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Help picking Engagement Diamond...James Allen or...?

djaung

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
5
Hi all,

Looking to buy an engagement ring in the next month or so, currently looking at Round Brilliants, 1.7 - 2.5, F-I, VS1 - VS2, with preferences in those orders.

I live in San Francisco and am hoping to avoid Sales Tax if at all possible. Budget is up to $25K, but would love to stay under $20K if I can.

Here is my most recent search at James Allen - please let me know if anything stands out or if there is another place you would recommend.

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/?CaratFrom=1.70&CaratTo=2.51&Color=I,H,G,F&Clarity=SI1,VS2,VS1&Cut=Ideal,Excellent,TrueHearts&PriceFrom=15000&PriceTo=25000&Sort=Carat%20desc,%20DefaultOrder&ViewsOptions=Images&advancedParameter=Symmetry&showAdvanced=show&Polish=EX,ID&Symmetry=EX,ID&Lab=&Flour=None,Negligible&DepthFrom=54.2&DepthTo=62&TableFrom=50&TableTo=62

Thanks for the help!

Best,
David
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,611
Will try to reply tomorrow morning as I am on the east coast and it is really late!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
djaung|1465267303|4041005 said:
Hi all,

Looking to buy an engagement ring in the next month or so, currently looking at Round Brilliants, 1.7 - 2.5, F-I, VS1 - VS2, with preferences in those orders.

I live in San Francisco and am hoping to avoid Sales Tax if at all possible. Budget is up to $25K, but would love to stay under $20K if I can.

Here is my most recent search at James Allen - please let me know if anything stands out or if there is another place you would recommend.

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/?CaratFrom=1.75&CaratTo=30.00&Color=I,H,G,F,E,D&Clarity=SI1,VS2,VS1,VVS2,VVS1,IF,FL&Cut=Ideal,Excellent,TrueHearts&PriceFrom=15000&PriceTo=24100&Sort=Carat%20desc,%20DefaultOrder&ViewsOptions=Images&advancedParameter=CaratSliderBottom&showAdvanced=show&Polish=EX,ID&Symmetry=EX,ID&Lab=AGS&Flour=None,Negligible&DepthFrom=54.2&DepthTo=62.4&TableFrom=50&TableTo=60

Thanks for the help!

Best,
David

Your parameters for the search were set incorrectly. I've fixed them here:

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/?CaratFrom=1.75&CaratTo=30.00&Color=I,H,G,F,E,D&Clarity=SI1,VS2,VS1,VVS2,VVS1,IF,FL&Cut=Ideal,Excellent,TrueHearts&PriceFrom=200&PriceTo=24400&Sort=Carat%20desc,%20DefaultOrder&ViewsOptions=Images&showAdvanced=show&Polish=&Symmetry=&Lab=AGS,GIA&Flour=&DepthFrom=54.2&DepthTo=62.4&TableFrom=50&TableTo=60
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
So at JA, these are the best bets. Any crown angle over 35 needs an idealscope for sure. As does any pavillion angle at 41.

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/2.17-carat-i-color-vvs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1123773
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/2.10-carat-h-color-vs1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1779541
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/2.06-carat-i-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1100411 (H I'd be most likely to buy if idealscope is a good one)
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.82-carat-i-color-vs2-clarity-ideal-cut-sku-1057313
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.81-carat-h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-889177
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/2.07-carat-g-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1082665 if eyeclean
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/2.02-carat-g-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1042791 (G I am most likely to buy if idealscope is a good one)
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.81-carat-g-color-vs1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1013520
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.81-carat-f-color-vs1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1082976

Okay? Do not limit parameters buy setting ceilings for carat weight, clarity or color. No point. Just set a floor. Often in H and lower color higher clarity stones are discounted because they are hard to move.

Also there is nothing wrong with fluorescence as long as the stone is not overblue, and a the gemologist on staff can tell you that easily.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
At other vendors:
http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.825-i-vs2-round-diamond-ags-104084591049#!prettyPhoto[gallery2]
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3508593.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3568732.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3634195.htm

And these 3 at WF being my top three there:
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3642138.htm

I STRONGLY prefer WF and BGD for settings over JA. And of the two, BGD, but they don't have a lot of stones in budget and over 1.9 for you right now.


Just as an FYI. You can also buy the stone online and then take it to Joe Escobar (Store in Bay Area most of us on PS use, I am actually going to be there one day this week myself to pick up a repair) for setting as they have a TON of gorgeous settings (seriously) at great prices (their stones are priced high but their settings are very competitive) and you'll be able to really see them in person.


