This diamond review request is from James who is looking for a diamond that is as close to 1ct as possible with a $2500 budget. The requirements are K color and above and after doing some searching on his own, he found this 0.90ct KSI from James Allen.
For anyone who hasn’t seen a K color stone, it’s one of those colors that will surprise you how white these diamonds are when they are well cut. This is because K color is so far out of what is normally recommended that people start to think that these diamonds are really going to be yellow looking. In fact, the expectation that you’re going to see more yellow will likely make you pleasantly surprised by the lack of yellow in these diamonds when you view them in real life. I would simply describe them as being slightly warmer like how you describe the color temperature on a light bulb, but way less obvious.
The most important thing when you’re getting a lower color diamond is that you really try to maximize the light return. If a diamond is returning intense white light back to the observer, then this will tend to mask the effects of a lower color diamond when compared to a diamond with weaker light return. This is really the reason why you often hear jewelers say that you can get away with a lower color if you buy a diamond with ideal light performance, and this is actually true.
So what’s going on with this diamond?
The major proportions are potentially steep deep with the crown at 35° and the pavilion at 41°. Why I say potentially is that if you look at how many super-ideal diamonds are cut, they are sometimes cut to 34.9° for the crown angle and 40.9° for the pavilion angle. This represents what are borderline ideal proportions and on an AGSL certificate you get the angles to one decimal point but on a GIA certificate these numbers are rounded. This means there is a small chance that when GIA gives you 35/41, that the crown is below 35° and the pavilion is below 41°.
The chances of this being okay in a non super-ideal diamond is pretty much zero. One way to tell is to try to identify one of these diamonds with a 80% lower girdle length and then pay attention to how symmetrical those hotspots are. But then again, you can also just look at the diamond to see whether it looks bright or not. In this case, this diamond is steep/deep and the light return is too weak for me to recommend for a K-color stone.
What about the fluorescence, does that help?
Way too many people receive bad advice from other websites (even the ones that are much popular than this one). It’s a really bad idea to try to get a low color diamond with strong blue fluorescence because both the body color of the diamond and the strong fluorescence will have a negative impact on the brilliance of the diamond. The only exception here really is when you get a super-ideal cut diamond and one that is cut to maximize the brilliance of the stone. Even in these cases you would have to get lucky with the fluorescence being on the weak side and the color being “a good one” for its grade. It would also depend on the many other things in a diamond that can impact brilliance.
Ok, so what can we do with a $2500 budget?
Well sometimes you just have to admit that you’re trying to stretch too much for what you’re prepared to spend. James would have to go down to the 0.8ct range in order to find a diamond that has decent light performance. Of course, with the original goal of getting as close to a 1ct diamond as possible makes this less than ideal, the upside is that James would be saving some money that could be put toward upgrading the setting or the wedding.
Here is a 0.8ct KVS2 that has some unique proportions that make it work. The 36° crown may seem like it is outside of the recommended specs, but the lower girdles are quite long and shallow here so it helps a bit. The pavilion is also not on the steeper side of 40.8° and the overall depth is excellent.With a 15% crown, this diamond has really quite balanced light performance.
What would you guys do with a $2500 budget? I’m sure James would appreciate any additional suggestions!