Brian Gavin Review: One of The Best Quality Diamonds


Our site reviews primarily focus on the histories and online presences of companies in the diamond industry, but here, we are releasing something a bit out of the ordinary—a special feature and a testimony to the craftsmanship of Brian Gavin, the man behind Brian Gavin Diamonds (BGD).

Though the Brian Gavin Diamonds website only launched in 2009, which makes it a relatively younger presence in the digital world of the diamond business, Brian Gavin himself has been around much longer, and is one of the industry’s players who probably really embodies that popular saying, “Diamonds are forever.”

The enigmatic Brian Gavin, the site and the business’s namesake, is a seasoned businessman and well respected by his peers and potential buyers. Thus, he is essential to the company’s growth, and BGD’s groundbreaking successes are only the latest and greatest milestones of his long career.

Brian Gavin: “A Cut Above” the Rest

Brian Gavin was born and raised in South Africa, known as the diamond capital of the world, and to a family whose bread and butter was the mastery of diamond craftsmanship.

As a youngster, Brian apprenticed at his family’s diamond polishing factory. This is where he gained the solid foundation of knowledge that would one day transform him into a world-renowned expert in maximizing the brilliance of a diamond.

In 1998, Brian developed and launched his own line, “A Cut Above” super-ideal Hearts & Arrows cut diamonds. Subsequently, in 2001, he co-founded the site, which quickly cemented a reputation for selling the finest cut diamonds on the Internet.

Behind the Signature Hearts & Arrows Diamond

brian gavin hearts and arrowsBrian’s specially developed “A Cut Above” diamonds were exclusively sold on But in 2009, Brian saw an even greater opportunity for excellence, and he hit the laboratory once more to perfect the round brilliant diamond.

The result was the Brian Gavin Signature Hearts & Arrows diamond, which he now sells exclusively through the new website

This is not a hard-sell or a way to entangle any of our readers in marketing-speak—just my way of honoring an exceptional man that I met back when I was a traveling salesman for Schachter Namdar Diamonds, Inc., and a frequent visitor to Houston, where Brian lives and where BGD is headquartered.

Dealing with a Perfectionist

I must have traveled to the city over a dozen times selling to the local market. I built a strong and loyal customer base there. But Brian was so picky—that much of a perfectionist—that he never bought a single stone of mine!

Each time I prepared my wallet of diamonds for another Houston trip, I included stones that I was sure would be good enough for him—and each time, he would school me on why they weren’t.

I worked for a company that sells about $500,000,000 a year in diamonds, and yet I learned about the authenticity of Hearts & Arrows cut diamonds truly from the Man in Houston, Brian Gavin himself.


Between the two categories of virtual lister and inventory holders, we would classify Brian Gavin Diamonds as among the inventory holders. They do serve the function of virtually listing some diamonds, but this is not what we see as their key strength (for reference, see our article “,” where we talk the truth comparison about Blue Nile vs James Allen).

Brian Gavin Diamonds’ Super Specialties

What BGD specializes in, then, is the super-ideal stones, with the “Brian Gavin Signature” Hearts & Arrows cut round diamonds comprising the majority. They also sell a limited variety of super-ideal cut Princess cut diamonds. To cap off their stock of specialties is the “Brian Gavin Blue” collection—and this is the collection that I am the most captivated by. I’m very particular on the issue of fluorescence (see my previous article), as the diamond’s quality of either medium or strong fluorescence can be its strongest selling point, its weakest, or in some cases, neither of the two.

The Factor of Fluorescence in the Diamond Market

To expound, in some situations, the quality of fluorescence affects the appearance of a diamond with regard to the whitened color, but without any undesirable consequences to the stone. But in other situations—among them exposure to natural sunlight— fluorescence may ultimately render a stone more dull, opaque, or cloudy in color.

One insight that we have for our readers for how diamond businesses operate is their approach to the market value of diamonds based on fluorescence: regardless of its overall appearance, and any negative effects thereof, the market value of a diamond will automatically diminish if significant fluorescence is noted on its certificate. For better or for worse, fluorescence is truly a major driving factor.

diamond fluorescence


I conducted this review of Brian Gavin Diamonds as I did our reviews of James Allen Diamonds and our reviews of Blue Nile Diamonds—meaning, I approached BGD to make a transaction just like any other customer among their clientele.

Technically, I did already have “purchasing” experience with BGD. Specifically for the purpose of my Hearts on Fire review, I ordered a 1.02 H SI1 Hearts & Arrows diamond loose, and I got full access to the diamond and the allowance for a thorough inspection of it.

