Sunday, 8 October 2017

My Black by Brian Gavin Experience

So, by now, for those who have read my other blog posts, there shouldn't be any problem buying from WhiteFlash. But, how about Brian Gavin Diamonds? The process is basically the same, but since I intend to buy a small diamond for my own review, I will share my buying process here as well.

Just to give a sneak peak, this is the diamond I intend to purchase. I will explain why as well:
https://www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/0.206-e-vs2-round-diamond-bkags-104093735040

0.206 E VS2 Black by Brian Gavin Actual Diamond

0.206 E VS2 Black by Brian Gavin IdealScope

0.206 E VS2 Black by Brian Gavin ASET

0.206 E VS2 Black by Brian Gavin Hearts & Arrows

So why did I chose this diamond?

It was cut ideally based on a quick trick: Length x Width x Depth x 0.0061 = 3.82 x 3.80 x 2.33 x 0.0061 = 0.206315908ct ~ 0.206ct.

Based on the reference below, Todd Gray from www.niceice.com wrote that as long as the carat weight is the same as the calculated carat weight or slightly less, then the cutter did not "cheat" on the stone. Brian Gavin and some other people in the diamond business taught him that by the way.

I think the reason why going slightly less is acceptable is because the cutter did not "cheat" on the stone, meaning they did not purposely hide extra carats within the stone and charge you for it. However, despite that, personally, I prefer the calculated value to be as close to the actual weight as possible so that this formula can make more sense - To use it to determine whether a diamond is cut ideally.

Of course, I will not encourage you to solely rely on this, but this is actually a pretty good entry point, as far as I am concerned. It makes sense to me because diamonds are related to mathematical calculations, and Marcel Tolkowsky came up with the modern round brilliant ideal cut using mathematical calculations as well. However, I have nothing to proof this other than common sense, so you may take it with a pinch of salt.

Reference: http://niceice.com/brian-gavin-signature-vs-crafted-by-infinity-vs-whiteflash-a-cut-above-using-ideal-scope-aset-hearts-arrows-scopes/

Another reason is because this diamond is within my desire range of 53% - 56% table width. I think the smaller the table, the more exciting the fire. Although I prefer something like 55.x %, but this will do. This is because I have seen the video of another compatible diamond, but I somehow like this one more. The colours in the diamond facet flows nicely. Another proportion I look at will be the crown height. For now, I prefer crown height that is above 15%, I believe this would cause more fire return as well, but we will have to wait and see.

Lastly, based on the diamond certificate, I see a "blue burst" in the middle section of the AGSL Computer Generated image. According to the legend below the image, blue represents contrast. Therefore, I am banking on this contrast to increase the liveliness of this diamond and hopefully I am not disappointed by it.

Here is a summary of my reasons:

Why I choose this diamond?

Another reason I want to buy another diamond is because I want to try out a new money transfer method - MoneyMatch. They are an Approved Participant in Bank Negara Malaysia's Fintech Regulatory Sandbox. So, don't worry about their authenticity.

MoneyMatch - A startup that is approved by Bank Negara.

They can offer a more competitive exchange rate compared to local banks like Maybank. I actually saved between RM 12 - RM 13, taking account into exchange rate differences and service charge. For anything below RM 5000, MoneyMatch charges RM 8. However, for Maybank, for instance, any wire transfer will have a nett service charge of RM 10. So imagine if I am buying something like USD 1500. Transfer is free and the lower exchange rate means there is extra saving as well. To give an example, exchange rate for both MoneyMatch and Maybank now is 4.2644 and 4.2920 respectively. So, let's count:

USD 1500 x 4.2644 = RM 6396.60
USD 1500 x 4.2920 = RM 6438.00
Savings using MoneyMatch = RM 41.40.
Savings on service charge using MoneyMatch = RM 10.00 (because anything RM 5000 or above has no service charge).
Total Savings = RM 51.40.

Besides that, the receiving party need not bear any international wire transfer fee. So how good is that?

