Guide to Heart-Shaped Diamonds

Heart diamonds appear precisely as their name would lead you to believe – a heart-shaped diamond. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this unique cut. A heart-shaped diamond is an outward symbol of love. It can be worn set in a ring or a pendant and looks gorgeous in a variety of designs. Though they're slightly less brilliant than the round brilliant cut, a diamond heart is still very dazzling. Their rarity makes heart-shaped diamonds attractive, coming in at only 9th on the list of most popular diamond shapes.

If you're considering a romantic gem such as this, here's what you need to know.

The History of Heart-Shaped Diamonds

Heart-shaped diamonds are a timeless representation of love. And not just romantic love, either. It is said that Queen Elizabeth received one from her friend, Mary Queen of Scots, in 1562. The gems were also being discussed in merchant circles, likely for their rarity, as the shape would have been very difficult to cut. Also in the 16th century, Cardinal de Richelieu, a French clergyman, was rumored to have a massive 20-carat heart-shaped diamond. It seems the heart diamond was not only a symbol of love but of affluence and royalty too!

Today, the heart-shaped diamond is still making headlines. Notably as the chosen shape for engagement rings belonging to modern royalty, aka celebrities. Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj were presented with a luminous heart-shaped gem at their engagements.

Though heart-shaped diamonds have never reached the popularity heights of the round brilliant, they are still sought after by couples who want a non-traditional stone.

The Popularity of Heart-Shaped Diamonds

Speaking of popularity, just how in demand are heart-shaped diamonds? Round brilliants account for nearly 75% of diamond sales worldwide. Comparatively, a heart shape is the 9th most popular diamond shape, with fewer people choosing this cut.

Despite this, the shape is rare and valuable. Especially considering it is one of the most challenging shapes to cut. A heart-shaped diamond is thought to be one of the most unique of all the fancy diamond shapes.

Today, only a handful of celebrities wear this shape, including Avril Lavigne and Rochelle Humes, in addition to Gaga and Minaj. The shape's popularity can slightly increase when celebs sport their diamond heart rings. Still, in general, it has never risen into the top three most popular diamond shapes.

Best Settings for Heart-Shaped Diamonds

Did you know that the heart shape is actually a modified round brilliant? Due to it being based on the round brilliants cut, a heart-shaped diamond has 56 to 58 facets and six to eight facets on its pavilion. Unlike the round brilliant, though, it isn't as versatile when it comes to settings.

Heart-shaped diamonds usually look best in a solitaire setting. The shape can make it difficult to pair with other gems and design features like a halo. These things can also detract from its easily recognizable heart shape.

You can choose a prong or bezel if you're opting for a solitaire setting. Small heart-shaped diamonds may be set in a three-prong setting. But three prongs will not be secure enough for larger stones. A four-prong setting allows maximum light, enhancing the diamond's sparkle and brilliance. However, a six-prong setting can boost the stone's safety, preventing it from getting nicked or caught as easily. While a six-prong setting obscures some light, a bezel setting reduces the most light from entering the stone. Nevertheless, it offers ample safety and a modern, trendy look.

If you are considering a multi-stone setting, choose your accents wisely. Halos can help add sparkle to the ring, but they may also detract from the heart's shape, making it look more round or cushioned. Three stone settings can do the same, diffusing the edges of the heart shape and obscuring its unique look.

Ultimately, the setting and design you choose are up to you and depend on your priorities.

Heart-Shaped Diamond Pricing

Heart-shaped diamonds can be up to 20% lower in cost than the ever-popular round brilliant, which makes them more affordable. However, you generally won't want a stone of less than one carat in size when purchasing a heart-shaped diamond.

Stones smaller than one carat, especially those half a carat and under, will be very hard to recognize as heart-shaped. The smaller the diamond, the more it will look like a simple round cut. Due to this, you may pay slightly more for a bigger diamond.

Of course, things like clarity and color also affect the stone. Although, heart-shaped cuts can hide flaws particularly well, meaning that you may not need to pay for the highest clarity grade. Also, color can be subjective too. You might not prefer the highest color grade as it can make the stone look quite icy. Similarly, color grades one level away from another can be indistinguishable to the naked eye. Choose a diamond whose color looks pleasing to you, don't shop based on grade alone.

In most cases, heart-shaped diamonds sell for less than their equally sized and rated round brilliant counterparts. For example, a half-carat natural heart-shaped stone is around $500, while a half-carat round of the same grade is about $900.

What to Keep in Mind When Buying Heart-Shaped Diamonds

We've mentioned a few of the finer points of purchasing heart-shaped diamonds. Clarity and color are always a consideration, but they are more subjective than some other features. Generally, you'll want to choose a diamond free from prominent inclusions that looks brilliant in the light. Some prefer a near-colorless diamond, while others enjoy a stone in the G to J range with a slightly warmer appearance.

As stated, heart-shaped diamonds are usually better in sizes one carat and up. The smaller the carat weight the more indiscernible the shape. Additionally, cutting is essential. You want a diamond cut to have perfect (or as close as possible to) symmetry, meaning a length-to-width ratio of 1.0. The further from 1.0, the higher the chance your diamond will look too chubby or too narrow. Opt for a distinct and sharp cleft between the two wings and an equally sharp point below the lobes. The perfect heart proportions are a diamond that is as tall as it is wide with clean, clear cuts.

Whether you want a symbol of timeless love or lasting friendship, a heart-shaped diamond can be the perfect outward display of your endearing affection.


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