Hi Danny, I’m in the process of shopping for an engagement ring and have been reading your blog. I noticed on the web site that Brian Gavin offers a custom diamond cutting service and am wondering whether it is more cost effective to buy a diamond with a lower cut quality and have it recut as a Hearts and Arrows diamond, or simply pick one from the existing inventory. I’m looking to find something in the range of 1.50 – 1.60 carats, 100% eye clean, with no visible color, to be set in a platinum classic knife edge style solitaire. I look forward to your recommendations. – David A.
Thank you for contacting me about Brian Gavin’s custom diamond cutting service, while we are certainly capable of recutting diamonds to the level of optical symmetry necessary for the diamond to exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts and Arrows, it is not an approach which I recommend people shopping for diamonds take as an approach to save money. For one thing, there are already several options available within the range of quality you describe, readily available within the inventory of Brian Gavin Signature Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds.
Based upon your description of a diamond which is 100% eye clean, with no visible color, suitable for setting in a platinum classic style knife edge solitaire, I conducted a search of our Signature Diamond inventory for round brilliant cut diamonds weighing between 1.50 – 1.70 carats, F to G color, VS-2 to VS-1 in clarity, and there are currently five options available. Now I'd like to point out that the majority of our SI-1 clarity diamonds are going to be "eye clean" to most people from a distance of 9-12 inches, which is the industry standard for making that determination, and that you could probably even push the diamond color out to H-I color without detecting any real color in the diamond, but if we're going to be ultra conservative, then F/G color, VS clarity is a suitable range for you to consider.
Consideration Factors when Re-cutting a Diamond:
You will need to purchase a diamond of a much larger carat weight than the weight of the finished diamond will be. If you’re hoping to end up with a polished diamond weighing between 1.50 – 1.60 carats, you are likely going to have to start out with a diamond which weighs between 1.90 – 2.25 carats. There is a substantial increase in the price per carat (PPC) of diamonds which occurs between the 1.99 – 2.00 carat marks, so you’re going to spend a lot of money on diamond material which is going to be lost on the cutting room floor. This is a normal part of the diamond cutting process, during the production process of cutting the diamonds featured in our Signature and Blue collections, it is not uncommon for as much as 60 – 70% of the original diamond rough to be lost. While this might seem a bit surprising at first, consider how much marble must have been chipped away from the original block which Michelangelo carved his statue of David out of.
In addition, there are many variables which need to be taken into account when evaluating a diamond for recutting, not the least of which is the crystal structure of the diamond. And this is something which needs to be carefully evaluated by Brian the Cutter, it is not something which is feasible with a diamond which you don’t already own… you could waste a lot of time selecting diamonds as potential candidates, and spend a small fortune shipping diamonds back and forth for evaluation, in an attempt to find an option which might work.
The size, extent, and location of the inclusions also need to be taken into account. Each diamond needs to be scanned using state-of-the-art computerized equipment which helps us plan the cutting options for each diamond. This process will verify the proportions of the diamond, identify the inclusions, and help us to determine which option is best for cutting the diamond for maximum yield of carat weight, light return, and visual performance. During the cutting process, the clarity and color grade of the diamond is subject to change, and there is no way to know what the final outcome is going to be until the cutting process is complete and the diamond is sent to the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL) for grading.
Risk Factors when Re-cutting a Diamond:
And there is always the possibility that the diamond crystal might be damaged or shatter during the cutting process, which applies an immense amount of pressure upon the surface of the diamond. It is not feasible for Brian Gavin to assume the risk for recutting a piece of diamond which he did not personally select for that purpose, and so you bare the risk of losing the money which you invested to purchase the original diamond.
Frankly speaking, it does not pencil out to spend all that time shopping for diamonds which might be suitable candidates to be recut into a Hearts and Arrows Diamond, when numerous options already exist within our inventory of Signature Hearts and Arrows Diamonds. The best use of our custom diamond cutting service is for when the diamond which you are looking for absolutely does not exist, and then Brian can search for a suitable piece of diamond rough to produce the diamond from as a custom order, or for people who own a diamond which has been damaged, and in need of repair.