A timeless symbol of love and hope, the heart shaped diamond is a unique, and an exquisite alternative to the more common diamond cuts. More than two thirds of all diamonds sold on the market are round brilliants. In contrast, heart shaped diamonds make up only a tiny fraction of the total number of diamonds sold every year, making a heart shaped diamond a unique, rare and special choice.
Diamonds with a heart shape date back to the 16th century, with the first truly well-known heart shaped diamond ring given as a gift of friendship from Mary Queen of Scots to Queen Elizabeth in 1562.
Unique and instantly recognizable, a well-cut heart shaped diamond can look fantastic in a ring, pendant or other piece of jewelry, all while offering better value for money than a similarly sized round diamond.
Although it looks very different, the heart shaped cut is actually based on the extremely popular round brilliant cut. A heart shaped diamond typically has 56 to 58 facets, with six to eight facets making up the diamond’s pavilion.
Heart shaped diamonds can vary a great deal in length and width — factors that can have a big effect on its appearance. We’ve covered these below, as well as more information on what you should look for when choosing a heart shaped diamond for a ring, pendant or other jewelry.
Like with other diamonds, it’s important to choose a heart shaped diamond with the right quality factors. Look for diamonds with a length to width ratio of as close to 1.00 as possible. To make the heart shape as visible as possible, it’s best to choose a diamond of 1 carat or larger.
Heart Shaped Diamond – Cut
Due to the heart shaped diamond’s unique appearance, cut quality is one of the most important factors you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re comparing different diamonds.
Below, we’ve explained the factors that you should look for to assess a heart shaped diamond’s cut quality and appearance. We’ve also listed what you should aim to avoid, from diamonds that are poorly cut and asymmetrical to unusual quirks of certain heart shaped diamonds.
Length to Width (L/W) Ratio
First, it’s important to limit your search to heart shaped diamonds that have an acceptable length to width ratio.
The ideal length to width ratio for a heart shaped diamond is 1.00, meaning a diamond is exactly as long as it is wide. Heart shaped diamonds with an ideal or near-ideal length to width ratio will look proportionate and natural, without appearing overly bulbous or stretched.
Diamonds of this cut with a ratio of less than 0.90 will look “chubby” and overly wide. Because of this, they’re best avoided. Likewise, diamonds of this cut with a ratio of 1.10 or above often look stretched, elongated and overly thin.
For the optimal appearance, we recommend choosing a heart shaped diamond with a length to width ratio as close to 1.00 as possible. Diamonds of this cut within the 0.90 to 1.10 range can also look fantastic, depending on your personal preferences.
Unless you specifically want a wide or thin diamond, it’s best to avoid any diamonds that aren’t within this range.
Depth and Table
Like other diamond cuts, heart shaped diamonds have a flat top facet called a table. The size of the diamond’s table, expressed as a percentage of its width, has a major impact on the amount of light that can enter into the diamond and reflect off its other facets, causing it to sparkle.
Ideally, a heart shaped diamond should have a table that make up 56 to 62 percent of its overall width. Diamonds with a table in the 54 to 64 percent range can also look fantastic and are worth considering if the other factors that affect their cut quality are within range.
A diamond’s depth refers to its measurement from top to bottom, expressed as a percentage of its width. For heart shaped diamonds, look for a depth percentage of between 56 and 66, which should give the diamond optimal sparkle and fire.
Symmetry is one of the most important factors for a heart shaped diamond. Because a heart is quite a complicated shape, there are several factors you’ll want to look at when checking that a diamond is cut symmetrically.
There are several different aesthetic features that make up the heart shape of this cut. There’s the cleft — the inward-facing point at the top of the diamond. There’s also the point — the sharp point at the bottom of the diamond.
Then, there are the lobes (the rounded portions of the diamond that create the heart shape), as well as the belly and the wing of each side of the diamond.
Before we get into the left to right symmetry of the diamond, it’s important to look at the factors you’ll want to look for in the diamond’s cleft and point.
First, look for a diamond that has a distinct, obvious cleft. This 1.01 carat F color, VS2 diamond has a distinct cleft that makes its heart shape easy to see, even when the diamond is looked at from an angle.
Second, check that the point of the diamond is distinct enough that the bottom of the diamond doesn’t appear rounded. While the point doesn’t need to be sharp, it should divide the bottom section of the diamond into two clear, separate halves.
For example, this 1.02 carat F color, SI1 heart shaped diamond has a clear point that gives it a beautiful heart shape. In comparison, this 1.00 carat F color, VS1 diamond has a less distinct point, giving it a rounded, less heart-like appearance.
