In 2009, master diamond cutter Brian Gavin started Brian Gavin Diamonds (BGD Diamonds), a diamond store that offers the pricing advantages of an online diamond discounter with the cut precision requirements of a fifth-generation South African diamond cutter. His vision was to provide diamond buyers with the knowledge and technology to select a beautiful and thoroughly unique stone that goes beyond the 4 C’s of color, cut, clarity and carat weight.
Why Cut is the Most Important (and least expensive) of the 4C’s of Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight.
In our book, Buying a Diamond Online is Easy (available on Amazon.com), we make the comment that the only true variable in question on many stones is cut. The other three are captured well on a reputable lab’s diamond certificate. Technology at these diamond grading labs allows the graders to test these variables well beyond the capability of the unaided human eye. The exacting standards of diamond grading labs such as GIA and AGS provide extensive “non-human” judgement. This is because clarity and color, are made by nature (carat weight is too but it is just, well, weight) which means they are reasonably clear cut (no pun intended). Cut, on the other-hand, is man made and is the mechanism that generates the brilliance and sparkle that you see (or don’t) on every stone. A well-cut stone will take mediocre color and clarity and maximize the presentation of the stone. It is also the highest “value per dollar spent” of the 4Cs because it is man-made. One in 5000 stones possess the highest clarity level achievable – Internally Flawless, and one in 5000 stones posses the highest color level achievable – D. “Ideal” (Excellent) cut stones represent about 5% of those in the market or about 1 out of 20. “Super Ideal” cut, such as those sold at Brian Gavin Diamonds are far fewer in number.
This means that Brian Gavin’s obsession with a diamond’s cut is quite important in your decision. More importantly, it is in his DNA because he is a generational diamond cutter from the diamond cutting capital of the world – South Africa…
Super Ideal is not captured in a diamond certificate, but rather in the philosophical beliefs of the diamond specialist.
Brian Gavin puts forth a convincing argument about why his Hearts and Arrows Signature Diamond is superior to most other diamonds, and it all comes down to light performance…
Gavin says the precise cuts of the best diamonds create “virtual facets” that reduce light leakage and increase sparkle and brilliance. He goes on to prove this with a device that measures light leakage called and Ideal Scope and another that measures light reflection called an Aset Scope. These two devices also show the eight hearts and eight arrows pattern on the diamond with great detail – all of which is shown on each diamond’s individual “page” at BrianGavinDiamonds.com.
Each stone sold at Brian Gavin Diamonds has a detailed page about the gem. This is not unusual for an online diamond dealer: both Blue Nile and James Allen (the other two of our top three online diamond dealers) have a diamond page as well. The difference is the level of detail that each online store provides. In a nutshell, here is what you will see on each:
|Brian Gavin||Blue Nile||James Allen|
|Actual Diamond 3D Image||Yes||Sometimes||Yes|
|Ability to Build the Engagement Ring Online||Yes||Yes||
|Eye clean view (2X)||Yes||Sometimes||Yes|
|Rotating 3D View||40X||Sometimes||20X|
|Ideal Scope View (light leakage)||Yes||No||No|
|Aset Scope View (intensity of light return)||Yes||No||No|
Diamond Certificate – Buying a diamond without a certificate is a lot like buying a preowned car without an inspection – you simply cannot do it. You must have a diamond certificate. A diamond certificate provides information about the 4C’s of the diamond that most people (including most diamond retailers) cannot call correctly. Moreover, it thwarts off a lot of the “bad eggs” in the business that would take advantage of you if you would let them. Our favorite is GIA, followed by AGS. BGD diamonds are all certified, most by either GIA or AGS.
A diamond is nothing if you cannot do something with it. All reputable online diamond stores have a “build engagement ring online” feature as part of their offering. As one would expect, Brian Gavin has some amazing settings, even for those whose standards require something a little more bespoke. Many of the settings are along the lines of “custom engagement rings online,” a term used loosely throughout the online diamond industry.
The first screen on their diamond page is what’s called an eye clean view. It’s the view of your diamond from the unaided eye – sort of. BGD Diamonds actually-shows you a 2X view, so that you can be confident that what you see, unaided, is not worse that what you would see in real life. All the technology that can spot inclusions (tiny crystals in the diamond) and other imperfections might concern the average person – but the reality is that most diamonds have them and those that don’t are out of the price range of mere financial mortals. The bottom line is that if you can’t see imperfections in the eye-clean view then no one else will either…
The two next screens are BGD Diamonds two different rotating 3D views. We love these because they provide a 40X viewing of your diamond – about 4 times closer than a jeweler’s lope (i.e. 10x) – the kind that is used at a typical retail jewelry store. More importantly, the two views provide at great view of either brilliance or sparkle…
Brilliance – Brilliance is a measurement of light. When you see two stones and one is more brilliant than the other, many people know it immediately. If not they know it subconsciously. Brian Gavin provides a 40x rotating view of your diamond’s brilliance.
Sparkle – Sparkle is the flashes of light as a diamond moves through the world – being struck by interior and outside light along the way. This is particularly mesmerizing at BGD because they are one of the only online stores that show this. Brian Gavin Diamonds provides a 40x rotating view of your diamond’s sparkle
The final two BGD views are the Ideal Scope and Aset Scope View.
The ideal scope is a patented diamond light measurement device. It looks for weaknesses in the cut where light leaks where it shouldn’t. In a word, it shows very directly where light is leaking out through “not tight” cutting. A well-cut diamond viewed through an ideal scope with not show significant light leakage in between facets or other areas.
The asset scope serves a similar purpose to the ideal scope in that it shows light leakage in a diamond. It also has the added benefit of showing the intensity of the light returned to the top of the diamond.
The Ideal Scope view and Aset Scope view are fundamental to the BGD Diamonds selection process and should be thoroughly understood before you select a diamond.
Brian Gavin is not a cookie cutter online diamond store. In fact, you will get more diamond information from BGD that you would from even the most high end diamond retailers in most cases. This level of specialization costs a little more. Pricing is still significantly less than most diamond retailers, but not rock bottom. For those that want rock bottom pricing without the intimate diamond detail that Brian Gavin Diamonds offers, we recommend James Allen or Blue Nile. They offer highly graded GIA diamonds at prices that are nearly impossible to beat. The challenge of course is that if you believe that a diamond is not just a commodity, know that you will not know your diamond intimately. That’s fine for some, but others want the level of detail the BGD Diamonds offers.
We think Brian Gavin’s return policy is fair, but you need to know that (at the date of this writing) it is 15 days. This is more than enough time if you plan accordingly, but if you are traveling to a destination to present your engagement ring, make sure you know when the clock starts ticking.
Overall, Brian Gavin offers a compelling product that is replete with quality that even the highest-level diamond aficionado would appreciate. We recommend Brian Gavin Diamonds for the discriminating diamond buyer who is also price conscious.