Comparison of Hearts on Fire, Brian Gavin Diamonds and James Allen

While there is no doubt that Hearts on Fire diamonds are beautiful and have great optical performance, the premium and costs that come attached to them are grossly inflated. And this brings to us the question of whether they are worth it for their price points.

When it all boils down to it, Hearts On Fire diamonds are simply AGS triple ‘0’s ideal cut rounds with good optical symmetry. My personal advice is not to get caught up in the marketing hype seen in the form of television advertisements and mass media marketing campaigns. As a savvy shopper, there are other alternatives where you can purchase a better or comparable super ideal cut diamond at much lower prices.

Let’s Do Comparisons – Plain Solitaire Hearts On Fire Ring

hearts on fire insignia solitaire ring

This is a listing extracted from, an authorized dealer of HoF…

For a 0.578 carat diamond with J color and SI1 clarity, the HoF ring commands a hefty price of $4,900 (inclusive of setting). Note: a J colored stone will show up with a slight nuance of yellow in it.


Did You Know That Hearts On Fire Has An Online Store?

Personally, I would stay away from it. Why? If you decide to purchase an engagement ring with a “sensational quality center diamond”, you are not allowed to cherry pick your diamond. Instead, you buy the ring knowing that the diamond is guaranteed to fall with the range of “G-I color” and “VS1-SI1 clarity”.

Read this guideline given on their website to find out more…

Definitely Not a Good Idea to Make a Huge Purchase Like This.

It is basically a roll of the dice where you have no control over your purchase. Obviously, there is a stark difference in value and costs between a G color VS1 diamond against an I color SI1 stone. What do you think you will probably end up with when you purchase the ring?

If you are insistent about buying a Hearts on Fire ring, the best way to go about selecting one is to head to the nearest dealer in your area. This will enable you to inspect diamonds in person and to cherry pick the higher quality ones.


Let’s See What $4,900 Can Get Us Elsewhere

0.838 Carat – H Color – VS2 Brian Gavin Signature Round

hearts on fire vs brian gavin

From left to right: actual diamond, ASET, Idealscope and hearts patterning imagery.

In case you are wondering why there is a slew of images above, these are data that depict how well a diamond is cut. The ASET and Idealscope images reveal details on the diamond’s light performance and how well it reflects light. In layman’s terms, they tell us the overall brightness/contrast of the diamond and how much the diamond will sparkle.

Next, any jeweler who claims to be selling hearts and arrows diamonds must always show you the “evidence” to back up their claim. In this case, the online vendor, Brian Gavin, has made it really easy for consumers to assess the information. If you are in the physical store, always request to see the diamond through a viewer and inspect the symmetry of the hearts and arrows patterning carefully.

Here’s the Shocking Revelation of the Price: $4,614.

Comparing it with the Hearts on Fire diamond, the Brian Gavin diamond is better by 2 color grades and 1 clarity grade. Besides that, this Brian Gavin diamond is significantly larger with a weight of 0.838 carats. In all aspects of the 4Cs, the HoF diamond simply pales in comparison for the value it presents.

Now, if you were to add in a simple solitaire setting, the total cost of the diamond ring purchased at Brian Gavin would be:

$4,614 + $325 = $4,939

That’s almost the same price you had to pay for a 0.578 carat Hearts On Fire ring at Reeds! If you asked me, the disparity in prices and quality is HUGE! Why would you want to fork out $4,900 for a smaller, lower quality Hearts On Fire diamond when you can get something significantly cheaper and better at Brian Gavin?

It’s Not a Fluke! Let’s Compare Another Diamond From a Different Vendor

For the next comparison, we are visiting At the point of writing this review, there isn’t any J colored diamond with SI1 clarity that has a carat weight close to 0.58 for us to do an apple to apple comparison. Instead, we found a slightly larger stone that weights 0.72 carats for this analysis.

0.72 Carat – J Color – SI1 James Allen TrueHearts Signature

james allen true hearts comparison against

Great looking Idealscope image and hearts patterning of the diamond

At a price point of $2,480 for the loose diamond, it is obvious that there is a stark difference in pricing compared to the Hearts on Fire stone. Mind you, this diamond is way larger and even after adding a simple 18k white gold solitaire setting that costs $400, the total is still $2,000 cheaper than the HoF ring!

