An educated purchase

Only life’s most precious moments deserve the beauty, the elegance, and the timeless majesty of a Black by Brian Gavin®. So before you buy, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision.

Even if you don’t select a Black by Brian Gavin, we want you to know what makes all diamonds so special. Everyone should have a little bit of diamond education.

Carat and karat are different.

A carat is the the unit of weight for diamonds and other precious stones.

A karat is the measurement of the purity of gold.

A carat is the standard unit of weight for diamonds and most other precious stones. One carat is the equivalent of .20 (-1/5th) of a gram or 200 milligrams. For smaller diamonds, you might see weight expressed as “points,” with one point equaling 1/100 of a carat. 100 points = 1 carat (1.00ct). Often when people speak about the weight of a diamond, they often use the term size.

The Black by Brian Gavin® Approach to Carat

To capture the height of beauty from your diamond, it’s important to consider not just carat alone, but rather as well as the overall craft of the stone overall. A well-cut and beautifully polished diamond with precise symmetry and proportions will have more fire and more brilliance, and give the overall impression that it is larger than a stone of equal weight with imprecise proportions and a lesser cut . Diamond weight isn’t everything. What people notice most and what increases a diamond’s wow factor is the way it transmits light back to the viewer’s eye—which is affected more by cut than any other factor.

In the U.S., the average diamond engagement ring sold today has a weight of about ¾ ct.

Fancy colors

Diamonds outside the normal color range are called fancy-colored diamonds. Fancy-colored diamonds exhibit more color than a Z stone. Colors may include red, purple, green, pink, yellow, blue, orange, and brown.

Diamonds come in a wide range of subtle color variations, even though many diamonds appear to be colorless to the naked eye. The typical color range of commercial diamonds is from colorless (white) to varying tints of yellow and brown becoming more prevalent moving down the color scale.

Making the Grade

Although the color grades affect the value of a diamond, color is a personal preference and we think you should select your diamond based on what brings you the most joy, and not make the selection solely based on cost.

The American Gem Society (AGS) uses numerical values for color 1 through 10, 1 representing the least amount of color and 10 the most color. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) color scale is another widely used color grading system. Their color grades range from D to Z (D has the least color; Z has the most).

Size and Color

As diamonds become larger, their color can become more noticeable. Small diamonds, commonly known as “melee” (in sizes less than .05cts) are harder to color grade and are often represented as a color range. Even under bright unnatural lighting, like in a jewelry store, it can be difficult to discern small variations in a diamond’s color. That is, unless you compare two stones with a color variation side-by-side.

The Black by Brian Gavin Approach to Color

All Black by Brian Gavin diamonds are colorless to the naked eye, falling within the graded color range of (AGS 0 – 1.5). While color should be considered when purchasing a diamond, overall light performance is a more noticeable and significant feature. A round, optimally cut diamond returns more light to the eye and shows less color than a stone of a lesser cut.

With Black by Brian Gavin, you get the best of both worlds: a diamond in the colorless range, plus the finest diamond craftsmanship in the world for a truly exquisite work of art.

How Clarity Ratings Are Done

The industry standard clarity grading is done with a loupe of 10X (10-Power). Diamond grades are always determined at 10X.

What Does “eye clean” Mean?

The term eye-clean is used to describe diamonds that have no visible inclusions to the naked eye when viewed in the face-up position from no closer than 9" to 12". This is the way most diamonds are seen in their setting.

Essential to a diamond’s wow factor is its clarity. Surprisingly, clarity is not rated by how clear the diamond is, but rather by the presence of anything that makes it less clear. These include internal features, called inclusions and external surface irregularities called blemishes.

Combined, we call them clarity characteristics.

Inclusions and Blemishes

Internal inclusions are caused by any material trapped inside the stone during its formation, as well as any growth irregularities. The size and number of inclusions, their degree of visibility, and their position in the diamond are all considerations in the quality and value of a stone. Blemishes include features like scratches or nicks on the surface of the diamond.

Clarity Grading Factors

Five factors determine the clarity grade:

  • Size

    Large inclusions affect clarity more than small ones.

  • Number

    It isn’t just a matter of counting inclusions. A stone might have many small inclusions and still have a high clarity grade. One or two of the largest inclusion usually set the grade.

