Everything You Need to Know About Hearts and Arrows Diamonds

hearts and arrows diamonds in rings on paper

Love is in the air! Well, we hope it is, at least, and we don’t just mean when Cupid appears! We cherish love, commitment, relationships and marriage, and we hope you do, too! That’s why we wanted to give you a new spin on your lady’s second-best friend (besides you, of course) – diamonds. Have you ever heard of something called “hearts and arrows diamonds?” If not, keep reading! If you have, keep reading anyway! There might be a thing or two you didn’t know about this type of loose diamonds that could keep you one step ahead of little Cupid!

What is a Hearts and Arrows Diamond?

A Hearts and Arrows diamond, or H&A as it is commonly known, are rounded diamonds which were cut within narrowly proportional ranges and the dimensions were crafted with three perfect symmetries. The diamond’s crisp, well placed, perfectly angled and aligned facets give a crisp, symmetrical reflection which can be seen from both the pavilion, which is the heart and the table, which is the arrow, views.

The most difficult task for any diamond cutter is the creation of hearts and arrows diamonds from rough stones. The precision of the optical symmetry with which this diamond is cut is the reason for the brilliance which they impart. Any deviation from the norm, no matter how miniscule, in the proportion of each facet, can result in a myriad of reactions, which will ultimately affect the look of the diamond. The proportion of each facet, the number of facets and their cutting order has to be precise for the heart and arrow diamond shape to be in line with each other.

Origin of Hearts and Arrows Diamond

Japan is the home and birthplace of the very first “hearts and arrows diamonds.” In the 1980s, Japanese jewelry professionals discovered the secret to creating “excellent grade” diamonds that would impress gemstone grading experts and consumers alike. The factors we mentioned above – the symmetry, cut (referred to as “ideal proportions”), and diamond brilliance/facet pattern were used to create the first of these beloved hearts and arrows diamonds, and the demand for these stones of pure perfection has risen rapidly and more increasingly ever since!

Cutting process: Hearts and arrows

hearts and arrows diamond on a black background

Forming the Heart: Cutting Process - The parts that make up the diamond are a part of an intricate process. When light enters each diamond, the different angles and proportions are what determine how it is refracted. The facets are used with light to create the hearts, which give a pattern that is similar to a kaleidoscope, but is more of an illusion. No part of the diamond has been polished in the shape of a heart. Two lower-girdle facets are responsible for creating the lobes that are present in the pattern of hearts. At the joining of the main pavilion facet and the lower girdle facet, is the formation of the heart.

Forming the Arrows: Cutting Process - The process of creating the arrow in the diamond is similar to that of the heart. The arrows that are on opposite sides of each other are interlocked. The shaft is made up of a pavilion, lower-half facet. The reflection of the opposing shaft is what makes the pointed arrow tip. The light that is reflected from the 12 facets are made up of one table facet, four star facets, a bezel facet and 6 pavilion facets. The effects that the arrows have on a diamond are one of pure brilliance. Because of the contrast of the black of the arrows and the luminescence of the diamond itself, there is a contrast that is strikingly beautiful.

When the main facet (the pavilion) is polished, it is reflected on the opposite side and a gap results. The gap is what separates the V tip and the heart. For a half of a heart to be formed, a minimum of 5 facets has to be used. So for a full heart, there needs to be 12 facets. In the crown area, two other star facets are polished so that the inner reflections square off the pointed shoulders of the heart. This is what completes the image of the heart.

H&A diamonds are the standard by which other diamonds are judged. When the facets join together harmoniously and the reflections are overlapped, the hearts and arrows create a pattern with the brightness and contrast. It projects a more intense, bolder, flash of light and reveal a brilliance that is not present in other diamonds. The optical symmetry of the hearts and arrows with their superior light-reflecting properties has some characteristics which can result in increased consistency, contrast, intensity and performance.

Grading hearts and arrows diamonds

There are several misconceptions that surround what makes a diamond an ideal cut, because there is a possibility of diamonds having hearts and arrows in perfect optical symmetry, however, they also come with issues, such as obstruction, or leakage of light. Accurately grading a hearts and arrow diamond is no simple matter. The parameters of each diamond have to be checked with a Sarin machine and a lab report given. The H&A viewer can be used, but does not have a particular standard of grading. Some are inconsistent; while some do not work and other H&A viewers are excellent.

When it is viewed, the hearts should be perfectly asymmetrical, or proportionate in shape and size, the chevrons that point to the culets should have a clean separation, crown facets should be used to square off the crown and there should be a miniscule split on the clefts that are between the heart lobes. If there is a deviation, then the diamond has what is called “heart problems.” For the arrows, the eight of them, along with the shaft and arrow-head have to be clearly visible, arrow heads must be aligned with arrows and arrowheads should be extended to the girdle.

How Popular are Hearts and Arrows Diamonds?

It seems that the rarer a gemstone is, the higher the consumer, jeweler and collector demand for that stone rises. Hearts and arrows diamonds are no exception to this rule. Less than 1% of all diamonds for sale in the world classify as bona fide, 100% excellent-graded hearts and arrows diamonds.

The popularity of hearts and diamonds trickled down from Japan, where the gemstones originated and where they first skyrocketed in intrigue and demand since their birth in the 80’s. They started as symbols of statue in Japan, and by the 1990’s, had become one of the most popular gemstones in America. Because of their increasingly perfect hearts and arrows diamonds appearance, their popularity also rises worldwide each year.

Jewelry options

As we previously mentioned, many types of hearts and arrows diamond jewelry is worn by Japanese women as symbols of status. These pieces include rings, necklaces, and earrings. These are some of the most popular pieces for which people in America search in the last few years, as well. Some other popular jewelry styles and settings include:

  • Hearts and arrows engagement rings
  • Princess cut hearts and arrows anniversary rings
  • Round brilliant cut hearts and arrows diamond bracelets
  • Round cut earrings
  • Round brilliant cut hearts and arrows diamond earrings
  • Heart-shaped hearts and arrows diamond Valentine’s Day/anniversary necklaces

Tips for Purchasing Hearts and Arrows Diamonds

One thing to remember when shopping for hearts and arrows diamonds is that no two such diamonds are exactly the same, even if the jeweler’s intention was to create identical stones. Each hearts and arrows diamond has its own unique set of facets, giving each stone a slightly different number of hearts and arrows, and a different ratio of arrow-looking shapes vs. heart shapes. Some even appear to have only arrows or only hearts. All of these gemstones that meet the excellent-grade quality and facet illusion reflection requirements are still considered true hearts and arrows diamonds; however, it depends on which type or ratio for which you are looking as to which one(s) you should research and seek.

Another thing to consider is the price. The hearts and arrows diamonds are among the rarest of all the rare gemstones in the world, which means that even the “lowest quality” of these stones are still of higher quality, and more perfect, than many of the most flawless white or clear diamonds on the market. That means that they are more expensive than other gemstones, even if they just barely “made the grade.” So, be sure that you are shopping within your budget, and that the value of the hearts and arrows diamond you choose makes the price tag worth it.

Also, be sure that the type of jewelry you’re seeking exists. Since the stone is so rare, you may have some difficulty finding the style of jewelry you want that’s made with true hearts and arrows diamonds. Do your research and make sure that you can find the piece of jewelry you want.