Hearts and Arrows Diamonds: A Detailed Guide & Recommended Retailers

Hearts and Arrows: Superior quality with symbolic symmetry...

Many diamond buyers search for the “perfect” stone, but this can mean something different for each person. For most, it means a diamond that fits their chosen criteria as well as their budget, a diamond that shines and sparkles the way they like. However, some shoppers seek a diamond that seemingly exceeds all grading expectations.🤓 For these buyers, only the best gems will do, and Hearts and Arrows diamonds are a popular choice for those who seek perfection.

Today, we’ll answer some common questions about these precisely cut stones, including:

  • What are Hearts and Arrow diamonds?
  • How can you identify them among other stones?
  • How do Hearts and Arrows diamonds compare to Excellent and Ideal cut gems? Are they always high quality?
  • What are the benefits of Hearts and Arrows diamonds?
  • Hearts and Arrows pricing and value
  • Where to shop to buy your own Hearts and Arrows diamond
Optical Images of Hearts and Arrows Diamonds
Images: Whiteflash

Basics: What is a Hearts and Arrows diamond?

First, let’s dive into the definition and origins of Hearts and Arrows diamonds.

Hearts and Arrows diamonds: A definition

What exactly constitutes a Hearts and Arrows diamond? The term “Hearts and Arrows” refers to a diamond cut with extreme precision that displays specific patterning when viewed from different angles.

Expert craftsmen pay close attention to the “optical symmetry” of the diamond, cutting flawless facets and aligning them perfectly within the three-dimensional shape of the gemstone to produce flawless patterning and superior light performance.

The pattern displayed by a Hearts and Arrows diamond is just that: hearts and arrows.💘Most Hearts and Arrows diamonds are round brilliant cut, and gemologists utilize tools to see the patterning encircling the inner diamond. When viewed from the top with a reflector tool, you can see 8 arrows within the table of the diamond. Similarly, when viewed from the bottom, you can see a crown of 8 hearts.

The discovery of Hearts and Arrows cutting techniques

The history of Hearts and Arrows diamonds traces back to 1980’s Japan. While perfecting current diamond cutting techniques, gemologists produced a diamond with particularly well-aligned facets. The exceptional cut on this round brilliant diamond created a kaleidoscopic effect when viewed through special reflectors, revealing its unique internal patterning.

Interest in these diamonds skyrocketed in the 1990’s when demand for hearts and arrows drastically rose in the United States.📈 By 2000, Whiteflash had introduced one of the first commercial collections of Hearts and Arrows diamonds known as “A Cut Above”.

Diamond cutting is an art, and experts have worked tirelessly to create the perfect cut for centuries. The Hearts and Arrows diamond is a premier cut that demonstrates the artistic and technological advances of the diamond industry within the last few decades.

How to identify the hearts and arrows patterning?

While Hearts and Arrows patterning is lovely, it’s not actually detectable with the naked eye. To examine the finer detailers of your Hearts and Arrows engagement ring, you and your jeweler need to utilize a few different techniques:

Check the ASET images on your diamond report

If you purchase a diamond graded by the AGS, it may include Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool (ASET) mapping to help you better understand your stone’s light performance. Both Platinum Diamond Quality and Light Performance Quality reports contain ASET mapping for shoppers to review.

ASET offers light mapping capabilities with color-coded images to help you see how balanced your diamond’s brightness and contrast are. It can also indicate light leakage, which is important to note when trying to find a diamond with excellent light play. Each color stands for something different, but an ideal image includes a balance of red, blue, and minimal green with very little gray.

Some of the images provided can even be helpful in identifying hearts and arrows patterning based on the balance of brightness and contrast within the diamond.

View the patterning images provided by your jeweler

Some jewelers have their own in-house technology and processes to assess Hearts and Arrows diamonds. One of the best tools jewelers can provide is exceptional photos and videos of the diamond so you can view it from all angles in a magnified setting. For example, Whiteflash is well-known for their Diamond Image Package, which offers a comprehensive set of images and videos of each diamond in their inventory taken by expert photographers.

