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 people associate diamonds with.
8 arrows from table view – 8 perfect hearts from pavilion view
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 cutting style 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 technique and guidelines had already been laid out to a certain degree.
When viewed from the top (crown), an ideally cut diamond should reveal eight symmetrical arrows. On the other hand, when the diamond was viewed from the bottom (pavilion), it should reveal eight symmetrical hearts.
Due to the extreme level of cutting precision required for symmetrical patterning, Hearts and Arrows diamonds are sometimes called “super ideals”. Fast forward to modern day, 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 a “excellent” 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 justify their claim. If they don’t, it is most likely a sham and marketing ploy used 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 achieve the pinnacle of cut precision. In my opinion, if I am going be charged an additional premium for hearts and arrows diamonds, it had better be the cream of the crop. This diamond isn’t.
On the next page, I’m going to show you the guidelines to determining optical symmetry and teach you how to make your own judgements. 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.