Buying a Yellow Diamond – What To Look For

I recently spoke by phone with my contact at Leibish & Co., specialists in fancy color diamonds.

I wanted to know if they could help me explain more about fancy color diamonds, or more specifically about yellow diamonds. Yellow and pink diamonds are the most sought after colors, so I thought I would include a little more information about those colors so I can help my readers make good decisions when shopping for fancy color diamonds.

Following the phone call Leibish sent me some beautiful photos of yellow diamonds and a few interesting things about yellow diamonds.

While plenty of people know about color diamonds, there are still plenty of people who are completely unaware that diamonds come in any other color than clear, or what they think of as white.

Yep, colored diamonds certainly exist, although they are not nearly as common as colorless diamonds. As a matter of fact what the diamond industry call fancy colored diamonds come in every color of the rainbow.

Among all these colors there are two that are most frequently sought: yellow and pink.

Yellow diamonds are undeniably the most vibrant among fancy color diamonds. Yellow catches the eye, which is the exact definition of attractiveness.

Between yellow and pink, yellow is a lot easier to find in a decent size. Pink is extremely hard to find, and will rarely be very big. This is of course reflected in the price.

But yellow, being somewhat less rare, gives us a little room to shop around and try to find something that suits us perfectly, in regards to size, hue, vibrancy, shade, quality of cut.

The Best Cuts for Yellow Diamonds

There is an important difference between a yellow diamond and a colorless stone. Colored stones have to be cut in a different manner to colorless diamonds.

When there is a lack of color in a diamond, which is the case for colorless stones, it is desired to increase the stone’s brilliance as much as possible. This is achieved by cutting the stone in such a way that the light exits the stone as quickly as possible.

Yellow diamonds are all about exposing the color from within. That is why the diamond is cut in a way that enables the stone to preserve the light as long as possible in order to strengthen the color before it is reflected out.

As the shape of a diamond affects how well the light reflects, you will generally see certain shapes more with yellow diamonds than you would with a colorless stone. For example, the most common shape for a colorless diamond is the round brilliant, because it displays its brilliance in the most ideal way. When it comes to a yellow diamond, it is easier for the diamond polisher to enable the color to show more from a cushion, radiant, or pear shaped stone.

buying a yellow diamond: image shows modified cushion cut yellow diamond in micro pave halo setting.

Yellow Diamond Color Intensity Levels and Color Combinations

Colorless diamonds and yellow diamonds are both assessed according to the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat), but while these four characteristics are generally considered of equal importance in regards to colorless stones, color becomes the number one priority when it comes to fancy color diamond. So much so that the color itself is split into two categories: main color and color intensity. The latter refers to how intensely the color can be seen.

Colored diamonds are graded according to nine different intensity levels. Every color has each one of the nine grades.

For example, the color intensity grades for yellow diamonds include:

  • Light (X)
  • Light (Y)
  • Light (Z)
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid
  • Fancy Deep
  • Fancy Dark

The first levels are the very end of the D-Z color grades used by the Gemological Institute of America to grade color. These stones are also referred to as cape diamonds. They have too much color to be considered good colorless diamonds and too little color to be acknowledged as a fancy.
A yellow diamond can contain a pure yellow hue, but more often than not, it consists of secondary colors. These can be: orange yellow, orangy yellow, brown yellow, brownish yellow, brownish orangy yellow, brown greenish yellow, brownish greenish yellow, greenish yellow, green yellow, gray greenish yellow, and grayish greenish yellow. A straight yellow is considered more valuable than a stone that has more than one color, but the beauty of a colored diamond can only be determined by you.

Typical Settings for Yellow Diamonds

Settings are a bit trickier for yellow diamonds than they are for colorless diamonds because of the difference in cut. Settings made for colorless diamonds can be mass-produced and used without modification to set the stone. Yellow diamonds require more customization. The setting will be built around the stone so that it is mounted properly. Since color diamonds, yellow diamonds included of course, are becoming more and more popular, manufacturers are discovering more price effective methods to display the stone efficiently without blowing out the budget. Yellow diamonds look great when set as a solitaire stone or when paired with diamonds of contrasting colors. Jewelers and ring setters will also also recommend various metals depending on the tone and shape of the stone.

So hopefully some of this information is new to you. I certainly am grateful to my contact at Leibish for sharing these points. It was exactly the type of high quality information I was after.

It’s been pretty awesome being able to promote such a fine company (I’ve been working with them for a couple years now), and continues to be my privilege to be able to direct people to such a magnificent selection of fancy colored stones and fine jewelry.

Want to see what I mean? Go to Leibish.com

As always, feel free to send over any questions you might have about your search for the best stone your money can buy.

Ideas for how to set a yellow diamond ring

As yellow diamonds are best displayed in certain settings you can avoid having to worry about choosing the right type of setting by looking at preset yellow diamonds.

For example this fancy light yellow diamond is set in a ring with colorless side stones. The center GIA certified cushion shape diamond, 3.07cts, is emphasized and allowed to glow by being set  with a prong setting. Flanked  6 F+ Brilliant cut diamonds provides wonderful contrast to the yellow glow of the center stone. The colorless stones are styled in a triangle side stones design and also set in a prong setting benefiting from maximum light. The ring is made of platinum and 18K Yellow gold. For more information about this item please see

https://www.leibish.com/rings-jewelry/fancy-light-yellow-cushion-side-stone-diamond-ring-28325 is the link to the above ring.

Another option, if the diamond is more orangish or brownish yellow is to set it in rose gold. A pave halo of small diamonds enhances the appearance of the center stone and of course multiplies the sparkle as a result of that many more diamonds being included in the ring. Essentially it is a classic diamond halo ring setting, this particular one features a 1.10 carat, Fancy Brown Yellow pear diamond as its center stone. Mounted in all rose gold, the side diamonds are white round brilliants, around the halo and half-way along the shank. see


https://www.leibish.com/rings-jewelry/fancy-brown-yellow-pear-diamond-ring-27705 is the link to this ring.

The most expensive gem in the world: $71.2 million pink diamond

The Washington Post reported this month that the world’s most expensive gemstone is now a pink diamond that sold for a whopping $71.2 million.

The rare pink diamond called “Pink Star” is known for its oval shape and vividly pink hue. It became the most expensive gemstone ever sold at an auction on Tuesday April 4, 2017. The record sale price of $71.2 million was recorded at auction in Hong Kong.

“Pink Star” is the largest fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. Diamonds that are graded “fancy vivid” are the most precious and desirable, according to the Sotheby’s website.

The diamond’s new owners are no strangers to diamonds: Pink Star’s buyer is Hong Kong-based jewelry empire Chow Tai Fook.

