Buying a Heart-Shaped Diamond: A Full Guide + Helpful Advice

A diamond straight from the heart...

Although it isn’t the most common silhouette, the heart-shaped diamond certainly has its place in the jewelry world. Nothing is more romantic than the classic heart shape: a symbol of eternal love and devotion.❤️ It reminds us of couples holding hands, heartfelt proposals, and beautiful weddings with blushing brides and grinning grooms.

Heart diamonds have seen an increase in popularity the last few years, but it’s important to know how to shop for a quality heart-shaped stone before making a purchase. While a heart-shaped diamond is sure to “wow” your significant other, there are some important characteristics to look for in this particular shape.

Let’s go over:

  • Heart-shaped diamond basics
  • What to look for when shopping for a heart-shaped diamond
  • Popular settings for heart-shaped stones
  • Pricing for heart-shaped diamonds
  • BONUS content including antique heart-shaped stones and colorful options
A Full Guide to Heart-Shaped Diamonds

The basics of heart-shaped diamonds

Although the heart-shaped diamond may seem like a modern invention, this gemstone silhouette has been around for centuries! From the lavish courts of England to the red carpets of today, heart-shaped stones have always been on-trend.

Heart-shaped diamonds from yesterday and today

The earliest recordings of a heart-shaped diamond date back to the 15th century. In 1463, a written exchange between the Duke of Milan and his confidante referred to “a heart-shaped diamond”, meaning the silhouette was already well-known by that time.

The heart shape increased in popularity over the years, and it was a favorite of royalty. In fact, Mary Queen of Scots once sent Queen Elizabeth I of England a heart-shaped diamond ring as a symbol of their friendship and a display of goodwill between the two nations. Another fan of the style, Cardinal de Richelieu of France also was said to own a massive, 20-carat heart-shaped diamond!

Today, heart-shaped diamonds are a hit with modern-day “royalty”, as celebrities have also become rather fond of the silhouette. The most recent heart-shaped diamond in the media was Lady Gaga’s, given to her by ex-boyfriend Taylor Kinney during his Valentine's Day proposal!

Other celebrities have also joined the trend, with Nicki Minaj, Gwen Stefani, Rochelle Humes, and Allegra Riggio currently or previously stunting a heart diamond. The silhouette is only growing in popularity today as shoppers search for unique and eye-catching gemstones to wow friends, family, and followers!👨🏻‍❤️‍👨🏻

Appearance

A heart-shaped diamond is immediately recognizable in a jewelry display window, as it has the same silhouette as the traditional “heart” used to symbolize love and affection. In truth, the shape almost looks like two pear-shaped diamonds that are placed side-to-side with their pointed ends facing down.

The heart shape qualifies as a “fancy” cut, and it has 56-60 facets depending on its cut quality. Although the shape may resemble two pears, the heart-shaped gem is inspired by the classic round brilliant stone.

While it’s not the sparkliest silhouette, heart-shaped diamonds can absolutely obtain top-notch scintillation and fire, and they’re magnificent in the right setting. They’re also versatile and can fit the wardrobe of most wearers, as they look amazing not only in engagement rings but also as heart-shaped diamond necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

Symbolism

The symbolism and meaning behind the heart is clear: it stands for love and affection. However, this shape has even more meaning when carved out of a diamond!

Diamonds are durable and everlasting, signifying the eternal nature of your love and passion for your significant other. Furthermore, like diamonds, your love is unbreakable, and it can withstand the trials of life as the two of you grow together in your relationship.

Additionally, a heart-shaped diamond can signify whatever you’d like! The silhouette is universal, but whether that loving sentiment is part of a gift directed toward a significant other or family member or a piece that you wear as a memento for a loved one who has passed, its meaning is really up to you.😇

What to look out for when buying a heart-shaped diamond?

While you may want to buy a heart-shaped diamond for the novel shape, there are several criteria that make some gems better than others. We’ve collected the details regarding the ins and outs of heart-shaped diamonds and what you should look for when inspecting the 4Cs in their diamond grading reports:

The anatomy of a heart-shaped diamond

A heart-shaped diamond is unique, and each feature has a name for identification purposes. Here’s a quick guide for understanding the anatomy of the heart-shaped stone for inspecting diamonds during your search:🕵🏻‍♂️

The Anatomy of a Heart-Shaped Diamond
Diamond PartDescription
CleftThe cleft is the inward drop between the two lobes of the heart. It resembles an inverted point centered at the top of the diamond.
LobeThe lobes are the two rounded tops of the heart, and they resemble the bottoms of two pear diamonds.
BellyThe belly is the middle of the diamond and is mostly level with the non-pointed culet of the stone. This part of the diamond sits just above the wings, where the stone begins to turn inward.
WingThe two wings of the heart are the sides that sit just below the belly. These sides point inward, leading down to the point.
PointThe point is the bottom tip of the heart, and it is ideally centered with the cleft.

