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Hearts and Arrows Diamonds – Your Questions Answered

by Willyou.net * Sep 18, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • Hearts and Arrows diamonds are a fascinating phenomenon.
  • When cut to ‘perfect’ proportions, a Round Brilliant diamond will produce a pattern of hearts and arrows across the table and pavilion, which can be viewed under a microscope.
  • In our opinion, they’re not worth the money, since these hearts and arrows will never be seen when the diamond is worn on the finger.
  • Just because the phenomenon is indicative of a perfect cut, doesn’t mean they’re worth the extra investment. While Cut is vital to sparkle, it doesn’t have to meet the very, very rigid criteria that exists for Hearts and Arrows diamonds.
  • Focus on a GIA Cut grade of Excellent or Very Good, and avoid the premiums attached to Hearts and Arrows.
Diamond left -  Arrows middle - Heart right - Hearts and Arrows Diamonds – Your Questions Answered
H&A Diamond (left) – Diamond Arrows (middle) – Diamond Hearts (right)

There are few things that are more tightly bound to romance than a diamond ring – and for obvious reasons. Perhaps a long stemmed rose represents a strong runner up, alongside long walks on the beach, dancing in the rain and, of course, standing together at the bow of a ship like Leo and Kate – but anything else pales in comparison to the diamond ring’s strongest contender: the heart.

For some, choosing a fancy cut diamond in the shape of a heart is the best way for them to get the message across without leaving any opportunity for misinterpretation. For others, finding a hearts and arrows diamond is even better.

But, do hearts and arrows diamonds really embody romance better than any other beautifully cut diamond, or are they actually worth the hype? Here’s everything you need to know…

What is a Hearts and Arrows Diamond?

Some round diamonds are cut meticulously enough to create a pattern resembling a series of arrows across the table and crown of the diamond when viewed from above, and a series of hearts visible when viewed from below.

More specifically, a hearts and arrows diamond is one that has been cut to ideal proportions (a great table percentage, for instance), with excellent symmetry and polish.  The facets have to be aligned with incredible precision, too, or the pattern will be off.

This pattern is visible to the naked eye, but can be seen much more clearly through an image that has been color inverted.

What is the Significance of Hearts and Arrows in a Diamond?

Hearts and arrows diamonds are not only romantic, but they are also a fascinating example of precision, skill, and craftsmanship.

What could be more romantic than a diamond, created naturally over billions of years, bearing the image of hearts and arrows on the finger of your future bride? We’re willing to bet you can’t think of anything right this second. Besides, the rarity of hearts and arrows diamonds makes them an even more romantic gesture.

Besides the symbolic resonance of the hearts and arrows, however, is the fact that creating one of these diamonds depends entirely on the diamond cutter’s skill and dedication to the craft. The fact that, of all the diamonds with a cut grade of ‘Excellent’ in the world, only a relatively small few are hearts and arrows diamonds tells you all you need to know about the level of perfection required to make one.

Nevertheless, while the significance of these diamonds makes them a fascinating subject (particularly among collectors), their rarity and visual appearance is not often considered worthwhile to the average buyer.

Are All Excellent Cut Diamonds Hearts and Arrows?

No, a diamond can be graded ‘Excellent’ by the GIA and not feature a hearts and arrows pattern.

That said, it is worth knowing that hearts and arrows diamonds exist on a spectrum, and that many diamonds featuring an Excellent cut will also feature a pattern of hearts and arrows to some extent. They may be lacking that perfect symmetry the best examples feature, or they may be almost impossible to spot.

This is one of the reasons why hearts and arrows diamonds are not widely available from all jewelers, unless specially requested – there is no specific definition for true hearts and arrows diamonds, and things remain open to some interpretation.

Can You See Hearts and Arrows in Diamond?

Not as easily as you might think. To view them properly, you’ll need a special viewer designed to capture this pattern.

It is possible to catch a glimpse of the diamond’s arrows when you’re looking into the table but, in order to see them properly, you would need to be looking down at the diamond from the perfect angle. So, outside of the lab or jewelry store, the best you can hope for is a fleeting glance at the diamond’s exquisite structure. 

