The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Help Finding an Oval Diamond for Around $20k 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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Hi Diamond Pro,

My boyfriend and I have started looking at diamonds together so he (and I) can better understand what kind of engagement ring I want. My favorite shape, by far, is the oval but I do not like the bow-tie effect (I understand that the bow tie effect is almost inevitable with an oval). So we want to minimize the bow tie effect while maximizing brilliance. Here is the range of diamonds that we have been looking at:

Carat: 1.5-2.0
Clarity: VS2 – VVS1
Color: G – D
Ratio: 1.35-1.42 (preferably)

I have found some diamonds within this range that appear to have minimal bow-ties. I would greatly appreciate any feedback/guidance that you can provide.

Also, I had several questions:

1. In reviewing the diamonds on James Allen’s website, I noticed that the diamonds are laid down on their side for the 360 view. Does that affect one’s ability to discern how the bow-tie effect will look once the diamond is mounted?

2. One thing that we have been told to look for diamonds that are well-placed (e.g. that are not on the table; and are on the pavilion or lower girdle) so that the inclusions do not affect the brilliance of the diamond. Is that true?

3. What factors does one look for to identify a well-cut, brilliant oval vs. one that will not shine as brilliantly once you see it in person?

Thank you.

Is there a reason why you’re looking for G+ grades? An H color diamond will look colorless and this way we can maximize your buck.

The issue with the 2.00 carat stone is its extremely thick girdle. When you look at this stone, it really is big and might negatively influence the light return.

In terms of bow-tie, all of them are very nice. And no, you can still see the bow-tie clearly. The videos on JA are fantastic so there’s no need to worry about that.

I think that there was a misunderstanding regarding the inclusions. Yes, you should avoid visible inclusions on table. Sometimes, when there’s a feather in the girdle, it might negatively impact the integrity of the stone (but it can happen on lower clarity grades). Inclusions don’t really influence the brilliance. Cut does.

My favorite diamond from the stones you sent is the F color 2.04 carat. The cut is beautiful, there’s hardly any bow-tie, the overall impression is great. And if you’re willing to go down with the color, have a look at this one:

It’s more elongated and bigger in measurements.

Let me know what you decide.

Unfortunately, the diamond that you suggested (out of the ones I linked to) was purchased hours after we received your email but the search continues!

Regarding your question about my preference for color ratings of G or higher, I was able to discern some warmer colors in the H–especially when I put them beside diamonds in the D-F range, so I have a preference for a higher color rating.

However, I would welcome further thoughts from you about the attributes of the H range. For example, is it true that if an H diamond with faint fluorescence can look more colorless (e.g. appear to be a G or higher)? And if so, would that be the case for a diamond like this:

I have noticed that some diamonds on James Allen appear more colorless and clearer than others of the same or even higher color/clarity ratings. The best way to describe what I am perceiving is looking at a pristine beach with incredibly clear beach water vs. being at a beach where the water is slightly cloudier.

For example, in side-by-side comparisons, this 1.8 E, VS2 diamond ( seems more brilliant, clearer, and more colorless than this D, VS1 diamond ( or this D, VS2 diamond ( Can that be explained by different lightening or cameras used? Or is it due to the quality of the cut on the diamond? Or is there some other explanation or factors that we should be aware of?

I actually like the appearance of the 1.8 E, VS2 ( because the bow-tie appears minimal and it looks so clear, but I am concerned about the twining wisps, and feathers noted in the GIA report (as well as the comment that there are additional twining wisps, pinpoints, and surface graining not shown) and whether they will be perceptible to the eye, and/or affect the appearance of the diamond to the naked eye.

Finally, how would you compare that diamond to these diamonds:

Blue Nile LD08169215

Color is hard to distinguish from the screen only as it can distort the colors a bit. As you mentioned, it can be influenced by the lightning and different angles of taking the pictures.

As for the fluorescence, there’s basically no difference between none and faint. Medium can help H and lower grades to look slightly brighter. But not a grade or two. It might happen that a G color stone without any certification will look more colored than an H or I color GIA/AGS stone. That’s why you should purchase a stone with one of these two certs. If you compare two GIA certified stones, one G and the other H, the H will have more color in it. At the same time, the vast majority of our readers will find H color stones colorless. I hope it all makes sense.

Also, strong and medium fluorescence on high colors can cause a hazy look. That’s why I wouldn’t go for the D VS1 or the F from JA.

I’m afraid that the D VS2 2.00 carat is not eye-clean. And the bow-tie is quite noticeable.

My favorite is this one:

It has fantastic overall specs, it’s eye-clean, colorless and it’s the biggest in measurements.

Let me know what you decide, please.

I have one follow-up question. I read that having a thin girdle may make the diamond prone to chipping. Would that be a concern for 1.9, G VS2 that you recommended?

Girdle has little to no impact on the visual appearance. Unless it’s extremely thin/thick, you’re fine. The only girdle issue you need to look out for are extremely thin girdles on princess cuts (with the sharp corners, they would be more prone to chipping if you band it).

This diamond is beautiful so there’s no need to worry about it.

Thank you so much!!!

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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:
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