Checklist for a Super Ideal Diamond

So far, we have already talked about general characteristics of Hearts and Arrows diamonds and what you need to look out for. Hopefully, you would have gained sufficient knowledge to be able to identify one and make your own judgement.

Since we are dealing with premium cuts and super ideal diamonds, there is a significant price jump involved. For a moment, let’s pick up the attitude of rocket scientists and develop a last checklist you can use to screen through such diamonds.

1. Always Make Sure the Diamond Has a Certificate From a Reliable Lab

While this may sound like common sense, there are many consumers who fall prey to deceptive marketing tactics and end up overpaying for their purchase. Bear this in mind: lab reports are not made equal. Grade bumping is a common issue where a low quality diamond (usually with dubious certification) is marketed to be the equivalent of a similarly graded GIA diamond.

For example, an EGL diamond graded with E Color SI1 is not the same as a GIA stone with a grade of E Color SI1.

agsl computer generated light performance map

Some of the newer AGSL lab reports come with computer generated images

Even though grading reports from reliable laboratories (with the exception of AGS) will not mention or grade optical patterns, they offer assurance of the diamond’s quality. Remember, the purpose of a reliable certificate is to help consumers verify the diamond’s authenticity and to provide an accurately description of the qualities it possess.

Interestingly, many lesser known labs do provide information of the diamond’s optical symmetry in their grading report (similar to those seen above). Most of the time, this is a just a weak attempt to stand out from the competition by offering “additional services”.

It doesn’t change the fact that these labs apply soft grading standards during their examination. The bottomline here is, I don’t recommend buying diamonds graded anywhere else except by GIA and AGS.

2. Inspect the Stone With a Hearts And Arrows Viewer

h&a diamond viewer and scope

Regardless of what the jeweler says about their diamonds, you always want to verify details yourself. You should keep in mind the things to look out for when analyzing a diamond’s optical symmetry. If you are unsure, you can always refer back to the guidelines listed on

Tip: Always pay more attention to the hearts patterning. Properly formed hearts require super precise facet placements and proportioning. Any slight deviations in facet alignments will show up in the pavilion view instead of the table (arrows) view.

As an example, the image below might be passed off as a great diamond to the untrained eyes. However, it shows a patterning which violates too many of the guidelines. Personally, this stone would not pass my standards for a “true” hearts and arrows diamond. I would reject any notion of acquiring such diamonds and recommend looking at other options.

distorted hearts deviation in diamonds

3. View ASET or Idealscope Data

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record with the constant harping on the need for these data. The same rules used for choosing a round brilliant cut apply here as well.

Without ideal light performance, any optical symmetry that the stone possesses is naught. What’s the point of having a diamond that displays nice patternings under a H&A viewer if it appears dull and lifeless when worn? To make an objective selection, these are crucial light performance data required for a critical assessment of the diamond.

evaluating light performance for super ideals

Remember, no 2 diamonds are exactly the same. If you had read my review on Hearts On Fire, you would have know that optical symmetry doesn’t necessary translate to better light performance.

If you are looking for truly well-cut diamonds with the best possible optics and precision, check out and Their signature hearts and arrows diamonds have some of the highest standards in the industry.

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  1. Avatar
    chantal baas-
    March 15, 2016 at 2:28 am

    hi i have a question,i have a diamant ring from GIA with laser inscription,0,47 caraat,3 x eccellent cut ,and vvs2 g colour,flueronces none,but what is the difference between a diamond and the hearts and arrows stone is the stone that i have not even good enough as a hearts and arrows,and what is the difference between vvs1 and 2,greetings chantal baas from the netherlands

  2. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    March 23, 2016 at 1:15 pm
  3. Avatar
    Francis Bacon-
    September 1, 2016 at 3:47 am

    Hi Paul, what does it means if the inner middle circe of the diamond seen under ASET is not entirely green (about 1/4 of it is red)? May that be a problem? Thanks

  4. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    September 1, 2016 at 4:01 am

    It’s a reflection of the table facet within the diamond and isn’t something I would be concerned with.

  5. Avatar
    Felix Chan-
    January 9, 2017 at 4:29 am

    HI Paul,

    I have been following your diamond selection guide write up and gained the basic knowledge of viewing those diamonds. I have screened the following two diamonds and would like to have your advise on which one is the better buy in terms of their quality?


  6. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    January 9, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Both are on par. You did well. I think this diamond would be a better buy:

  7. Avatar
    February 28, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Paul, thank you for all of the information. I have narrowed down to these 2 diamonds, can you please let me know your thoughts and which is best? Thank you!
    A third more expensive option also made my cut, not sure if worth the extra money:

  8. Avatar
    February 28, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    hello- I’m a jewelry appraiser and I’m getting mixed answers to my question, what is the percentage or premium for HAA over a regular ideal cut diamond?

  9. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    March 1, 2017 at 3:29 am

    It depends on how precise the cut quality of H&A is. Different jewelers have different standards and that’s the part that screw people over. For a top notch H&A diamond compared to a bottom of the barrel ideal cut diamond, the price differences can be up to 20%.

  10. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    March 1, 2017 at 3:30 am

    The 3rd diamond would be the best option in terms of overall cut quality. That’s the stone I would personally buy.