  • Position

    An inclusion’s position also affects its visibility. Inclusions are more visible under the table (the top, flat part you usually see first), than they are under the bezel facets or near the girdle (the wide, outermost diameter of the diamond).

  • Nature

    The nature of a diamond's inclusion also influences its clarity grade. Large feathers, or areas in a diamond that block the light, have a greater impact on the clarity grade than any other inclusions.

  • Visibility

    Dark inclusions are easier to see so they have a greater impact on the clarity grade than colorless inclusions.

Clarity Grades

  • FL (Flawless)

    Flawless diamonds show no inclusions or blemishes of any kind while examined under 10X magnification. These are very rare.

  • IF (Internally Flawless)

    Internally Flawless diamonds show no inclusions using 10X magnification. They will have some minor blemishes such as surface grain lines naturals and extra facets. These are rare.

  • VVS1~VVS2 (Very Very Slightly Included)

    VVS diamonds contain very small inclusions that are difficult for experienced graders to see under 10X magnification and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Inclusions may be pinpoints or tiny feathers.

  • VS1~VS2 (Very Slightly Included)

    VS diamonds contain small or minor inclusions viewed under 10X magnification with slight difficulty. VS diamonds typically have small clouds, feathers, included crystals, and needles.

  • SI1~SI2 (Slightly Included):

    SI diamonds contain inclusions that are noticeable to an experienced grader under 10X magnification. An SI1 in should appear to be eye-clean, while the inclusions of an SI2 can be seen by the naked eye. Typical inclusions are clouds, cavities, knots, crystals, and feathers.

  • I1~I2 and I3 (Included):

    Diamonds that fall in the I range contain inclusions that can be easily seen with the naked eye and very easily seen under 10X magnification. They may contain large crystals and include feathers where, in some cases, may affect brilliance and transparency.

The Black by Brian Gavin Approach to Clarity

The Black by Brian Gavin Approach to Clarity Black by Brian Gavin diamonds represent the height of brilliance, scintillation, and beauty. They all fall within the IF–VS2 range for clarity. When combined with an exquisite cut, you’ll get the most dazzling performance possible from a Black by Brian Gavin. That’s because a precise and balanced cut will optimize a diamond’s brilliance, light dispersion, and brightness.

Deciding on the shape of your diamond is an important step in the selection process because each shape has a different personality. Currently, Black by Brian Gavin focuses exclusively on round brilliant cuts.

Round Brilliant Cuts

The round brilliant cut is the most popular diamond shape available. Generations of diamond cutters have developed theories on light behavior and created precise mathematical calculations to optimize the fire and brilliance in a round diamond.

The “hearts and arrows” cut is a round brilliant cut that was developed in the 1980s by Japanese cutters who produced diamonds with facet reflections that created crisp hearts and arrows patterning when seen through reflecting viewers. These diamonds created a visual pattern of eight “hearts” visible through the pavilion (the bottom, or pointed section of the diamond) and eight “arrows” when the stone was viewed in the table-up position. This visual phenomenon was nicknamed the “Cupid effect,” and these diamonds became known in the trade as “hearts and arrows.”

The Black by Brian Gavin Approach to Cut

Black by Brian Gavin has one goal: to create the most impeccably cut diamond imaginable to help you celebrate your most important moments. We focus exclusively on the round brilliant cut because, as artisans, we find this cut to offer the best light performance. All diamonds that are designated for Black by Brian Gavin are precisely cut and polished to optimize the light performance of all the diamond’s angles, including the secondary facets. A Black by Brian Gavin will display pristine symmetry and perfect “hearts and arrows” every time.

Cut Shape vs. Cut Performance: What’s the difference?

In various grading reports, you’ll often see cut referred to as Cut Grade and shape referred to as Shape and Style, or Shape and Cutting Style, for example. The shape is merely the outline that defines the facet structure of the diamond. Cut Performance includes the polish, symmetry, and proportions of a diamond as well.

At Black by Brian Gavin, we understand Cut Performance (or Cut Quality) to be the most important factor of diamond grading. That’s why we group Cut Performance with the 4Cs as a “+1.”

What is Cut Performance?

From a technical standpoint, Cut Performance is determined by individual factors that contribute to overall diamond performance. In the case of the American Gem Society (AGS), for example, those factors are Polish, Symmetry, Proportions, and Light Performance.

What Does It Mean to The Wearer?