The diamonds has been renamed the CTF PINK STAR. It weighs 59.60-carat and is cut into oval mixed-cut. It is the largest Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Pink diamond that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has ever graded in its 86 year history. The diamond has received the highest colour and clarity grades from the GIA for pink diamonds and has been found to be part of the rare subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds – known as Type IIa: stones in this group are chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and often have extraordinary optical transparency. The stone was mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999. The original diamond was a 132.5-carat rough which was meticulously cut and polished over a period of two years and transformed into this stunning gemstone.
The record holder for a pink diamond sold at auction had been previously held for 7 years by a stone known as “Graff Pink,” which weighs close to 25 carats. Graff Pink had gone to auction at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 2010 where it sold for a cool $46.2 million.

Investing in pink diamonds

A cursory look at pink diamonds as investments shows that they compare favorably to many other physical assets. Apart from the fact that they are much easier to store and transport than just about any other asset, pink diamonds are also the rarest commodity on earth. They are also beautiful.

Infographic | Investments compared: Colored diamonds vs stocks, oil, goldBut before rushing off to buy the first pink diamond that you come across it’s not a bad idea to research which jewelers are able to not only provide you with high quality stones, but have experience in dealing with investors looking for long term value. Buying pink diamonds is a little different to buying an engagement ring. There are factors which are of interest to engagement ring diamonds buyers which are not as much of a concern to investors. A pink diamond purchased as an investment may or may not be set in a ring. The investor will determine whether or not setting it in a ring is a consideration. Knowing about engagement rings is one thing. Investing in colored diamonds is another. Historically engagement ring diamonds take much longer to appreciate in value and may not appreciate enough to make much of a difference if the diamond is overpriced to begin with. As with any investment the price at purchase will affect the long term return. It’s paramount to deal with a jeweler who is not only experienced at selling jewelry for ornamental uses but is also experienced at selling fancy colored diamonds as an investment.

Where to buy pink diamonds

Leibish works with many clients to find quality color diamonds to invest in. They provide their clients with a clear understanding of the ins and outs of investing in colored diamonds, and are able to provide their clients access to pink diamonds as well as to an array of diamonds in many different colors. You can download a pdf version of the Leibish.com glossy brochure on investing in colored diamonds which is a good starting point. The brochure provides some detail on a few different ways to get into investing in colored diamonds which can then be discussed in further detail directly by phone or through their online chat.

Leibish.com provides investors with information on fancy color diamond investment.
Leibish.com provides investors with information on color diamond investment.

 


sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemological_Institute_of_America

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2017/the-pink-star-hk0770.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/04/04/rare-pink-star-diamond-is-now-the-most-expensive-gemstone-in-the-world-71-2-million/

 

 

Question: How Can I Find the Best 1 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond?

Most online jewelers allow you to search for all of the parameters I list below in this article. I have created a direct link to emerald diamond search pages at James Allen, Brian Gavin Diamonds, Blue Nile, and Leibish at the end of this article for your convenience.

 

This year has seen an increase in the demand for emerald cut diamonds. As such I decided to write a little bit about how to go about finding the best emerald cut diamond.

Definition of emerald cut diamond:

Emerald Cut diamonds are oblong step cut diamonds with a large, open table. The corners are truncated to avoid points of weakness.

Image: Brian Gavin Diamonds

Categorized as a fancy cut, the emerald cut was originally developed for the cutting of emeralds, and came into vogue as a popular fancy cut diamonds during the Art Deco period.

This shape, which is usually known as emerald cut diamond, step cut, or trap-cut accentuates a diamond’s clarity. The large table makes it easy to see right into the diamond.

Like other fancy shaped diamonds, emerald cut diamonds can come in a variety of length to width ratios. The classic outline of emerald cut diamonds usually have a ratio of 1.00:1.50 though ratios of up to 1.00:1.75 are also found to be pleasing to the eye. If the diamond has a 1.00:1.00 ratio it is usually called an Asscher shape as I outline in this article here:

What is the difference between Asscher and Emerald Cut Diamonds?

Ideal proportion is not as clearly defined for emerald cut diamonds as it has been for round cut diamonds. Emerald Cut diamonds, as is the case with many other types of fancy cut diamonds, will be cut to a wide variety of shapes, each with a slightly differing proportion. These variations, particularly in the pavilion, makes the science of light performance extremely complex for fancy shapes. As a result you will not find any cut grades noted on gemological reports issued for fancy cuts. This means you will rely more on the jeweler to help you with choosing your fancy cut stone. For this reason it is quite important to choose the jeweler carefully before getting too caught up in the details of diamond geometry.

There are some guidelines to follow when choosing an emerald cut diamond which can help but the truth is that without extensive diamond experience this will only get you so far. A trained gemologist is much more likely be able to help you find what you are looking for as they will know a lot more about the subtle differences between different emerald cut diamonds.

My choice would be to ask Brian Gavin Diamonds for advice when choosing an emerald cut diamond if your choice is to buy your diamond from an online jewelry retailer.

If you prefer to locate a jeweler within driving distance so you can go in person and speak to the jeweler face to face you may enjoy the service provided by FindMyJewlerTM. (USA only)

Secret Shopper Tests Of Jewelers in the USA

Read here to find out more about the excellent Find My JewelerTM service.

Emerald Cut Diamond Buying Tips

Following are a few points to help get you started on your search

Best options for Emerald Cut Diamonds
Best options for Emerald Cut Diamonds

Clarity

The shape of Emerald cut diamonds, with its large open table, makes it well suited to show off higher clarity grades.

Clarity grades for emerald cut diamonds are shown on the diamond lab grading report (unlike cut grade, for which, as far as fancy cut diamonds go, there is no established science).

Since the clarity of emerald cut diamonds or other step cut diamonds is going to be much more obvious it’s advisable to select from the following range:

  • VS2
  • VS1
  • VVS2
  • VVS1
  • IF

Color

A slightly warmer color range is often considered to be as nice or even nicer than cooler color grades. This is due, in part, to the large open table on emerald cut diamonds. Another reason is that the light play is considerably different in an emerald cut diamond when compared to a round brilliant. The choice of color grade is therefore up to your personal preference.

Warmer colors are found among the following colors on the GIA color scale:

  • L
  • K
  • J
  • I
  • H
  • G

Cooler tones will be found among the color grades that are near colorless on the GIA color scale:

  • F
  • E
  • D

The following video is of an emerald diamond that has a slightly warmer color (the L color on the GIA scale) and you can see that it looks gorgeous. Also note how the large table allows the viewer to peer into the diamond and appreciate its clarity.

 

Cut Grade

While the actual cut grade for fancy cut diamonds like the emerald cut is not something that has been firmly established in the diamond industry* there are certain ratios which seem to work better than others and which would place a diamond in a better cut grade if this were something that laboratories were prepared to include on the diamond grading report. Some of the grades listed below are subjective and it’s an area where opinions do vary even between specialists.

*Even round brilliant cuts, which have been the subject of a great deal of study, can still have variability even among diamonds that have all received a top grade. Finding a good jeweler to deal with is always more important than just looking at a grading report. Check out the list of recommended diamond jewelers on our home page.