Beyond the cleft and point, it’s important to check that the diamond is symmetrical. Look at the lobes of the diamond for any imperfections. These are the upper rounded areas that create the top of the heart shape.
A high-quality heart shape diamond should have symmetrical lobes. Try to draw a straight line down the middle of the diamond in your mind, from the cleft to the point. The different sides of the diamond should look identical, with no obviously different facets or variation in lobe size.
Wings and Belly
The wings and belly of a heart shaped diamond refer to the shape of the sides. Ideally, the wings of the diamond should be slightly rounded but not overly bulbous, creating an ideal heart shape.
Heart Shaped Diamond Cut – Key Points
As we mentioned above, the main factors to look for in a heart shaped diamond’s cut are an ideal or close-to-ideal length to width ratio, optimal depth and table, great symmetry and the right overall shape.
If you’re not sure what to look for, contact us. Our diamond experts can help you find a beautiful heart shaped diamond that matches your criteria and budget.
Heart Shaped Diamond – Clarity
Clarity refers to how clean a diamond appears when it’s viewed by a gemologist. Diamonds with high clarity grades typically have very few inclusions and blemishes; diamonds with lower clarity grades often have multiple large, highly visible inclusions.
The GIA grades Clarity using the following scale:
- IF – Internally Flawless
- VVS1 – Very Very Small Inclusions
- VVS2 – Very Very Small Inclusions
- VS1 – Very Small Inclusions
- VS2 – Very Small Inclusions
- SI1 – Small Inclusions
- SI2 – Small Inclusions
- I1 – Inclusions
- I2 – Inclusions
The higher grades on this scale, such as IF and VVS1, are very rare. It is extremely uncommon to find a diamond that’s graded IF, and you’ll pay a huge premium to purchase a stone with this clarity grade.
In general, we recommend looking for a diamond that is eye clean (meaning you can’t see any inclusions or other blemishes with your naked eye), then not choosing any clarity grade higher than this.
With heart shaped diamonds, any clarity grade of SI1 or better should provide a diamond that’s eye clean. Since the heart shape is a modified brilliant cut, small inclusions such as those found in most SI1 and VS2 diamonds are rarely visible to the naked eye.
For the best value for money, carefully look at the photos of any diamond that you’re interested in, then choose the lowest clarity grade that is eye clean. We’ve covered this in more detail in our guide to diamond clarity.
Heart Shaped Diamond – Color
Heart shaped diamonds are a modified version of the round brilliant cut. Because they reflect lots of light, the color of a heart shaped diamond is harder to distinguish than it is in a diamond with a large table, such as an Emerald or Asscher cut.
This means that there’s no need to choose a flawless color grade. Doing so will only increase the price you pay for the diamond, without having any noticeable impact on how it looks when viewed with the naked eye.
When it comes to heart shaped diamonds, there’s no one-size-fits-all color grade that offers the best value for money. Instead, it’s best to pick a color grade based on the type of metal you plan to use for the diamond’s setting.
For a white gold or platinum setting, we generally recommend choosing a diamond that has a color grade of H or better.
For a yellow or rose gold setting, a lower color grade is okay. In general, we recommend the J color grade or better for solitaire settings. Diamonds in these color grades have a slight yellow tint, but look clear when contrasted with metals like yellow and rose gold.
Heart Shaped Diamond – Carat Weight
Like other diamond shapes, heart shaped diamonds are available in a massive variety of carat weights.
As we covered in our guide to carat weight, we usually recommend choosing the largest carat weight that fits within your budget. By saving on clarity and color using the information above, you can often get a significantly larger diamond than you might have originally expected.
With fancy cuts like heart shaped diamonds, the shape of the diamond becomes more visually appealing at larger carat weights. The higher the carat weight of the diamond, the more visible and obvious the heart shape becomes.
We generally recommend choosing a heart shaped diamond in the 1+ carat range. A diamond of this size looks distinctly heart shaped, whereas the heart shape of a smaller diamond can be harder to see once it’s set in a ring.
If you have a limited budget, aim for 0.5 carat as an absolute minimum carat weight. Below this point, it becomes increasingly difficult to notice the unique heart shape of this diamond cut.
Ultimately, the ideal carat weight for a heart shaped diamond mostly depends on your taste and budget. If you need help choosing the right diamond, contact our experts who will help you get the largest, highest quality diamond for your budget.
Apply the advice mentioned above, as well as the tips in our guide to buying a diamond, and you’ll be able to get the largest, high quality diamond without going over your budget.
Like with any other diamond, it’s important to choose carefully to get the highest quality stone without spending more than you should. If you need help selecting a heart shaped diamond, contact us and we’ll help you find a diamond that matches your tastes and budget.