Last updated on October 9, 2020
The heart is probably the most romantic and unique diamond shape. Being very popular in solitaire pendants, stud earrings and engagement rings, heart shaped-diamonds are a timeless symbol of love. If you are interested in buying a diamond with a special and rare shape, our heart-shaped diamond guide is a must-read.
History of Heart-Shaped Diamonds
The history of heart-shaped diamonds traces back to the late 1400s when the diamond cut was considered a symbol of royalty.
The exact origins of heart diamonds are unknown but the heart brilliant-cut may have appeared as early as the 15th century. Although today that cut would be classified as “triangular with rounded corners” or “drop”, at the time it was described as heart-shaped.
The first mention of heart-shaped diamonds was in the conversation between the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza and Nicodemo in 1464; when the Duke described the mystical quests of Cosimo de Medici of the political dynasty in Florence as a heart-shaped diamond.
Shortly after, in 1562, Mary Queen of Scots sent Queen Elizabeth an amazing ring with a heart-shaped diamond. At the time, heart diamonds were thought to be a symbol of friendship and goodwill between royals. This is one of the most famous heart-shaped diamonds in history.
Around the same time, nobleman Cardinal de Richelieu owned a 20-carat heart-shaped diamond given to him by a wealthy diamond merchant. The jewel was said to be willed to the king.
Today typically featuring 56 to 58 facets, the heart still remains one of the most expensive diamond cuts. This is because of its unique shape and extremely high level of symmetry required as high-quality heart-shaped diamonds can be cut only by expert cutters using the best possible tools.
Heart-Shaped Diamond Cut Quality Guide
Cut quality is the most important factor in maximizing brilliance and fire and affecting the overall appearance of heart-shaped diamonds.
Unlike round brilliant and other common diamond cuts, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) doesn’t provide any information other than polish and symmetry on heart-shaped diamonds. It is very important for you to carefully examine any heart diamond before making a purchase.
Since the heart is a quite complex shape there are several factors to be considered to find out if the diamond is cut properly.
A heart-shaped diamond should have a distinct cleft. The point should be obvious as well; otherwise, the diamond will appear rounded. While the point should not necessarily be very sharp, it should divide the bottom section of the diamond into two separate halves.
Check the lobes of the diamond. They should be rounded and perfectly symmetrical. The belly and wings should be slightly rounded creating an ideal heart shape. In other words, try to draw an imaginary straight line down the middle of the diamond; the two halves should look identical with no variations in size and shape.
The table below serves as a general guideline for evaluating the cut quality of heart-shaped diamonds.
|TABLE %||53 - 63||52 or 64 - 65||51 or 66 - 68||50 or 69 - 70||< 50 or > 70|
|DEPTH %||58 - 62||56 - 57.9 or 62.1 - 66||53 - 55.9 or 66.1 - 71||50 - 52.9 or 71.1 - 74||< 50 or > 74|
|GIRDLE||Very Thin to Slightly Thick||Very Thin to Slightly Thick||Very Thin to Thick||Very Thin to Very Thick||Extremely Thin to Extremely Thick|
|CULET||None||Very Small||Small||Medium||> Medium|
|LENGTH TO WIDTH RATIO||0.95 - 1.02||0.89 - 0.94 or 1.03 - 1.05||0.83 - 0.87 or 1.06 - 1.10||0.80 - 0.83 or 1.11 - 1.15||> .80 or < 1.15|
Heart-Shaped Diamond Colour Guide
The colour of heart-shaped diamonds is graded on a scale from D to Z, where D signifies a completely colourless stone and Z means an easily noticeable yellow or brown tint.
Since the heart is a modified version of the round brilliant cut, heart-shaped diamonds reflect a lot of light and it is harder to distinguish any tints in them. This means there is no need to opt for the colourless range, as heart diamonds in the near colourless range still look fairly white to the naked eye.
Use the table below as a general guideline to evaluate the colour of a heart-shaped diamond.
|< .50 ct.||D - G||H - I||J - K||L - M||> M|
|.51-1.0 ct.||D - F||G||H - I||J - K||> K|
|1.0-2.0 ct.||D - F||D - F||G - H||I - J||> J|
|> 2.0 ct.||D - F||D -F||G||H - I||> I|
Heart-Shaped Diamond Clarity Guide
The GIA grades clarity of heart-shaped diamonds on a scale from FL to I3, where FL means a flawless stone and I3 indicates a heavily included diamond.
It’s important to understand that each customer has a unique standard for clarity. Some are comfortable with inclusions, others prefer flawless stones; however, in general, it is recommended to look for an eye-clean diamond.
With heart-shaped diamonds any clarity grade higher than SI1 should provide an eye-clean appearance, meaning the flaws won’t be visible when the jewel is worn.
The clarity chart below provides a general guideline for evaluating clarity in heart-shaped diamonds.
|< .50 ct.||FL - VS2||SI1 - SI2||I1||I2||> I2|
|.51-1.0 ct.||FL - VS1||VS2 - SI1||SI2||I1 - I2||> I2|
|1.0-2.0 ct.||FL - VVS2||VS1 - VS2||SI1 - SI2||I1||> I1|
|> 2.0 ct.||FL - VVS2||VS1 - VS2||SI1||SI2||> SI2|
Heart-Shaped Diamond Length to Width Ratio
The length to width ratio expresses how relatively long or wide a diamond appears. It is calculated by dividing the length of the diamond by its width.
Each fancy diamond shape has a certain length to width ratio that is considered most appealing for that shape. The ideal ratio for heart-shaped diamonds is 1.00.
Heart diamonds with a ratio of less than 0.90 will look chubby, while with a ratio of 1.10 or more they will look stretched and elongated. Unless you want a chubby or elongated heart-shaped diamond, it is best to avoid stones that aren’t of the ideal or near-ideal ratio.