Having said that, there are some numbers which can serve as a rough guide which I list here:

Emerald Cut Brilliance Guide

Recommended Table Depth %
NOT recommended
Excellent Cut Very Good Cut Good Cut Fair Cut Average Cut
60% to 65% 58% to 69% 57% to 74% 56% to 78% 53% to 80%
Recommended Table %
NOT recommended
Excellent Cut Very Good Cut Good Cut Fair Cut Average Cut
58% to 69.5% 57% to 72% 57% to 74% 56% to 74% 53% to 76%
Recommended Length to Width Ratio
Excellent Cut Very Good Cut Good Cut
1.00:1.50 to 1.00:1.75

1.00:1.26 to 1.00:1.49
&
1.00:1.76 to 1.00:1.99

1.00:1.26 to 1.00:1.49
&
1.00:1.76 to 1.00:1.99

Additional Factors for best results

Fluorescence None or Faint
Polish Excellent to Good
Symmetry Excellent to Good

Emerald Diamond Search

This handy tool brings you to the Emerald Diamond Search box on four separate websites.

Question: Where can I find the nicest diamond engagement ring for $10,000?

In this article:

How to set parameters at JamesAllen to guarantee your finding a beautiful diamond.

But first: what not to do.

It is easy to assume that spending $10,000 would mean that you’re guaranteed to get the best diamond at the more than ideal engagement ring size of 1+ ct.

This is not necessarily so. If you focus only on size you could neglect other very important attributes which actually make the diamond look good.

For example here is a 1.56 Carat K-VS2 Very Good Cut Round Diamond.

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.56-carat-k-color-vs2-clarity-very-good-cut-sku-579691

It fits the budget, and has been given a “very good” cut grade by GIA.

There are, however a number of problems with this stone.

Let’s take a close look at why it’s not a good deal.

First of all it is a shallow cut.

diagram profile of diamond
Any round cut diamond with a depth less than 61% is generally going to be a shallow cut diamond. Its face up appearance will be dull. Light leaks out the sides and bottom rather than being reflected back to the eye. Click to view larger size.

 

With a depth of 59.40% this diamond is simply not going to return light through the table as would be the case with an diamond that has a depth ratio of 61%. It may seem like nothing, but light travels in very specific and predictable ways. A small variation in angle and everything goes awry. Most excellent or ideal cut diamonds have a depth of between 61% and 62%. You won’t want to get anything that varies too far from these depth percentages. This applies only to round cut diamonds or oval cut diamonds.

The table of this diamond is also fairly small, sitting at 55.2%. To get a decent of light return you really want something with a table that is around 57%,  58% or at the most 59%.

Here is what the diamond in question looks like when viewed face up. It looks extremely dark as very little light is being returned through the table and crown.

Also this diamond’s color is K, so it’s getting a bit on the pale yellowish side. Any round brilliant diamond whose color is past J will have noticeable color with very few exceptions. Occasionally you’ll find a super ideal cut diamond that sparkles so brightly that the K color is masked by its sheer brilliance. But this is extremely rare and usually people opt for G or H if they want to make sure that no color is noticeable.

It is also possible to set the diamond in a yellow gold ring if the diamond color is J or K or even more. The idea is that the optical illusion of the yellowish color of the gold doesn’t make the yellow of the diamond quite as noticeable. This has only limited results.

A colorless diamond will always be a better choice whether set in a yellow gold ring or in a platinum or palladium setting.

The setting’s color influences how the eye perceives the color by providing some contrast.

k color diamond's color is obvious.
The diamond is far from colorless once seen from a different angle. Click for enlargement.

All that to say that the diamond in question https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.56-carat-k-color-vs2-clarity-very-good-cut-sku-579691

would not be my first choice. Yes it’s a decent size, but the drawbacks are far too many to make up for them.

Finding the Nicest Diamond

It’s probably not a bad idea for me to start out by defining what I mean by “nicest.”

“Nicest” will mean different things to different people. I am going to go through the steps to get what I consider to be the nicest round brilliant diamond engagement ring for ten thousand dollars (US$10,000). I find that most diamond experts recommend similar options to the ones I will delineate below.

Round cut diamonds look best when they have less color and no visible inclusions. But they must be cut to excellent proportions or they will look dull as in the above example.

So you may think that if this stone costs so much that you don’t stand a chance of finding a real good looking stone. But if you tweak a few of the search parameters you can still find a fantastic stone.

The $10,000 Diamond Ring

Here we go.

Let’s narrow down the search to find you the best stone leaving a decent amount for the setting.

The setting

With a budget of $10,000 total for both the diamond and the setting you will have plenty of diamonds and settings to choose from. Most importantly you’ll be guaranteed to find a diamond over one carat, even if it’s not quite the 1.5 carats we had in the above example. And you will still have enough to cover a platinum ring with sidestones as well.

Here is a fine choice: https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/settings-with-sidestones/platinum-graduated-pave-swirl-engagement-ring-17871p.html

$1500 setting for $10000 engagement ring.
Platinum Graduated Pave Swirl setting for engagement ring. Budget: $10,000 total.

Platinum is the king of metals when it comes to diamond rings. It is stronger than gold so there’s less chance of any stones falling out.

In regards to the size of the diamond, the advantages of getting a diamond over one carat is that the diamond certificate (grading report) is more detailed. The grading report which GIA issues will include a diagram detailing exactly where any inclusions are found in the diamond.

Ok, so here’s how to go about finding the best and most beautiful diamond with this budget of $10,000.

The ring setting which I have chosen for this example is priced today at $1,480*, leaving over $8500 for the diamond itself.

*Precious metals prices change frequently.

Settings are chosen according to personal tastes, so I won’t go into too much more detail on the setting.

The Diamond

What Parameters To Use

(Pssst: You can skip my instructions and have all these parameters entered in for you!

Click here to automatically enter in all these parameters at Jamesallen.com )

Here are the parameters I recommend to use when searching for round cut diamonds in order to get the most brilliance and largest size at the best value:

  • Shape: round
  • Color: I – H
  • Clarity: SI1 – VVS1
  • Cut: TrueHearts
  • Carat: 1.15 -1.xx
  • Price: xxx-$8500
  • Polish: Excellent
  • Symmetry: Excellent
  • Lab: ALL
  • Depth: 60.8%-62.8% (or leave unchecked)
  • Table: 56% – 60.1%
  • Fluorescence: none

For this example we will choose Round. We do this because then we will be shown diamonds which have a cut grade mentioned on the grading report. This makes it possible to just select the Ideal cut option without having to worry about having to enter in the depth and table percentage values.

James Allen offer their own estimation of cut grade and categorize their fancy shapes such as Princess, Emerald, Square, Heart, Marquise, Pear, Oval, and Cushion according to what they deem to be Ideal, Very Good, and Good. GIA, the grading lab, does not offer this information for fancy cuts therefore cut grade won’t be mentioned on the GIA grading reports for fancy cut diamonds.

