Hearts and Arrows Diamond

Choosing a great diamond can be tricky. If you have read some of the info on this site you will by now have learnt that assessing how good a diamond is (or isn’t) goes way beyond the 4C’s. Looking at the 4C’s is of course a good starting point. But we need to know a whole lot more in order to be able to judge whether a diamond is a great example of it’s grade or not. One of the questions we are often asked, is whether or not it is important to have a hearts and arrows diamond. The answer, like most things diamond, is complex.

What is a Hearts and Arrows Diamond?

So, what is a hearts and arrows diamond? Hearts and arrows do not actually exist in diamonds. They are an illusion that the eye perceives when the diamond is cut in such a way as to produce reflections that look like hearts and arrows. The arrows are viewed from the top of the diamond (so when the diamond is sitting as it would be if it were set into a ring). The hearts are viewed from the back of the diamond, usually through a piece of equipment known as a hearts and arrows scope.

The hearts and arrows effect is produced from a relationship of crown facets and lower pavillion facets and their relative orientation to each other. It is the relationship of these angles, as well as the pavillion facets (the back of the diamond) that gives you the perception of the arrows. The arrow heads are a visual embodiment of the facets as they are reflected in the crown.

Generally speaking, a diamond that has Excellent cut will produce the hearts and arrows characteristic. Excellent cut, in part, is derived from the diamond having a crown angle that meets the excellent cut grade criteria. This is an average measurement that is drawn from the girdle upper edge to the table outer edge. This makes the assumption that the crown has a consistent level surface, when in actual fact the crown of a round brilliant cut is bevelled by the three facets that make up the crown, namely the kite, the  upper girdle edge and the star facets.

Hearts and arrows diamond. This photo shows the arrowsThere are varying degrees of precision of hearts and arrows within the hearts and arrows spectrum.

How Important is it to Have a Hearts and Arrows Diamond?

These days, diamonds that display the hearts and arrows characteristic are regarded by most jewellers as the pinnacle of round brilliant cut diamonds. However, it must be remembered that a diamond that has been assessed as “Very Good” in terms of cut, rather than “Excellent” may also in some instances display the hearts and arrows effect. And not all excellent cut diamonds will display hearts and arrows. So hearts and arrows on its own should not be considered as being the primary indicator of a good or great cut.

Also, consider this: apart from a few hybrid cuts, the hearts and arrows effect can only be seen in round brilliant cut diamonds. Does this mean that other diamond cuts such as pear cuts, oval cuts, cushion cuts, cuts asscher cuts and emerald cut diamonds aren’t great diamonds?

So just how important is it that your diamond ring have a hearts and arrows diamond? Of course the answer to this question does to a large extent come down to personal preferences. Hearts and arrows is something that may be important to you as you want a diamond that has all the bells and whistles… but really, once you are in “Excellent” cut territory, you know that you have a diamond that is a great cut. Hearts and arrows, if the diamond displays this effect, is an added bonus.

Buying the Best Diamond That You Can

Of course, we would all like to have, funds permitting, the best diamond possible. And it is true that when you look at a diamond that displays the hearts and arrows effect under a microscope, the diamond does look visually perfect. It is simply a higher level of perfect (if there is such a thing) over and above the perfection of the already great Excellent cut. So whilst it may be technically advantageous to have a diamond that displays hearts and arrows, you have to ask yourself how much this feature is important to you. Especially if the human eye is not able to see this level of perfection without the aid of a microscope!

Other Attributes in the Diamond Are Very Important to how the Diamond Looks Too

To put it in perspective, you must never forget that there are other really important factors in diamonds that can have a far greater impact visually, than whether or not it is an hearts and arrows diamond. Hearts and arrows should be viewed as one consideration in the mix of all the things that we look at to see whether the diamond is great, or not, as the case may be.