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Heart-Cut Diamonds

There is no better symbol to show and celebrate your love than a heart-cut diamond. Learn the history of the heart-shaped diamond and how to evaluate its qualities, including colour and clarity.

Illustration of heart-cut diamond

What is a Heart-Cut Diamond?

Made up of between 56 and 58 facets, the heart-cut diamond often features “French tips” on the pointed end that help to magnify shine and brilliance. The heart-cut is considered a modified brilliant-cut shape and is popular for both engagement ring settings and solitaire pendants. Most often, the heart-cut shape is featured in a solitaire setting to accentuate its unique design.

The design of each heart-cut diamond should be perfectly symmetrical. The curved halves of the heart should line up with each other seamlessly. The cleft of the heart, or the V-shaped indentation between the two sides, should be sharp and distinct.

The heart diamond cutting process begins with a pear-cut diamond that is then further developed into a heart shape by creating the cleft and rounding out the sides. Since the heart diamond shape requires incredible precision to achieve a proper cut, only the most skilled and experienced diamond cutters can successfully produce this shape.

Because of the difficulty involved to create their complex shape, heart-cut diamonds of 0.5 carats or larger look the best. Smaller sizes may make the unique shape and intricate detail difficult to see and appreciate.

History of the Heart-Cut Diamond

Though the exact origins of the first heart-cut diamond are unknown, the first recorded version of this shape was featured in a 17th-century portrait called “The Gonzaga Princess” by Frans Pourbus the Younger. Painted in 1605, the portrait shows the princess’s left sleeve adorned with a variety of diamond cuts. Some of the many shapes appear to resemble an early variation of the heart-cut diamond.

Later, in 1655, the heart-cut diamond was mentioned in a book written by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a merchant-traveler who found his fortune trading precious stones. In the book, he recounts seeing a 26-carat “Heart Diamond” in India.

Over the past many years heart-cut diamonds have been modernized and have appeared in a variety of famous jewellery. With advancements in diamond-cutting technology and the more widespread use of lasers, diamond cutters have more easily achieved perfectly cut heart-shaped diamonds without sacrificing brilliance.

Grading System of Peoples Heart-Cut Diamonds

At Peoples, we rely on trusted experts from different gemological laboratories to grade our precious stones.

To determine a diamond’s grade, these labs inspect each diamond under closely controlled lighting and viewing conditions. Trained grading professionals use highly calibrated measurement devices to capture important data for use in determining the heart-cut diamond’s quality. These experts will then grade our heart-cut diamonds on the following determinations:

Heart-Cut Carat
Each diamond is measured using the carat weight system. Diamond experts use specially calibrated scales to ensure accurate measurements with weights measured to the hundred-thousandths of a carat. One metric carat equals 0.2 grams.

Heart-Cut Clarity
Heart-cut diamond clarity references the appearance of the stone, and it notes any blemishes or inclusions. Our experts grade diamond clarity as one of six grades – Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Small Inclusions, Very Small Inclusions, Small Inclusions, or Imperfect.

Of course, much of diamond selection comes down to personal taste. Some blemishes may only be visible to a professional using specific equipment. Evaluating the clarity of a diamond can be as simple as noting whether it appears clear to the naked eye. You may prefer to know that your radiant-cut diamond is certified as Flawless while others may not mind minor blemishes that aren’t visible unless inspecting them with special equipment.

If your partner prefers a more ideal appearance, opt for a Flawless or Internally Flawless diamond. If small imperfections do not stand out to your partner, then you may prefer a Very Small Inclusions or Small Inclusions grade heart-cut stone.

Heart-Cut Colour
The industry standard system for grading heart-cut diamond colour begins with a D grade (colourless) and continues with increasing levels of colour to a Z grade.

Diamonds are compared to master stones with known colour grades. Diamond experts utilize master stone sets that are chosen based on rigorous standards then tested prior to use. Master stones help experts determine diamond colour grades. Each master stone set must surpass rigorous standards before use in determining colour grades.

The human eye associates diamond colour with overall diamond size and its settings. The human eye may not detect small differences in diamond colour which account for significant differences in diamond price. Additionally, the setting colour and material chosen for the heart-cut diamond can make a considerable difference in the colour of the diamond. For instance, if your diamond has a hint of yellow colour to it, it will appear brighter and lighter in a warm yellow gold setting.

Heart-Cut Length-to-Width Ratio
A diamond’s length-to-width ratio is determined by the grading laboratory by dividing the length of the diamond by its width. The resulting ratio determines how proportionate the heart-cut diamond is to its intended shape.

Personal preference will dictate how narrow or stout your perfect heart-cut diamond is. A traditional heart-cut diamond generally has between a 0.90 and 1.10 length-to-width ratio and features symmetrical arches of even height and width.

When shopping for heart-cut diamonds, we recommend comparing a variety of heart-cut diamonds to determine your preferred length-to-width ratio.

Peoples Heart-Cut Diamonds: Conclusion

With a rich and romantic history rooted in the 17th-century, the heart-cut diamond shape can truly be called an outspoken declaration of your love. A rare diamond shape that requires extreme skill and precision to cut properly, the heart-cut diamond is perfect for engagement rings to announce your love to the world. Since heart diamonds are among the rarest and most difficult shapes to cut, they tend to be more expensive than other fancy shapes. However, heart-cut gemstone jewellery will also give you a big and colourful look at a more affordable price point.

If the iconic shape of a heart-cut diamond speaks to your style, find your ideal heart-cut diamond engagement ring at your local Peoples Jewellers today.