My precise answer is: it depends 🙂
In general I clearly think that both James Allen and Brian Gavin are among the top diamond online vendors that you can find out there!
The question usually arises in the context of hearts and arrows diamonds or diamonds with blue fluorescence. In my post on hearts and arrows diamonds and my post on diamonds with fluorescence you can find more details on these diamonds.
So let us have a close look at James Allen vs Brian Gavin.
James Allen vs Brian Gavin in hearts and arrows Diamonds
Brian Gavin is famous for its signature hearts and arrows diamonds. After all, it was the man Brian Gavin himself who had a major influence in developing a grading system for hearts and arrows diamonds. He proposed it on the first international diamond cut conference.
Brian Gavin is one of the top diamond influencers, a 5th generation diamond cutter and a diamond cut perfectionist.
While Brian Gavin diamonds are known to be the possibly finest cut diamonds in the world they are also known for demanding a higher premium price.
When you look at an assortment of Brian Gavin hearts and arrows diamonds you will quickly see that they are perfectly equal, uniform and symmetrical. I have chosen three different examples of the 0.5ct, 1ct and 2ct category:
If you know something about hearts and arrows diamond you quickly realize that the diamonds above are absolute world-class diamonds as far as symmetry is concerned! It truly does not get any better than that!
There is not even the slightest variation in any of the hearts! This is what makes Brian Gavin so completely outstanding!
James Allen on the other hand is very well known to offer exceptional value for your money. Let’s have a look at three of their True Hearts signature diamonds. I have chosen them in such a manner that in terms of their 4C parameters they are directly comparable to the diamonds above from Brian Gavin. Like the Brian Gavin diamonds from above all of the James Allen True Hearts below are within the proportions for super ideal cut diamonds:
Now, when you look very closely at the hearts images of James Allen True Hearts diamonds you will see the following:
The 0.52ct-g-color-vs2 diamond on the left does exhibit some variation in the sizes of the hearts.
The 1.04ct-i-color-vs2 diamond in the middle is nearly perfectly symmetrical but if you look very closely at the hearts you will see some very minute variation.
The 2.02ct-g-color-vs2 diamond on the right however is a true hearts and arrows diamond with the perfectly equal, uniform and symmetrical hearts pattern!
Thus, within James Allen True Hearts signature series you can find lots of very symmetrical hearts and arrows diamonds with very minute deviations. But you can also find perfectly symmetrical true hearts and arrows diamonds that are on par with Brian Gavin’s signature diamonds that are the most symmetrical diamonds in the world!
One thing that you have to keep in mind is that nobody will ever be able to see the difference between a true and a near hearts and arrows diamond with their bare eyes!
A truly perfect hearts and arrows pattern without the slightest deviation is a nice premium feature for those who are looking for it and badly want to have! And who are ready to pay the price! But it does not make any visual difference!
James Allen vs Brian Gavin in prices: Which is cheaper?
Let’s make a price comparison of all the diamonds we have seen so far:
As you can see James Allen’s True Hearts diamond costs $574 less although it even has 0.05ct more in weight. That is a price difference of 31%!
Let’s have a look at the 1ct diamonds:
In the second case James Allen’s True Hearts diamond costs considerably less again. James Allen’s True Hearts diamond has 0.037ct more in weight and costs $ 1593 less than Brian Gavin’s signature diamond. In this case that makes up for a price difference of 26%.
Let us have a look at the last two diamonds:
Now, that’s where the price differences really get huge! Adittedly, Brian Gavin’s signature diamond has 0.004ct more in weight. But it costs $15,673 more! Not everybody could afford to pay that difference! That is a price increase of 61%!
Although I am pretty sure that this price difference belongs to the extreme end of the continuum.
Now, is that to say that Brian Gavin diamonds are not worth buying?
Of course not! If you look at it objectively Brian Gavin signature diamonds perform better than James Allen True Hearts diamonds! There is no denying that. The differences are so minute however that they would not be noticeable with your bare eyes.
With Brian Gavin diamonds you are paying a premium price for the fact that every single diamond in the collection has been handpicked by master diamond cutter and perfectionist Brian Gavin himself!
Therefore, I think that for true perfectionists who badly want to have the best of the best Brian Gavin is the place #1 to buy your diamonds.
For all others who want to have a maximum of light performance while still getting the best bang for your buck I think that James Allen is a great choice!
Another advantage of James Allen is that they are currently the only vendor offering free return shippings on all their diamonds! In case you want to return the diamond for whatever reason you can do so within 30 days and will not have to pay for the insured return shipping. Check out James Allen’s favourable conditions of purchase here.
Brian Gavin offers 15-day returns and in case of a return you will have to carry the costs of the insured return shipping yourself.
James Allen vs Brian Gavin for diamonds with blue fluorescence
People also turned to ask me whether James Allen or Brian Gavin is the better place to buy diamonds with blue fluorescence.
Many people want to buy diamonds with blue fluorescence because they want to save money. In fact diamonds with blue fluorescence are usually around 15% cheaper than regular diamonds.
Some people also want to do it to boost up the body color of their diamond. This makes particularly sense for the I – K color group. You have to bear in mind though that the color increasing effect of diamond fluorescence only comes into play when the diamond is subjected so some sort of UV light.
And some people just want to have fluorescent diamonds because they appreciate the effect itself so much!
Whatever the reason, it makes perfect sense to choose a diamond with fluorescence but you will have to make sure that the diamond does not appear hazy or oily as many diamonds with fluorescence do. I have written more extensively on that issue in my post about diamond fluorescence.
Brian Gavin has its own signature line called Brian Gavin Blue that only includes fluorescent diamonds. These diamonds are guaranteed to have the same proportions as their signature hearts and arrows diamonds. Furthermore they don’t exhibit any negative effects of diamond fluorescence. Thus, you will not have to worry about choosing a diamond that is hazy.
Let’s have a look at a randomly selected diamond of the Brian Gavin Blue signature line and compare it to a diamond with the same parameters from James Allen:
Both diamonds are H colored, VS1 graded diamonds with strong fluorescence. Both are within the proportions for super ideal cut diamonds and both don’t have exhibit any signs of haziness or clouds. The only difference is that the diamond chosen from Brian Gavin is 0.006ct more in weight but I think that this is a negligible difference.
If you compare both prices to each other you will see the following:
The diamond taken from James Allen is $1325 cheaper and thus costs around 17% less than the diamond taken from Brian Gavin.
What you are also paying for in Brian Gavin Blue diamonds is that you don’t have to worry about any unfavourable effects of fluorescence such as a hazy appearance. These diamonds just don’t make it into Brian Gavin Blue’s signature line.
At James Allen you can sometimes find hazy diamonds with fluorescence like that:
Do you see the kind of “washed over” look of these diamonds? These diamonds just don’t make such a crisp and clear impression as a usual diamond woud! In this case, you would clearly want to avoid diamonds like that.
Thus, you must have a close look at each fluorescent diamond from James Allen to make sure that the diamond exhibits no cloudy effect.
I think however that James Allen offers the best magnified high definition 360° videos of the entire industry. Their new 40x magnification view lets you see the tiniest details of a diamond so that it is very easy to make out any signs of haziness. You are basically getting to see the diamond 4 times more closely than you would with a regular 10x magnification loupe at your local jewlery store.
Furthermore, most diamonds within James Allen with fluorescence do not exhibit signs of haziness.
If you should have a particular question about a diamond with fluorescence and need some advice just contact me or drop me a comment and I will be more than happy to help you out!