In the past GIA or AGS were the only labs I recommended. IGI is now producing far more consistent grading reports and therefore you’ll be fine getting a diamond with a grading report from any one of those laboratories.

Here is a sample search.

Conducting the search while only including TrueHearts is my first choice, as it eliminates a huge number of underperforming diamonds that might have some good proportions but still have something about them which is not quite right.

You’ll find that tweaking the settings like as per the afore mentioned criteria makes it so much easier to find the better stones.

Click here to automatically enter in all these parameters at Jamesallen.com

Click to enter in these search parameters at JamesAllen.com
Click to enter in these search parameters at JamesAllen.com

This search turned up a couple of very nice stones for me and I know it will for you too.

25% off your setting with a TrueHearts purchase.
You actually save on the setting with your TrueHearts purchase. Click here to search for TrueHearts diamonds at jamesallen.com

Why TrueHeartsTM

The cut of a diamond not only refers to the diamond’s shape, it also refers to how effectively the diamond returns light back to the viewer’s eye. A well-cut diamond will appear very brilliant and fiery, while a poorly cut diamond can appear dark and lifeless as shown in the first example above. While the example used a K stone, you can see that its dullness is due to the poor cut regardless of its color or clarity.

But an interesting thing happens when you get a well cut diamond: Not only do well-cut diamonds appear more brilliant than their poorly cut counterparts they also tend to appear larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight. When compared to deeply cut diamonds this is not just an optical illusion. An ideal cut diamond has both increased brilliance and increased diameter relative to more deeply-cut diamonds. Make sense? Less of the diamond’s weight is hidden in its pavilion.

Ideal cut diamonds

An Ideal Cut Diamond is a round, brilliant, or princess cut diamond that is cut to ideal proportions and angles, and has excellent polish and symmetry ratings. An Ideal Cut Diamond is perfectly proportioned to refract light, producing that fire and brilliance up through to the table and crown. James Allen offers a nice selection of Ideal Cut Diamonds known as True HeartsTM

Hearts and Arrows True HeartsTM

Seen from above, a Hearts and Arrows diamond shows an arrow pattern. When displayed on its pavilion side, the diamond presents the eye with 8 hearts with tiny ‘v’ shapes. Genuine Hearts and Arrows have these patterns visible at a single glance, indicating that the diamond has perfect optical symmetry.

The Hearts and Arrows collection are the perfect symbol of true love – that’s why they named them TrueHeartsTM. Every diamond from the TrueHeartsTM collection is a lasting masterpiece, a  diamond that has been carefully crafted to get as close to perfection as possible.

Hearts and Arrows diamonds are sold under many names – Hearts on Fire and Leo Diamonds are two popular examples. James Allen takes pride in presenting some of the finest Hearts and Arrows diamonds money can buy – every single TrueHeartsTM diamond they sell is cut and polished at 100X magnification. Furthermore, the exclusive Diamond Display TechnologyTM lets you see any True HeartsTM diamond magnified in 360° so you can see exactly what you are getting.

Understanding Brilliance, Dispersion & Scintillation

A well-cut diamonds exhibit three different properties: brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. As light strikes a diamond’s surface, it will either reflect off the table of a polished stone or enter the diamond. The light that is reflected off the diamond is known as the diamond’s brilliance. As light travels through a stone, some of the light rays are separated into flashes of color. This is known as dispersion. The result of dispersion—the separation of white light into its spectral colors— is known as fire. Scintillation is flashes of color that are viewable as an observer moves a diamond back and forth.

25% off your setting with a TrueHearts purchase.
You actually save on the setting with your TrueHearts purchase. Click here to search for TrueHearts diamonds at jamesallen.com

The Best Place To Buy Oval Diamonds

The result of hundreds of hours of research and comparing is finally in and I can share with you what I deem to be the best places to buy oval diamonds. This is mainly if you are interested in making your purchase online rather than in person. Although I do have a recommendation elsewhere on this website as to the where to look for the best deals on oval diamonds if you want to go to a place in person, this article’s aim is to help you if you are interested in buying your diamond jewelry via a website.

Today’s article will be showcasing a jeweler that provides a very useful service when it comes to buying oval shape diamonds. As explained in more detail below oval shape diamonds come in many different ratios. Some ratios are better than others. The jeweler I am showcasing in this article sorts through the higher quality diamonds held by manufacturers and only allows the ones that meet his strict criteria for optimum ratios to be listed on his website. This jeweler is none other than Brian Gavin.

Brian Gavin Diamonds

This is the direct link to the Oval diamonds that are listed on BrianGavinDiamonds.com right now.

Brian Gavin Diamonds has been chosen to be showcased as one of the best places to buy oval diamonds for a number of reasons. Primarily this online jeweler demonstrates the highest level of care in every aspect of jewelry and diamond production as well as in the area of customer service. Brian Gavin himself is a fifth generation diamond cutter.  This is an advantage which shows in every aspect and is consequently appreciated by the many happy recipients of Brian Gavin jewelry.

The oval diamonds listed on Brian Gavin Diamonds’ website have been selected because they meet the strict criteria set by Brian Gavin.

Diamonds and jewelry within their virtual selection have been chosen because they meet Brian’s strict Select quality standards. These are diamonds that exhibit outstanding cut, color and clarity as demonstrated by their light performance.

These select stones represent the optimum balance between performance and value.

Oval Diamond Buying Tips

There is a range of ratios to choose from when it comes to oval shape diamonds. The optimum ratio is somewhere around 1.5 : 1, though it’s quite unheard of to actually find a diamond that is exactly this ratio. The range most people find pleasing is between 1.3:1 and 1.7:1.

The choice though in the end comes down to personal taste. If you see a shape you like take note of its length to width ratio. Calculating the length to width ratio of a fancy shape diamond such as an oval diamond is very easy. Simply divide the length by the width. These numbers will be found on the diamond’s grading report. Unfortunately the grading reports do not include the calculated ratio. Grading reports will show you three numbers in millimeters. The largest number is the diamond’s length, the smallest number will be the diamond’s depth. This leaves the middle sized number as the diamond’s width.

For example:

Here we have an oval diamond listed on Brian Gavin Diamonds website.

www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/0.750-i-vs1-oval-diamond-gia-s30375

The measurements are shown to be 7.38 x 5.30 x 2.94. These are all in millimeters.

The smallest of these three numbers is 2.94 and this is the diamond’s depth.

The largest is the length, since it is an oval diamond after all, this makes sense.

Divide 7.38 by 5.30 and we get 1.39.

The length to width ratio is therefore shown to be a very acceptable 1.39:1. This is the kind of high quality offerings we can expect to find at Brian Gavin Diamonds.

Oval diamonds exhibit a unique effect called the bow-tie effect. It is a cute little optical effect created by differences in refraction. This occurs at the junction point in the middle of the diamond. The bow-tie effect is somewhat reduced and therefore less obvious in diamonds with the above specified optimum length to width ratios that also have a depth anywhere between 58% to 68%.

