Today’s review request is from Tom who is trying to find the best diamond for his $10,000 budget. He’s started out with a long list of diamonds that I’ve helped him narrow down to 2 diamonds from James Allen and 2 diamonds from Blue Nile.
Diamond 1: 1.19ct HVS1 True Hearts from James Allen
The proportions of this diamond fall within my recommended range and there are a lot of great things going on in this diamond like a 57% table, 15% crown height, a 3% girdle, and a 61.3% total depth. The spread between the length and the width is only 0.01mm which is within the margin of measurement error. All of these things suggest that this is a well-cut stone.
The star facet and the lower girdles are all cut steep so although this diamond is bright, it could be even brighter with better minor facets. The idealscope shows that there is no light leakage in this diamond but the area under the table has relatively weaker light return compared to the area outside the table facet. Still, the light return in this diamond should be considered very decent.
I would expect this diamond to have excellent fire because of the 15% crown height and a 35° crown so no issues there. Optical symmetry is nearly perfect but the hearts and arrows could be a bit better. On the hearts view it is difficult to make out the small symmetry flaws but if you look closely a few of the hearts have clefs in them and the hearts are not perfectly formed. If you look at the 4 o’clock heart you will see that one side of the heart is angled so the tip of the heart doesn’t come to a sharp point.
Visually these small optical symmetry issues have little impact on the diamond. In this stone you can actually see the symmetry flaws better in the arrows view even though it’s not the best image to evaluate optical symmetry. If you look at the 11 o’clock arrow, the arrow head isn’t perfectly aligned to the arrow shaft. Overall, this is a pretty good diamond if we compare it to a virtual diamond and it meets the criteria for a diamond with ideal light performance. However, it just misses the mark of what I consider a true hearts and arrows diamond.
Diamond 2: 1.28ct HVVS2 True Hearts from James Allen
Here we have an excellent diamond.
The proportions are almost perfect and the one thing to mention is the 40.9° pavilion which is the steepest you really want to take a hearts and arrows diamond. Whenever you have a 40.9° pavilion you really need the diamond to have perfect optical symmetry and you always want to make sure that the total depth isn’t too deep. In this case, this diamond is a true H&A and the total depth is 61.5%, which is excellent.
This diamond is AGSL graded so you want to make sure the undertone color of the diamond is yellow, which it is and it looks to be a nice bright hue and the saturation is typical of what H color diamonds should be so it is neither a high or a low H. As a VVS2 with a cloud grade setter and no further comments, there are no clarity issues to concern oursevles with.
Overall, this diamond is one of the better ones I’ve seen from James Allen and it’s going to be tough to beat.
Diamond 3: 1.1ct HVVS2 Blue Nile Signature Ideal
Incredible. This is another AGSL graded diamond that appears to be a true H&A diamond.
In fact, the proportions on this diamond is even better than Diamond 2 with shallower crown and pavilion facets but maintaining an even higher crown! There’s not a lot to say when there’s little to criticize about a diamond but what I can point out is that this diamond has 76% lower girdles which makes it difficult for a cutter to create a perfect H&A pattern unless the diamond was cut extremely accurately.
This means when you find a diamond like this that is a true H&A, you know that all of the facets had to be meticulously cut. From a cut perspective, you really cannot get better than this one and this diamond will rival the best from any specialized super-ideal seller.
Color wise, this diamond also has a nice yellow undertone color. The hue is fairly typical for an H but the saturation is low so this is an above average H. The clarity on the diamond is also excellent for a VVS2 with only pinpoint inclusions which are preferable to clouds. Overall, although I said that diamond 2 was going to be hard to beat I think Tom really lucked out on this one.
Diamond 4: 1.31ct HVS1 GIA Excellent from Blue Nile
After diamond 3 I am afraid not many virtual diamonds are going to get me too excited about. To be fair this is a pretty decent diamond if you didn’t have some super-star choices to compare against. The proportions on this diamond are not squarely within the ideal range, but they work and they would be right for someone who is willing to trade of a little bit of fire for a little bit more spread in their diamond. It’s still a very bright looking stone.
Optical symmetry wise it is difficult to assess because we don’t have a hearts image for this one so really we’re not comparing apples to apples here. Based on what I can see, we’re definitely not dealing with a H&A stone but for a virtual diamond the optical symmetry can be considered excellent.
Color wise both the hue and the saturation is better than what I typically see in an H. The diamond is eye-clean, which we expect from a VS1 but it is also loupe clean. There is some surface graining that is visible at the 9’oclock arrow shaft especially if you move the diamond around but this is not something you’ll be able to see with your naked eye.
I’m really happy to say that Tom has a few excellent choices here and the most perfect stone and the one I am most excited about is Diamond 3. There is a big difference in size between a 1.31ct diamond that’s over 7.1mm and a 1.1ct 6.63mm stone so if size is important than Diamond 2 might be a much better comparable and it may be worth trading off that slightly less perfect cut/color/clarity to get a much larger and physically impressive looking stone.
What do you think?