The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Help Choosing a Round Diamond for a Rose Gold Solitaire With a $10,000 Budget

The following is a real email conversation between The Diamond Pro and a reader just like you who contacted us.
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Good evening,

Please let me start off by sincerely thanking you for the wealth of information that you have eloquently provided and compiled on your website. Thank you.

I will soon be purchasing an engagement ring for my girlfriend, and the setting will be in the style of one of the following examples. A rose gold, classic Tiffany setting:

Or this rose gold solitaire offered by De Beers:

As you might have deduced, it will definitely be a rose gold solitaire of some sort; we are both comfortable with dropping down in color because of the setting; and from the examples we’ve had on her try on, it appears that 1.2-1.3ct is an ideal size for her finger. My primary concern at this point will be cut quality. I have tried to narrow down the field into super ideal cut dimensions.

I would be forever grateful for some input/guidance with the following diamonds:
Requested Idealscope Image found here:
The idealscope image shows a little bit of light loss, but I feel like it looks good overall. My primary concern comes from the rotating video, to my very untrained eye, I can’t tell if the slight cloudiness is a result of the polish or is it the medium fluorescence? Shopping around in the lower colors, I was actually hoping for a a little fluorescence to offset, but not at the cost of clarity.

Requested idealscope image found here:
From the women I’ve talked to, I have noted that many ultimately wish they had gone a little bigger… Which is why a 1.53 is on the list. My primary concern is whether the quality of the stone also warrants breaking into the 1.50+ pricing bracket. Particularly confusing to this diamond is the ASET image provided on the GIA certificate. When looking at the other images on the website, the diamond looks ideal, but then when you look at he GIA certificate, the light performance is a bit of a mess. Additionally, this is the only diamond that has up to a “slightly thick” girdle.

The next four examples come from retailers in my area (Texas). I am currently in the process of setting appointments to see the diamonds in person.

While we are both ultimately primarily concerned with the diamond being eye-clean, the idea of having black inclusions close to the center is definitely off-putting.

Again, there appears to be inclusions close to the centers.

Overall, I am curious as to whether or not Brian Gavin’s and Whiteflash’s “Hearts and Arrows” diamonds are the superior cuts as advertised and warrant the slight premium in price. If not, are either of the selections from James Allen a wise choice? After considering the various settings, all of my options place my total costs close to USD 10,000. However, there is more room in my budget if the increase in quality warrants it. At the end of the day, I also want to know that I’m getting the most bang out of my (thousands) of buck(s).

Unfortunately we have had terrible personal experiences with White Flash and will not comment on their diamonds. Our experiences a) make us feel that no one should ever trust them and b) preclude us from being objective.

We are happy to comment on any diamonds you find from any other company out there or select diamonds for you from companies we have vetted properly.

Generally speaking, we don’t recommend focusing your search on James Allen’s Hearts and Arrows lines. These are diamonds that have stricter parameters than a normal excellent cut diamond. But we have not found them to be consistently and noticeably more brilliant than a typical selection. We use our own cut parameters to limit the search and usually you end up with better bang for your buck.

If an extraordinary brilliance is what you’re looking for then I’d suggest Brian Gavin Signature Hearts and Arrows. That’s exactly what they focus on and you can be sure that you’ll receive the best of diamonds. Not only do these conform to the strictest of cut parameters, but Brian himself selects them for optimal brilliance. Brian Gavin is known as one of the worlds experts when it comes to perfectly cut diamonds. Mike can tell you from experience. He worked for one of the largest suppliers for Blue Nile. When he went to Brian Gavin with the 30 best cut diamonds in their inventory (of thousands), Brian rejected them all. When he showed Mike his selections, Mike was blown away.

I’m not saying you should definitely go with Brian Gavin, but if you want to focus on cut more than anything else, that is the route to go.

As you mentioned, a J or K color stone from BGD will be great for a rose gold setting. But I’m also not very happy about the black inclusions right on the table of the stones.

Have a look at this one:

It’s beautifully cut, eye-clean and J is going to look colorless.

Let me know what you think.

Many thanks for your time/response.