Now, imagine you buying a 1 carat diamond... Let's say USD 10000? :D

The downside of MoneyMatch is probably the wire transfer will be slightly late. I will see if the delay is acceptable and whether the savings are worth it. Will keep you guys posted.

p.s. At this time of writing, the exchange rate dropped again. Damn. However, if you want to avoid such feeling, do create a few transfers at various exchange rates and see which one give you the best rate. You will have 24 hours to complete each of the transfer before they expire. This is definitely a plus for me. Besides, they are pretty responsive to questions, so feel free to ask them if you have any doubts.

Will update you guys again so stay tuned.

Update 12/10/2017 Great. The funds are safely transferred to the Brian Gavin Diamond's account and my package is now on the way! Total turnaround time will be within 2 working days - Why 2 days instead of 3 days? This is because so happen this week's Monday was Columbus Day and it was a public holiday in the US, therefore, we should not count Monday as a working day. Now, to receive the funds within 2 working days is certainly acceptable to me, considering the amount of money I can save for big purchase - Remember that MoneyMatch has a more competitive exchange rate and lower service charge compared to Maybank Telegraphic Transfer. Also, although my previous experience with Maybank Telegraphic Transfer is within 1 working day, but sometimes, I believe the slight delay may probably due to the receiving party as well. But anyway, all I can say that both sides are quick enough to action and I can receive my loose diamond within a week's time.


If you are like me, receiving the goods at work place, you can only receive the goods on the following Monday. However, if you are receiving the goods at your home on a weekend, perhaps you can try to ask Brian Gavin Diamonds and see with if Fedex side can deliver on Saturday as well. This is because I saw "Deliver Weekday" on the "Special handling section" on the tracking site. Not sure if this was set automatically by Fedex or not, so it is good to check. Perhaps you can even call up Fedex and enquire them as well.


Update 13/10/2017 Assuming the funds can be transferred within 2 working days (please note that I have updated my statement here and the earlier ones to within 2 working days because in reality, they do not need full 2 days to receive the funds, and this can justify the transfer speed better. Moreover, sometimes it could be caused by some delay at vendor's side to check on the funds received as well) and if there are no holidays on both sides of the earth, then if you pay on Monday, they should confirm your payment on early morning Wednesday and send out the goods on early morning Wednesday itself as well. Now, I have to update here again - I am writing this based on Malaysia time zone, but as far as US time zone is concerned, they are in fact shipping out the goods on Tuesday (hence, the early Wednesday morning above)! So, the ship date is actually Tuesday (based on US time zone) and the scheduled delivery date is actually Friday (based on Malaysia time zone)! This means that if this week's Monday was a working day, I should receive my parcel within the same week! :D How good is that? I hope for those who have concerns on the delivery time will find this information useful.

Overall, I am truly happy to find out MoneyMatch. It is not only an excellent alternative to transfer funds to the US to buy diamonds (or any other goods), but it is also my preferred method to transfer funds to the US now.

Lastly, kudos to both MoneyMatch and Brian Gavin Diamonds for doing a fantastic job!

To show some love and support for MoneyMatch, I have to say some of their benefits:

1. Lower exchange rates.

2. Lower service charge (RM 8) compared to Maybank's (RM 10). Not sure about other banks though. If you are sending RM 5000 and above, for example, when you want to buy a 40-pointer diamond, then there will be no service charge at all!

2. The receiving party will receive the exact full amount. You probably won't feel anything because the savings are not on your part, but it is good to keep the vendors happy as well, right? Besides, in the future, if you are transferring to your friends or relatives overseas, using MoneyMatch will definitely bring more value compared to your usual banks.

Note: 
a. I will probably move this MoneyMatch benefit section into a separate blog post in the future.

b. I am not affiliated with MoneyMatch. I am doing this because I am trying to find ways to reduce the cost of diamonds when we buy using our hard-earned Ringgit. Also, I am actually working in IT field so I am somewhat attracted to all these new start-ups, and MoneyMatch is definitely worth mentioning.

Will keep you guys posted again once the diamond arrived! So stay tuned!

Update 16/10/2017 It's here! :D

Here is some preview:
Black by Brian Gavin

The pretty white BLACK box.

