First of all I want to commend you for creating this wonderful website. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to most other online sites regurgitating the same information without any real insights.
My name is Tony and I am looking for a diamond ring for my 10th anniversary. Over the past week, I had been researching online at various places but the amount of information is overwhelming.
Just by reading the amount of conflicting information and advice offered by people on forums can really get you floored. Needless to say, the experience so far is really frustrating. After all, isn’t buying a gift for someone an experience that should be enjoyable?
To cut a long story short, my budget is around $6,000 and I want to get a diamond with maximum sparkle and beauty to impress the missus.
As mentioned earlier, I had been reading through quite a few sections of your website and have a better understanding of selecting a diamond. However, at this point in time, I am still not confident of picking out my own diamond and would like to seek your help in making some recommendations to me.
Sorry for the long email and rant. I do hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks for your kind words and email. Believe me, you definitely aren’t the only one who’s feeling overwhelmed from information overload. I receive many similar emails to yours all the time. : )
First off, I would like to understand more about your purchase in order for me to make suitable recommendations for you.
– Would you be setting the diamond in 18k white gold? Platinum? Yellow Gold?
– Does your $6,000 budget include the price for ring setting?
Glad to be of help.
Wow… That’s a very fast. I didn’t expect you would be so prompt in your reply.
I would like the diamond to be set in white gold and my budget does include the cost of ring setting.
Also, I am particularly interested in Hearts And Arrows diamonds. From what I had garnered, they will always give better light performance right?
There’s a lot of misinformation about Hearts And Arrows as well due to the marketing nature done by big names in jewelry. Strictly speaking, the term Hearts And Arrows is used to label diamonds that show precise optical symmetry. Believe it or not, H&A has nothing to do with light performance. It is a different topic all together and the confusion is caused when people label them together.
A diamond with Hearts And Arrows does not necessary mean that it has best light performance. (Although the majority of stones H&A will have nice light performance).
A diamond without H&A can be as beautiful or even in some cases ‘sparkle’ more than one with H&A.
To give you an example of what I mean, check out this diamond here…
(Diamond has been sold and no longer listed…)
Whites under the table indicate light leakage
Hearts patterning from diamond’s pavilion view
Note: This diamond is still cut to pretty good standards and is a whole lot better than 90% of the diamonds in the market. But if I am going to pay a premium for a diamond, I want it to be the best of the best. I am sure you feel the same way too.
If you click the image to show you the “idealscope” information, you will notice there is a ring of whiteness in the center of the diamond. This is called light leakage under the table facet. Because of this, the overall brilliance of the diamond will take a hit.
In all fairness, when a diamond has perfect optical symmetry and light performance, a H&A diamond will look slightly better when compared to an ideal cut diamond. Although the difference in appearance may be small, you need to know that you will be paying a slightly higher premium for the perfect optical symmetry the diamond exhibits.
With that said, there are many people who are willing to pay the extra premium for that ‘perfect’ look in their diamonds while some don’t see a need for that. It really boils down to your personal preference.
Do let me know your thoughts on this.
Thanks for the insights. I do find the thought of having nice patterning of arrows and hearts diamond intriguing. After all, I want to make this gift for my wife special.
Thanks for your patience. Check out these recommendations in the order of my preference.
Check out the idealscope images (for light performance + arrows patterning) and also the heart images for each of the diamonds.
Let me know what you think.
Sorry for the late reply. I was out of town over the weekend and managed to walk into Tiffany’s to check out some of their diamonds. Oh boy, are they expensive. But they do look very brilliant and sparkly and the salesperson was telling me how good their cut is.
In terms beauty, how would the diamonds you recommended measure up in terms of those I viewed at Tiffany’s?
Also, I had read in your article there is no need to go all the way up to an F color to get a nice icy white diamond. Is there any reason why you are placing that as your first choice?
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I truly appreciate your help.
Tiffany’s diamonds are priced very high because of the brand name they are selling to you. In terms of optics, Tiffany’s diamonds are cut pretty well but are no where near the quality of the 3 diamonds that are listed in the previous email.
In fact, I had walked into Tiffany with my Idealscope and ASET scope to look at their diamonds. While they do have a pretty consistent cut quality, their diamonds are non-H&A. In terms of optics, their diamonds exhibit some leakage of light but still make the cut grade of excellent. During my visit, I had scoped more than 15 diamonds from 0.80 – 1.00 carat sizes and I couldn’t even find one which comes close to having perfect light return that’s comparable to any 1 or the 3 stones which were recommended to you.
For example, the diamonds that I had look through my scopes look pretty similar to what you had seen in the leaky diamond here at best. Most of them fare much worse than this.
There’s really no need to pay a good 2 -3 times higher price to get a similar quality diamond. : )
With regards to your question on color, you are right. There’s really not much difference between an F and a G. In fact, you probably can’t tell the difference with 2 diamonds side by side. Here’s my rational for picking the JA stone as first choice.
Cost: $5320. Very nice optical symmetry and light performance. Great clarity. Better color.
Symmetrical arrows and good amounts of light return
8 nicely formed hearts in the diamond
Cost: $5,248. Best optical symmetry amongst the 3 stones.
Cost: 5,950. Slightly bigger stone. A nice option if you want to slightly exceed your budget.
To me, it’s pretty clear where the wind is blowing on the 3 diamonds. The James Allen stone has the best color and clarity and it costs just $100 more than the BGD stone. With an upgrade of 1 color grading and 1 clarity grading, this stone will be much more worth your while and leave you with sufficient budget to get a nice ring setting.
Sorry for constantly bombarding you with questions. Everything you said makes sense just as I thought you would answer. I do like the F color diamond and it does seem to offer the best value for money out of these 3 diamonds.
Since VS1 is relatively high on clarity, are there any reasons why you didn’t recommend any stones in the SI grades or lower color grades?
No worries. That’s what I am here for. To help you answer your queries directly and give you an impartial opinion to purchasing diamonds.
I usually start from bottom up and work my recommendations based on maximizing value to my readers. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other diamonds in stock (F,G, or H with lower clarity grades) that has optical symmetry and light performance comparable to these 3 diamonds. If you are willing to compromise slightly on optical symmetry or light performance, there are many other options that I could list for you. Most would come at a slightly lower price.
Let me know what you think.
Thanks for clearing that up. You are right. When I did my own search at James Allen and looked at the other diamonds within my budget, nothing comes close. I am ready to bite the bullet now. You had been an awesome help to me.