Premium Cut Diamonds - The Phenom of "Hearts and Arrows"

Brilliantly Engaged specializes in the finest cut diamonds, so naturally we offer diamonds with proportions that display maximum brilliance. Diamonds cut with precisely aligned, carefully shaped facets and combined with optimum proportions produce an incredibly brilliant phenomenon, known as “Hearts & Arrows.”

Throughout the course of history, diamonds have been defined by their beauty, brilliance, rarity and, most importantly, as an expression of love. With this in mind, why not consider making your ring presentation with the most precise and beautifully cut round diamond available?

What characteristics define this cut and is it for you?

The purpose of this article is to provide you with the gemological knowledge regarding the specific characteristics of Hearts and Arrows diamond. The goal is to educate you and embolden your confidence in order to make a decision that is correct for you. This will help you decide if you are that individual wishing to acquire a diamond that represents the pinnacle of what diamond cutting technology can offer


The Hearts & Arrows cutting pattern took their cue from the legendary cutter of the early 1900’s, Marcel Tolkowsky (no, not Turnowski). He presented a research paper that documented his ideas. He experimented with various angles of the crown (top half of diamond) and the pavilion (lower half of diamond). He studied the effects of changing the percentages for the table and depth. He is responsible for cutting the diamond with 58 facets resulting in the maximization of the total over-all brilliance. Basically, his four exact specifications for maximum light performance were the following:

  • Table = 53%

  • Depth = 60%

  • Crown angle = 34.5%

  • Pavilion = 40.5%

However, since Mr. Tolkowsky was primarily doing research and development, there was no need to be concerned with the weight loss between the original rough and the final polished diamond. In today’s competitive world, this loss of weight would markedly increase the cost of the polished diamond. However, during the 90 years since his original paper was written, diamond cutters have devised formulas that have maintained the desired beauty and brilliance of the diamond with much less significant weight loss. Primarily thru the evolution of cutting technology, the Hearts & Arrows, round, brilliant cut diamond was developed.

In the early part of the 1980’s, the cutting factories in Japan began experimenting with specific, equally proportioned, lower main facets which became the Arrow section of the Hearts & Arrows. In addition they kept the table small as in the original Tolkowsky cut and the other primary proportions of the original cut. The intent was to present a diamond that had the 8 pavilion or lower. Through the use of a gemological instrument called the ideal scope, we can all view the perfect alignment of the lower pavilion facets. However, not all arrows are cut the same, with the primary variation occurring when there is too much light leakage in the diamond.

ASET Image

The ASET image is created using a special device manufactured by the AGS. Red is the most desirable color and indicates that this light comes directly from direct light sources and will be viewed very favorably in most environments. Blue indicates areas of obscured light, blocked when viewing a diamond by your head and shoulders. This offers a pleasant contrast to the brighter red area. Green areas indicate reflected light, coming from walls or other objects in the surrounding area. Too much is undesirable White (or Black) indicates areas of light leakage. This should be minimal.

When reviewing Hearts & Arrows Diamond, it is important to note that they fall within the specific gemological parameters established by the 2 major gemological laboratories, the GIA and AGS. The G.I.A (Gemological Institute of America) developed a cut evaluation based on an “excellent” rating being the top category. The AGS (American Gemological Laboratory) labeled theirs “ideal”;. Both systems were created to display information relating to maximizing Brilliance, Dispersion, and Scintillation. The GIA has chosen to predict the brilliance of the diamond thru the use of calibrated proportions. The implications of this evaluation are that, to the discriminating consumer who values a slightly better overall brilliance, at the expense of price, the AGS Ideal would be a better choice over the GIA Excellent. However, to the casual observer seeking to purchase a round diamond, the actual specifics separating the GIA Excellent from the AGS Ideal may appear to be visually inconclusive. In fact most of the general population would not be aware of this slight difference, as they could not visualize the significance of this difference. Keeping this in mind, it is important to note that out of all round diamonds manufactured today, approximately 1% of diamonds cut will fall into the true H&A category. Brilliantly Engaged offers either option: the AGS or the GIA certificate. Due to the greater worldwide acceptance of the GIA certificate, both by consumers and cutting factories, we will be offering a larger selection of GIA certified diamonds.

Please note that we have narrowed the range of the GIA specifications to coincide with the AGS guidelines. This will offer our customers the opportunity to select a GIA certified diamond that has maximum light performance, while at the same time reducing their costs. Remember that the differences between the labs are minor.

Expertise is critical in diamond selection

It is important to have a trained gemologist physically observe the diamond for you. If possible, do not totally rely on the specifications of the laboratory report. There are many internet sites that rely solely upon posting images of the diamonds and their accompanying lab reports. The diamond is never reviewed in their office and is shipped without a trained gemologist ever examining and verifying the stone. It is important to inquire from these companies whether the diamond is physically in their office. Another tip: research the company for testimonials from previous customers. They will be your best source of information regarding the company’s service and reliability. If you have the opportunity to physically view the diamond then, by all means, make an appointment.

Diamonds featuring Hearts and Arrows require the cutting skills of a master cutter and can take up to 3 times longer to produce. It takes six perfectly aligned facets to create a single heart. If any facet is off, the entire pattern will be distorted. Therefore, the rarity and value of these diamonds can be considerable.

Diamonds offered by Brilliantly Engaged which are classified as Premium, Ideal, or Excellent have specific characteristics which offer the most fire and scintillation. You can visit our diamonds page to search the current inventory, and as always, you can reach out to us anytime so one of our highly trained team can assist in the process. Our chat is always available as well.

- Mark Turnowski and the Brilliantly Engaged Team

Chris McClellan