Hearts & Arrows diamonds are round brilliant cut diamonds with excellent optical symmetry and an extremely regular, well-executed cut. A diamond with a Hearts & Arrows cut displays a pattern of eight grey arrows, pointing in to the centre when viewed from above with a gemstone viewer. When vieewed from below, the pattern is eight hearts, again with their bases pointing towards the middle. The shapes are caused by the way that the configuration of facets blocks the light from certain directions.
These distinctive patterns are only evident when the diamond is cut exactly right. The ‘table’ – the flat surface at the top of the crown – must be precisely perpendicular, or at right angles, to the pavilion. This perfect optical symmetry allows the light to act in the right way to produce the characteristic patterns.
The term is often seen in marketing materials, indicating a top-tier cut. However, it does not mean the stone will necessarily be more brilliant or more attrcative than all others. A Hearts & Arrows cut does not lead a diamond to sparkle more than other cuts, since the sparkle is determined more by the individual facets on the diamond, rather than the overall alignment of the major facets.
In fact, because the hearts and arrows appear as dark grey or even black shapes, this kind of diamond may appear to have shadows in it when viewed in certain lights and from certain angles. It’s also worth remembering that there is no absolute standard when it comes to assessing a diamond. Some will have a clear pattern; in other cases, it may be less distinct. Some experts grade the patterns, others do not. And, even when a stone is given the highest grade of cut, the hearts and arrows may not be easily visible.