“I would like help to find the best diamond for the price on James Allen at around 15k or less. I plan on making a custom band from C.D Peacock. So I really want that amazing diamond since my gf loves the solitaire six prong ring.
Any help is much appreciated.
I am looking for a diamond up to $15k and the best overall wow factor I can get with the minimum requirements below.
Color: I or better
Clarity: SI1 or better
Cut: Excellent or better
Polish: Excelent or better
Dimensions as close to 8mm by 8mm so about a 1.7 carat or bigger depending on all other aspects.
Since it will be a solitaire set in a six prong white gold band I really want that wow sparkle statement look. If that makes sense… I am not a diamond expert but I want the ring to be an heirloom ring for our newly started family. My girlfriend loves the elegant classy look. So I really want that wow stone.
Thank you for the help!”
In theory, a 1.7ct ISI1 with a 15k budget is healthy. However, any stone that is between 1.7ct to 2ct means that super-ideal cut options are going to be extremely limited. In the virtual diamond market, you will also find that well-cut diamonds with ideal light performance are hard to come by and near-H&As are almost always due to a costly mistake made by a cutter.
Finding a well-cut is definitely going to be biggest challenge for this search. In fact, there was only one super-ideal diamond that meets your criteria. Diamond 1 is a 1.703ct ISI1 from Whiteflash.
The main issue with this diamond is that the inclusion looks bad in the picture. It’s important to understand that with SI1s, the objective is to find one that is free from dark inclusions and is eye-clean. However, inclusions often show up dark in static images due to how they obstruct the light return even when they are actually clear inclusions so a video is always preferable to evaluate diamond clarity.
This 1.703 ISI1 meets Whiteflash’s eye-clean standard which is:
“No inclusions visible to the naked eye of a person with 20/20 vision when viewing the diamond in the face-up position at a distance of approximately 10 inches under normal overhead lighting.”
Based on my experience, this diamond is unlikely to be completely eye-clean as the inclusion is central and even though the inclusion is still considered small, the entire region that is questionable is not tiny.
Nevertheless, this diamond is exceptionally cut even within the narrow ideal range of proportions and optical symmetry. A well-cut diamond will make up for many of the factors that make up diamond quality because stronger light return will compensate for a lower color and a more brilliant diamond will make inclusions less distracting.
I did a search on James Allen, which is a great starting place to look for a diamond and to get a sense for what is possible and what isn’t. As I expected there were only limited options to start with, but even fewer that I would be comfortable suggesting that you consider.
This diamond looks very bright because it is on the shallow side, with a 34° crown coupled with a 57% table causing a slightly lower than ideal 14.5% crown height. A 15% crown height is ideal but a 14.5% is just acceptable.
The diamond also has a 40.6° pavilion as well as 80% lower girdles that are both considered shallow. Everything in this diamond plays to the shallow side so the trade off is fire for brightness.
The optical symmetry flaw is obvious so the diamond is not a near-H&A. If you look at the area between the arrow shafts at the 9 o’clock position you will see two larger black hotspots indicating that one of the hearts is shallower and the pavilion is steeper at that point. The diamond isn’t leaking light but it will have weaker light return under the table between the two arrows at the 9 o’clock.
As a VS2, this diamond is eye-clean and it has a small feather on the table of the diamond that should be invisible to the naked eye. There is a high likelihood that this diamond is completely eye-clean according to my standards.
Diamond 2 is a 1.8ct HSI1 GIA Excellent Cut diamond from James Allen.
This 1.8ct diamond is the largest of the 3 diamonds in both carat weight and physical dimensions. However, the first thing you should notice is that the actual size of the diamond is not much different than Diamond 1 despite it being a full 0.1ct heavier. The weight ratio which tells us how much wasted weight is in a diamond is 1.052 and this is well within the acceptable range. The reason the WF stone is large is actually because that stone has exceptionally good spread with a weight ratio of 1.028, essentially perfect since our reference benchmark is 1.027 for a perfectly cut diamond.
Diamond 3 has ideal proportions on paper, and the 35° crown angle is well-compensated by a combination of shallow lower girdles and pavilion facets and this diamond has a 15% ideal crown height to boot.
Optical symmetry wise, this diamond is also a non-H&A with the visible flaw from face up as a mis-aligned arrow at the 6 o’clock position. With the safe proportions that it has, the diamond handles light ideally despite the asymmetry of the pavilion facets. The overall contrast pattern of this diamond is excellent and visually it is likely undistinguishable by most layman from face up with a super-ideal at normal viewing distances.
The main issue with this diamond is that there is a black inclusion on the table facet and this black crystal is the reason this diamond is an SI1. This is not a completely eye-clean stone but it may be eye-clean according to James Allen’s definitions and it’s best to have them check it out first. Based on my experience, this diamond will be passable as a clean stone on casual inspection and the inclusion is likely not going to be distracting.
Nevertheless, as I mentioned earlier, you can find SI1s that do not have black inclusions that are central in the diamond and that are cleaner than this one.
I have one last option for you to consider.
Diamond 4 is a 1.72ct HVS1 GIA Excellent Cut diamond from Enchanted Diamonds.
Proportions wise, this diamond is almost ideal except that it has a 41° pavilion angle. A 41° pavilion angle can work if the diamond is symmetrical. In this case this diamond is well-designed as the lower girdles have been cut shallow and both the lower girdles and pavilions are cut very symmetrically to make sure that there is no light leakage in the diamond.
This diamond is a near-H&A because from face up it is indistinguishable from a hearts and arrows diamond and it is one of these rare stones that just miss the mark of a super-ideal because of the lines that have to be drawn to distinguish what is and what isn’t a super-ideal.
As a VS1, the diamond is loupe clean and there are no eye-clean clarity concerns. As a VS1 though, the presence of additional clouds and surface graining means that for sure this isn’t a high VS1. Still, compared to what we’ve looked at above this is a much cleaner diamond.
The main issue with this diamond isn’t something that is eye-visible. It is that the spread is just not very good with a weight ratio of 1.074, it is higher than my typical recommended range. However, this reason this diamond has a high weight ratio is because of a 4% girdle and a deep pavilion and there is no other hidden weight here. Factoring this into the quality/cost equation of this diamond still makes this a decent buy.
A super-ideal 1.7ct ISI1 is possible but you will have to be very patient and we can explore some alternative option together. If you need a diamond now, your best bet will be Diamond 4 from Enchanted Diamonds which has a set of unique proportions that work and will give you the best bang for the buck. Good luck and as always, you are more than welcome to share your thoughts on these diamonds in the comments.