring from Ritani has a combined total diamond weight of about 0.45 carats of H color, VS-2 clarity diamonds; and the Park Avenue Halo engagement ring from High Performance Diamonds has a combined total diamond weight of around one third of a carat in G/H color diamonds.
With that in mind, these rings vary in cost from $1,990.00 to $3,540.00 which gives us about ten thousand dollars to spend on the center stone. Here are my top choices for round brilliant ideal cut diamonds from each of the diamond vendors which you are considering a ring from:
High Performance Diamonds:
You might not be familiar with the production of Paul Slegers of Crafted by Infinity if you are new to the world of ideal cut diamonds, but I consider the diamonds which he cuts to be among the finest in the world.
I have literally purchased thousands of diamonds from Crafted by Infinity over the years, both branded and non-branded, and find the diamond cut quality and optical symmetry to be extremely precise and consistent.
Wink Jones, who operates High Performance Diamonds, is an authorized dealer for Crafted by Infinity and has access to their extensive inventory of hearts and arrows round brilliant cut diamonds.
There are three Crafted by Infinity Diamonds currently available from High Performance Diamonds which I think are worthy of your consideration:
This 1.038 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity Diamond is a great example of what I look for in a diamond as an experienced diamond buyer, it is graded by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 on the Proprietary Light Performance grading platform, which uses Angular Spectrum Evaluation Technology (ASET) to measure the brightness of the diamond. The proportions of this diamond are cut to the center range of the spectrum designated for the zero ideal cut rating, which means that it has been optimized to exhibit the highest volume of light return. In addition, it exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows, which is proof that the optical symmetry of this diamond is exceptional and that it will exhibit broad flashes of light and exhibit more sparkle than other ideal cut diamonds which are cut to a lesser degree of precision.
Another option which I like from High Performance Diamonds is this 1.090 carat, H-color,VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity Diamond, which also has an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 and is cut to the same level of optical symmetry as the previous option. Interestingly enough, this diamond has a twin, which is this 1.092 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, Crafted by Infinity Diamond, which is cut to almost the exact same measurements! It’s too bad that you’re not looking for a matched pair of one-carat diamonds for earrings because these would make an amazing pair of diamond stud earrings!
Brian Gavin Diamonds with Blue Fluorescence:
Brian Gavin is a fifth generation diamond cutter who specializes in the production of round brilliant “super ideal cut diamonds” which exhibit crisp and complete patterns of hearts and arrows. I am often asked whether I prefer the production of Brian Gavin or Paul Slegers of Crafted by Infinity, and I have to say that I find their production quality to be equally impressive, and I think that the decision to choose a diamond from Brian Gavin or Crafted by Infinity has more to do with what each diamond cutter currently has available, rather than a preference for the quality of one diamond cutter over another.
The first diamond from Brian Gavin that I want to discuss with you, is this 1.013 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, round brilliant super ideal cut diamond from the Brian Gavin Blue collection which exhibits medium blue fluorescence when exposed to black light, as can be seen in the photograph which appears to the left. As with the other diamonds which we’ve discussed previously, this diamond is graded by the AGSL with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 on the Proprietary Light Performance grading platform, so the diamond is going to be incredibly bright and exhibit an exceptional amount of sparkle.
I happen to love blue fluorescent diamonds because I like the effect of the fluorescence on the body color of the diamond, it has a tendency to lift the body color of the diamond towards the high end of the scale. And the blue fluorescence will generally not be visible until the diamond is exposed to black light, in which case it will glow the beautiful neon blue that is pictured above.
I also really like the characteristics of this 1.016 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, diamond from the Brian Gavin Blue collection which has medium blue fluorescence. Both of these diamonds are cut within the center range of the spectrum designated for the zero ideal cut proportions rating from the AGS Laboratory and exhibit an exceptional amount of optical symmetry.
Brian Gavin Signature Hearts & Arrows Diamonds:
The diamonds featured within the Brian Gavin Signature Collection exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of hearts and arrows when viewed while unmounted through a special scope. This pattern of hearts and arrows is recognized throughout the industry as being an indicator of superior optical symmetry, the highest level of precision possible for a round brilliant cut diamond. The hearts pattern pictured to the left is the one which appears within this 1.020 carat, G-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond. Every facet on the diamond must be crafted with extreme precision and there must be “perfect” 360° facet alignment for the pattern to be consistent.
This 1.076 carat, H-color,VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond is another excellent option to consider. Like all of the options discussed thus far, it is cut to the highest level of precision and has been graded by the AGSL with an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0 for the characteristics of polish, symmetry, proportions and light performance.
GIA Excellent Cut Diamonds from Ritani:
I found three options from Ritani which meet the initial stage of my selection criteria which is based upon the overall cut grade of GIA Excellent and the proportions being within the center of the range designated for the zero ideal cut rating. Those diamonds are this 1.01 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, round brilliant cut diamond; and this 1.02 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, round brilliant cut diamond; and this 1.02 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, round brilliant cut diamond.
The challenge is that Ritani does not provide the same level of detail on their diamond details pages as Brian Gavin or High Performance Diamonds, and the diamonds are graded by the GIA instead of the GIA, so there is no indication as to the level of brightness exhibited by each diamond. At the same time, the diamonds do have an overall cut grade of GIA Excellent which combined with the ideal cut proportions places them within the Top 1% of the annual production for round brilliant cut diamonds.
But in order to compare apples to apples, I would need to see the results of a more in-depth computerized proportions analysis, and images of the diamonds as seen through an ASET Scope, an Ideal Scope, and a Hearts & Arrows Scope. These images might be available from Ritani upon request, I’m just not sure… it is certainly something which I would ask for if diamond cut quality and the level of optical symmetry is of interest to you, and the reality is that it is not of interest to everybody.
I hope that you find the concepts and suggestions which I’ve provided you with to be of interest Brian and that they help you with your diamond quest. Feel free to drop me a note if I can be of further assistance.