Cut

A diamond’s cut is the most important part of its grading criteria, as it directly influences brilliance, fire, and scintillation. However, most labs do not give fancy cuts an overall cut grade. As such, here are the characteristics that can help you understand how to measure a heart-shaped diamond.

Length-To-Width Ratio

Length and Width of a Heart-Shaped Diamond

Heart-shaped diamonds are not exact, and there are several variations to the silhouette: short, long, wide, thin, etc. As such, knowing the diamond’s length-to-width ratio can be helpful in determining which stone best suits your needs.

The length-to-width ratio can tell you which style of heart-shaped silhouette you are looking at, as it indicates how long, short, thick, or thin the diamond is when compared to other heart-shaped stones. In short, try to find a heart-shaped diamond with a length-to-width ratio as close to 1.00 as possible.

A heart-shaped stone with a ratio of .90 to 1.10 will have the traditional look of a heart without looking too narrow or wide. However, this is still a matter of preference! A narrower silhouette looks lovely for a pair of heart-shaped diamond earrings, while a wider ratio produces a more prominent pendant.

Symmetry and Polish

A diamond’s symmetry and polish can also greatly impact its appeal, as they affect the shape, finished look, and optical performance of the stone.

Imaginary Line From the Cleft to the Point, for Symmetry Inspection

Symmetry refers to how well-proportioned a diamond is, and it’s judged by how the facets align with one another. You can measure the symmetry of a heart diamond by drawing an imaginary line from the cleft to the point.

In doing so, you should be able to see if both sides are mirror images of each other or not.🔍 If they are, the diamond is symmetrical. If they are not, the diamond is asymmetrical and its grade should reflect any inconsistencies.

An ideal symmetry grade for a heart-shaped diamond is Very Good or Excellent. However, some people prefer a shape with character, and they may enjoy slightly larger lobes or bulging bellies!

In contrast, polish grades the finish of a diamond, which includes how well the diamond cutter refined its rough patches, faceted its edges, etc. It’s a crucial part of optical performance, and you should seek a diamond that has a Very Good to Excellent polish grade.

Depth and Table

When it comes to ideal diamond proportions, depth and table percentages play a role in a diamond’s sparkle. For the sparkliest heart-shaped stone possible, we recommend the following measurements:

  • Depth %: 56%-66%
  • Table %: 56%-62% (diamonds can also look good with a measurement as low as 54% and as high as 64%)

To give you an idea of where these percentages fall in the overall range of diamond grading, here’s a table to compare values by grade:

 ExcellentVery GoodGood
Depth %58% - 64%56% - 66%55% - 68%
Table %56% - 62%54% - 64%53% - 66%
Length-to-Width Ratio0.90 - 1.100.85 - 1.150.80 - 1.20
Polish/SymmetryVery Good - ExcellentGood
Girdle ThicknessThin - ThickVery Thin - Very Thick
Culet SizeNoneVery SmallSmall

Shape Appeal

Whether a heart-shaped diamond’s silhouette appeals to you is all that matters! However, if you’re searching for the “perfect” heart shape, there are a few common flaws for which you may want to watch out.🔔

Wings: Bulged vs. Flat vs. Smooth

The shape of your diamond’s wings can impact its overall appeal. Bulged wings are more rounded, and they eliminate the sloping arch for a “fatter” look. Flat wings are the opposite: there are no soft, rounded edges to them, and they create a straight silhouette.

The smooth wings of a diamond should slowly arch inwards, creating a delicate curve that accentuates the classic heart shape.

Point: Distinct vs. Less Distinct

The point of a heart-shaped diamond is crucial for separating the two halves of the silhouette. It doesn’t need to end in a harsh point, but it should be defined! A less defined point can make a heart-shaped diamond appear muddled with too many round edges.

Cleft: Defined vs. Less Defined

Similar to the point, the cleft of your heart-shaped diamond should be defined enough to separate the two sides of your stone. If it’s not, the shape becomes lost, and it ends up looking more like a pear-cut diamond.

Antique diamonds are notorious for having very shallow clefts—or no cleft at all! However, if you prefer this subtler heart silhouette, perhaps you should consider antique diamonds in your search for the perfect stone.

Other things to consider

The scourge of diamonds with fancy shapes, the bow-tie effect occurs when light enters the table of the stone but does not reflect back to the viewer. As such, a black or dark patch—shaped like a bow tie—runs across the center of your diamond, detracting from its sparkle.

