Today I’m reviewing three 1ct diamonds from James Allen for Lacine.
The budget is $7500 USD and the requirement is an H color or better eye-clean diamond with good light return. The goal is is to get the best bang for the buck.
Here are his three options:
Diamond 1 is a 1.04ct HVVS2 True Hearts from James Allen ($7,220).
The proportions on this diamond look good. It has a safe 34.5° crown angle and a very safe 40.6° pavilion to match that ensures excellent light return. On top of this, because the table is slightly smaller you get a nice high 15.5% crown height so you can expect the diamond to have a good amount of fire. The total depth looks good at 61.6% and with a 3.5% girdle which is not too thick, I would expect the spread to be good despite that high crown. To verify, the weight ratio of this diamond is 1.052 and this is well within what I look for in a well-cut stone.
The H&A pattern of this stone is decent. Not all of the hearts and the Vs are the same but opposing hearts and Vs look symmetrical due to the diamond being not perfectly round. Still this is close to what I would try to look for in a James Allen True Hearts. Unfortunately, by the time I reviewed this diamond it had already sold to someone else so let’s take a look at the other 2 options.
Diamond 2 is a 1.01ct HVVS2 True Hearts from James Allen ($7,240).
This diamond also has a 34.5° ideal crown angle. The pavilion is slightly deeper and the angle slightly steeper at 40.8° and together with a thicker 4% girdle makes this diamond overall a bit on the deep side with a total depth of 62.3%. Set on top of the pavilions are steep lower girdles so the light return on this diamond is not quite as strong as in Diamond 1. Still I would not expect there to be any unwanted light leakage in this diamond.
The crown height is 15% which although ideal means that it would have less fire than Diamond 1 as well, and because this diamond has more weight retention you’re not gaining anything by having a lower crown height. The weight ratio of this diamond is 1.070 confirming that there is more weight retention than Diamond 1.
The optical symmetry on this diamond is similar to Diamond 1, but there is more lower girdle variation and this makes the differences in the sizes of the Vs more noticeable.
The ideal scope confirms the weaker light return under the table from the lower girdles and it also reveals a couple of the upper girdles have some slight digging. In an ASET image, I would expect to see one or two patches of green in the upper girdles indicating weaker light return and in the actual image/360 it shows up here as some dark patches at the edges of the diamond.
The color/clarity in this diamond is excellent for an HVVS2 and overall this diamond is one that I could recommend based on it’s performance but one that I don’t think represents as good value for money as Diamond 1.
Diamond 3 is a 1.00ct GVS2 GIA Excellent Cut diamond from James Allen ($6,850).
This diamond has a slightly shallower crown than the other two we’ve looked at. However, it still has an ideal 15% crown height made possible by taking the table smaller to 55%. This will ensure that the diamond has a good amount of brilliance and fire but there will be a slight trade-off in spread. The good thing is that the total depth is only 61.5% and this is made possible because the girdle has been kept at 3.5%. The weight ratio of this diamond is 1.047 so even with a smaller table this diamond has the least amount of weight retention out of the three.
We don’t have a hearts image of this diamond, but we can be pretty sure that it isn’t a H&A diamond just by looking at the diamond from face up. You can try to spin the 360 around and you’ll notice that it’s impossible to get all the arrows to line up properly. Now if what you expect is a H&A diamond then we can reject this stone, but this diamond is unlikely to have unwanted light leakage and the light return under the table is actually pretty strong and comparable to the two diamonds above.
This one is a G color, which if you compare against the 2 H’s actually doesn’t look too different. The two Hs are high Hs and this one is a typical G color diamond. If you spin the 360 around so you’re looking at the diamonds from the side and look at the pavilion, you should see that the Hs have a little bit more saturation than the G.
What is a little more obvious are the inclusions in this VS2 compared to the VVS2s that are loupe-clean. Magnified, you can see how the inclusions in the VS2 make the diamond look a little less crisp. The grade setting inclusions are the small dark crystals that are reflecting a few times. Visually, this diamond is still an eye-clean stone and unless you have eagle eyes it is also probably completely eye-clean.
It’s pretty obvious to me that Lacine has done his research and knows a thing or two about picking out a nice diamond. Between Diamonds 2 and 3, just based on pure visual performance I would have to recommend Diamond 2. Overall, I hate to say it but Diamond 1 that was sold ultimately was the best out of the three.
I did a search for Lacine and I found another three diamonds for him to consider.
Diamond 4 is a 1.02ct HVS2 True Hearts from James Allen ($6,690). This one has a weight ratio of 1.043 and all the specs are ideal. It comes with the benefit of saving some money that you can put toward the setting. There’s some surface graining that has a small impact on transparency at the loupe level but is negligible at the eye-level. Optical symmetry wise this is a true H&A.
Diamond 5 is a 1.02ct GVS2 GIA Excellent Cut diamond from James Allen ($7,250). This one has really great specs, with a nearly perfect 1.029 weight ratio which puts it over the expected 6.5mm mark for a 1ct diamond making this the first true 1ct diamond so far. This is a GVS2 and although eye-clean, has a few clouds that have a slight impact on the overall transparency of the diamond. For a GIA Excellent non-True Hearts diamond, this is as confident as I can be that this is at least a near-H&A diamond.
Diamond 6 is a 1.01ct GVS2 True Hearts from James Allen ($7,360). This one is also a true H&A and has all the ideal proportions with a 1.038 weight ratio. Again, the only negative here is that although an eye-clean VS2, the clouds and the surface graining is having an impact on the transparency even more so than in Diamond 5. Relative to Diamond 4, this G color stone is a little more obviously less saturated in color.
The transparency issues in all three of these diamonds is not going to be an issue from an eye-clean perspective. For me this comes down to Diamond 4 and Diamond 6 and both are going to be great choices. I would actually recommend Diamond 6 as being the best diamond we’ve looked at. It’s a little more expensive but for what it is the price is actually excellent. Adjusted for specs, Diamond 4 is a little bit better value for money so it comes down to whether it’s worth it for you to pay an extra 10% for a better color.
Let me know if you have any questions!