Many online jewelers, such as James Allen and Whiteflash, can even provide you the ASET and Idealscope images for your diamond. By providing these images upfront, they save you the time of taking your diamond in after purchase for an additional inspection.

Use an ASET scope, Idealscope, and Hearts and Arrows viewer

If you have the chance to use any diamond evaluation equipment, you can actually view your Hearts and Arrows up close and personal! Here are a few common tools used to view Hearts and Arrows:

ASET

This isn’t a tool you would be able to use yourself, but ASET mapping may be included in a diamond report from the AGS laboratory. As described above, ASET maps help distinguish brightness, contrast, and light leakage via a color-coded diamond graphic.

Idealscope

An Idealscope is a clever red reflector tool that saturates a diamond in red light to indicate light leakage. It can be incredibly helpful in visualizing the quality of a diamond’s cut, and the less grey and white areas within the images the better.

Again, an Idealscope is not something the average shopper will have on hand, but it can be used by a jeweler to better understand a diamond’s light performance.

Hearts and Arrows Viewer

It’s not as powerful as ASET and the Idealscope, but a Hearts and Arrows viewer is a quick way to examine your diamond’s patterning. A Hearts and Arrows viewer is a cylindrical device with a funnel shape at one end. You can place your diamond either face up or down on the indicated side of the viewer and replace the eyepiece to see your diamond’s arrows or hearts respectively.

You can actually purchase a Hearts and Arrows viewer for yourself, but remember that it isn’t as accurate as the equipment above!

Hearts and Arrows vs. Excellent/Ideal Cut vs. Super Ideal Cut: What’s the difference?

⚠️There are several terms associated with diamond cuts, and it can be confusing to distinguish between them! Let’s take a moment to relate Hearts and Arrow diamonds to some other common terms.

Hearts and Arrows vs. hearts and arrows

Lowercase “hearts and arrows” refers to the type of patterning we described above: a series of 8 arrows within the diamond when face up and 8 hearts when face down. However, the reason this term is in lowercase is that it is not a specific grading characteristic of diamonds, whereas a Hearts and Arrows gem carries a superior quality grade.  

In fact, many diamonds can have hearts and arrows patterning and not qualify as uppercase Hearts and Arrows stones. The hearts and arrows in other diamonds may be asymmetrical or disproportionate, leading to light leakage and other issues that impact performance. As such, if a diamond is described as having hearts and arrows, that does NOT mean it is a Hearts and Arrows gem.📝

Hearts and Arrows vs. Excellent/Ideal cut diamonds

A majority of Hearts and Arrows diamonds are Excellent/Ideal cut, as having the hearts and arrows patterning does not mean a stone was cut with the precision necessary to be Super Ideal.

Despite this, not all Excellent/Ideal cut diamonds are Hearts and Arrows! Cutting a Hearts and Arrows diamond means the craftsman painstakingly labored over each facet of the stone so that the patterning would be perfect, producing superior light performance. While an Excellent/Ideal cut stone may have incredible light play as well, that does not mean it has perfect patterning.⚖️

When doing your own diamond research, you may encounter two terms related to Hearts and Arrows diamonds: True Hearts and Arrows and Near Hearts and Arrows. Let’s discuss their differences below:

Hearts and Arrows vs. Super Ideal cut diamonds

Some Hearts and Arrows diamonds can be classified as a type of Super Ideal cut. Super Ideal cuts go beyond the perfect symmetry and sparkle of Excellent/Ideal cuts, and they include a heavy emphasis on light performance.

True Hearts and Arrows diamonds can qualify as Super Ideal cut stones, as the skill necessary to create flawless hearts and arrows often leads to optimum light performance. However, this isn’t always the case, and so Hearts and Arrows diamonds do not have one dedicated grade with which they are associated.

What are the benefits of Hearts and Arrows diamonds?