Cut Performance is the biggest factor in determining the overall wow factor of your diamond. It dictates the volume of light return, the sparkle factor, and the visual vibrance of your diamond as a whole.

Factors That Go Into Cut Performance Grading

Gemological laboratories like AGS and GIA determine the overall cut grade of a diamond based on the cumulative results of individual grades for Polish, Symmetry, and Proportions. AGS goes a step further and analyzes Light Performance as a factor in determining Cut Performance. Because of this extra analysis, every Black by Brian Gavin diamond is submitted to the AGS for grading.

  • Factor 1: Polish

    The polish grade of a diamond is based upon the perfection of polish or the finish of the surface of the diamond, which is evaluated by a trained gemologist using 10x magnification. The highest rating for polish from AGS is Ideal. The next level down is Very Good, then it drops down to Good, then Fair, then Poor.

    All diamonds in the Black by Brian Gavin Black collection are Ideal for polish.

  • Factor 2: Symmetry

    Symmetry grading is conducted by a trained gemologist who uses a 10x magnification to determine the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment. This type of symmetry is known as meet point symmetry because one of the factors taken into consideration is how well the facet junctions meet up with each other.

    Here again, the highest rating for polish from AGS is Ideal. The next level down is Very Good, then it drops down to Good, then Fair, then Poor.

    All diamonds in the Black by Brian Gavin Black collection are Ideal for symmetry.

  • Factor 3: Proportions

    The concept behind proportions grading is easily demonstrated by thinking of the upper and lower sections of a diamond as mirrors that are designed to direct light through the diamond in a specific direction. The angle that the crown or pavilion section is cut to will have a direct effect on the direction that the light will move through the diamond. When the two primary reflective surfaces of the diamond are properly aligned, the volume of light reflected back out the top of the diamond is maximized.

    The proportions grading scale created by the AGS is based on a scale which runs from AGS Ideal-0 which is the highest grade, down to AGS-10 Poor which is the lowest. Diamonds cut to AGS Ideal-0 proportions exhibit a significantly higher volume of light return and appear brighter than diamonds which are cut to lesser proportions, such as AGS-2 Very Good, or AGS-3 Good, and so on.

    All diamonds in the Black by Brian Gavin Black collection are AGS Ideal-0 diamonds.

One Grade To Rule Them All

The overall cut grade of a diamond automatically defaults to the lowest grade of the factors considered during Cut Performance evaluation. If the individual grade for each factor is AGS Ideal, then the overall cut grade of the diamond will be AGS Ideal-0. However if the polish grade of the diamond is Very Good, and the symmetry grade is Excellent, and the proportions of the diamond are AGS Ideal-0, then the diamond will have an overall cut grade of AGS-2 Very Good if the diamond is graded by the AGS Laboratory.

Judging The Optical Symmetry of a Diamond

While the Polish, Symmetry, and Proportions grades of a diamond are critical components of light return and visual performance, the most important factor is the perfection of facet shape and alignment. This goes beyond the basic fundamentals of symmetry grading that gemological laboratories like AGS take into account.

At the present time, the gemological laboratories do not grade diamonds for optical symmetry; however it is relatively easy to grade diamonds for optical symmetry using various reflector scopes which are designed to show whether a diamond exhibits a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts & Arrows. The advantage of diamonds with pristine optical symmetry is that they tend to exhibit a higher degree of light return, and produce larger flashes of light and more sparkle than diamonds cut to a lesser degree of perfection.

The Black by Brian Gavin approach to Cut Performance

Cut Performance brings together all of the most defining characteristics of a diamond, and this is where Black by Brian Gavin shines. Every Black by Brian Gavin is selected from the upper echelon of our finest diamonds. That means individual grading of Polish, Symmetry, Proportions, and in the case of AGS grading of light performance, all have to meet those same standards of excellence, and it can be seen in the overall Cut Performance grade. It’s proof of every process being done impeccably well at each step, and it’s a defining factor in what makes every Black by Brian Gavin an incredible sight to behold.

Every Black by Brian Gavin is crafted with intense attention to detail and handled with obsessive care. It takes ongoing maintenance to ensure your diamond has the best sparkle—and overall light performance—every day moving forward.

How Often Should Jewelry Be Cleaned and Polished?

We recommend that jewelry be cleaned and inspected by a qualified jeweler at least twice per year, to ensure that the prongs or bezel that hold diamonds and colored gems in place are tight and secure, and that the metal is checked for wear and stress.

