This is an easy style to love: an Emerald cut diamond surrounded by round brilliant cut accent diamonds, and including as well diamonds down the shanks of the ring. Supposing the clarity and color grades are excellent, this design displays great brilliance in the accents as well as a profound depth in the center stone.
Round brilliant cuts (the accents) are of course famous for their brilliance and fire.
And less well known is that an Emerald cut (if it has excellent clarity and color) shimmers like a beautiful swimming pool.
That’s because an Emerald cut is a kind of “step cut.” Other examples include the Asscher. They’re designed not for brilliance and fire, but on the contrary for transparence and depth.
But if a step cut (such as this Emerald cut) doesn’t have excellent clarity, it can look like a swimming pool with last-year’s leaves floating in it. Black spots and gray streaks known as “inclusions” (flaws) ruin the effect of a step cut.
And if a step cut, such as an Asscher or an Emerald cut, does not have excellent color (which is to say, no-color, or colorless), then it can also look like a greenish or yellow swimming no one would want to dive into.
Brilliant cuts such as a Princess cut or a Round Brilliant cut can get away with even mediocre clarity and color because all the fire and brilliance and light pouring out of them can obscure the poor color and clarity. But excellent clarity and excellent color are hugely important for an Emerald cut, because it’s designed to let anyone see right through to the bottom of the diamond. Any inclusions will show up easily.
Let’s compare these two offers as well as we can, given that I was unable to find any indication of the clarity or of the color on the Anne Sheffield offer.
(The James Allen diamond, like virtually all diamonds there, has exact Clarity and Color grades, written by a 3rd-party diamond grading lab. In this case, it’s even the best of the best: the GIA.)
The Anne Sheffield offer: $3,350.
See the ring live at Anne Sheffield, unless it’s discontinued.
This price comparison is part of a larger tree of price comparisons of stunning white gold engagement rings that I like.
The James Allen MUCH better price of $1,505 (on a GIA-certified, likely better diamond ring)
I say it’s a “likely” better ring because the specifications are so excellent, whereas the specs on the Anne Sheffield diamond are a mystery, so far as I can find, even after looking the product page over very carefully.
Specs compared directly
The Anne Sheffield center diamond is 1.20 carats. The James Allen diamond is 1.20 carats too.
The Anne Sheffield accent diamonds total 0.26 carats.
Those on the James Allen total 0.26. (You can see that by subtracting the center diamond weight (1.20) from the total carat weight of the entire ring (1.46).)
Anne Sheffield diamond in this ring is of mysterious Clarity: They don’t tell us, so far as I could find, on the product page. TOTAL MYSTERY? That’s a red flag, in my book.
James Allen diamond example is VVS1-Clarity: That’s excellent! It’s unlikely that any competitor would be offering a VVS1 or better clarity diamond and not mention that prominently on the product page!
The James Allen diamond is certified by the GIA.
About the Anne Sheffield diamond … I could not find that any specific diamonds set aside for fulfilling orders for this ring even have a certification. I’ve personally been unable to confirm that on the product page. Maybe I missed something, but I think I didn’t. I think anyone buying this ring may risk getting a diamond without a certificate from a major diamond certifying lab such as the GIA, IGI, or AGS.
(That’s something you shouldn’t have to look for, IMO. It’s a total red flag to me, or to most savvy diamond shoppers I believe, that I would even have to search for certification information.
Notice how James Allen (and other merchants) make the certification glaringly obvious? That’s because it’s important. No certification means … no deal, for me. Without a certification you can’t really know exactly what you’re getting.
Color (Note that the perfectly colorless grade is “D”. There are no such grades as A, B, or C.)
The Anne Sheffield diamond color in this offering seems to be … just like the clarity … a mystery. I couldn’t find any information about the color on the product page.
The James Allen diamond in this example has the Color F. And IMO it’s highly unlikely that any competitor including Anne Sheffield would be offering diamonds graded “F” by a major lab, and fail to make that information prominent on the page.
F Color is excellent and very desirable, especially for an Emerald cut, which is designed to maximize depth and color.
How to get the James Allen deal
At James Allen, you don’t just add a ring to cart and check out. It’s slightly more complex. And much better in price and selection. It’s much more interesting (and gives you more control and choice).
Here’s how to do it:
- You choose a setting (the metal ring, which in some cases comes with accent diamonds).
- Then you choose a loose diamond to add to it.
But it’s not as hard as it may seem. In fact it’s easy.
At least, it’s easy if you have someone walking you through it for the first time.
Here’s exactly how to get these deals (or very similar deals) at James Allen:
1. Select this 14K white gold setting. (It’s available on the same page in 14K, 18K as well, also in yellow gold and rose gold, or even in Platinum. Just choose them from the drop down on the setting product page.)
2. For the diamond, go to these pre-set James Allen diamond search results and select a diamond from the first 2 or 3 diamonds in the list.
(James Allen diamonds are unique, so I can’t send you straight to a specific diamond. It would sell out quickly. But there are many many others in the inventory. The price will be close to what you see here.
Also, of course the inventory is always changing, so you may see slightly different prices when you search.)
3. Add the setting and the diamond to your cart and check out.
Conclusion: This Anne Sheffield diamond ring is beautiful in principle. But it’s not a great deal IMO. You can save about $4,000 dollars based on my shopping technique above — and get a certified, better spec’d diamond ring.
The Anne Sheffield design is beautiful! Just like the James Allen design! (But honestly I prefer the James Allen design for its more delicate metalwork around the accents, and under the center stone.)
But as for the Anne Sheffield diamond …. so far as I can find after a lot of searching, it’s unclear exactly what kind of diamond you’re getting:
- What is the clarity score?
- Does it have inclusions (flaws) sitting in it like fossilized leaves and branches in a diamond swimming pool?
- What is the color score? Is it yellowish? Gray? Is it anywhere near the James Allen GIA-certified “F” (“F” means nearly perfect color, it’s not like an F in school.)?
What will you spend the extra $4,000 that you save by getting the certified, better diamond deal at James Allen? (Or will you invest it?)