Awesome arrows! Wait til I get home and take a photo of the hearts!

Stay tuned!

Update 19/10/2017 As you can see, the freight is more than what I have expected. I paid USD 52.24 for shipment, which is RM 222.24 based on their exchange rate. However, the freight now is RM 498.75. So I guess freight does not consists of shipment price only. Nonetheless, I just need to pay an extra RM 16.59 more than I expected. As explained in my WhiteFlash post before, the Insurance is 1% of the diamond cost, so it is RM 20.42 here.
The breakdown of items. 

The final GST total - 6% of RM 2561.19 = RM 153.67. Add on Free Commercial Zone (FCZ) charges. The final grand total will be RM 158.67.
The Import GST and Free Commercial Zone (FCZ) charges.

The Hearts! :O
Optical precision at its best!

When I first picked out this little diamond out of the large Fedex box, I was charmed by all the glittering colours it is returning to me. I simply cannot unsee what I have seen. It is simply mesmerizing. While it is not busy glittering when staying stationary on the table, it is simply returning a lot of brightness or dispersing fire to the viewer, depending on the viewer's angle of viewing. Of course, it is hard to resist not to pick up the diamond again and move it around to watch its scintillation - A great mixture of white sparkles and dancing colours. :)

Black by Brian Gavin, holding up brilliantly on my own finger with a temporary ring holder.

Another view of the diamond being held by a temporary ring holder (a good thing to use to propose btw, if you are unsure of the ring size your girlfriend wears or the design your girlfriend likes, but be extra careful with it, set the stone in a secure environment, maybe inside a box or something like that because you may pop the stone out easily and the stone will be flying at high speed towards somewhere - true story, happened to me when I was experimenting with it. I won't be responsible for any damage or lost stone yea. And propose at a secure environment is highly recommended! ;)).

Temporary ring holder in action.

After some practice and tweaking of the light source (iPad Pro 10.5 torch light) and also the positioning of the diamond (which is being held by a pretty cheap laser inscription reader that probably zoom in up to 10x), I have managed to capture the laser inscription on the diamond by zooming in slightly more than 5x with my Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Please note that I did not manage to capture the whole inscription, just partial of it, but with further tweaking, I believe I will be able to capture it.

The laser inscription of Black by Brian Gavin.

All right, let' see the packaging:
Starting from top-left, go counter-clockwise: H&A scope which has your preferred name written on it, white glove, lint free cloth, Jewelers Mutual description card, a note written and signed by Brian Gavin himself, instructions to care for your diamond jewellery, yet another Jewelers Mutual description card, Black by Brian Gavin hard metal card, which has your preferred name written on it, and the name card of the person (Emily Johnson) who serviced me.

And here are the AGS certificates. An original and a duplicate. Please note that AGS certs are customisable, hence you may see different types of AGS certificates from different vendors. So don't feel strange if you see different AGS certs.
Left: Original cert, Right: Duplicate cert

Lastly, the diamond itself - Black by Brian Gavin 0.206ct E VS2!
Black by Brian Gavin 0.206ct E VS2!

I have not seen the original Brian Gavin signature diamonds because I have not own one, so I cannot comment on it. However, I have a WhiteFlash ACA and it looks great in terms of brilliance, but I find it lacking in some fire when it is being compared to the Lazare she owns. While the WhiteFlash ACA is still a decent performer, the Lazare wins overall, in my opinion. After exploring my WhiteFlash's scope images again, I can probably come out with some reasoning, but that is a topic for another day. All I can say is that the Lazare is very well cut, the arrows are very crisp and well-arranged, as for the Hearts, I can't see it as it is mounted, maybe when it is unmounted one day, then I will be able to see it. 

So:
Can I say that WhiteFlash ACA is not as good as they say? My answer is NO. WhiteFlash is still one of the reputable companies I look up to, and it is a really good company. It is just that you will have to use some effort to pick the most suitable diamond for you out of all the ACAs.

