Today I’m reviewing two princess cut diamonds for Ben who is looking for an ideal-cut princess. His question is whether the James Allen True Hearts can stack up to a super-ideal cut princess such as the Whiteflash A Cut Above Princess.
The first diamond Ben is interested in is a 1.84ct IVS2 True Hearts from James Allen.
This diamond receives an AGS0 cut grade from AGSL so it’s already at a very high starting point for a princess cut diamond. AGS0 is still the highest official standard for a princess cut diamond and generally I find that they are much better than the majority of GIA Ex/Ex princess cut diamonds when it comes to cut and light performance.
The ASET in the lab report can tell us a lot about this diamond. First, there’s no unwanted light leakage and there is a good distribution of reds, blues, and green so there is a good structured contrast to the diamond that is so important to it sparkling well. What we want to look for apart from that contrast pattern is to have the red areas extend well into the corners of the diamond and we get that in this diamond.
What is obvious is a large green area in the center of the diamond taking up a lot of the real estate under the table facet. This is like a dead zone so although it is a good thing that there’s no light leakage in the center, green indicates weaker light return in this area that isn’t bright when the diamond is face up. Whether this area is red, green, or white (leaking light), it is better when it is smaller.
In many ways this diamond meets the standard of a super-ideal cut princess. However, if there was one thing I would try to improve is the crown height which is only 11.9% here. A higher crown will make a big difference to how a princess cut diamond performs and really the ideal crown height is the same as that for a round at 15%.
This I-color princess has low saturation and a nice light hue with a pure yellow undertone. It’s definitely a high I-color stone. Princess cuts tend to retain a bit more color than rounds due to more internal reflections and with the I color range starting to get pretty wide, I’d say this is a huge positive for this stone.
There are a few tiny dark crystals on the table facet that are reflecting quite a bit on the pavilion side, but they are not at all distracting at all from the crown side across all tilt angles. I would not say that this is necessarily a high VS2 but it is definitely squarely within the grade and far away from that of a low VS2. There were additional clouds noted on the lab report but there’s no signs of any impact on transparency in this diamond.
The second diamond Ben is interested in is this 1.72ct IVS2 A Cut Above Princess from Whiteflash
This diamond is of course also an AGS0 princess. The optical symmetry of this diamond is superior to the James Allen so the virtual facets are sharper and you will get a faster play of light that translates to better sparkle. The crown height is slightly better and is typical of a Whiteflash A Cut Above princess. In order to get a higher crown, typically you will have to take a look at the Brian Gavin Princess.
You can see that the shape of the central green zone in the ASET is smaller in this diamond although still on the large side, it is also more of an ‘x’ shape which produces a different contrast pattern. The structured contrast is excellent in this diamond and although there are some weaker light return areas under the table facet, these areas are well mixed in with the areas of intense light return (red), light obstruction/contrast (blue), and weaker light return (green).
The light distribution at the corners are slightly better here and there is more red going right into the corners almost like arrows coming from the center of the diamond. This contributes to an edge-to-edge light performance effect in princess cuts. Technically this is a better cut diamond than the James Allen, but the difference between the two is much smaller than that between a typical GIA Ex/Ex and an AGS0 princess in general.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either stone here. There are many great things about the James Allen stone and it is the larger diamond and by such a margin as to make it noticeable. The size will probably be more immediately noticeable than a difference in fire and sparkle and the James Allen will still perform well and will look good by itself especially when you’re not comparing the diamond side by side. Just going by light performance, I would have to give it to the Whiteflash A Cut Above princess.