So why would you choose a Hearts and Arrows diamond? There are many reasons why Hearts and Arrows diamonds stand out among the crowd:🎊

Premium craftsmanship

Hearts and Arrows diamonds are the product of expert diamond cutters who labor for hours to shape the perfect facets. In fact, Super Ideal cut diamonds tend to take 4x as long to cut when compared to the average diamond!

As a premier cut, Hearts and Arrows diamonds often require the utmost precision and control. However, the result of this skilled, painstaking work is a gemstone that sparkles brighter than the others.

Precise mathematical and optical symmetry

At the heart of its incredible sparkle and fire is the Hearts and Arrows diamond’s unbelievable symmetry. The AGS and GIA grade diamonds on their “meet point symmetry” or how well the points of each facet align relative to the stone’s three-dimensional build.

Hearts and Arrows diamonds have unparalleled optical symmetry, and diamond professionals have studied the complex math behind the proper proportions to balance both optimum brilliance and the scattering of light. As such, Hearts and Arrows cut diamonds avoid pesky light leakage and, instead, enhance the natural beauty of each stone.

Stunning light performance

The contrasting pattern formed by the superior cut of Hearts and Arrows diamonds means these stones carry a sparkle beyond comparison. The right balance of contrast within a diamond’s light patterns actually makes the stone more eye-catching to viewers!

The brilliance, fire, and scintillation of Hearts and Arrows diamonds are also exceptional. The precisely cut facets of these diamonds mean each surface acts as a mirror, enhancing light refraction and sparkle. Hearts and Arrows diamonds even perform well under varying light conditions.

Unique patterning and symbolism

Nicknamed “the Cupid Effect” the sharp hearts and arrows within these diamonds are unique, and they’re symbolic for many buyers. Calling back to Cupid and the arrows he shot into the hearts of young lovers in Roman mythology, these hearts and arrows signify how much you love your partner and wish to spend the rest of your lives together.😘

The symbolism behind the hearts and arrows goes even deeper than the obvious Cupid Effect as well, with many seeing the arrows as a symbol of your path forward together as a couple. The hearts are self-explanatory, displaying how the couple will walk this new path in love and devotion to one another. If you’re looking for a deeply symbolic diamond, look no further than Hearts and Arrows!

Pricing of Hearts and Arrows diamonds

If Hearts and Arrows diamonds are the best of the best, what can you expect to pay when shopping for your own gem? With superior craftsmanship comes premium pricing, and Hearts and Arrows diamonds are no exception!

The price you’ll pay for a Hearts and Arrows diamond depends on where you shop, as certain retailers value these gemstones at a much higher cost. For instance, Whiteflash and Brian Gavin opt for a higher price point—about 20-35% higher than the cost of an Excellent cut diamond—due to their signature cuts.

However, you may find a deal at Blue Nile and James Allen, whose Astor and True Hearts collections cost somewhere between 10% and 30% more than an Excellent cut diamond. For example, take a look at these two stones from James Allen:

This 1.08 carat H color VS1 diamond with an Excellent cut is valued at $6,790.

Excellent Cut Diamond SKU 11946028

In contrast, this 1.08 carat H color VS1 diamond with a True Hearts cut is $7,650.

True Hearts Diamond SKU 8280133

In this example, the price difference really isn’t staggering, and you’re looking at about a 13% higher price for a stunning diamond with a perfect cut. Overall, if you’re willing to do the legwork and research different brands to find a reasonable price on a Hearts and Arrows diamond, it can definitely be done.

Are Hearts and Arrows diamonds worth it? (Our thoughts)

So at the end of the day, are Hearts and Arrows diamonds really worth the extra cost? It’s a tricky question, and it depends on what you want out of your new diamond. We can weigh some helpful thoughts from both schools of thought below:

Consider what you value most in a diamond

Choosing Hearts and Arrows

Hearts and Arrows diamonds are a cut above the rest, and their craftsmanship is something to behold. Ultimately, if you are searching for the perfect diamond, then consider a Hearts and Arrows gem for your new piece or collection. These gems are designed for optimum light performance, and so you’ll get the eye-catching symmetry and subsequent sparkle that’ll have others staring at your new bling.