 

What is the best metal for diamond rings?

Selecting what metal to use as a setting for your diamond is just as important as choosing the best diamond.

The following are metals that are commonly offered by most retailers:

  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Gold

Pure 24 karat gold is too soft to be used in diamond jewelry.

Silver is not used to set diamonds because of its softness.

Which metal is the best for diamond rings? Most jewelers agree that is is Platinum.

Platinum is the king of metals. Ranking the highest in durability and purity its resistance to wear makes it the most secure and protective metal. Platinum is also rare, making it just as symbolic as the rare diamond you choose for your ring.

Platinum won’t change shape even over a long period of time so the precious stones continue to be held firmly and securely. All precious metals scratch, but due to platinum’s density, when it is scratched, it is merely displaced so it will not actually be losing mass. Gold on the other hand loses very tiny amounts metal when scratched.

Another excellent choice for a diamond ring’s setting is Palladium.

National Jeweler magazine has been educating both the public and jewelry sales teams on the benefits of palladium.

Palladium has been known since 1803 when it was first discovered by William Hyde Wollaston. Palladium was named after the asteroid Pallas, which had been in the news at the time having been first sighted in 1801. Palladium began being used in jewelry around 1939 when smart jewelers realised that it was extremely durable and thereby presented excellent value for high quality jewelry. As a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal, palladium is one of a number of metals in the platinum group of metals. These include platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. Palladium being from this family of precious metals shares the strength of platinum.
Palladium has been found in Australia, Africa, Canada, South America and North America. The vast majority of palladium used in the United States is mined in North America. The Stillwater Mining Company, located in Montana, is the only source of palladium in the United States and has received awards for its green mining practices.

Palladium is strong and durable. Weighing less than platinum because of its low density allows for bigger and bolder jewelry designs to be created. Their extra size doesn’t hamper them being worn with ease. Plus, since it’s naturally white, there’s no expensive maintenance to keep it brilliant for life.

A growing number of fashion-forward jewelry designers have chosen palladium as their metal of choice. Typically less expensive than platinum or gold also makes palladium the preference for smart shoppers who want affordable luxury.

Those allergic to some other metals will love palladium’s purity. Palladium is pure because it gets its color and luster from nature. Other metals that are not naturally white are mixed with nickel to appear white – and nickel can cause allergic reactions.

If you are wondering which metal looks whiter,  pure palladium or pure platinum, consumers often say the two look identical.

Two online retailers that have beautiful diamonds and also offer palladium settings are: DiamondWave, and Diamonds-USA.

Another popular choice for diamond rings is Gold. Eighteen karat gold was considered until recent times to be too soft for diamond jewelry. Modern metallurgical techniques have made it possible to use 18 karat gold in jewelry without the risk of stones falling out. Retailers often market so-called white gold. Gold, as you know, is yellow. Anything labeled as white gold has either been mixed with other alloys and hence is usually 14k gold. This makes it stronger and as a result may look whiter. To make it even whiter gold may have been rhodium dipped, which means it has a surface coating of a whiter metal called rhodium. The rhodium plating is not permanent as rhodium is too soft to be impervious to scratches and abrasion. This means it will eventually need to be re-dipped, as the coating will wear off over time. Rhodium dipped “white gold” is usually very similar in price to palladium, so it would be my recommendation to buy palladium rather than “white gold”, if platinum is beyond the budgetary limits you have set for yourself.

Yellow gold is often the choice for anyone choosing a diamond with slightly more coloring. The contrast of the yellow gold ring when seen next to the very slight coloring of the diamond will make the diamond’s coloring less noticeable. Yellow gold is also nice with colorless diamonds. The yellow color of the gold does not make the diamond look yellow.

Where to Buy The Finest Cut Hearts and Arrows Diamonds

The advent of the Hearts and Arrows effect in the market has become an excellent tool for consumers to see perfection in optical symmetry. Optical symmetry however is somewhat challenging to quantify. The variations between each diamond cutter not to mention the difference between each stone means that certain criteria have yet to be standardized for consumers to avoid discrepancies. Labs grade Color, Clarity and Cut. Hearts and Arrows effect are not something that receives a mention on any lab report. It certainly would be great if this were an aspect that lab reports (diamond certificates) were to make mention of. Diamond Manufacturers do deserve to be rewarded for the excellence shown in the production of optical symmetrical stones. Consumers would also benefit by being able to purchase  assuredly and with comfort.

For this reason one wants to be careful when buying a diamond that is said to be a Hearts and Arrows diamond.

Fortunately it only takes a few minutes to get acquainted with the basics so one knows what to look for.

Hearts and Arrows Diamonds are diamonds that exhibit specific characteristics. They are diamonds that have been cut to ideal proportions and show a pattern of hearts and arrows when seen through a Hearts & Arrows Scope. The arrows are seen when viewing the diamond through its crown, and the hearts pattern is seen when viewing the diamond when its pointy end, the culet, is facing the viewer. While there are slight variations in the exact design of a diamond which shows hearts and arrows, there are characteristics which define hearts and arrows diamonds.

First, they are cut in such a way as to have ideal proportions. Second, they must receive a grade of excellent in terms of optical symmetry and light performance. Third, they must display a specific faceting pattern of hearts and arrows when viewed through a Hearts and Arrows Scope. When all these factors are present the result is a near perfect pattern of eight symmetrical arrows in the face up position and eight symmetrical hearts when viewed in the table down position.

The perfectly shaped hearts are formed when the main pavilion facets are cut at the correct angles and polished with such perfection in symmetry that their reflection results in a perfect heart pattern. Once the perfect heart pattern has been attained, the perfect arrow pattern in the crown results.

To arrive at this state requires meticulous attention to detail at every stage of the diamond’s production. Diamonds in their rough state are octahedral as shown below.

rough diamonds
Diamonds in the Rough. Photo: Brian Gavin

 

This is a photo of rough diamonds as they are after having been extracted from the ground but before being sent to get cut and polished.

The photo was taken by Brian Gavin, one of the worlds most renowned diamond cutters, during his visit with diamond wholesaler Alrosa as he carefully sorted through the precious stones he would select to later work on.

When selecting diamonds to be cut into one of Brian Gavin’s signature cuts, whether the Brian Gavin Hearts and Arrows or the Brian Gavin Cushion Hearts and Arrows there are a slew of specifications that Brian Gavin checks to make sure that the cutting process results in a perfect Hearts and Arrows diamond. Brian Gavin is a skilled diamond cutter who is known to take meticulous care when selecting diamonds he is going to work on.

Cutting diamonds so that the crown and pavilion angle reflect just the right offset requires an experienced cutter. When done according to the optimum calculated angles this process ensures the highest volume of light return and an ideal balance of brilliance (technical term for white sparkle) and dispersion (more easily described as colored sparkle). Another thing that the correct proportions result in is that the sparkle will be broad spectrum. This basically means that it is larger in size, bolder, brighter, and more vivid. As a fifth generation diamond cutter, Brian Gavin knows exactly how to cut diamonds to deliver maximum light performance, and optimize visual performance.