It definitely is disheartening to hear about the poor history with Whiteflash… I am currently setting up in-person appointments with both them and Brian Gavin Diamonds tomorrow. Obviously, I’ll try to be open and use my own personal judgement, but I’ll definitely keep your warning in the back of my mind. To be honest, they have offered me better service thus far in terms of responsiveness.

For James Allen: I have read the cautions about the unfounded hype around hearts and arrows diamonds offered by various vendors. However, when I did filter the diamonds on JA to ideal ratios that I found online, I still ended up with selections from their hearts and arrows line. Do you mind sharing what parameters that you use to limit the search? Also, do you have any thoughts on the specific diamonds that I linked?

For Brian Gavin: I really am hoping to see a noticeable difference when viewing his diamond selection in-person tomorrow. I will be honest and say that my girlfriend and I may have been the least enamored by their setting selection though… and I just learned that the one that she would be the most interested in seeing from them isn’t available in-person. My girlfriend is the type that must try things on because she has difficulty envisioning items on herself.

As for the Diamond you linked – the inclusions are definitely less noticeable, and I will likely ask to see it during our appointment tomorrow. My only reservation is the size… I guess I am leaning more towards 1.3 or 1.4 ct now.

Thanks again.

How did the meetings go? What impression did you get?

If you’re not very happy with the collection of setting on Brian Gavin, you can purchase the diamond and setting separately.

Here’s another great option on their site:

But if you wish for a bigger diamond, James Allen is a great way to go. The diamonds you found are beautifully cut and eye-clean. I’d personally stick with a J color stone from JA. K is already stretching the colorless effect for a rose gold setting.

As for the parameters, we search for diamonds with depth up to 62% and table up to 57%.

Have a look at this diamond from JA:

It’s also beautifully cut, eye-clean and going to look colorless.

Our meeting with Mr. Brian Gavin was very informative, and went well overall.

Could you be so kind as to please give me your impressions of the following James Allen stone:

All of the dimensions fall within the super-ideal cut parameters that I have found online; there isn’t an inclusion in the table; the idealscope image looks good; and the hearts image looks just as symmetrical as the Brian Gavin and Whiteflash options. My only concern is the “thin to slightly thick” girdle. Should this be a cause for concern? Is there anything else that might jump out at you?

For your ready reference, a Brian Gavin Diamond that I am comparing it against is:

But as stated earlier, I believe Brian Gavin has fallen out of the races due to their response time and lack of settings that appealed to my girlfriend. I’ve narrowed it down to either my selection at Whiteflash (which I know you won’t comment on) and the above-linked stone from James Allen.

Finally, I recall reading on the website that your partnership sometimes affords coupon codes with James Allen. Are there any currently available?

Thanks again.

It’s nice to hear from you again.

I’m happy to hear that the meetings were informative and went well. But it’s a shame that you’re not very happy with the responsiveness of Brian Gavin. The diamond you found on their site is beautiful.

As I mentioned, stones from BGD are noticeably more brilliant than the TH or Signature cuts. At the same time, you need to feel comfortable with the purchase.

What’s the price of the stone from JA? The overall specifications are great. This diamond will return light with a lot of brilliance and fire. I just want to make sure that this is the best option from JA at the moment in terms of quality and price.

With regards to the girdle, it’s an issue that has little to no impact on the visual appearance of the diamond. You should avoid the extremely thick/thin ones, otherwise you are fine.

And as for the coupon codes, we don’t have any for JA at the moment. If you end up purchasing from JA, you can contact them directly. They might have a discount for you.

Thanks for all the responses.

I didn’t realize that James Allen no longer publicly displays the price once a stone is on hold. (They placed it on hold for 48 hrs for me.) After a $100 registration discount, the price of the 1.42 J-VS1 is $8,100.

The stone you found is beautiful and the price is also good.

Here’s another great option:

Your diamond is slightly superior in cut and this one is slightly bigger in measurements and less expensive.

Let me know what you decide.

Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Blue Nile is currently running a limited time sale offering 15% on settings site-wide. Click here to browse some great settings.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging

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