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.

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.

15% off Select Diamond Jewelry

Here’s a nice little treat for you: a direct link to the selected items at Blue Nile that have been marked down by 15%!
15% off Select Diamond Jewelry

What’s more, if you order by 4 pm on December 27th, you will receive your order by New Years Eve! This is likely going to be a great opportunity to pick up some gorgeous treasures, whether you are planning for Valentine’s Day, or it’s someone’s birthday, or you are getting yourself something special.

Click above image to go directly to diamond sale at blue nile

Finding The Best 2 Carat Round Brilliant Diamond. Budget=$25000

If you want to spend a larger sum on a larger diamond you’ll want to feel some assurance that it is going to be worth the price you have paid for it. The reasons for spending big will of course vary, however I am going to assume here that a budget of $25,000 is accompanied with a desire for not only a large but an exceedingly beautiful diamond.

Is is possible to spend $25,000 and end up with a dull stone?

To be quite frank it’s not that easy to find a dull diamond at that price as long as you stick to our recommended list of jewelers. They know that it is not worth stocking dull and inferior diamonds. It just creates extra hassle with having to deal with unsatisfied customers.

They haven’t built up their reputations as high quality reliable business by taking shortcuts.

So it is comforting to know that we are only going to be tweaking things a little to make sure we have the best performing diamond, truly deserving of its price tag.

If the budget is $25,000 and the aim is to find a 2 carat diamond, we can make sure to eliminate any under-performers by trying to find diamonds with a grading report (diamond certificate) issued by AGS Laboratories.

Why? Because there is a very useful feature included on a certain type of AGS grading report which the lab has been issuing in the past few years. It is the Platinum Light Performance Diamond Quality Document.

Not the kind of document name you can turn into an easily pronounceable acronym, but nonetheless a very useful document.

I like what AGS says on their website:

<< Begin Quotes >>

There are several patented technologies encompassing the system with enough technobabble to satisfy the nerdiest among us.

However, the IDEAS behind the system are based on good old common sense.

The complex pattern of light and dark in the diamond is really a fun house view of the surrounding world.

<< End Quotes >>

Read the rest here: http://www.agslab.com/light-performance-cut-grade.php

If you’re like most people and don’t feel like studying table percentage values just to choose a diamond don’t feel overwhelmed. As stated above, most 2 carat diamonds with a value of $25,000 are top performers and there won’t be that many to choose from. The easiest way to perform this search is to set your search values to include diamonds over 2 carats, and close to $25,000. You’ll see that most diamond jewelers only have diamonds that are Excellent/Ideal cuts or Very Good cuts. Once you have narrowed down your search to a couple of diamonds, check to see if it is an AGS grading report and have a look at the grading report. Some places even let you select only those diamonds that have an AGS grading report ( James Allen for example). The majority of Brian Gavin Diamonds are graded by AGS.

choosing-a-2-carat-diamond-for-25000-dollars-three-ags-certificates
Click image to enlarge

 

The search parameters I used to locate the above diamonds can be used at

 

 

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Where Can I Find A Jeweler Who Sells Heart Shaped Diamonds?

Heart Diamonds at Brick and Mortar Jewelers

Very few brick-and-mortar jewelers have more than one or two heart diamonds in stock. Many do not stock any heart diamonds at all. The few who do are rarely able to offer much of a selection. However do not let this deter you if you know a jeweler that has been recommended to you. Any jeweler will be able to order a heart diamond in for you. A good jeweler will get to know your requirements as well as limitations and help you find exactly what you need. If you haven’t already received recommendations to local jewelers from friends or people you know then you could use FindMyJewelerTM .  This is a list compiled after DiamondHelpers conducted secret shopper tests to find which jewelers in the USA are helpful, have  friendly customer service, a no-pressure approach, honesty, good selection, quality inventory, and product knowledge, with competitive prices.  . The requirements were quite stringent and only the very finest businesses ended up passing the tests. This is a very good service and very useful if you prefer walking into a jewelry store and dealing with your jeweler face to face. I highly recommend checking it out. Read more about FindMyJeweler

Heart Diamonds at Online Jewelers

If you prefer to buy online, or are not in the USA and therefore the above mentioned list is of no use to you then here is a list of jewelers who not only sell heart diamonds, but they passed our test and were found to be offering excellent service and generous return policies among other outstanding features.

Jewelers offering a large selection of heart diamonds:

Jewelers with a modest selection of heart diamonds in stock:

 

 

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