Diamondseeker can't say this but I can. If I had your budget this is what I'd buy: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-2-29-ct-avr-take-1.190100/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-2-29-ct-avr-take-1.190100/[/URL] Diamondseeker's AVR is one of the loveliest stones I've ever seen. And she's selling it! I'm pretty sure it's in budget for you.

I didn't see anything at GOG (I looked) that I felt was a better value than either the BGD or WF stones (or the JA for that matter).
 

djaung

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
5
Thanks for all the replies so far guys, much much much much much appreciated!
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,611
Thank you, Gypsy! Mine would be a bit over his top budget, though.

I absolutely love this one from Whiteflash that Gypsy also posted and would be my top pick for you. It's almost 8mm so has very close to a 2 ct appearance.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3642138.htm

Nice choice, too, if you think you could go for I color:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3653229.htm

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3640415.htm

Over 2 cts:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3609142.htm
 

djaung

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
5
diamondseeker2006|1465311648|4041173 said:
Thank you, Gypsy! Mine would be a bit over his top budget, though.

I absolutely love this one from Whiteflash that Gypsy also posted and would be my top pick for you. It's almost 8mm so has very close to a 2 ct appearance.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3642138.htm

Nice choice, too, if you think you could go for I color:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3653229.htm

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3640415.htm

Over 2 cts:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3609142.htm
Thanks for the suggestions!

To follow up - can you please give a little more context as to why the stone from Whiteflash is your first choice? The angles/HCA index is something I was just introduced to yesterday, so I'm still learning. (had only been looking at the basic Cs...)

Much appreciated!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
DS has had good experiences with Whiteflash so that informs her posts. And she has a personal preference for H VS2 or better.

As for rest Whiteflash and BGD sell super ideals that have an AGS0 grade for light performance. Which is the strictest performance rating of any lab, including GIA. In addition to that they have very high standards of cut qualifications for their signature lines. They also post idealscope images for all in house stones which is invaluable.

Round Diamonds 101:

The entire purpose of faceting a diamond is to reflect light.
How well or how poorly a diamond does this determines how beautiful it is.
How well a diamond performs is determined by the angles and cutting. This is why we say cut is king.
No other factor: not color, not clarity has as much of an impact on the appearance of a diamond as its cut. An ideal H will out white a poorly cut F. With round diamonds even a GIA triple Excellent is not enough. And you must stick to GIA and AGS only (HPD in Europe is good as well). EGL is a bad option: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/egl-certification-are-any-of-them-ok.142863/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/egl-certification-are-any-of-them-ok.142863/[/URL]
So how to we ensure that we have the right angles and cutting to get the light performance we want?
https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/diamond-cut
Well one method is to start with a GIA Ex, and then apply the HCA to it. YOU DO NOT USE HCA for AGS0 stones generally, though you can. In general, AGS0 trumps HCA though as one examines the actual stone and the other does not.
https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/holloway-cut-advisor
The HCA is a rejection tool. Not a selection tool. It uses 4 data points to make a rudimentary call on how the diamond may perform.
If the diamond passes then you know that you are in the right zone in terms of angles for light performance. Under 2 is a pass. Under 2.5-2.1 is a maybe. 2.6 and over is a no. No score 2 and under is better than any other.
Is that enough? Not really.

So what you need is a way to check actual light performance of your actual stone.
That's what an idealscope image does. https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/firescope-idealscope
It shows you how and wear your diamond is reflecting light, how well it is going at it, and where you are losing light return. That is why you won't see us recommending Blue Nile, as they do not provide idealscope images for their diamonds. BGD,BE, James Allen, GOG, HPD, ERD and WF do.

The Idealscope is the 'selection tool'. Not the HCA.
So yes, with a GIA stone you need the idealscope images. Or you can buy an idealscope yourself and take it in to the jeweler you are working with to check the stones yourself. Or if you have a good return policy (full refund minimum 7 days) then you can buy the idealscope, buy the stone, and do it at home.

Now if you want to skip all that... stick to AGS0 stones and then all you have to do is pick color and clarity and you know you have a great performing diamond. Because AGS has already done the checking for you. That's why they trade at a premium. Some AGS0's are better than others though, so pay attention to any ASET or IS provided.

In general with rounds, you will want a table 60% or less. A depth between 59 and 62.4. Crown angle 33.5-35 (over 35 with idealscope and on case by case only). Pavilion Angle: 40.6-41 . And the crown and pavilion angles must be complimentary which is what the HCA checks for you.

ON COLOR:

It is important to remember is that color is graded FACE DOWN. Where there is NO light return. Not face up where there is light return and refraction. You wear diamonds set. FACE UP.