The average diamond cutter has traditionally remained focused on cutting diamonds to retain the maximum amount of carat weight. This often results in compromises.

Brian Gavin is not like all those other cutters. He is one of the few cutters intent on ensuring every diamond is precisely cut to the highest degree of craftsmanship.

Brian Gavin has the requisite skills to accomplish this. After all he is a fifth generation diamond cutter. As creator of his internationally renowned Signature Hearts and Arrows diamond he has become a recognized authority and consultant on diamond cutting and jewelry design. When acquiring a diamond from Brian Gavin you are assured of superior quality and service backed by the knowledge and expertise of five generations of expert diamond cutters. Heritage, history, trust, world-renowned expertise – and the most beautiful diamonds you could hope to lay your eyes on – all that combines, dear reader, as the mark of a Brian Gavin Signature diamond.

 

 

Optical Symmetry is the term used by the industry to describe the precision of facet alignment and shape per section of diamond design, it is not the same “symmetry” grade which appears on diamond grading reports like those issued by the AGS or GIA gemological laboratories. Rather it is a factor of diamond grading which is beyond the knowledge of most jewelry sales people, who mostly rely on the information provided on diamond grading reports to determine the cut quality of the diamonds they sell.

While all of the Brian Gavin Signature Cushion Cut Diamonds like the one shown in the video above, have been graded by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) as having an overall cut grade of AGS Ideal-0, which is the highest cut grade available from the AGSL, it does not take the optical symmetry of the diamonds into account, it is a light performance grading platform.

Light Performance refers to the levels of light return being exhibited by the diamond in terms of the volume of light return and the brightness of the diamond. Optical symmetry has more to do with the production of virtual facets, as well as the number of flashes of light, and the size and  intensity of the sparkle.

The best way to judge diamonds for their ability to produce high levels of sparkle factor, is to look at the optical symmetry of the diamond as seen through various reflector scopes, such as the ASET Scope, Ideal Scope, and Hearts & Arrows viewer. All those various scope images are shown on the diamond details pages for the Brian Gavin Signature Cushion Cut Diamonds.

Where to Buy Vintage Style Diamonds: Old Mine Cushion Diamonds That Sparkle

A few people have been asking me where to get vintage cut diamonds.

The following article talks a little about these antique styles followed by a recommendation on where to find some newly cut diamonds that are similar to the old mine cut but with some remarkable improvements in light performance.

History of The Old Mine Cut

Most Old Mine Brilliants found today are diamonds that have been handed down from generation to generation. These antique diamonds, while charming, are often lacking in many areas. First of all being used diamonds, these antique stones can have many signs of wear, including chips, abrasions, and cracks. These stones, having been cut at a time when diamond cutting technology was not as developed as it is today, are also severely lacking in cut precision. It’s common to see antique Old Mine Brilliants that are lop sided and the poor craftsmanship is easy to spot. In addition to physical symmetry polishers had little to no understanding of light interaction in a diamond and no notion of light performance.

The Gemological Institute of America informs us that centuries ago, diamond cutting was a slow process. The less material the cutter removed from the original rough diamond crystal, the more quickly he completed his work. If a diamond cutter took too long to complete a task they would see their wages cut as a penalty. Therefore, the typical cut during this time was actually a squarish, sometimes slightly oval cushion-brilliant. The name used by most jewelers today when refer to such shapes is the “old mine cut.”

The Old Mine Cut‘s defining characteristics are more often than not a squarish shape. The Old Mine Cut diamond’s top and bottom — that is to say, crown and pavilion — were both much deeper than are found in cuts employed in the shaping of today’s diamonds. In the mid-1800’s  Coster’s Amsterdam diamond cutting house was the largest diamond cutting establishment in the world. It employed a labor-intensive process that included three phases of operation. Each phase required specialized skilled labor to split or cleave the diamonds, cut the diamonds, and finally polish the diamonds.

In the 1870’s a “bruting” machine started being employed which gave the diamond a round outline. The first angle gauges led cutters to use the angles associated with today’s modern cuts. In the year 1900 a second event changed the way diamonds were shaped: the circular saw came into use. This new tool made it a great deal easier to split the typical octahedral-shaped diamond rough crystal into two pieces. This in turn made it possible to cut the smaller top piece into a finished diamond. The technique employed prior to this was to simply grind it away. – A waste of precious diamond which would no longer be necessary. Within the next couple of years many in the industry realized that using the saw saved weight from the common octahedral diamond crystals, which meant that the new proportions could be cut without the type of waste of diamond rough that previous techniques had caused. This change shifted the emphasis from weight recovery to allowing diamonds to be cut into prettier shapes resulting in the many designs which eventually have become the styles that we see today.

Vintage Style Diamond Cut: Cushion Cut

vintage-cushion-halo-ring-with-matching-band
A Cushion Cut Diamond. Available from Ritani.com

The cushion cut diamond had a big increase in popularity over the course of the 19th century. Old mine cuts are often fairly close to and can even be confused with modern cushion cut diamonds. Today, some cushion cut diamonds are actually certified as “old mine brilliants”.

The main difference between Old Mine Cut diamonds and cushion cut diamonds is that Old Mine Cut diamonds have fewer facets which makes the facets larger than you would find in a cushion cut diamond of the same weight.

The cushion cut is basically a modern take on an old style. It has more of the fire, scintillation and brilliance expected in diamonds, while still having a shape reminiscent of the old mine cuts.

Cushion cuts have been in high demand in the past few years, yet it was not until the Canera Antique Cushion came on the scene that anyone had been able to bring out the true chunky faceted style of the Old Mine Cuts and still have the diamond display the optimum light performance that makes a diamond sparkle. In the end this scintillation, fire and brilliance is what diamonds are most famous for.

Diamond manufacturers have been known to re-cut old diamonds in order to update their “look” as contemporary cuts.

You’re probably wondering, “Hang on! That’s going to make the diamond smaller!”

You are absolutely right.

Reshaping a diamond will reduce its weight. No two ways about it.

But it’s often considered a necessity. The manufacturer/jeweler can’t be certain vintage styled diamond will come back into vogue. But styles often do cycle around. What seems dated in one decade given 20 to 30 years becomes “vintage” and you start seeing a renewed interest.

It has become evident that the cycle has come around again. Jewelers, trades people and consumers have again come to appreciate the beauty of the antique faceting seen in these timeless diamonds.

Antique style diamonds have a special charm so it’s no surprise that the interest in vintage jewelry has increased dramatically of late.

While it’s not great to re-cut a diamond, because of the reduction in its size, the truth is that many old style diamonds did not have good light performance. They lacked the fire, brilliance and scintillation because the technology used to both plan, cut and measure the result was inferior to what is available today.

Improvements in cutting technology and techniques make it possible to recreate those antique cuts with minor adjustments which result in improved light performance.

