Reader Tom wrote to us asking:
Hi, I’m just starting out my search and would appreciate some recommendations based off the following parameters. Looking for cushion cut, square shape, with “chunky” look. Aiming for 1.25 carat or above. Everything I’ve read so far is recommending G color (or better) with VS2 clarity (or better). The setting will be platinum. Budget is $8-$9k. Recommendations from both James Allen and Brian Gavin would be very helpful.
Tom, do you have a setting in mind? In sticking with your budget, I’d like to understand how much of the $8-$9K should be set aside for the setting. A platinum setting generally starts at just shy of $1,000 for a simple solitaire setting (example), $1500 to $2,000 for a elegant pave (example), and $3000+ for very intriquet or branded (example).
The link to the pave setting you provided is exactly the one I’m considering at James Allen. The setting cost in not included in the $8-9k range I mentioned previously (all in, I’m at $10-11k). Here’s the example I was given and am trying to match (but not pay 3x price): http://www.davidyurman.com/products/wedding/engagement-rings/dy-capri-engagement-ring-collection-/dy-capri-pave-engagement-ring-in-platinum-wr1056pl.html?lpos=PLP-3&item=wr1056cpl&source=plp
Final Recommendations for Tom
With a platinum setting (or any white metal), you’re good to go with an I color stone or better. In terms of clarity, at the end of the day, eye clean is eye clean. This means that you can get away with an SI1 (or even an SI2) but it just requires a more exhaustive (read: longer) search.
Here’s a list of recommendations from James Allen:
$7,610 – James Allen Cushion Cut 1.51 carat I color SI1 clarityRecommendation 2:
$7,620 – James Allen Cushion Cut 1.40 carat H color SI1 clarityRecommendation 3:
$8,490 – James Allen Cushion Cut 1.30 carat G color VS2 clarity
In terms of the performance, I like stones 1 and 2 above. There’s a good degree of scintillation which is what really differentiated these two from the larger list of stones. For these two stones, you will notice that they have small inclusions but should still be eye clean (the James Allen gemologist can double check this). HINT: You can also test this by shrinking the image to about 1cm across. You’ll notice the inclusion is no longer visible.
The 3rd stone in the list is a nice all round candidate. Though you’re paying a little more for the color, but what end up with is a nice chunky stone with good L/W ratio (1.10) and very nice scintillation and good fire.
Now, I know you mentioned also looking at Brian Gavin. You’ll definitely guaranteed to get a superb stone as Brian Gavin has Hearts and Arrows Cushion Cut Diamond which is unique to the industry. Because they are cut to the high standards that is synonymous to BGD, the diamonds take the guess work out of shopping for a beautiful cushion cut stone as they are all super ideal cut quality. Let me know if you’re still interested in a Brian Gavin (as you mentioned that setting you picked out was from James Allen) and I’ll be happy to extend the list of recommendations to include a few candidates from Brian Gavin.
Let us know which stone you end up with and how it looks when it arrives!