Additionally, if you’re someone who values symbolism, the Cupid Effect of hearts and arrows within the diamond may hold a lot of significance for you and your significant other. While this patterning is not unique to Hearts and Arrows diamonds, other stones with this pattern may not have the crisp edges and defined hearts of this particular cut.  

Opting for a different diamond

While we’ve talked at length about the amazing precision of the Hearts and Arrows cut, the sad reality is most people don’t even have the tools to view hearts and arrows on their own. These are cut characteristics that require the special technology we discussed above to view, and most buyers don’t have these tools at home.

As such, if you choose a Hearts and Arrows diamond, you’re essentially paying for a feature you can’t see with the naked eye. Plus, the extra sparkle and brilliance is often indistinguishable from that of an Excellent/Ideal cut diamond, so you’re paying more for something you can’t really notice with untrained eyes. This is especially true of smaller diamonds!

Ultimately, if you have a tight budget or want a larger stone, you’re better off balancing the 4Cs of an Excellent/Ideal cut diamond rather than aiming for a Hearts and Arrows stone.😎 You can potentially afford better clarity or color grades when choosing a stone that isn’t Hearts and Arrows, meaning you can get a higher quality gem that can perform well in most lighting.

Think about other Excellent/Ideal cut or Super Ideal cut diamonds

There are still several other diamond styles and grades you can choose that aren’t Hearts and Arrows, and they still have fabulous light performance. Remember: just because a diamond isn’t “Hearts and Arrows” doesn’t mean it doesn’t have this pattern. Plenty of diamonds do, they just don’t have the perfect symmetry required to be designated a Hearts and Arrows stone.

Furthermore, if you want a Super Ideal cut diamond but aren’t sold on Hearts and Arrows, there are plenty of other cuts of this calibre to select. By letting go of the Hearts and Arrows label, you can even expand the category of shapes you can purchase, meaning more possibilities for creating the ring of your partner’s dreams.

Where to shop for a true Hearts and Arrows diamond

As we’ve mentioned, not all diamonds with “hearts and arrows” patterning are true Hearts and Arrows diamonds. Here are some well-respected online retailers who offer exceptional Hearts and Arrows diamond rings at reasonable prices:

Whiteflash: A Cut Above

Whiteflash dedicates their efforts to transparency and tells you exactly what you’re getting with their line of Hearts and Arrows diamonds. A Cut Above is a beautiful collection of stones with an “internationally recognized Super Ideal” cut. You can find these fabulous specifications on both round and princess cuts, and both are backed by certification.

Brian Gavin: Signature Hearts and Arrows

With a name that tells you exactly what you’re getting, Brian Gavin’s Signature Hearts and Arrows line is an original take on the Super Ideal brilliant cut. Crafted for optimum performance, Brian Gavin’s Hearts and Arrows diamonds are a sight to behold, and they provide round, cushion, and quadex shapes for every sense of style.

James Allen: True Hearts

Boasting “perfectly cut diamonds”, James Allen presents True Hearts, a premier collection of gemstones with flawless symmetry, proportions, and polish. Their round diamonds offer superior Hearts and Arrows that are certified by either the AGS or GIA. However, they also provide cushion and princess cut diamonds that carry the True Hearts designation.

Choosing Hearts and Arrows: A personal decision

Hearts and Arrows diamonds can be a great investment if you’re looking for a well-cut diamond. Their fire, brilliance, and scintillation is mesmerizing, and they can make any future bride smile.  

However, they’re also rather expensive, and sometimes it’s better to balance diamond quality with your own financial situation to make sure you can afford the best diamond for your money. Oftentimes, this means Hearts and Arrows stones aren’t worth the extra cash, since their enhanced features can be hard to distinguish from other high-quality diamonds.

Are you interested in learning more about Super Ideal stones? Read our overview of Super Ideal cut diamonds for more information, or try our comprehensive diamond guide for further education regarding how diamonds are graded and what to look for.

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