Within one color grade, even the labs can't agree on the color grades of stones and something could be a "high" H or a "low" E. So... no. Within 2 color grades it is hard to distinguish in unset stones. Not impossible. But hard. And it gets harder once set. If you are talking ideal rounds, or any stone with ideal light return and no sharp corners it gets harder still because the ideal light return masks body color.

Generally we say to be conservative stay above H in a round. But MANY people have happily bought white I or even J diamonds when trying to eek out a little more size.

This is how I think of it.

Ever gotten one of those HUGE paint fan decks? Where there are literally 100s of colors of whites? And when they are RIGHT next to each other you can TOTALLY tell that one is bluer/colder and one is a bit warmer and which one is one is TOTALLY warmer. One there's one that's slightly greener. One that's slightly pinker? But really. They are all white?

Then you pick one after agonizing over this white or that white and when it's on the walls and people are like: Oh. You painted again. And it's STILL white. Great.

And you're all... BUT it's BLUE white. Or it's a WARM white now. It used to be ____ white. It's TOTALLY different.

It's like that. You are talking about shades of white. D is colder... J is warmer. But it's all white.

YES. If you have an accurately graded F and an H THAT HAVE THE SAME PERFORMANCE you are going to be able to tell them apart when you compare them. Just like you would be able to tell if you painted your walls a warm white, but painted the crown molding a cold/straight white. But both are STILL white.


I want you notice all the qualifiers thought. I'm talking about stones with the SAME performance. An ideal H will out white an F that has compromised light performance from a poor cut.

NOTHING impacts the appearance of a diamond as much as cut. CUT is king.

You want the shinest whitest and brightest diamond out there: Cut is King. No other factor, not color or clarity or anything else impacts how white bright an shiny a stone is.

ON CLARITY:
Generally we say that eyeclean SI1 and VS2 are as high as you need to go with round brilliants, have your vendor check the diamond for this. VS1 will always be eyeclean, but they do cost more and an eyeclean SI1 and a VS1 will look the same to the unaided eye. Si1 and eyeclean will look the same as IF unaided as well.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,611
djaung|1465316201|4041196 said:
diamondseeker2006|1465311648|4041173 said:
Thank you, Gypsy! Mine would be a bit over his top budget, though.

I absolutely love this one from Whiteflash that Gypsy also posted and would be my top pick for you. It's almost 8mm so has very close to a 2 ct appearance.

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3642138.htm

Nice choice, too, if you think you could go for I color:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3653229.htm

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3640415.htm

Over 2 cts:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3609142.htm
Thanks for the suggestions!

To follow up - can you please give a little more context as to why the stone from Whiteflash is your first choice? The angles/HCA index is something I was just introduced to yesterday, so I'm still learning. (had only been looking at the basic Cs...)

Much appreciated!
I think it is hard to know how color sensitive another person will be. I feel like H is a good, safe choice. I color can take on extra tint in certain lighting and wall colors (yellows, beige, browns), but an ideal cut stone is bright and white in natural light. If size is the #1 factor for the recipient and they are not color sensitive, then I color is an excellent choice. I personally have H and I color diamonds.

Whiteflash is often my choice for ideal cut rounds because they carry fine quality Hearts and Arrows cut diamonds, they usually have the best selection of all the vendors as they simply have more in stock from which to choose, and I have bought from them personally and can attest to the stone quality. They also have an excellent upgrade policy which I have used for my studs.They also have a great setting selection.

When I did a search on the PS diamond search for H&A stones H-I color, VS2, 1.85-2.15 cts, I came up with 12 Whiteflash stones and one from another vendor that had a higher price point for its weight. That kind of explains it!

If you want to go up to your upper limit, they do have a 2.10 H VS2, as well:

http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3634976.htm
 

djaung

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
5
Thanks again Gypsy and DS!

I've run the HCAs and I've got 3 stones at James Allen that i'll request ideal scopes for (thanks Gypsy, that 3rd link could be quite a catch if the scope is good), and have quite a few good options at Whiteflash now!

Cheers!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
You do have to be careful of tints with I's. I personally would buy an I. But only from a vendor that will vet the stones much more so than JA does.
 

djaung

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
5
Gypsy|1465321777|4041235 said:
You do have to be careful of tints with I's. I personally would buy an I. But only from a vendor that will vet the stones much more so than JA does.
Would you recommend White Flash I's then? What's the best way to follow up with them to confirm the color quality?

Thanks again Gypsy - you are amazing!
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,611
When you work with WF, they have the stones in hand and a vendor like JA usually will not. They have stones that are with cutters at various locations, some in other countries. WF can pull the stones you are interested in and compare the color. When I was last looking at diamonds for my studs upgrade, I asked them to check color and they told me to eliminate one stone that was a lower color I. That is another reason I prefer vendors who actually have the stones in house.
 
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