That’s Close to a 100% Price Difference!

why pay so much more

Why pay the extra premium for something that isn’t necessarily better?

You can easily do the math to verify it yourself. In fact, if I were to purchase a similar True Hearts diamond that has a carat weight of 0.58, the total cost (inclusive of setting) would be less than half the price for the HoF ring at Reeds.

Which Is Better And Worth Your Money?

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answers on where you want to purchase your diamond. You are the paying customer and you can choose how to spend your money. For people who love the branding and are totally adverse to online purchases, heading to an authorized retailer who sells Hearts On Fire diamonds is a great option if you can afford the ridiculous premium.

For people on the other side of the camp (including me) who are looking for better value, online vendors like James Allen, Whiteflash and Brian Gavin can offer real data and tangible information to quantify your diamond’s cut and beauty. Besides that, you can enjoy lower prices and get a bigger, better diamond that’s just as beautiful and sparkly.

Hope this review helps. Have fun shopping for the perfect ring!

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  1. Avatar
    March 31, 2017 at 8:28 am

    First, allow me to thank you for the time and effort you have put into I am approaching my first diamond purchase and have learned a lot from your thoughtful and rigorously researched articles. I will be sure to encourage friends to consult your site before making their next diamond purchases.

    As the subject heading of my email suggests, I am preparing to buy an engagement ring with which to propose to my girlfriend. Working together, she and I have advanced fairly far in the window shopping/research phase. My sense is that it’s the right time to make a purchase and I wanted to be sure to take advantage of your generous offer of free advisement before moving forward.

    My primary questions have to do with the compatability/visual balance between the Blue Nile setting my girlfriend prefers and the James Allen diamonds I’m considering, as well as the relative quality and value of the stones in question. Of course, I would also be grateful for advice you might be able to offer regarding any red flags in our current approach, or opportunities for increased quality increases and savings that we might be overlooking. Having selected a setting, our aim at this stage is simply to select the highest quality diamond of an appropriate size/shape possible within our remaining budget.

    After visits to Cartier, Tiffany & Co., et al., and inventory searches on several of the major ring sites, my girlfriend appears to have settled on this setting from Blue Nile. It was a favorite from the beginning because she’s fond of the vintage milgrain look and because the setting is unlike anything she’s seen at the name brand shops or on the fingers of any of her girlfriends.

    After reading up on Blue Nile and its competitors, I have decided to purchase the setting there but to have it shipped to another company from which I’ll buy the diamond. I appreciate James Allen’s platform and philosophy, so have concentrated my search there. I should mention that I haven’t contacted them regarding placing one of their diamonds in a setting bought and shipped from another company. I’m assuming they’ll be more than happy to sell me a diamond in whatever setting, but who knows?

    As our budget is between $4,000 and $4,500 the setting in platinum ($1,350) leaves around $3,150 for the diamond – though I’m willing to increase the diamond budget by a few hundred dollars.

    I am following the general wisdom that, while size matters, cut is king. Having said that, my girlfriend understandably wants a diamond that isn’t dwarfed by its setting. We’re looking for harmony between the setting and the stone, but a problem I’m currently facing is that this isn’t easy to determine with Blue Nile’s limited and somewhat dubious viewing functions.

    Before getting to the question of size balance, however, I wanted to share links to the diamonds I’m considering, each part of James Allen’s True Hearts collection and each at or above 0.7 carats. When shopping for diamonds at Cartier, et al., my girlfriend commented that 0.7 to 0.8 carats looks and feels right. I was drawn to the following options because they all have what I understand to to be the best cut I can hope for within my budget, fulfill the carat preferences my girlfriend has mentioned and have “value” clarity and color scores that, while not amazing, shouldn’t have any impact on the the diamond’s appearance to the naked eye.

    Here they are: Diamond 1, Diamond 2, Diamond 3, Diamond 4 and Diamond 5. Forgive me: I was planning on sending links for only three, but two diamonds have been added within my search perameters since I checked yesterday. I figured I would just go ahead and include these for your consideration.

