The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Choosing a Superbly Cushion Cut Diamond for a Halo Setting with Around $7k 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.


I’m looking at a cushion cut diamond on James Allen. The proportion of the stone, symmetry and polish, clarity and color looks good to me per the GIA report. The diamond video and images look good to me but I’m not well versed in these things so not sure if its just my experience that makes me think it looks good.

The biggest thing I am worried about is the cut quality. James Allen lists it as ideal cut but GIA does not grade cushion cut grade quality.

Would you be able to help me with looking at the JA listing video/360 view, assessment of the cut quality and then confirm that the other attributes (proportions, clarity etc.) are indeed good. ?


If you want, please send me the link to the diamond with the cert and I’ll gladly comment on it. Also, could you please tell me what setting style and metal you’re planning to go with?

The diamond I have been looking at is:

I also have my eyes on this diamond as it is classified as a True Hearts piece by James Allen and the AGS ASET image shows good light return.. See below:

What would you rate the cut quality and the sparkle, brilliance & fire as you see on the link for the 1st diamond.

Also, please provide your feedback on the second diamond and please comment if the diamond is heads and shoulders above the first diamond.

As for the setting, currently looking at some halo settings but am worried that it will drown out the center stone. Been looking at other setting but do not want something that sticks up as it will snag on things and the girlfriend is in the medical field and would not want it snag on other peoples clothing etc. Any suggestions here?

Attached is the GIA cert for the first diamond and AGS cert for the second. – This stone is a little bit deeply cut (that might potentially cause worse light refraction). – This diamond is even deeper.  Hearts and Arrows are not a cause of brilliance, they are an effect of a perfectly cut round diamond. Just because they can manipulate a cushion cut to show the hearts and arrows, doesn’t mean that the cut is particularly good. Also, as for the size, this one is smaller – I always suggest checking the actual measurements, not the carat weight.

I found these:

Brian Gavin is known as one of the world’s experts when it comes to perfectly cut diamonds ( It’s a niche market for people who want very brilliant diamonds. He offers cushion brilliant cuts only. Here are some perfect examples:

As for the ones you sent, for the James Allen ones, I see that either the polish or symmetry is less than excellent. Does that not matter?

As for the Brian Gavin Diamonds, all I can say is WOW!! I am enamored with these H&A cut cushion diamonds. My girlfriend likes the cushion cut shape but from what I can tell, the round cuts are the most popular and can be assessed for cut quality especially by looking for the H&A in the cuts. The BGD H&A cushion cut seems to be the perfect combination of both worlds. I am especially enamored with:

Another one that I found was

The only concern with the two BGD diamonds above is that the table and depth percentage seems to be off. Do you not have any concerns with that?

Which one of the two BGD diamonds listed above seem the best to you? I understand that the clarity and color are different but from a brilliance, sparkle and fire perspective, which one would you suggest?

As for the other two BGD stones you listed, the SI clarity is what is holding me back. Also, looking at the ASET images, it seems that there were more light leakage spots and less bright spots than the other two listed above. Please let me know if I am analyzing it too much and SI clarity and the ASET images seem fine to you. Also, probably a dumb question but smaller carat size of these two compared to the other BGD stones have any effect on the real life perception of the size with a naked eye?

Both diamonds from Brian Gavin are perfect choices. I would probably choose the H colored stone (it’s a bit bigger in measurements). BGD is a niche market for people who want extremely brilliant diamonds. It’s worth paying the premium if that is what you’re looking for. They are all within the cut parameters I mentioned in my first email. Ideally, it’s great to keep the depth under 68% and the table shouldn’t exceed 70%. I definitely wouldn’t be afraid of SI1 clarity. Once the stone is eye-clean, it’s eye-clean no matter what clarity grade it has. You can ask BG rep to confirm eye-cleanliness.

All the four diamonds we talked about would look very similar in terms of size. There shouldn’t be any significant difference between them in person. I personally like this one the most: As I said before, I always suggest comparing the actual measurements – this way you know exactly the size of the diamond.
For example, the 1.037ct has these measurements: 5.88×6.66×4.06. The JA diamond measures 6.01×5.97×4.11. As for you can see, the F colored diamond will face up bigger.

You don’t have to worry about the polish and symmetry. You most likely won’t be able to distinguish the difference between good and excellent ( and 

We pivoted a bit but we have pivoted a bit on the color and shape of the diamond and come up with a final 2. Want to pull the trigger on one of these today. See choices below;


Please review the profile and AGS certs for all of these and rank these as you would prefer them. Per BGD the color should not be an issue due to cut quality and in the face up position would not be detectable. Also, even on the side profile it is detectable by the naked eye on a day to day basis. Please confirm this statement.

The cut quality for brilliance and sparkle and surface area are the two highest attribute that I am looking for.

It’s true that thanks to the high brilliance and perfect cut in every aspect of the diamond, any potential yellowness is much less noticeable than in other diamonds. The J stone from Brian Gavin ( would be my favorite if you want a “super sparkly” diamond. Also, the medium fluorescence will help the diamond look a tad whiter. My second option would be the 1.283ct stone (

Let me know how you decided.

Just wanted to provide an update. I went with the 1.277 BGD Blue listed above!

I am thrilled to have picked a great quality stone with the help that you provided. Thank you very much for all your help!

That’s wonderful news! Thank you for your kind words. It was my pleasure helping you 🙂 I hope that stone will meet (or exceed) your expectations.

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