For a gemstone renowned as the definitive expression of love, the “Heart Shape” holds a special spot in the diamond’s pantheon of fancy cuts. Technically, it is a Pear-Shaped stone with a cleft at the top, but while Pear Shapes traditionally are elongated, the preferred length to width ration of the Heart Shape is 1:1. The distinctive curves at the top of the stone are difficult to cut, meaning that they are less commonly available in the marketplace.
The exact origins of the cut are vague, although historical evidence of its popularity dates back almost 600 years. They are the subject of a conversation between the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and Nicodemo in 1463, with the duke describing the pursuits of Cosimo de Medici, the banker and politician who was the first head of the famous dynasty from Florence, as being similar to a heart-shaped diamond.
A century later, in 1562, Mary Queen of Scots sent a Heart Shaped diamond in a ring to Queen Elizabeth I of England. At about the same time, in France, Cardinal de Richelieu was said to own a 20-carat Heart-Shaped diamond. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, the French adventurer and gemstone dealer who brought the Hope Diamond to France, recalled in a book that he wrote in 1655 a “Heart Diamond,” which was described as 36-carat stone that was part of crown jewels of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in India.
Generally cut with between 56 and 58 facets, the number of main pavilion facets typically vary between 6 and 8. Like other diamonds with more fragile pointed ends, Heart Shapes sometimes feature French tips, where the large bezel facet at the point is replaced with star and upper girdle facets. The cleft must be distinct and the wings of the diamond are slightly rounded.
As mentioned, ideally the Heart Shape’s length will be equal its width, but ratio between 0.90 and 1.10 are considered acceptable. What is important is that the two upper arches, or lobes, be absolutely symmetrical. Like similarly shaped stones, these cuts are prone to displaying the bow-tie effect.
Heart Shapes only rarely are available in lower-price ranges. This is due to a variety of factors. Stones weighing above 0 .5 carats are recommended, so that the details of their cleft and points are clearly distinguishable. They also tend to retain body color, meaning that buyers of goods in the standard white ranges are recommended to select diamonds with a grade not lower than F, and preferably higher.
Furthermore, the cut tends to exaggerate inclusion and flaws, depending on where they are located, meaning that higher clarity grades are often preferable. The technical expertise required to obtain a well-proportioned stone means that the cut grade should also be high.
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