The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Best Round Diamond for $35-60K Budget

The following is a real email conversation between The Diamond Pro and a reader just like you who contacted us. Personal information is always removed. Learn from these posts, or contact us yourself to get free personalized help.

Q. Thank you for your very informative site! tried to take your advice into consideration when surfing james allen…

i’d like you to take a look at 5 round stones in the 35K range
#1432782 = 2.60/I/VS1 $33930
#1423181 = 2.40/H/VS2 $34460
#1397864 = 2.24/H/VS1 $35720
#1422760 = 2.38/H/VS1 $37920

i also took a look at 2 in the 50K range (since i’d like to stay under 60) – is there alot more bang from these?
#1423698 = 2.38/F/VS1 $52010
#1390013 = 2.52/F/VS1 $52810
#1420906 = 3.31/I/VS2 $57630

obviously i’m new to this (& flexible on budget but want a solid stone) so if you see anything else out there better of course i’d be interested….

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Mike Fried, Ira’s partner. You can read about me on my profile page.

I’d be happy to help you out with this. What is your ideal budget? That should be the most important number. We can work from there.

i guess i would like to stay under 60K but not sure what the difference is between that high range and the 35K ones i found below. ideally something over 2 carats…

So, I think your best bet is to stick around the 2.5ct range. There is no reason to spend the extra $20,000 for that size increase. That said, you have two options given your budget; go with the 2.40 H VS2 you see there. It’s a nice diamond and excellent value. However I would recommend Brian Gavin’s Signature Hearts and Arrows. The most important aspect of a diamond is its cut. This is what makes the diamond beautiful and sparkly (fire and brilliance are the terms we use). The more brilliance there is, the more unique the diamond will look. Obviously you see that we like James Allen (they are our most recommended site), but when it comes to their best cuts (they call them the ‘True Hearts’) we think that in your particular case, Brian Gavin would be a better choice.

Brian Gavin is known as one of the world’s experts when it comes to perfectly cut diamonds. I can tell you from experience. I worked for one of the largest suppliers of James Allen. I went to Brian Gavin with our 30 best cut diamonds in our inventory (of thousands) and he rejected them all. When he showed me his selections, I was blown away.

For you, I would recommend the following diamond:

This diamond is an incredibly beautiful diamond. Usually diamonds of this cut are far more expensive than what you find on JA, but this is a great value. It’s easily worth the extra money. Additionally, Brian Gavin Diamonds has a phenomenal jewelry department that will create a custom ring exactly as you want it. The readers we’ve referred to them have been ecstatic with the diamonds AND settings they get.

Let me know what you think of this. I suggest contacting Lesley from BGD ([email protected]) to discuss their options if you are interested.

Michael, mostly i see you & Ira recommend james allen so thats where i went – i assume this is the 2.4/H/VS2 diamond you are referring to @ $34460

I dont know anything about the brian gavin site / person / store but they sound like they know what they are doing from looking on their web. This is the one from there you are recommending, right @ $43145

Is it really worth an extra 9K (i’m not opposed to paying it if it makes that kind of impact). I also saw it is only AGS lab rated which usually it seems like Ira steers people away from – it appears to give higher ratings to lesser diamonds than GIA right? Can you send some of your truth about customer recommendations/comments about brian gavin?
the brian gavin one seems a little out of the 60/60 range too not sure how important that is…

Actually Ira needs to update his post on AGS. It is true that AGS is sometimes a half a shade lower on color. However (and this is the part that needs updating), AGS is the accepted leader when it comes to determining cut. As explained in the post on AGS, they were the pioneer certificate when it comes to ‘cut.’ GIA threw its hat in the ring with a completely different approach in for their cut grades. The vast majority of the time they come to the same conclusion, but its how they get there that is different (they have slightly different parameters on how the different aspects of the diamond interact affect the brilliance).

AGS (in large part as a response to GIA) upped the ante on the cut grade. They started including an image/graph of the diamond’s light performance.

How are you supposed to understand this and how does all this affect you? Well, by and large most people don’t understand the intricacies of diamond cuts (I would defer to Brian Gavin as having far more knowledge on the matter than I do). And most of what they are doing is to garner market share. But how does it affect you? When you get into the world of ‘perfectly cut’ diamonds, all of the players (the retailers) use AGS. That is what they insist on. So while an AGS Ideal may not be better than a GIA excellent cut, all the people who supply those super-ideals will be using AGS certificates. You can actually see that James Allen uses AGS for their ‘True Hearts’ diamonds.

Now on to the big question; is it worth spending extra money on it? $9,000 more to put a point on it. That is a question that is up to you to answer. I believe that you will be getting a truly unique diamond by going with the BGD. I have never had a reader give anything other than amazing feedback about Brian’s selection of diamonds. I think spending that $9,000 is much more worthwhile than the 15-20k more you’d spend on the slightly larger diamonds you mentioned. As you can see, I’m not trying to push you towards the most expensive option. This is what I feel is the best value and the most bang for your buck. You will still come in far below your budget, and you will have the opportunity to create a beautiful custom ring to go along with the diamond.

I hope that I was able to clarify our thought process in our recommendations. Let me know what you think.

mike, thanks so much for clarifying and for your help.
i’ll probably just go with a simple setting for now and let her get creative after the proposal with custom options if she wants.
i do want to make it a bang for the buck purchase and if you guys stand behing BGD and their hearts and arrows than thats a stamp of approval from way more expertise than i have.
do you have any of your TRUTH reader comments/endorsements about BGD? I saw some on their site but seems like ones from yours could be less biased.
i’m sure allocated over the years the 9K would be a good purchase if I am really getting a much more special stone from BGD than the one from james allen.

We have had positive feedback from the readers we’ve referred to them. Unfortunately for technical reasons we don’t post it on our site at this time (they don’t have a way of tracking referrals from us automatically as other websites do). They are currently setting up the system and once that’s in place we’ll be adding content to our site (including testimonials and customer emails).

i assume i should tell them i was referred by you?
just making sure you still think their stone is worth the 9K additional…

We’d appreciate that. Yes, we feel that it is worth the investment. I think you will be blown away when you see the diamond.

Let me know how it looks when it arrives.

Also, I suggest contacting Lesley there. [email protected]

Mike – see communication from BGD below unfortunately i just missed out on that stone you recommended but looks like they are being cool in offering me 2 higher priced ones for the same cost as the one we liked before. What is your opinion – stick with one of these from BGD or go with something else?

I just called you and left a voice mail. I’m sorry we had trouble with the phone connection earlier.

I went to the safe to get your stone to put in the work order for the setting and was informed that it had sold earlier in the afternoon and that payment had already been made. I am so so sorry but I was unaware that someone else in the company was working with it. Brian would like me to offer you one of the 2 following Signature diamonds – they are more expensive but we will honor the price of the one you selected originally:

I am here now and if you call in and I have left please call me on my cell phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx . I do have to step out from about 6:30 p.m. CT to about 8 p.m. but will be back at my desk from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Again, I am terribly sorry about this and hope that you will feel comfortable going with one of the 2 we have offered above.

Best Regards,

Lesley Harris


I’m sorry that happened, but that is amazing that they are offering you the G VS2 for the same price. That is a ridiculous price for that. They are basically giving you the diamond for 10% off. That is a great deal.

so you think i should go for this one?

it seems like the only one they have left around what we are looking for anyway…
if it goes thru as promised i guess it would be a good deal to get a 48K diamond for 42K
i guess they actually are both in stock so you would recommend the 2.304 G vs2 $49K over the 2.311 H vs1 $47K? according to lesley they would be the same 42ishK price from the previous one for me…

Yes. That’s a great deal.

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