Brian Gavin’s Signature H&A Diamonds – Neat Arrows + Crisp Hearts!
The distinctive hearts and arrows patterning is often used for marketing round brilliant cut diamonds with superior cut quality and craftsmanship.
Now, most consumers believe that if a diamond is a GIA 3Ex or AGS Ideal cut, it would automatically qualify it as a hearts and arrows diamond and display a pristine patterning.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true and jewelers often use the H&A term loosely just to portray mediocre stones in a better light. This is why I wanted to address this common misconception many people have when shopping for hearts and arrows diamonds.
The fact is: Ideal/Excellent Cut + Symmetry + Polish ≠ Perfect Hearts And Arrows.
Whenever there are huge sums of money involved, you can be sure that things tend to get abused and facts get twisted. Unethical jewelers would prey on unsuspecting consumers by passing off a mediocre stone to be a hearts and arrows diamond.
At other times, the problems lie in poorly trained sales staff with very limited knowledge. Like the uneducated customer, these salespeople actually think that a diamond with excellent symmetry would automatically qualify it as an H&A stone.
The confusion stems from the fact that many consumers assume the symmetry grade in a grading report to be an indication of the diamond’s optical symmetry (H&A). These two terms DO NOT refer to the same thing.
When it comes to the symmetry rating found in a grading report, the diamond is visually examined under 10X magnification for a number of symmetry features like tilted tables, wavy girdles, facet sizes and etc…
A grade is then assigned based on the gemologist’s findings. For a diamond to be graded with “excellent symmetry”, any symmetry flaws it has are often minute and very difficult to detect under 10X magnification.
For example, a stone with slightly misaligned facets could still make it to an excellent rating. To put in layman’s terms, the symmetry grading focuses on the diamond’s overall shape and how the diamond’s facets align with each other. It doesn’t tell us how all the individual facets intertwine together in a complex relationship!
On the other hand, optical symmetry seen through the H&A viewer takes into account the relationship of every facet that comes together as a whole. In fact, the virtual facets (facets that are created by a diamond’s internal reflections akin to a hall of mirrors) play an important role in the crispness of the hearts and arrows pattern we see.
Many jewelers claim that they sell hearts and arrows diamonds but only a few in the entire world actually sell truly well cut diamonds. The fact is, less than 0.1% of the world’s cut diamonds would qualify as hearts and arrows.
Here’s what a true hearts and arrows diamond looks like with 8 perfectly formed hearts patterning and 8 correctly aligned arrow shafts. Notice how clean and symmetrical the details are?
Feel free to click this link to view the full details of the diamond.
It is relatively easy to cut a diamond to ideal proportions and achieve AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent polish and symmetry. However, it is on a completely different level to polish the facets with the extreme precision needed to generate a consistent hearts and arrows pattern.
Anyway, the diamond above was one of my most recent purchase for a diamond engagement ring. If you want to find out how much brilliance and sparkle a super ideal cut diamond has, watch the video below…
While most GIA triple excellent or AGS triple 0 diamonds exhibit some kind of hearts and arrows effect when examined with a viewer, the level of craftsmanship is usually less than perfect upon scrutiny.
More often than not, what you will see through the viewer are misaligned or lopsided H&A patterns. You see, when a diamond is polished to different standards in craftsmanship, they will look different even though they have the same symmetry grades!
Here’s a simple analogy that I always use – 2 students may have gotten the same distinction grade of “A” in an exam. However, one student scored 97/100 while the other scored 76/100. On their educational records, both have the same “A” grade and yet one fared significantly better than the other.
That’s the same scenario for 2 diamonds with similar “excellent” symmetry ratings. The grading system can accommodate and categorize diamonds with the same rating even though they may possess different degrees of flaws.
Triple 0 AGS diamond with poor optical symmetry (wonky arrows and twisted hearts)
Although this diamond is graded by AGS as an ideal cut, it’s still not good enough to qualify as a hearts and arrows diamond because of its bad optical symmetry.
Here’s what an above-average GIA triple excellent diamond (report no. #1166789377) looks like. Even though it received a 3 Ex rating, the optical symmetry is sub-par and the hearts & arrows shapes are not well defined.
As you can see above, the images do show 8 arrows and 8 hearts. To the uninitiated, the jeweler may just pull a smokescreen and make you believe this is a true hearts and arrows diamond.
Gasp! How did an Ex/Ex polish and symmetry end up so ugly?
Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. It is possible for ugly diamonds like the example above to achieve excellent/excellent symmetry and polish grades. When the proportions are all wrong, it doesn’t matter how accurate each facet lines up to another.
The stone will look dull and lack life! And the point here is that an Excellent symmetry rating can be assigned to a diamond but it doesn’t mean the diamond will have better performance or even display crisp hearts and arrows patterning for that matter.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the gemological labs can include a section for grading optical symmetry? Unfortunately, that won’t be happening anytime soon. Major labs like GIA won’t grade H&A patterns because they believe that it is NOT a key component for a diamond’s beauty.
The truth is, even if a diamond displays perfect H&A, it doesn’t guarantee that the stone will be brilliant or possess excellent light return. So, until the day the entire industry agrees on a consensus to grade H&A patterning, you should always take things with a pinch of salt whenever you hear a jeweler label their inventory as such.
When you are shopping for a hearts and arrows diamond (or being sold one), a transparent vendor would offer these data readily without you even asking. White Flash is an example of a fantastic vendor where you get to see exactly what you are buying. Click the image below and view the full details of the listing to see what I mean.
Listing with magnified image, idealscope, ASET and hearts & arrows patterning data.
To sum things up, you want to see proof and tangible data instead of relying on the jeweler’s words when buying an H&A diamond. Grading reports alone will not tell you the degree of craftsmanship and precision that a diamond is cut to. You will need to examine the pictures taken from the table view and pavilion view to help you discern such details.
With that, I hope this article has offered useful insights to you. If you have any questions or need help with a second-opinion, feel free to get in touch via email or the comment section below!