A guide to understanding and choosing the perfect heart-shaped diamond for your engagement ring

There are so many different diamond shapes (also called cuts) to choose from for engagement rings. Each one gives the engagement ring a unique look. A much-loved, romantic, and symbolic cut for engagement rings is the heart-shaped diamond.

History and Symbolism of Heart-Shaped Diamonds

Although they seem more modern, heart diamonds have been around for centuries. The first known mention of a heart-shaped diamond was referenced in a letter written in 1463 by the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza. He calls a heart shaped diamond as a rare treasure only the most determined seekers can possess. Other early references to heart-shaped diamonds include the heart diamond ring Scottish Queen Mary Stuart gave Queen Elizabeth I in 1562. The portrait of "Princess Gonzaga" captured the first image of a diamond-shaped heart. The portrait by artist Frans Pourbus in 1605 depicts Margherita Gonzaga wearing a variety of heart diamonds.

While this shape drew attention centuries ago, it’s still a popular shape today for its symbolism. The heart represents love while diamonds are the hardest and strongest gemstone. Pairing these together in an engagement ring represents a romantic symbol of everlasting love.

Characteristics and Qualities

Heart-shaped diamonds are a modified brilliant cut composed of 56 to 58 facets with 6 to 8 facets making up its pavilion. When cut well, this fancy-cut diamond has stunning fire and brilliance. Heart shapes are difficult to cut because it’s complex. The cutter has to curve the sides, create symmetrical lobes and then a deep (but not too deep) cleft. The cleft is more noticeable in modern day heart shaped diamonds when the cut was perfected. Antique diamond hearts typically have a barely noticeable cleft.

Pros and Cons

An engagement ring featuring a glittering heart diamond is a grand romantic gesture. This type of cut is rare, unique, and eye-catching. Heart-shaped diamonds typically cost 15 to 20 percent less than round cuts. However, it’s a less common cut (especially in bigger carat weights) and every heart looks different. Some are taller while others are wider depending on their symmetry and quality, so you’ll need to carefully look at each heart diamond that you’re considering. In order to get a distinct heart shape, it’s recommended that you select a one carat weight or more.

Popular Settings and Styles

Settings and styles for heart-shaped diamonds have to let light into the diamond so it can sparkle but still ensure the gemstone is secured in the setting. A popular setting is a diamond solitaire. If you want a solitaire, a six-prong setting is more secure than a three-prong setting. If you like the solitaire look but want more sparkle, consider a band with pavé or accent diamonds or colored gemstones. A heart would look amazing with baguettes on either side of it. For even more glittering diamonds, check out halo set heart diamond engagement rings.

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Tips for Choosing the Perfect Heart Diamond

Carefully look at each heart-shaped diamond that you’re considering. This unique shape comes with some unique considerations. First, look at the cut to see how it looks. A well-cut heart has fire and brilliance, but a heart with poor proportions will look dull and lifeless. In general, good proportions have a depth of 58-64% and a table size of 56-62% for better sparkle and brilliance. You also want it to look symmetrical and not lopsided. Look for diamonds with a length to width ratio of 1, which means the heart is as long as it is wide. Ratios under 0.9 look too wide and ratios over 1.1 look too tall and thin.

In terms of durability, take a close look at the girdle (outermost edge of the diamond). If it’s too thin, it’s prone to chipping. On the other hand, a girdle that is too thick can look smaller because too much of the carat weight is hidden in the girdle.

Color is more noticeable on the points of fancy-cut diamonds, including hearts. As a result, hearts with colors J to K or lower could have more warmth in the points when compared to the center. As for clarity, check to see where inclusions are located. Flaws could be more noticeable in the center of the heart rather than inclusions closer to the point where they’re easier to hide.


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