Recommendation for 1.7+ carat, Ideal cut, F color, VS2 clarity diamond:
Reader Richard wrote to us asking:
I’m looking at getting a nice loose diamond for a custom ring that I am having made, I’ve come across this stone: http://www.bluenile.com/ca/diamond-search?stockno=LD04790621 and would like your honest opinion on it. I’ve searching for a VS2 for value reasons except I’ve been quite picky in terms of where the inclusions are located (trying to avoid inclusions on the table). I’ve run the facetware on the stone and it looks like the thing that makes/breaks its “Excellent” cut is the pavilion angle. It looks like its right at the edge of excellent/VG and I am wondering if this means that the stone will not have the “fire” in it that everyone is looking for.
I would like your advice on what you think of the value here and if you think there are better stones out there (if so, any help identifying some would be awesome!).
I’m pretty hard set on a F+, VS2+,triple EX, 1.7 carat+, no fluorescence (is faint even noticeable? still getting mixed reactions opinions here)
Thanks very much!
In regards to the Facetware, a stone being on the edge of Excellent / Very Good will not mean the fire is lacking. Fire is really a combination a sorts and it’s a balancing act between light return and firey flashes of color. Firey flashes are easier to see when there is less light returned, but this comes with the downside that the stone may appear smaller. My recommendation is to always use tools like Facetware or Holloway Cut Advisor to weed out the poor performers but never to use it exclusively to make the final selection. In this case, the stone you selected is a good one so no need to get hung up with the Facetware.
In terms of the criteria you’ve specified (F Color, VS2 Clarity), it is pretty generous. If you’re looking to maximize your budget, you can certainly relax both color and clarity without a noticeable difference in the end product. For example, going from an F color to an H color still puts you in (near) colorless but saves about $3,000. I wouldn’t recommend trying to get a larger stone with the savings as you’ll need more than the saved amount to get over the 2 carat threshold. For fluorescence, it’s always best to have the stone evaluated in person (or in this case by an on-staff gemologist). Most fluorescence will not have a negative impact on the diamond but in some cases it will make the diamond milky / oily looking. Uncovering whether the stone shows the former or the latter unfortunately isn’t possible via certificate alone and hence my earlier recommendation. With Blue Nile, because the diamond inventory is virtual, a visual inspection becomes a little more challenging and so I’d err on the side of caution and go with no fluorescence.
Now, getting back to the diamond you selected. On paper, it’s a winner! It scores < 2.0 on the Holloway Cut Advisor with “Excellent” across the board for light return, fire, scintillation, and spread. As Blue Nile doesn’t have real diamond images, I unfortunately cannot comment on how the diamond performs visually. That being said, I did search several favorite sites and pulled together a list of recommendations. The first set of recommendations keep with your original criteria. The second set of recommendations relax the color and clarity without giving up being eye clean. Again, because diamond images aren’t available with Blue Nile, consider a slightly higher clarity (i.e. VS1 clarity). This will help ensure you don’t get any unexpected surprises. The first recommendation in set 1 is an equivalent stone to the one you selected but VS1 and at a $300 premium (worth it in my opinion).
Here’s are my SET 1 recommendations (in order):
Recommendation 1: CA $23,716
Blue Nile 1.71-Carat Round Diamond, F color, VS1 clarity (HCA 0.7)
Recommendation 2: CA $23,677
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.71-carat-f-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-289437 (HCA 1.6)
Recommendation 3: CA $22,269
Blue Nile 1.70-Carat Round Diamond, F color, VS2 clarity (HCA 1.8)
Recommendations with Lower Color Grade / Clarity Grade
As mentioned above, there is savings to be had with adding a bit of flexibility in terms of color and clarity grade. Here’s a few options to give you a sense.
Recommendation 1: USD $20,187
1.755 ct H VS2 A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Super Ideal Round Cut Loose Diamond (HCA 0.8)
Recommendation 2: USD $23,265
http://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.710-g-vs2-round-diamond-ags-104074030053 (HCA 1.1)
Recommendation 3: CA $19,799
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.71-carat-h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-321815 (HCA 0.8)
Recommendation 4: CA $21,733
http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.82-carat-h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-348406 (HCA 0.8)
I hope the above answers your questions and provides you with a few more options to consider!
All the best!