Jewelry Guide

9 Tips to Choose the Perfect Heart Shaped Diamond

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The heart has always been a symbol of love, passion and romance. Couple that with the diamond and you have a stone that is romantic, symbolic and easily eye-catching. The heart shaped diamond is not among the most popular cuts, and is quite rare, making it a unique choice for jewelry. Of late, it has become famous among celebrities as it is quite a statement shape.

It is a modern trendy cut which has been around for quite a long time. One of the earliest and most famous heart diamonds was given by Mary Queen of Scots to Queen Elizabeth as a gift. However, the cut as we know it today, only originated around the early 1900s.

The heart cut consists of between 56 to 59 facets. It is very brilliant and has excellent light performance. It takes great skill and expertise to cut a gorgeous heart shaped diamond. A well cut heart shaped diamond is a joy to behold and a unique find, as there are many poorly cut stones on the market.

Here are our top 9 tips to help you buy a great heart shaped diamond.  

  1. Symmetry is Key

symmetry in heart shape diamond

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The beauty of the heart shape is in its perfect symmetry, with each side being a mirror image of the other. If the heart shape is not cut to proportion, however slight, it may be the first thing you notice when you see the stone. This is why it is key that you pick a symmetrical stone where each half is exactly alike in size and shape.

The heart should have a clear and distinct cleft between the two sides and each wing should be gracefully rounded. This is why it is important not to buy the diamond blind but to see the actual image before you purchase.  

  1. Choose the Length to Width Ratio

The classic heart shape has an L-to-W ratio of 1.00. Anything over 1.05 begins to look narrow and elongated while under .95 has a wider appeal. For drop earrings and for pendants, narrow cuts are often very attractive while a wider cut often looks to advantage when set in a solitaire ring.

When it comes to choosing the length to width ratio of your heart shaped diamond, there is no right or wrong selection. It comes down to personal preference.  

  1. Pick the Right Size

For heart shaped diamonds, it is not recommended to choose a very small stone. You will not be able to see the shape clearly and the diamond will not appear to advantage. Try to stick with a carat size over .50 and the larger the better!  

  1. Look Out for the Bow-Tie

Some heart shaped diamonds can have what is known as the bow-tie effect. This occurs due to poor cutting and misaligned facets, which cause the light that passes through the diamond to create shadows within the stone. This results in darkened areas on the surface of the diamond, often lying across the diamond in the shape of a man’s bow-tie.

bow tie heart shape diamond

A heart-shaped diamond with an undesirable bow-tie

Most heart-shaped diamonds are susceptible to having bow ties, but these can be either severe or unnoticeable. If, when you look at the diamond, the darkened areas are the first thing you notice, then it’s best to choose a stone with better light performance.

Unfortunately, the grading report will not provide this information for you which means that you have to see the stone with your own eyes prior to purchasing. On paper it may seem ideal, but the appearance could be disappointing.  

  1. Choose the Color Grade

Heart shaped diamonds tend to retain color and show any tints in the stone. This is why they are ideal for gemstones and colored diamonds, where it’s all about flaunting the color of the stone! If you aren’t restricted by budget, choose a colorless grade (D-E-F) for the best look. However, if you prefer warm tones in your diamond, you can opt to drop the color grade down further.

In terms of price, each color grade up comes with a premium, and often the difference between grades can be indistinguishable.

The color grade you choose partly depends on the setting of the jewelry. If the diamond is set in yellow or rose gold, you can drop the color grade down to J. However, if the diamond is set in platinum or white gold, any tint in the stone will be noticeable. It is best to choose H grade or better.  

  1. Pick the Clarity Grade

It is easy to see flaws in the heart shaped diamond due to the faceting structure and clear table. As long as the diamond is eye-clean, however, it really doesn’t matter what grade you pick. Go as low as you can on the clarity scale without there being noticeable flaws as this will give you the best value for your money.

For larger stones, it’s best to choose between Flawless to Very Very Slightly Included 2 (VVS2) as they will tend to show inclusions more readily.  

  1. Choose the Best Ring Setting for Heart Cut Diamond

The heart shape is quite a trendy and statement diamond cut, that calls out for attention (especially when in large sizes). It looks great in solitaire settings as this accentuates the shape of the stone and makes it stand out on your finger. However, it can be a vulnerable cut due to its pointed tip. It is essential that the setting you choose provides adequate protection for the diamond.

If choosing a prong setting, you can opt for a 3 prong setting if the diamond is on the smaller side. For larger diamonds, 5 prongs are best, as this will provide better security. The bottom prong should ideally be a V-tipped prong which will provide protection for the point of the diamond. Take care with prong settings, however, as they tend to catch on objects like hair and clothes, which can compromise the durability of the stone.

heart shape prong setting engagement ring

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For extra sparkle and eye-catching brilliance, consider a halo setting. The surrounding diamonds really adds an extra layer of brilliance to the diamond.

heart shaped halo setting enagement ring

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If you’re a lover of all things vintage, heart shapes are stunning when set in vintage designs. They have a touch of romance and old world charm, making a perfect combination.

vintage inspired engagement ring with heart shape diamond

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And finally, if you want something really different, why not opt for a colored heart shape diamond as the example below depicts? Colored diamonds and gemstones look fascinating when cut into heart shapes as the color is exhibited to advantage.

yellow diamond heart shape engagement ring

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  1. Pick Your Budget

The heart shape is not cheap. In fact, it is the most expensive of all the ten diamond cuts due to the expertise required to cut it properly as well as how rare the cut is. Compare the prices of this round diamond with this heart shaped diamond. The features of these two diamonds are very similar, however the price difference is about $700!  

  1. Where to Shop Online

Whichever retailer you decide to go with, always make sure that they are licensed, reputable and have great reviews. They should be specialized in what they do and should also provide you with certification for the diamond. Check that the certifying laboratory is reputable, such as GIA, AGS and EGL.  

Most importantly, ensure that the images, video and other data provided are accurate and of the actual diamond (not a stock photo). View the stone carefully prior to purchasing and check with the sales team if you have any questions.  

We recommend James Allen for colorless diamonds. They have high quality photos and special Diamond Display Technology, that will allow you to inspect your diamond closely (and if worse comes to worst, you can still return the diamond after your purchase for a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with it). 

For colored diamonds, Leibish is easily the best for online shopping. Both these vendors provide high quality diamonds, excellent customer service and great after sales policies

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