    At this point in the shopping process, what little knowledge I have begins to run dry. One diamond is obviously a touch heavier than the others (I’m sure that those .03 carats won’t be noticeable, though they might mean something to my girlfriend), but they’re all True Hearts cuts with identical color and clarity scores. My personal “hearts and arrows” vision isn’t great – they all look pretty “hearty” and “arrowy” to me.

    Digging a little deeper into the stats, I can see that a couple of the diamonds (numbers 3 and 4) have parameters that fall slightly outside of what I understand to be the norm for super ideal cuts, while others are missing parameters (number 5 has no pavilion specs, for example). There are also girdle variations which appear to be impacting the slight difference in price (thin-medium is what I’ve been told corresponds to super ideal cuts). Finally, I get the feeling from what I’ve read that diamonds sent to AGS for testing are of a higher quality than those sent to GIA, so there’s that too…

    As I mentioned above, I would be grateful for any thoughts you have regarding the size of the diamonds I’m looking at and how they might harmonize/balance with the setting. And of course I’m eager to hear any advice on which of these diamonds might be the best choice, and why. Finally, if I’m going about this in the wrong way, any guidance on a different approach would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you very kindly in advance for your assistance. I look forward to your reply.

    All best wishes,

  2. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    April 2, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    The setting you chose looks fantastic! Great taste!

    When it comes to buying diamonds, I actually recommend getting the diamond and setting from the same vendor to minimize hassle and to make a vendor solely responsible for the entire jewelry piece.

    If you were to buy from James Allen, this would be the top choice for cut quality.

    You will have to buy the diamond and have them ship it to BlueNile and not the other way round.

    From Blue Nile, I tailored a search for you and this would be a diamond I would recommend;

  3. Avatar
    April 3, 2017 at 2:28 am

    I’ve taken your advice to go ahead and purchase both the setting and ring from Blue Nile. I’ve found a diamond that I think will work, but just wanted to get your take on it. Here it is:

    I could stretch the diamond budget another $500, so if you’re able to see anything a touch bigger on Blue Nile (without compromising the quality, of course), I’d be grateful for your insight.

    Thank you very kindly,

  4. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    April 4, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Great find. This is a well cut diamond and is eyeclean.

    The light performance of this diamond is superb as well. I did a search and don’t see any other diamond that offers better value than the stone above.

  5. Avatar
    August 6, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Conveniently, the AGS report for the HoF diamond in this post is not available on their site, so I can’t rely on that. Otherwise, well thought out and honest review! Thanks!

  6. Avatar
    September 9, 2018 at 8:27 am

    My name is Andrew and I firstly wanted to thank you for your blog which has been a real fountain of knowledge for what to look out for in a quality diamond.

    I have recently come across 2 diamonds which I wanted to get your opinion on for an engagement ring.

    I’ve also attached the ideascope image for the James Allen diamond

    The James Allen diamond attracts me because it is bigger at a better price point. However I am not sure about the light performance (though to my eye the ideascope images look similar). The other thing with the James Allen diamond is that there is noticeable “black spots” just off centre. I’m sure it is probably not noticeable at the actual size though. Do you agree?

    Alternatively please let me know if you think the Whiteflash diamond presents a better value proposition than the James Allen or if both diamonds are overpriced or not worth it?

    Thank you so much for your help Paul. I cant tell you how much your blog has educated me in moving past the 4 Cs!

  7. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    September 10, 2018 at 3:51 pm has strong light return. The idealscope shows that. In terms of optical symmetry (hearts and arrows), the JA diamond does have some inconsistencies but that’s not something the naked eyes can pick up readily.

    Here’s the thing, the WF diamond here: is perfectly cut. It is a more pricey but you pay a little more for higher cut quality. I can see the point in getting a larger diamond here but the visual differences may not be too big.

    If size is your priority, go for the first diamond above. If you need the best of the best, go for the second diamond. Both are priced very competitively and you’ll never get these type of quality diamonds at such prices in physical stores.

    Read this to find out more about diamonds being eyeclean and looking at them under magnification:

    Both diamonds are definitely eyeclean. So, clarity is never an issue here. It’s your preferences now.

    I personally would also let the choice of setting design decide whom to work with.

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