Victor Canera is a diamond cutter in Los Angeles California that saw the charm of the old mine cut. He applied his expertise to improve the light performance of this style and the Canera Antique Cushion was born.

He created a unique cut that

An antique/vintage style diamond: The Canera Antique Cushion

The above diamond can be found here:
www.victorcanera.com/diamonds/55416k-2.017-h-vs2-ideal-antique-cushion

The above diamond has an Ideal or 0 Cut grade which is the highest cut grade issued by AGS. An AGS Ideal Cut diamond is considered by many to be one of finest cut diamonds in the world. An Ideal cut grade is reached by factoring in polish, symmetry, proportions and performance scores of a diamond.

The Canera Antique Cushion is a high performance cushion cut diamond. As touched on earlier, the old mine cut diamonds of the 19th and early 20th century did not have the benefit of the advancements in light performance that we have today and therefore did not display the optimum traits that the new designs exhibit. The Canera Antique Cushion designed by Victor Canera combines both the charm of the old style cuts while benefiting from the advancements in the science of light performance.

Within its beautiful “pillowy” outline, the Canera Antique Cushion employs an antique facet pattern inspired by Old Mine Brilliant diamonds of centuries past. This type of faceting is commonly referred to as being “broad faceted” or “chunky faceted”. These terms accurately describe the large, optimally tuned facets employed in the Canera Antique Cushion that reflect broad flashes of light compared to modern diamonds that have a more “splintery” reflective character.

Left: AGS000 Generic Antique Cushion with “mushy” appearance caused by virtual facets. Right: an AGS000 Canera Antique Cushion

The Canera Antique Cushion is a high performance vintage cushion cut diamond having optimal optical symmetry and ideal light performance and can be found exclusively at VictorCanera.com.

I invite you to view Victor Canera’s current offering of loose Canera Antique Cushion Diamonds and see why the lucky owners of this gem, call it one of the finest cushion cut diamonds in the world.

 

Where can I buy the best diamond close to 1 carat for under $5000?

When speaking of “best” we have to consider that there can be subtle differences in taste, however it is generally agreed that the diamond should not look dull and lifeless. Therefore a diamond that can be deemed to provide the best value while displaying fine features will always be one that has the highest quality cut, highest grade of polish, have the highest grades in terms of proportion and will have optimum ratios. It will also have as few inclusions/clouds/feathering as possible so as not to detract from its beauty.

Having said that, choosing a diamond within budget will, with few exceptions, involve some form of compromise. It is generally a matter of finding those compromises which are acceptable.

(if the specific diamonds I showcase in this post are no longer available by the time you read this post, hopefully the information here will help you to find your own ideal diamond within your budget)

So here goes.

To stay under $5000 I began my search among the diamonds that are just under 1 carat. The price per carat does jump once the diamond reaches 1 carat, as is the case at several weight points. This means that the best bargains are to be found just below the whole, quarter, half, or three quarter carat markers.

First stop will be BlueNile.com

Setting the search parameters to include all diamonds that are $4900-$5000 will give us way too many hits. So I have narrowed the search by including only those diamonds that have been give an Ideal Cut grade or better, and an H to G color grade. The clarity grade I have chosen is VVS1 to VVS2. I’ve left the carat search field as is so we can see everything that this search gives us.

diamond search $5000 close to 1 caratOf the 21 diamonds this search turns up there are two for which BlueNile offers us 360 degree views. Taking a closer look at those two diamonds GIA reports I can see that one of them lists Pinpoint, Needle, Cloud amongst its clarity characteristics.

Therefore I will eliminate that diamond from my shortlist.

The one which will make it onto my shortlist is this one:

0.90-Carat Round Diamond

Stock number LD08079367
Price per carat $5,466
Carat weight 0.90
Shape Round
CutIdeal
Color H
Clarity VVS1
Length/width ratio 1.01
Depth % 62.6%
Table % 57.0%
Polish Excellent
Symmetry Very Good
Girdle Medium to Slightly Thick
Culet None
Fluorescence None
Measurements 6.17 x 6.09 x 3.83 mm

We can see here that the price per carat is over $5000 and it would be unrealistic at this point in time to expect to get a 1 carat diamond without compromising in other areas such as quality of cut, clarity, color, which quite frankly are usually a lot more disappointing than a very small compromise in size.

 

Looking at this diamond’s GIA report we can see that there is a mention of “feather”. This is pretty common and sometimes the feather is a very minor internal flaw. But without a more detailed report we can’t actually see how much feathering there is in this diamond. A less detailed report like this does cost less than a full work up, but the compromise in this case results in some unknowns.

Apart from that minor concern, everything else looks great. No fluorescence to worry about, Symmetry is “very good”, which means it could be better, but the 360 degree view shows us that it’s very close to being “excellent”.

The next place we will look is at VictorCanera.com

VictorCanera stands out among the diamond jewelers I list here on MyTop10DiamondWebsites.com because Victor Canera is one of the jewelers that doesn’t actually stock any diamonds that one would regret buying. All the stock listed on their site is owned by Victor Canera. To see more about the difference between owned stock and virtual stock please see this post here.This allows Victor Canera to only select diamonds that are up to their standards.

Essentially it boils down to Victor Canera establishing a business that is not a sales machine but whose aim is to create beautiful things that people will truly love to own.

This all makes searching for diamonds much easier at VictorCanera.com than at many other websites as you aren’t faced with any dud diamonds.

Today’s search at VictorCanera.com turns up a beautiful diamond that is within the goal of being under $5000.

0.892 ct H – SI1 Canera Ideal Hearts Diamond

0.892 ct H - SI1 Canera Ideal Hearts Diamond under $5000
0.892 ct H – SI1 Canera Ideal Hearts Diamond under $5000

The diamond has had its lab report issued by AGS which is preferred by diamond cutters who have their own signature cut. Victor Canera explains why:

“AGS’ ground-breaking research in Cut and Light Performance has immensely contributed to the understanding of diamonds. AGS is considered the authority in the Cut analysis of diamonds.” – Victor Canera

 

Comparing this Victor Canera Ideal Hearts Diamond to the diamond listed at Blue Nile above we can see that this one’s symmetry is much better in terms of length to width ratio. The Victor Canera diamond is has almost identical length and width with a tiny tiny difference of .02 mm, whereas the one listed at Blue Nile has a difference between length and with of a gaping .08 mm. The near perfect symmetry of Victor Canera’s diamond plays an important role in this diamond receiving such a high rating from AGS on its Platinum Light Performance Diamond Quality Report.

What makes this diamond the winner is that it is a Canera Ideal Hearts.

