Brian Gavin Diamonds Review
The eponymous Brian Gavin Diamonds was founded in 2009 by 5th generation diamond cutter Brian Gavin. The man himself has designed and patented several cutting processes, most recently creating the Black by Brian Gavin® collection, and is regarded as one of the foremost experts on diamond cutting today. Brian Gavin Diamond's website offers both a collection of high quality AGS certified diamonds cut in house as well as a virtual selection of diamonds that are sourced similarly to diamonds shown on Blue Nile or Ritani.
Brian Gavin is an expert diamond cutter and we typically recommend purchasing from their site or store if you are incredibly discerning when it comes to cut quality, and are less concerned about getting the biggest diamond for your budget. Today, brands like Blue Nile offer their highest quality diamonds under the Astor brand while at Brian Gavin Diamonds they offer their premier collection, the Black by Brian Gavin line. Every diamond in the Black by Brian Gavin collection exhibits superior light performance due to a patent pending diamond cutting technique pioneered by Mr. Gavin himself (known as the Gavin Effect®). Brian Gavin Diamonds has even managed to perfect the Hearts and Arrows pattern in a cushion cut diamond as shown below.
Exceptional Light Performance
Jeweler Overview & Ratings
Brian Gavin diamonds is not one of the cheaper online jewelers, but to simply say their diamonds are overpriced is to completely miss the point. Price is the ultimate indicator of supply and demand, and there is high demand for the types of diamonds that Brian Gavin cuts and sells in their in-house line. These in-house diamonds have exceptional cut quality and are hand selected because Brian Gavin believes they are composed of higher quality material.
When people in the diamond trade say the word “material” they're essentially talking about the diamond rough that the diamond is cut from. It's the type of thing that diamond aficionados talk about but the layperson is not going to be able to qualify or quantify, jewelers often speak about “material” the way professional baseball scouts talk about a top hitting prospect “having the goods”. What we can quantify, however, is the degree of cutting perfection that Brian Gavin's diamonds exhibit. He has the highest average cut quality score of any jeweler we've studied. Just take a look at videos of the beautiful hearts and arrows pattern on diamonds like this 1.737 carat G VS2 Brian Gavin Black specimen and you can see how the cut makes a serious impact.
Diamond Selection: 3.5/5
Brian Gavin Diamonds has a unique selection of diamonds that stands out versus the major online jewelers like James Allen and Blue Nile because Brian Gavin Diamonds invests in their own “in-house diamonds” that are selected and cut in house before being submitted to the AGS for grading. No other website carries Brian Gavin cut diamonds, but Brian Gavin Diamonds does also carry a selection of virtual inventory: diamonds that are not unique to their site and not cut in house. This virtual inventory is significantly larger than Brian Gavin's in-house selection and offers buyers more options, albeit without the cutting expertise that Brian Gavin is known for. The quantity of diamonds still pales in comparison to the major online jewelers with Brian Gavin carrying about 10,000 diamonds in virtual inventory versus over 150,000 available on Blue Nile.
Brian Gavin Diamond's in-house diamonds are all graded by the American Gem Society, better known as the AGS. The AGS is one of the two most reputable grading agencies in the world (according to most experts) and is known for having some of the strictest standards and also for judging the light performance of round diamonds – something the GIA and most other rating agencies do not do. Brian Gavin Diamonds does offer GIA certified diamonds as well through their virtual inventory.
Engagement Ring Selection: 4/5
Brian Gavin has a large selection of engagement rings ranging from $325 for a classic Six Prong Solitaire in 14k yellow gold, to $5,740 for this platinum Blade setting by Steven Kretchmer shown below. Brian Gavin Diamond's most popular engagement ring setting is The Simone, a solitaire setting with a unique 4 prong head with claw prongs that retails for $995 in platinum. This and many of the engagement ring settings sold by Brian Gavin are part of their Brian Gavin Select line which are settings supplied by one of their approved outside vendors who have been slected based on style, quality, and price among other factors.
What I like most about Brian Gavin Diamond's selection of engagement ring settings is that they offer unique but subtle twists on classic designs. The Simone is an excellent example of this but there are countless others that are affordable but unique engagement ring designs. Brian Gavin offers engraving on most designs for $30. Again, their engagement ring settings are not the cheapest available but they are well priced and offer unique options for almost any style and budget.
User Experience: 4/5
The Brian Gavin Diamonds website is easy to navigate and makes finding the right diamond very straightforward. The site offers a few unique things that are worth highlighting. First, the site is highly visual; every in-house diamond that is currently available on site boasts 3D video and several images to show off the brilliance, sparkle, and eye-cleanliness of the stones. The in-house diamonds also have ASET, Ideal Scope, and Hearts & Arrows images to help users see even more information about the diamond's light performance characteristics. Brian Gavin Diamond's site also offers some tools to help users quickly find similar diamonds on their site, compare diamonds based on their specs, or find “matched-pairs” (diamonds that will look alike for use in a pair of earrings for example).
The Policies & Warranties: 3/5
Secure Free Shipping
Loose diamonds are shipped within 48 hours and rings may take 15 days or longer depending on the nature of the ring. All orders over $5,000 are shipped FedEx Priority Overnight complimentary within the United States. Brian Gavin Diamonds is also proud to ship to all APO addresses at no additional charge.
15 Day Money Back Guarantees
Brian Gavin Diamonds offers a 15-day “inspection period” on all diamonds from the time you receive the package with the exception of hand engraved or custom items.
Brian Gavin Diamonds offers a one year buy back guarantee on any of their Signature Hearts and Arrows or Blue diamonds. They will issue a check for 70% of the purchase price. Given that their diamonds are more expensive than the average diamond you'd find online, it's nice to have some assurance that you can get reimbursed for 70% of the purchase price for any reason within one year.
Diamond Upgrade Program
Brian Gavin Diamonds offers a lifetime upgrade policy on all Signature Hearts and Arrows or Brian Gavin Blue certified diamonds whereby they will apply the original purchase price of your diamond towards your upgrade.
The Final Verdict
When it comes to perfecting the art of diamond cutting, Brian Gavin is at the top of his craft. While the online jeweler's in-house diamonds may not be priced as cheaply as the average diamonds from major online jewelers like Blue Nile or Ritani, they are no average stone. His diamonds are superior in the degree of cut quality and the expertise that Brian Gavin brings to selecting his diamonds, not to mention based on the uniqueness of his collection (you cannot buy Brian Gavin diamonds elsewhere and many of his cuts employ patented processes). If you're price sensitive or trying to maximize carat size, we'd steer you toward the larger online jewelers. If you want a show stopping diamond that will become a family heirloom for years to come, Brian Gavin Diamonds has you covered.