An easy way to remember when to bring your jewelry in for repair is to simply schedule an appointment for an inspection whenever the time changes for daylight savings time.

Can I Clean My Jewelry At Home?

In the event that your local jeweler isn’t able to accommodate your scheduling needs for a jewelry cleaning and polishing, here is a quick and easy method for cleaning your gold, platinum, and diamond jewelry:

  • Mix 50% warm water and 50% regular household ammonia in a small bowl or mug. Place your jewelry in a snap-close wire mesh tea strainer, and allow it to soak in the warm solution for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Remove jewelry from the strainer, and then scrub lightly around the prongs with a children’s soft-bristle toothbrush. Place the item back in the wire mesh strainer, rinse it clean under warm running water, and pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Note: this method of cleaning should only be used for your diamond jewelry items made of 14k–18k gold or platinum, but not for any colored gems other than rubies or sapphires. Additionally, this method of cleaning should only be used if the items are in good condition and have been regularly maintained by a qualified jeweler. It’s always a good idea to ask your jeweler if this method of cleaning is safe for the specific jewelry item that you want cleaned.

Protecting Your Black by Brian Gavin Jewelry

Congratulations on your decision to purchase an exclusive Black by Brian Gavin piece. We know you will want to protect your investment in the best way possible.

We provide you with a lifetime warranty that protects you from defects in workmanship and materials; however, hazards such as accidental damage, theft, fire, mysterious disappearance and other unfortunate events are not covered by our warranty.

Over the years we’ve assisted many of our clients with replacing jewelry items that have been lost, stolen, or damaged. We have observed that companies that provide homeowners or renters insurance typically offer at least some, basic jewelry coverage; however, our experience is that the coverage can be insufficient, and may not provide for things like accidental damage or mysterious disappearance. In addition, our clients homeowners or renters insurance policy often required them to work with a replacement company or other third party with little or no practical experience with high quality diamonds and jewelry.

You have many options to protect your jewelry purchase, but in our experience we believe a specialized jewelry insurance product is the best solution. We mention one such product below for you to consider based on our positive experience working with this company, which has specialized in jewelry insurance for more than a century.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has provided the content below:

We Encourage you to Protect your Purchase

Black by Brian Gavin has arranged for Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, since 1913 the only insurer dedicated exclusively to jewelry, to bring our US and Canadian (excluding Quebec) customers valuable information about helping to protect your purchase. Jewelers Mutual offers the following:

  • Comprehensive repair or replacement coverage with worldwide coverage against loss, theft, damage, and mysterious disappearance.

  • Graduate (GIA) gemologists on staff whose passion and specialty is jewelry.

  • Flexibility to work with the jeweler of your choice in the event of a claim.

  • Exclusive personalized service for Black clients.

We want you to truly enjoy your Black by Brian Gavin and wear it free from worry, knowing it’s fully protected.

If you have any questions about insuring with Jewelers Mutual, please email or call them at 888-886-6903.

By clicking the button above, you move to a Jewelers Mutual website and authorize Jewelers Mutual to securely obtain and save details of your Brian Gavin purchase for the purpose of calculating a no-obligation insurance quote. Retrieved information may include your name and address.

The content of this page is provided by Jewelers Mutual. Brian Gavin Diamonds is not a licensed agent of Jewelers Mutual and does not sell or recommend insurance. Jewelers Mutual is an alternative to other insurance companies you may be considering. Any coverage is subject to acceptance by the insurer and to policy terms and conditions.

Every Black by Brian Gavin diamond is graded “0” for cut, polish, symmetry, and—most importantly, light performance—by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL), a lab known for its strict grading standards and scientific evaluation of light performance. But we take it a step further. Our criteria for which diamonds can become a Black by Brian Gavin diamond are even more exacting.

Our Black by Brian Gavin standards include:

  • Color rating of D–G

  • Clarity rating of IF–VS2

  • Impeccable indexed symmetry

  • Precise Hearts and Arrows patterning

  • The Gavin Effect - Optimized secondary angles for an exacting ASET image

This means with every Black by Brian Gavin, you are truly receiving the upper echelon of the world’s finest diamonds.

Why Lab Grading Matters

Almost any diamond will look impressive under the bright spotlights of a jewelry store, but only a rare few hold their brilliance in more natural lighting situations—and better still—in strict grading environments.