  11. Avatar
    March 28, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Paul, thanks for the great website and detailed information. I’m looking at the diamond below which is listed as a True Hearts. Would like your thoughts if it meets your criteria?

  12. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    March 29, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    No it doesn’t. The table size is too large. If you are interested in getting a top notch hearts and arrows diamond, go to White Flash or Brian Gavin.

  13. Avatar
    Rachelle Petit-
    July 9, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    HI Paul, I really appreciate your website! I have a question about diamond table measurements. What do you consider too large of a table measurement? I was under the impression that because a large table could make the diamond look bigger it was always better to have a diamond with a large table, but when does it interfere with the brilliance of the diamond? Is it in direct correlation with the diamond depth and if so, can you use the depth to know if the table is too big? I’m confused. Thanks for your help!

  14. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    July 10, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Well, you are definitely under the wrong impression. For a round diamond, anything above 58% is excessive. Larger tables mean crown facets get smaller and this affects the balance of fire and brightness.

  15. Avatar
    September 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Paul!

    First of all, thank you so much for this site. I almost made a giant mistake of overpaying for a terrible diamond in a local store. Because of you, I found Brian Gavin online.

    I have narrowed down my choices to three diamonds and I was wondering if you can help me select the best one for the price. The most important thing to me are sparkle and eye clean-ness. Also, I’d prefer to not have a noticeable tinge. Thank you!

  16. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    September 11, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    With a F or G color, I can assure you that you will not see any body color in the diamonds. They will face up icy white.

    These 2 diamonds will be my top picks: best overall value for money. would be my 2nd choice if you have budget constraints.

    Either way, both stones are fantastic and top notch.

  17. Avatar
    September 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve looked again at the F diamond you recommended. I’m a bit concerned about the inclusion plot. All the inclusions are bunched together under the table. Is that going to be a problem? I thought one is supposed to avoid inclusions under the table?

  18. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    September 16, 2017 at 3:24 am

    The stone is eyeclean and that’s all that matters if you are a practical buyer. You will NOT see inclusions with the naked eye. If you were to blindly follow advice that one should avoid all inclusions under the table, are you going to avoid a VVS2 diamond with a small pinpoint as well? If that bothers you (which is ridiculous), then pay the premium for an IF diamond.

    I will restate: the diamond is eyeclean. If it wasn’t, I won’t have recommended it.

  19. Avatar
    September 25, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Paul, First of all thank you for your great website. It has made my search a lot more manageable.

    With my interpretation of all your information I’ve been able to narrow my options to the following two, I’d greatly appreciate your input:

    If you have any additional options that I should consider those are welcome too!

    Thank you again for this amazing website!

  20. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    September 26, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I looked at both stones below and think you did well to pick these out. Personally, I would try to stay with a G or better color if budget allows.

    Cutwise, both diamonds are spectacular and top notch in terms of performance.

    I have preference for the G diamond above and that’s the stone I would buy. Either way, both stones are stunners and you can’t go wrong with either one.


  21. Avatar
    June 9, 2019 at 3:10 am


    First off, thanks so much for this phenomenal web resource you put together. I was extremely wary about trying to navigate the diamond market before I came across your site. No, after spending much of the last week devouring all of the learning you’ve shared with us here, I feel much more confident about things. I have to admit, I even find the diamond industry a bit fascinating now, which is something I never thought I’d say. I’ll definitely be making sure that I follow one of your affiliate links when I make the purchase; you’ve more than earned whatever referral fee they pay you!

    The reason for my question: I’m buying an engagement ring, and before I pulled the trigger, was hoping I could get a second opinion from you.

    My goal is to find something slightly under 2 carats, round cut, with the optimal sparkle, so I’ve tried to prioritize cut-cut-cut here. Here are the three leading contenders:

    I’m really having a hard time identifying much difference between these on the ASET and Ideal-Scope images. But I think my preference among these is for the 1st one, mostly because the inclusions near the center on the 2nd and 3rd ones seem more visible in the magnified face-up images. All three list as eye-clean, though, so will those even really make a difference? The HCA analysis for the 3rd one comes in a little lower (0.9) than it does for the other two (1.1), so that was another factor that I wasn’t really sure how much weight to assign.

    I was also considering this stone from the Black collection at Brian Gavin, which also rated at 0.9 on the HCA analysis:

    Any thoughts between these would be much appreciated. Thanks again for the brilliant website!

  22. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    June 9, 2019 at 4:11 am

    I actually pay no heed to the HCA tool given how these vendors provide tangible data to assess cut quality. It’s an outdated tool that serves to confuse more than it helps when making a selection. Now, I reviewed all 4 diamonds you shortlisted and all of them are exceptionally well cut. You have a first world problem because all these diamonds are consistently well cut and there are virtually no differences in light performance. That also points to the high standards that both White Flash and Brian Gavin has.

    Now, out of these 4 diamonds, I do have the strongest preference for this diamond to get the best value for money. The other 2 WF diamonds have inclusions I am not comfortable with.

    The next diamond I would consider this diamond:

    Both are fantastic options and I would let the choice of setting decide on whom to work with. Good job in picking out these options.

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