Many wearers prefer the bow-tie brilliance in oval and marquise-cut stones, as it creates a “classy” charm. However, it’s less appealing on heart-shaped diamonds, as it tends to outshine the silhouette and sparkle. Most diamond cutters try to avoid having significant bow-ties in heart-shaped gems, but make sure you carefully inspect each stone under proper lighting to avoid dark patches.

Color

Unlike cut grades, color grades are assigned to each heart-shaped diamond that is white or colorless. The GIA grades diamond color on a scale of D to Z, with D being a colorless diamond.

The sparkle of heart-shaped diamonds masks color well, so you can easily find a diamond with a lower grade than what is usually recommended with a near-colorless appearance. In fact, we recommend a color grade of H or better for heart-shaped diamonds set in white gold or platinum.

But, if your stone is over 1 carat in weight, consider a higher grade. While choosing an H grade is more affordable in larger sizes, the broader body of a 1-carat or higher heart-shaped stone means more visible color. The higher the carat weight, the higher the color grade should be!

Similarly, sunny metals can make diamonds with a yellowish hue appear brighter, so you can save some money by opting for yellow or rose gold settings. A yellow or rose gold setting can make even a J color diamond appear white, so if you’re working on a tight budget be sure to check out different metals.

Clarity

The clarity of your diamond can impact its face-up color and sparkle, but heart-shaped stones are rather good at masking inclusions. The heart-shaped cut is a modified version of the traditional “brilliant” cut, so it’s designed to hide imperfections to enhance brilliance.

For heart-shaped stones, stick to a clarity grade of VS or higher to avoid visible inclusions under the table of the diamond. Or, if you’re on a budget, you can take advantage of the brilliant-style cut and search for an eye-clean SI1, as there are diamonds at this grade that do not have inclusions visible to the naked eye.

As with color, you’ll want to stick to higher clarity grades as carat weight increases. Larger diamonds show inclusions more readily, so a higher grade is required to avoid a flawed diamond!

Carat Weight

Although you can find a heart-shaped diamond at any carat weight, we recommend sticking to roughly 1-carat. A heart-shaped silhouette has many features that are lost in smaller stones, so a 1-carat diamond is perfect for displaying the unique anatomy of the heart shape without losing detail.😋

The average size of a 1-carat heart-shaped diamond—using the square ratio—is 6.5mm. Stick to a size around this measurement for the most ideal diamond size for any hand!

What are the most popular setting styles for heart-shaped diamonds?

Heart-shaped diamonds can look lovely in most settings, but certain styles highlight the main features of their silhouette better than others. Here are our top 3 recommended settings for your heart-shaped stone:

Solitaire

Rose Gold Solitaire Prong Heart-Shaped Diamond Engagement Ring
Blue Nile SKU: 49652

Simple, timeless, and a lovely way to show off heart-shaped diamonds, solitaire settings make your diamond the center of attention.🎯 A plain band means eye-catching sparkle from your center stone, but a pavé band enhances your gem’s brilliance by surrounding it with smaller stones.

Solitaire settings also give you room for customization, such as filigree, milgrain, and more. You can also engrave the inside of your ring for an extra personal touch.

Halo

Heart-Shaped Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
Shane Co. (SKU: 41073481)

To protect your heart-shaped stone, surround it in a luxe halo of white diamonds! While this look is best suited for individuals who prefer to stand out, the combination of a heart-shaped stone and a bright halo is a match made in heaven.

Halos protect delicate points and broad diamond shapes, and heart-shaped stones work very well in this setting style. You can also opt for a colored heart-shaped stone for an even more personalized look. Additionally, a plain band or pavé band can completely change how luxurious the piece appears.

Three-stone

Three-Stone Yellow Gold Heart-Shaped Diamond Ring
James Allen (SKU: 17346R14)

Three-stone settings are the best of both worlds: they allow your center stone to sparkle prominently while adding just a hint of brilliance from side stones. These side stones also protect your center diamond from damage, creating a safer environment for your heart-shaped diamond.

Side stones can really be any shape you prefer, with round, pear, trillion, and tapered baguettes being popular choices. However, you can use whatever diamond shape you’d like, and you can even switch it up with colored stones or diamond clusters for a different look.

How much is a heart-shaped diamond worth?

The price of a heart-shaped diamond varies depending on the 4Cs and specific qualities of each stone, but this silhouette is roughly 15-30% cheaper than a round brilliant diamond. That’s because certain fancy shapes have a much lower demand than classic silhouettes, but that also means you can get a larger gem for less!