As I mentioned above the high quality of Victor Canera diamonds begins with the selection of the world’s best rough diamonds. The diamond in the rough, is passed on to master diamond cutters who represent centuries of amassed knowledge of diamond cutting. The experience and skill of the polisher is further enhanced with the use of the world’s most modern diamond polishing technologies. After the rough diamond is polished, the stone is further inspected and only stones exhibiting ideal optical symmetry through hearts and arrows patterns continue to the next stage. And of course to make sure that only the best of the best are included in Victor Canera inventory the verification of Canera Ideal Hearts, Hearts and Arrows Diamonds is done through AGS Laboratories. The AGS labs are known as being one of the most rigorous laboratories in the world. Affirming its precision, Canera Ideal Hearts diamonds always achieve the distinction of receiving AGS Laboratory’s highest scores of 0 or Ideal, for Cut, Polish, Symmetry and Light Performance otherwise known as AGS 000.

Hopefully this write up will help you find your ideal diamond. Also you will be glad to know that you can call Victor Canera and arrange a free consultation. (Let him know Thomas J Stevens from mytop10diamondwebsites.com referred you, if you can.)

Alternately please send me your question through the contact form.

Your question will be used as a starting point for another blog post (though I’ll email the recommendation to you first so you can have a chance to reserve the diamond I recommend).

Happy diamond hunting.

Where Can I Buy Hand-Forged Bespoke Engagement Rings (Custom Unique Rings), Earrings, Pendants, Bracelets.

Anyone who understands the difference between hand forged and wax cast jewelry knows that in terms of quality, cast based production brings some compromises into the process. Hand forged jewelry, made by a master craftsman has a lot of things going for it. Wax cast jewelry is by far the most common method of creating custom rings and works fairly well for the majority of jobs. But the art of hand forging jewelry still is reminiscent of the craftsmanship reserved for royalty.

There are several marked differences between wax cast jewelry and hand forged jewelry. With hand forged jewelry the master craftsman has control over each individual part of the design. Wax cast jewelry tends to be susceptible to a collection of minor problems. There can be cases where wax cast jewelry may have one or more of the following deficiencies: porosity and pinpoints from air bubbles, less precise joints, imperfections in cathedral openings or in underside baskets, have more of a wavy surface (from the cleaning of the casting mold), and can also result in a heavier yet weaker piece. None of these are disastrous problems but if the piece is affected to a noticeable degree the jeweler will have to have the piece recast. However these problems can be avoided altogether by employing a master craftsman who hand forges the jewelry.

hand forged custom ring
Hand Forged Vintage French Cut Halo Solitaire Ring See this ring at VictorCanera.com

The technological improvements in automation and mass manufacturing have still not dethroned hand forged jewelry as a method to produce jewelry of the highest quality. An expertly hand crafted piece of jewelry has a smoother finish, and is surprisingly lighter while being stronger than an equivalent piece made by wax casting.

One of the finest craftsmen who not only produces remarkable pieces, but who also stocks the finest cut diamonds imaginable is Victor Canera.

Victor Canera is an atelier studio in California that physically produces jewelry. With decades of accumulated knowledge in creating jewelry, they can provide sound advice based on their extensive experience producing jewelry as to what is possible with handmade jewelry.

An example of Victor Canera’s work is shown here. The above video is of the Emilya Halo Solitaire, which has a U-Cut pavé used throughout. This feature, accomplished by using the special tools at the Victor Canera atelier, maximizes the size of the pavé diamonds while at the same time minimizing the amount of seen metal. This hand forged ring in precious platinum features a 4ct Canera Ideal Hearts & Arrows Round diamond. A halo of Single Cut pavé surrounds the center stone. The name used to describe the way the shank is adorned is “shallow U-Cut” Single Cut pavé otherwise known as cut down.

What about cost?

Yes hand forged jewelry will not be in the same price category as wax cast jewelry. But there are ways that you can avoid extra costs by carefully choosing the right options as to how the ring is to be made.

Victor Canera has the following advice:

Labor Costs within the Context of Hand Forged Jewelry

Hand Fabricated and Hand Forged Jewelry is extremely labor intensive as compared to other forms of jewelry manufacturing such as using CAD\CAM and casting. We feel very strongly though from our decades of experience in jewelry production that hand forged jewelry is superior in craftsmanship and quality to CAD\CAM and cast manufactured jewels in almost every aspect. 

It is not unusual for just the base metal work (hand fabrication) of a ring to take many days to complete. This time consuming nature of hand fabricated jewelry means that a significant portion of the cost of a jewel are made up by labor costs. Any changes in a ring design therefore that reduces manufacturing time would in turn decrease the cost of a ring. 

This can apply directly to Intricate and Ornamental Ring Profiles of some designs that feature “filigree” or “ajour” which substantially add to the time it takes to manufacture a ring and therefore its cost (Fig. 2). Many shoppers aren’t aware of this fact and we believe it’s important for a consumer to do a cost to benefit analysis of intricate profiles by asking for a break down of the added cost of these profiles.

In summary, simplifying the profile of a ring by eliminating ajour (with or without pave), filigree or other designs can lead to significant cost savings without effecting the top down view of a ring.
hand-forged-Rings-compared
Two Victor Canera Ring Profiles Left:Intricate Filigree Profile. Right:Simplified Profile.

Pavé Set engagement ring designs have been very popular in recent years. One option, if you’re trying to reduce the overal labor cost is to consider decreasing the amount of pavé from parts of a ring. This reduces both diamond carat weight which would be a significant part of the overall cost and also reduces labor costs. Victor Canera passes those savings on directly to the consumer. Eliminating pavé on the band of a ring can substantially reduce costs. Aside from cost reduction, omitting pavé on a band produces a glossy beautiful appearance. Other small ways of saving costs would be foregoing pavé from the stems of a ring design or the donut. In summary, any time pavé is decreased there is a net cost savings to the consumer.

Two Victor Canera Hand Forged Engagement Rings. Left:Pave Band. Right: Plain Band
Two Victor Canera Hand Forged Engagement Rings. Left:Pavé Band. Right: Plain Band
Other cost saving tips:

With Trilogy Engagement Rings, otherwise known as three stone rings, the carat weight, measurements and quality of the side diamonds are a major part of the cost, and selecting smaller and lower grade diamonds for the sides can result in considerable cost savings. For example, selecting E-VS1 side diamonds with a total carat weight of 1.00ct would be costlier than choosing 0.80ct stones that are H Color and VS2-Si1 clarity. It is safe in most instances to simply use “eye clean” clarity for the side diamonds while going a shade or so lower in color than the center stone. The difference in color would be very difficult to distinguish especially if the center diamond and side diamonds employ different facet patterns. Trilogy designs that use tapered baguette side stones or trapezoid shaped side diamonds are also priced out in millimeter lengths. For example, tapered baguettes that measure 6mm long each are priced higher than 5mm tapered baguettes even if they theoretically had the same carat weight. See this example:

hand-forged-Trilogies-with-Varying-Side-Stone-Sizes
Top: 1.70ct Center w. 0.80ct Sides. Bottom: 1.9ct Center w. 0.45ct sides.

Browse Victor Canera’s engagement ring page for ideas and contact him today to have your custom ring hand forged.