A hearts and arrows viewer places the diamond so that the table is perfectly level, and ensures that you are looking straight down on it, rather than from an angle.

So, yes, you can see the diamond’s hearts and arrows but, no, most of the time they won’t be visible. They will appear like any other diamond cut to ideal proportions.

Do Hearts and Arrows Diamonds Look Bigger?

Yes, they can look a little bigger than other diamonds of the same carat weight that do not feature a hearts and arrows pattern.

As we mentioned above, the hearts and arrows diamond is basically as close to perfection as a diamond could ever get.

Throughout our site, you’ll find it said plenty of times that cut is inarguably the most important factor to consider when you are looking at diamonds – particularly when you’re thinking about sparkle. Diamond proportion, symmetry, and depth (to name just a few) are intrinsic to maximizing a diamond’s light performance – something which, when done correctly, can make a diamond appear bigger.

Why? Because as much light as possible is traveling through the stone, and exiting in flashes of brilliance and fire through the table.

In the case of hearts and arrows diamonds, then, precision is the name of the game. This means the diamond’s light performance is unsurpassed, and that it will appear a little brighter and bigger than another, lesser diamond.

Does the GIA Grade Hearts and Arrows Diamonds?

No, the GIA has no grading system for hearts and arrows diamonds. Some diamonds will be laser-inscribed with ‘H&A’ (meaning hearts and arrows) and the GIA will record this in their report, but GIA diamond graders will not put it there themselves.

That’s not to suggest that no GIA certified diamond features hearts and arrows – just that, in the diamond’s report, the pattern will not be mentioned.

Hearts and arrows are an interesting phenomena found within certain diamonds, but they are not neatly correlated with the diamond’s cut quality, since many diamonds with Excellent cut grades do not feature a clear pattern. Most well cut diamonds will contain some form of hearts and arrows, but not enough to appear as clear and symmetrical as what shoppers looking for these diamonds expect.

The GIA focuses on cut quality of the diamond, and these grades will tell you a great deal about the value of the diamond you are looking at – and its visual appearance.

The only way to be sure you are investing in a hearts and arrows diamond is to see it in person, with the assistance of an expert jeweler and through the scope of a Hearts and Arrows viewer.

Are Hearts and Arrows Diamonds Rare?

Yes, hearts and arrows diamonds are thought to represent just 1% of the diamonds on sale today.

The amount of time and labour required to create a hearts and arrows diamond means that diamond cutters will only ever opt to use stones with a good clarity, color, and size, making them even less common.

The value of an exquisitely well-cut diamond will be driven down significantly by a yellow tint, for instance, so plenty of diamonds are passed over by those looking to create hearts and arrows diamonds.

Are Hearts and Arrows Diamonds Worth it?

Maybe, but not always. If you’re a diehard romantic with the time and money at your disposal to track down a hearts and arrows diamond, then go for it, but, if not, many other features matter a lot more than the hearts and arrows pattern.

We said before how many exquisitely cut diamonds that are highly regarded by GIA graders do not feature the hearts and arrows pattern, and it’s very important to keep this in mind as you begin your search. Using the GIA report gives you the best, objective overview of the diamond’s value and beauty, but certain things are simply down to interpretation.

Hearts and arrows are not an obvious characteristic. You would need a special tool to view them properly and, to the naked eye, these diamonds will look pretty much indistinguishable from other ‘Excellent’ cut diamonds that do not feature hearts and arrows.

Yes, simply knowing that the diamond is one of a rare few than contains actual hearts and arrows in its facets sounds like a cool idea, but we’d hate to think that you’re passing on incredible, high brilliance diamonds simply because they’re not hearts and arrows diamonds.

Remember, even if you do pick one of these diamonds, it’s not like your bride to be is going to be met with a bright, sparkling pattern of hearts and arrows when you open that ring box for the first time. This is a fascinating phenomenon when viewed under the microscope but, beyond that, it’s not something that should sway your decision one way or the other.

Focus on getting a diamond with an Excellent or Very Good cut grade, and a strong, eye clean appearance with plenty of brilliance, and you won’t regret forgoing the hearts and arrows phenomenon.