Hearts and Arrows Diamonds exhibit the most vivid and intense sparkle factor available. They also produce the highest volume of light return and look brighter than standard ideal cut diamonds.

Consequently, H&A Diamonds are more expensive than their ideal cut counterparts. That's because they exhibit a higher degree of optical precision that takes up to four times longer to polish.

In addition to requiring more skill and special equipment, there is also a more significant loss of rough diamond material. Of course, the extra time and money are worth the expenditure because hearts and arrows diamonds produce the most spectacular sparkle you've ever seen.

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What Are Hearts and Arrows Diamonds?

Black by Brian Gavin Hearts and Arrows Diamonds.

Black by Brian Gavin Diamonds.

The Hearts and Arrows designation applies to a small percentage of super ideal cut diamonds. In fact, less than 0.001% of round brilliant cut diamonds qualify for the title.

The basic premise is that H&A diamonds exhibit a pattern of eight hearts and eight arrows. While it is possible to see the arrows' pattern without magnification, the hearts' pattern is only visible through a unique scope.

At first glance, most people mistake standard round brilliant cut diamonds for their 'super ideal' counterparts. That's because the main pavilion facets on a round diamond create an arrows pattern by default.

You will also likely see reflections that look similar to hearts, but those are not the hearts and arrows patterns that define the classification. Consequently, many people in the industry make the same mistake and subsequently misrepresent the product.

In contrast, we specialize in the niche of Hearts and Arrows Super Ideal Cut Diamonds. We adhere to strict guidelines that define the characteristics of True Hearts and Arrows Diamonds.

Standard vs. Super Ideal Cut Diamonds:

The key difference between standard ideal and H&A diamonds is the degree of optical precision. That is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment from the perspective of 360-degrees.

The basic premise of an ideal cut diamond is that the proportions are within a desirable range. Simultaneously, the polish and symmetry grades are also on the higher end of the scale.

However, the diamond graders base their evaluation on a spectrum or range of inclusion. In that case, there is a high and low end of the scale and a middle ground. The sweet spot resides in the middle of the spectrum for proportions, like the red dot on a darts board.

Hearts and Arrows vs. Lawn Darts and Rabbit Ears:

Standard ideal Cut Diamond Through H&A Scope.

Poor Optical Precision, Not Hearts and Arrows.

No doubt you've heard the idiom that "the devil is in the details." It alludes to the idea that something might seem simple but is more complicated than it first appears.

Near the beginning of this article, we alluded to the fact that every round brilliant cut diamond exhibits an arrows pattern of sorts. That is because the basic facet structure creates those shapes to some degree.

The pattern that this GIA Excellent cut diamond exhibits is inconsistent and looks more like lawn darts and rabbit ears. This diamond does have proportions within the range we recommend and that sets the stage for light performance.

Precisely, the pavilion angle will determine the volume of light return. At the same time, the crown angle determines the balance of brilliance and dispersion.

Ideal Scope Image Showing Moderate to Full Blown Light Leakage.

Moderate to Full Blown Light Leakage.

On the other hand, most ideal cut diamonds leak light substantially. That's because the diamonds do not exhibit higher degrees of optical precision. In that case, azimuth shift, facet yaw, and distortion create light leakage.

In this case, there is a translucent window visible in the eight o'clock region of the table facet. The light pink color indicates a moderate amount of leakage.

In contrast, Hearts and Arrows diamonds produce a higher volume of light return (leak less light) because they reflect a higher degree of optical precision.

Of course, diamond cutters produce H&A Diamonds in varying degrees of cut quality and precision. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the diamonds using specific instruments for judging light performance.

Different Qualities of H&A Diamonds:

As you know, hearts and arrows diamonds exhibit varying degrees of optical precision. At the lower end of the spectrum are the mock-hearts-and-arrows diamonds, which are standard ideals that show less precise patterns.

Then there are the entry-level H&A diamonds that exhibit a higher degree of optical precision, but there is still room for improvement. These will have hearts patterns that are less consistent in size, shape, and spacing.

You might also see twisting in the tips of the hearts and breaks in the clefts. These are due to differences in the length of the lower girdle facets. We use the following devices to judge diamond cut quality:

  • ASET Scope.
  • Hearts and Arrows Scope.
  • Ideal Scope.

Consequently, we realize that this is a bit complicated. Therefore, we recommend consulting an expert like Todd Gray for a definitive opinion.

Who Produces the Best Hearts and Arrows Diamonds?

In our experience, Brian Gavin produces the most precisely cut hearts and arrows diamonds we've ever seen. Consequently, he also holds the patent for maximizing light performance in the modern round brilliant cut diamond.

In that case, it stands to reason that Brian Gavin sets the bar, and everybody else aims to meet those expectations. For example, it takes four times longer to polish H&A Diamonds than standard ideal cuts.

It takes one day longer than that to polish Black by Brian Gavin Diamonds to an even higher standard. In that case, Brian Gavin offers a level of consistency and performance that is hard to beat.