When shopping for heart-shaped diamonds, expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 for average quality diamonds. However, high-quality gems can reach upwards of $20,000 to $100,000 if they are well graded or have desirable characteristics, like a deep color that isn’t your typical white.

Cut quality is usually the most important factor in diamond pricing, so a heart-shaped stone with a high-quality cut will cost more than another gem with equal color, clarity, and carat weight.

Bonus #1: Modern heart-shaped diamonds vs. Antique stones

The heart-shaped diamond we know and love today isn’t actually the original silhouette, and we can trace back the current style to the 20th century. Instead, heart-shaped stones before this time had a much different look, meaning you should think about whether you’d prefer the sleek shape of today’s diamond or an antique style!

Antique heart-shaped diamonds don’t have the “Valentine’s Day heart” silhouette of current stones, which feature unmistakable lobes, a tight cleft, and a pointed peak. Instead, the antique style looks a bit more like a pear-shaped stone, and it featured a much smaller cleft with broader bellies and wings.

This heart shape looks more like the “conversation hearts” one may consume around Valentine’s Day, and the softer edges appeal to many. Fewer sharp points mean less need to protect the edges of the stone, which means opportunities for daring settings that can put the diamond on full display.

Antique diamonds are also popular with shoppers looking to minimize their environmental impact when purchasing a diamond, as vintage diamonds create much less waste and use less energy. They also have that “vintage glow” that’s prized among antique stones, and some will prefer their internal fire.

However, with age comes a less refined cut, and the antique heart-shaped diamond won’t sparkle as brightly as the perfected modern cut. The modern heart-shaped stone has been optimized for ideal fire, brilliance, and scintillation, so if sparkle is what you’re looking for: go with the modern shape!💯

Bonus #2: The exclusive charm of pink or red heart diamonds

If you’re looking to stun your significant other with the beauty of a heart-shaped diamond, you may want to go the extra mile and try a colored stone instead! Colored diamonds are an easy way to add a splash of vitality and fun into your jewelry, and they make for a much more unique piece. Two popular options for heart-shaped stones are pink and red diamonds, which are colors typically associated with love.💋

Pink diamonds come in an array of tones and saturation, from pastel pinks to vivid magentas. If you prefer classic looks with delicate, feminine charm, a pink heart-shaped diamond ring is the perfect accessory. Pink diamonds typically cost more than white diamonds, but they’re well worth the investment for the wearer who likes to stand out among the crowd.

Although red is usually the color associated with love, red diamonds are rather rare! As such, they’re ideal for the buyer who hopes to show off with a unique look that’s hard to come by. Red diamonds range from reddish-orange to red-purple, and they all carry a depth to their sparkle that speaks to the eternal, serious nature of love.

Buying the romantic diamond

So is a heart-shaped diamond right for you? Let’s recap the finer points of this fancy shape to see whether you should shop for heart-shaped stones:

Pros

  • This distinctive shape is ideal for wearers who want something different or like eye-catching designs.
  • On average, they’re less expensive than round brilliant stones of equal quality.
  • The modified brilliant cut masks inclusions and creates endless brilliance and scintillation.
  • Heart-shaped stones are timeless and look amazing in both modern and antique settings.
  • This silhouette is symbolic of love and affection, so it’s perfect for a heart-shaped diamond engagement ring.
  • You can find antique heart-shaped diamonds for environmentally conscious wearers.
  • Heart-shaped diamonds are popular with celebrities and style icons, making them a desirable shape for the fashion forward wearer.

Cons

  • A heart-shaped diamond doesn’t look good on every finger shape. You may want your significant other to try one on first before committing to a broad shape that can dwarf small hands and make fingers appear wider!
  • Because they’re not a widely sought after silhouette, the selection of heart-shaped stones is limited.
  • It’s difficult to assess cut quality and light performance in a fancy shape.
  • There are a limited number of setting styles that properly fit heart-shaped diamonds due to their distinct outline. As such, a custom setting may be required if you cannot find one you like, and custom pieces can be pricey!

Where to shop for a heart-shaped diamond

Looking for a place to start your heart-shaped diamond buying journey? We recommend you begin your search with these reputable retailers:

Blue Nile: With a huge inventory of over 6,000 heart-shaped stones, Blue Nile offers extensive customer service packages and quick shipping.

James Allen: A favorite among discerning diamond shoppers, James Allen has a smaller inventory of heart-shaped diamonds. However, they give you all the necessary details up front, including 360° videos and imagery, diamond grading reports, and more.

Ritani: Boasting almost 5,000 heart-shaped diamonds in their inventory, Ritani also offers exceptional imagery and videos with excellent customer service to boot.

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