Can I say that Lazare is better than WhiteFlash ACA? Well, they both have very strict cut parameters. I have no complains for both, except for Lazare's pavilion angle, whereby 41.2 degree is acceptable. 41.2 degree pavilion angle is really at the border of a well-cut diamond, and it is a considered a steep angle. But as long as it is paired with a shallow crown angle, this diamond should be a performer as well. Nonetheless, I will play safe with WhiteFlash's pavilion angles in this case.

Lazare's Ideal Cut.

WhiteFlash ACA Criteria.

So which one will I choose? Despite you won't find scope images for Lazare, but the benefit of Lazare is that you can view all of them and choose the one you really like, using your own eyes, which I think is one of the most important decision maker. However, prepare to pay a very huge premium compared to similar specs WhiteFlash ACA, which can be really great if you choose the right one for yourself. Also, scopes to me are something important as well, because it can bring more knowledge to us in terms of how the stone can perform. It can pick up something our eyes may miss out. If the price for both Lazare and WhiteFlash ACA is similar, I would still stick with WhiteFlash ACA because I really like to refer to the scope images to know more. But nonetheless, I would say both brands are worth visiting, because one of them, you get to see it with your eyes, while the other, you get to explore them with all the necessary scope images. I will say some Lazares will probably win some WhiteFlash ACA, while some WhiteFlash ACA will probably win some Lazares. For optical precision wise, since Lazare is unable to provide more details on that, I will assume WhiteFlash ACA is better, after all, they are selling super ideals. Price-wise, Lazare is heavily marked-up. So given all the reasons above, between these 2, my ultimate choice is still WhiteFlash ACA.
Now, you might be thinking, why do I bring in Lazare? Am I getting diverted to somewhere else? Maybe a little. But, I have to bring in Lazare because my wife told me that the Black by Brian Gavin I just bought home is as brilliant as the WhiteFlash ACA, and as fiery as the Lazare she owns. So, what does this say? This means, Black by Brian Gavin is really the ultimate choice! And that being said, although it is really hard to go wrong with Black by Brian Gavin, you still need to choose yours carefully, if you intend to buy one, it is just that the work is much much simpler, because as I have said, it is really hard to go wrong.

Again, if you ask me between WhiteFlash ACA and Brian Gavin Diamonds, which one will I choose? I would say both companies have their own benefits. WhiteFlash offers lower price along with free worldwide delivery, thus more value for money, while Brian Gavin Diamonds offers probably the best round brilliants that work really well across all their 57 facets. Can you get a similar diamond from WhiteFlash ? My answer is you probably can, but you will have to use more effort to choose it out from the inventory, and if you enjoy the process, you probably will have much fun choosing, just like me. But, if you want to have a more hassle free and a more guaranteed experience, then Brian Gavin Diamonds will be your top choice. Did I mention that their Hearts & Arrows consistency is at a pretty crazy level? I think it will be a challenge for their cutters to cut something that is ugly! :p.

p.s. Nonetheless, I will continue to buy from both companies whenever I have the chance. :)

2 comments:

  1. Hi. Ive been following your blog regularly and find the information you provided very useful. I too am embarking on my journey to make my engagement ring. Ive decided to go for a 0.5ct BGD. Was deciding to get the setting done locally. Ive surveyed and looked through your suggestions and found that IDO jewelry offered quite a good price. However a good friend of mine suggested Frou Frou. Would you be able to suggest which of these two is better in terms of workmanship for the setting? Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Kasey.

      I have never seen Frou Frou's setting in-person before, so I can't really comment on it. I have checked with them the price before and found that it is abit expensive to my liking. Their setting however, looks good from the picture. Besides, Frou Frou is evolved from a family of craftsman, so the quality should be pretty good I supposed. You can probably take a look at your friend's one and see if you like it. Perhaps you have already done so. ;) For iDo Jewellery, their setting is solid. And like Frou Frou, they come with palladium for their 18k white gold. Based on price alone, personally, I will go with iDo Jewellery because the quality and price is justifiable against one another. The pros of Frou Frou is that they have a showroom and can provide a more exclusive feel, while for iDo Jewellery, you will probably have to meet up with them at one of the cafes around Bukit Jalil area.

      Hope this helps.

      Delete