Of course, the higher production quality comes at a cost because time is money. It also requires more precise state-of-the-art equipment that the cutters must upgrade more often. There is also the extra material left on the cutting room floor to consider.

Black by Brian Gavin Hearts and Arrows Diamonds are the best and tend to cost more than other brands for those reasons. Similarly, a Porsche GT3 RS costs more than a 911 Turbo and has better performance.

The Best Brands of Hearts and Arrows Diamonds:

It's essential to realize that they turn these diamonds on the wheel by hand. In that case, every H&A diamond is unique, like a snowflake.

For that reason, you should consider diamonds from all the dealers above. Then carefully evaluate the characteristics of the available options and pick the best one available.

Sites like Nice Ice offer free diamond concierge services to the public. They can help you search for diamonds or evaluate the characteristics of any diamonds you are considering.

How to Judge Diamond Light Performance Online:

No hearts and arrows diamond buying tutorial would be complete without providing a blow-by-blow evaluation. In that case, we're going to take a moment to look more closely at the typical characteristics of popular brands.

Our selection criteria for this comparison is the following:

  1. 1
    AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent overall cut grade.
  2. 2
    Total depth between 59 - 61.8%.
  3. 3
    Table diameter between 53 - 58%.
  4. 4
    A Crown angle between 34.3 - 35-degrees.
  5. 5
    A Pavilion angle between 40.6 - 40.9 degrees.
  6. 6
    Crisp and Complete H&A pattern.

Examples of Superior Light Performance:

Brian Gavin Black Hearts and Arrows Diamond the Pinnacle of Excellence.

Black by Brian Gavin Diamonds.

This 1.225 carat, F-color, VS-1 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin diamond will produce an exceptional sparkle factor. The proportions are within the range we recommend, so the stage is set for outstanding performance.

The hearts' pattern is consistent for size, shape, and spacing, so it's evident that there is a higher degree of optical precision. In addition, the ASET map on the lab report confirms that light is reflecting evenly.

It also shows that the diamond gathers and reflects light in all the right places. In addition to holding the patent for maximizing light performance in the modern round brilliant cut diamond, Brian Gavin was also the first cutter to provide Advanced ASET 30-40 maps on his lab reports.

Advanced ASET is the latest light performance grading technology by the American Gem Society Laboratory. The ASET 30-40 data shows how evenly diamonds reflect light and the distribution of contrast brilliance from the thirty and forty-degree vantage points.

WhiteFlash ACA Diamond Review:

WhiteFlash A Cut Above ACA Hearts and Arrows Diamond.

WhiteFlash A CUT ABOVE™.

This 1.143 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, WhiteFlash A Cut Above diamond is another strong contender. The proportions are within the range we recommend, and the ASET map confirms that it will perform well.

If you look closely at the hearts' image, you will notice less consistency in the size and shape of the hearts. Also, be aware of the extra space on either side of the hearts, as shown here.

Irregular spacing around the edge of the hearts may result from differences in the length of the lower girdle facets. It also occurs if the diamond is not sitting flush on the imaging platform.

In that case, you need to evaluate the reflections opposite one another and mentally adjust for slight differences. If the space on opposite sides is relatively even, it might be due to alignment on the platform. Otherwise, the difference is likely the result of a lower degree of optical precision.

Consequently, there are other WF ACA diamonds that exhibit higher degrees of optical precision. However, this one provides us with the example necessary to be able to appreciate the difference.

James Allen True Hearts Review:

James Allen True Hearts Diamond.

James Allen True Hearts Diamonds.

This 1.17 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond exhibits a hearts' pattern that looks pretty good. As with the previous examples, the proportions are within the range we recommend.

However, the light pink and semi-translucent sections visible in the Ideal Scope image indicate a moderate amount of light leakage. In that case, we would not recommend this particular diamond.

In contrast, other True Hearts diamonds from James Allen perform better. In other words, the fact that this particular diamond doesn't meet our criteria does not mean that other True Hearts diamonds will not.

It only means that you have to evaluate the images and select the best options available. This concept applies to all brands of ideal and super ideal cut diamonds. That should not be surprising, given that these diamonds are turned on the wheel by hand and not stamped out like widgets on a production line.

Lab-grown vs. Natural H&A Diamonds:

It is challenging to polish natural diamonds to exhibit a crisp and complete hearts and arrows pattern. The characteristics and crystal structure of lab-created diamonds are even more challenging.

The cutters use dodecahedron-shaped crystals to produce round brilliant cut diamonds when polishing natural diamonds. In that case, they polish the facet planes in line with the natural crystal structure.

In contrast, most lab-grown diamonds grow vertically on the platform in a square block. Under those circumstances, it's necessary to shape the crystal in the form of a diamond.

That is similar to cutting meat against the grain and can affect how light reflects. As a result, it is tough to achieve higher degrees of optical precision in lab-grown diamonds.

That is why there are so few lab-grown hearts and arrows diamonds available. It is also why most lab-created H&A diamonds exhibit signs of light leakage under ASET and Ideal Scopes.