The highlight of my review was the comparison of the BG Signature diamond with the Hearts of Fire diamond—the two were equally brilliant, but at 40% less, the former had a bigger bang for your buck.

The Full Customer Experience at BGD

But to change it up from my Hearts on Fire review, I assumed the role as one of Brian Gavin Diamonds’ more regular customers, thus aiming for what I thought would be a more “authentic” Brian Gavin Diamonds experience.

Ultimately, I bought this diamond – a 0.62 H VS2 Hearts & Arrows Signature diamond mounted in this setting, a Fishtail Pave setting with the “Truth Head.”  BGD lists the setting as encompassing only Hearts & Arrows ideal cut pave stones in the shank. Though I approached as their more familiar kind of buyer, as a diamond specialist my goal was to break down both the quality of the setting and the diamonds set inside.


BGD’s customer’s service didn’t disappoint on this occasion either. Even when grilled to the finest detail by a very “persistent” customer, the staff proved that they knew their stuff, and more importantly stayed very composed, never failing to treat me with grace and tact. Brian Gavin’s legacy seems to be in helping not just his products, but his people shine through.

A Package of Wonders

My order was delivered to me in a prompt manner and in rather an impressive packaging. I found myself looking forward to opening the box.

Sure enough, awaiting me in that bed of orange tissue wrapping paper was a handsome ring box that I consider much snappier than the run-of-the-mill kind of box that a ring comes in other retail stores.

The AGS Certificate: A First Class Impression

AGS certificateThe AGS Certificate that comes with the diamond is also something that imparts a sense of gravity and importance to its owner. As far as the difference between an AGS and a GIA certificate are concerned, the former has an appearance of greater distinction. If the recipient of the ring doesn’t know the difference between the two, chances are that the AGS certificate will leave a first-class impression as well as delight her on that special day.

A Significant Brilliance

The ring itself did meet my expectations—the diamond’s brilliance and fire were by all means outstanding. I tried the ring under a number of different lighting scenarios, and wherever I took it I was equally impressed.

I also showed the Brian Gavin ring to several friends who are not well versed in the ins and outs of diamonds—they were just as mesmerized as I was by the quality. I then took a standard ideal cut diamond on a simple platinum ring that was about the same size as the ring from BGD, and let these same friends compare the two.

Half of my friends easily saw a difference between the brilliance of the BGD diamond and the other ideal cut diamond, declaring the former as the superior stone. A fourth of them said that they could definitely see a difference, but not a greatly perceivable one. The remaining friends in my group didn’t notice a difference at all, and said that both rings were appealing to them.

The Ideal Cut

The pave stones in the shank of the ring were also the exceptional kind, each little super-ideal cut stone with the fire and brilliance of high quality promised by BGD.


As a footnote to whether or not I recommend purchasing from Brian Gavin Diamonds, I would like to tackle the greater issuer of whether or not you should buy an ideal Hearts & Arrows diamond rather than a “regular” ideal cut diamond.  It’s not that simple a question to answer, to say the least.

I assert that these diamonds do carry a premium over “regular” ideal cuts.  The informal tests from my previous writings show that about 25% of the people I’ve interviewed can’t perceive the difference.

Conversely, the very purpose of buying a diamond is brilliance. If I could choose one trait to invest money in when it comes to choosing a diamond, it would be that diamond’s cut quality, without a doubt.

Cut Quality over Clarity: The Big Difference

To give you an example, the wide majority of our respondents hold a preconceived notion that they need to prioritize a diamond of a much higher clarity than is actually necessary.

But if these potential buyers could negotiate the clarity of a diamond to an eye clean SI1 or SI2 and use the money they saved to purchase a Brian Gavin Signature stone instead, they would be much better off. They’d obtain a stone of a comparable size in a similar price range, and already with noteworthy clarity and sparkle (an eye clean SI2 is actually indistinguishable to a flawless diamond, all things considered).

One Last Thing: Consider the Receiver

As a potential buyer, you should also take into account the receiver of your ring. If you or your fiancée-to-be is someone with a fine eye and clearly discerning tastes, then you are likely akin to that half of my friends who perceived a great difference between the “regular ideal” and the BG Signature stone.

Thus, it would be greater value for money for you than for someone who would not be able to tell or care about the particulars. Without a doubt, if you’d consider something truly special—the most brilliant and the most fiery diamond, and one of the closest that we can think of to “forever”—one of your very best options out there is Brian Gavin Diamonds.


Kevin Lee is a former tech advisor who cut his teeth in Silicon Valley. He now spends his time sharing his passion for investing in diamonds and jewelry. You can reach Kevin for any comments by using this form.