Hearts and Arrows

Not all diamonds or certificates indicate the hearts and arrows label.  Since not all dealers agree that a diamond should have this grading. This type of grade depends upon who issues the certificate for your diamond and if the hearts and arrows first rate cut has been applied.  Specialized viewers are required to see the hearts and arrows.

The term “hearts and arrows” indicates that a diamond has been a precision cut variation of the round brilliant cut with 57 facets.  The proportions should be cut with a specific pattern and produce excellent optical symmetry.  When this cut is made, a virtually perfect harmony is achieved resulting in harmonious arrows when viewed face up and harmonious hearts when examined in the flipped over down position.

Marcel Tolkowsky wrote in his book, Diamond Design, that hearts and arrows diamonds required that they be cut to ideal proportions, and secondly that they should be cut with exceptional optical symmetry. Thirdly, the diamonds needed to be cut to a very brilliant scheme to produce the hearts and arrows patterns.

It is remarkable to note that less than one percent of the world’s diamonds have been cut with the symmetry and precision required for a hearts and arrows label, probably due to the fact that a larger rough diamond is required to necessitate the polishing to obtain a diamond with this type of symmetry.  A large amount of waste is also produced when trying to achieve the hearts and arrows pattern, and for this reason, this cut sells at premium price.

Generally there are five main factors that help define the hearts and arrows cut diamond.  They include a diamond that has a:

  • Pavilion angle range of 40.2° to 41.2°
  • Crown angle range of 33.4° to 36.4°
  • Table size range of 53 to 58%
  • Lower girdle halves length range 75 to 80%
  • Star facets length range of 40 to 50%


Perfect dimensions with perfect harmony produces the hearts and arrows effect in a diamond.  Harmony is graded according to where the facet convergence meets, and does not take in consideration the difference between angles or the ratios of the facets.  This is probably why Ideal Cuts lack the hearts and arrows patterns.

A total of 6 facets, namely 2 girdle facets, 2 pavilion facets and 2 upper girdle facets, are needed to create one heart.  The heart is separated by the chevron at the lower girdle facets.  Asymmetrical or disproportional lower girdle facets in proportion to the angles of the pavilion main facets will not achieve perfect hearts.

When viewing a diamond through a Hearts and Arrows viewer, it will quickly become apparent when optical symmetry is absent.


It is easier to conceal flaws in the formation of the arrows, however it’s impossible to hide any disproportions in the heart pattern.  In forming the arrows less facets are required to align, so flaws are more easily concealed.

Consequently, the shaft of the arrow is formed when one chief pavilion facet reflects on the opposite chief pavilion facet.  The main crown facet grants an alternative view of the reflected main pavilion facet thereby forming the arrowhead.