Diamond displaying 8 arrows from table view & 8 perfect hearts from pavilion view.
Every industry has a flagship person/product. And in each industry, there is only place for one such icon.
For example, it is hard to talk about rock and roll without mentioning Elvis Presley because he is considered the representative icon of rock and roll. In comparison, Jerry Lee Lewis might have had a “whole lotta shakin’ going on”, but he will never be the most well-known figure whose facsimiles swamp the streets of Las Vegas.
Similarly, when it comes to diamond jewelry, the hearts and arrows diamond is definitely the masterpiece and most well-known phenomenon that people associate diamonds with.
Diamond cutting can be considered a branch of liberal arts. As with liberal arts in general, artists want to push the boundaries of their craft further and further. Back in the 1980s, Japanese jewelers were the first to discover the existence of a kaleidoscopic effect when a round brilliant cut diamond was examined through a special viewer.
At that time, those diamonds didn’t feature perfect looking hearts and arrows patternings yet. As the Japanese started to refine their polishing techniques, the hearts and arrows phenomenon slowly gained popularity and was picked up by other cutting houses around the world.
By the time the kaleidoscopic cutting style arrived in the United States during the early 1990s, the foundational technique and guidelines for producing the H&A patternings had already been established before it underwent further development.
Hearts and arrows viewer with blue and red color filter paper.
The hearts and arrows patterning can be viewed using an H&A scope which filters light that enters the side of the diamond. If you want, you can purchase one at this Amazon link. Depending on the color of the filter filament, the resultant image can be blue, red or even purple in color.
When viewed from the top (crown) using a hearts & arrows scope, an ideally cut diamond should reveal eight symmetrical arrows. On the other hand, when the diamond is viewed from the bottom (pavilion), it should reveal eight symmetrical hearts.
This is what you will see when looking through the scope with a blue filter.
Due to the extreme level of cutting precision required for symmetrical patterning, Hearts and Arrows diamonds are sometimes called “super ideals”. In the modern jewelry market, the term “super ideal” is used to define a diamond with superior light performance, material quality and precise optical symmetry.
The answer is NO.
Not all diamonds with an ideal cut rating (AGS) or excellent cut rating (GIA) will automatically qualify it as a hearts and arrows diamond. Technically speaking, the formation of a precise H&A patterning is due to extreme care that is taken when polishing each facet to exact angles and proportions.
This level of precision goes way beyond the criteria needed to achieve an “excellent” or “ideal” symmetry rating.
Below are images of a diamond with poor optical symmetry and you could clearly see that the “hearts” aren’t well defined. Are you surprised to know this is what a typical GIA triple excellent round diamond looks like under a viewer?
Now, “Hearts And Arrows” is a very loosely used term that many jewelers utilize to market their inventory and this is something you need to beware of. Any jeweler who is claiming to sell you “super ideal” diamonds should provide you with all the necessary data (ASET, Idealscope, H&A images) to back up their claims. If they don’t, you can be sure that it is a sham and just a marketing ploy they use to prey on uneducated consumers.
Does this qualify as a hearts and arrows diamond?
Don’t be fooled. Many sub-standard stones such as the example above are frequently passed off as the real deal. While I would consider the diamond to be pretty well-cut, it hasn’t achieved the pinnacle of cut precision.
So, let me set things straight. If you are going to be charged an additional premium for hearts and arrows diamonds, it had better be the cream of the crop. This diamond doesn’t make the cut (pun intended) and like the majority of diamonds in the market, it is polished to mediocre standards.
Generic GIA 3Ex.
Super ideal cut hearts and arrows.
Apart from the symbolic meaning of love and romance, there are 2 visual benefits of buying a hearts and arrows diamond. As mentioned earlier, the hearts and arrows patterning is a by-product of facets that are aligned with extreme precision.
First of all, a diamond will display better contrast patterning when it is cut to super ideal standards and this creates a more appealing appearance that captures the viewer’s attention.
Virtual facets add a multi-dimensional interplay of light within the diamond.
Secondly, the brilliance and sparkle factor of a diamond is directly affected by the virtual facets it displays. Basically, you can think of virtual facets like mirrors that reflect mirrors. Having an optimized and better alignment of polished facets will result in bigger virtual facets.
And having bigger virtual facets will result in more reflection of light and better scintillation. This is why a super ideal cut hearts and arrows diamond will look livelier and brighter than a generic GIA excellent cut diamond.
If you want a truly well cut hearts and arrows diamond, you need to shop at the right places as there are only a few vendors that specialize in them. The fact is, most jewelers would try to say the diamonds they sell are hearts and arrows when they are actually not.
When shopping for hearts and arrows diamonds, you need to work with a vendor that has transparent business practices that offer tangible data to back up their claims. These are jewelers that I trust and personally reviewed after making multiple purchases:
I bought this H&A diamond engagement ring from White Flash recently.
White Flash – They are known for their A CUT ABOVE® super-ideal cut diamonds which are carefully curated and cut to exacting standards. Their hearts and arrows diamonds are AGS certified and have ideal ratings for light performance, symmetry, and polish.
Brian Gavin – A pioneer and leading authority on super ideal cut diamonds, Brian Gavin is a legend in the industry. His signature round diamonds are cut to superlative standards and he also offers his patented hearts and arrows cushion cut diamonds.
James Allen – Their TrueHearts signature line offers a big selection of hearts and arrows diamonds. While you need to put in some effort to cherry-pick the better diamonds, there are plenty of options across different budget ranges and carat sizes to choose from.
If you need help with a selection or a second opinion on a diamond, feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with me via email.
On the next page, I’m going to show you the guidelines for determining optical symmetry and teach you how to make your own judgments. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that any premium you pay for H&A diamonds is really justified and you aren’t walking away short-changed.