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Going After the Heart

Heart-shaped diamonds are mentioned in letters between Italian nobility as early as 1463. Mary Queen of Scots gave Queen Elizabeth a ring set with a Heart-shaped diamond in 1562. They even appear in paintings from the era.

Today, Heart-shaped diamonds are very popular in the Far East. In the past year, it has gained growing popularity in the US especially after singers Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj received engagement rings set with Heart-shaped diamonds.

The Heart-shaped diamond is a member of the semi-round diamond shapes – those that are based on the Round brilliant, such as the Pear-shape and Oval. It has 59 facets, and is essentially a Pear-shaped diamond with a cleft at the top of the rounded side creating two "shoulders." Polishers like to take advantage of its shape to hide inclusions by careful. 

A Comparison of Round, Oval, Pear and Heart-Shaped Diamonds to Scale

​(Please note - not real size)

Compared to Rounds, the value of Heart-shaped diamonds is about 21%-56% less, depending on color and clarity. The table below compares the value of one carat and 0.95 carat Heart-shaped diamonds, to 1-carat Round diamonds (1 carat Round = 100%) in all colors and clarities. The 0.95-carat comparison is here to highlight the relatively small difference in size that results in a large difference in value.

Value of Heart-Shape Diamonds Compared to 1 ct Round Diamonds

Perfecting the Cleft

Creating the Heart's cleft is complicated, which may be one of the reasons why historically, Heart-shaped diamonds were such a valued possession. At times, the shoulders would come out uneven. However, the real challenge lay in creating the cleft itself. For many years, the special tools used for creating the cleft were patented and few polishers had the ability to carve out a well-proportioned, efficiently cut Heart-shaped diamond.

That changed in recent years with the advent of laser cutting tools that significantly reduced the challenge and simplified the process.

Another polishing consideration is clarity. Sometimes an inclusion will be contained within the polished diamond, but will not be included with a different shape. This may have a noticeable impact on the value of the diamond and is one of the considerations a polisher takes into account.

When considering rough diamonds for polishing, a manufacturer is usually faced with a number of alternatives to choose from. With the aid of modern planning tools, a polisher can easily identify a centrally placed inclusion that can be cut out to create a heart. Otherwise, this inclusion would be left in a polished diamond such as a Round.

Some Heart-shaped diamonds have a light effect known as a "bow tie," a dark area in the diamond. It is the result of light not bouncing back up to the face of the diamond because of a misalignment of facets. The bow tie, which can vary from hardly visible to severe, can be eliminated by adding a French culet, a facet replacing the culet.

A 3.71-carat rough diamond is pictured in the 3D render below. The polisher can polish out of it either a Round or a Heart-shaped diamond. If a Round diamond option is picked, it will result in a 1.21-carat polished diamond at a 32.5% yield, meaning 67.5% of the rough diamond's weight will be lost in the polishing process. 

Image: Sarine 

 Alternatively, the manufacturer may decide to polish a Heart-shaped diamond, as shown in the image below. In this case, it will result in a 1.50-carat polished diamond and a much more efficient 44.4% yield.

Image: Sarine 

In this rough diamond, the polisher preferred a Heart-shape to a Round because it allowed him to remove an inclusion that would otherwise significantly affect the Round diamond's clarity. Despite the higher value per carat of rounds compared to Hearts, when compared on a size-only basis, the difference in clarity results in a higher value Heart-shaped diamond. The value comparison below is based on an analysis of current prices in the market and represents the total value of the diamonds. 

In the below example, a 3.91-carat rough diamond can be polished into a 1.34-carat Round diamond (top image) or into a 1.71-carat Heart. In the first case, the yield is 34.2% and in the second, 43.7%. 

Image: Sarine 

As we saw in the article on Pear-shaped diamonds and with the Oval-shaped diamonds, even if the optional Round diamond is smaller than the alternative shape, the Round may still have a higher total value. This is true for all shapes, including Hearts. In this case, even though the Round diamond is smaller, it has a higher value than the alternative Heart, as the following table shows 

The reason the yield is shown is that from a financial standpoint, it makes sense to try to get the best return out of the cost of the rough diamond. Given the two different possible outcomes, it is worth comparing the value of the two options, and seeing which is more economically beneficial to manufacture.

Necessary Proportions

When polishing a diamond, proportions are important for a number of reasons, including aesthetics. A well-proportioned diamond looks much better than one that is not. Another reason is light return. To get the best light return, light enters through the top of the diamond, bounce inside of it, and then reflect out through the top. The more light that is reflected, the more the diamond shines.

To achieve this, the facets must face each other at the right angles. Below is a list of Heart-shaped proportions by Cut standard: 

As stated in previous articles, the intention of this review is to highlight a number of issues relating to diamonds, their value and how to understand the varying characteristics of diamonds that may seem identical but differ enough to affect their value.

In addition, we presented a table that showed the difference in value between the various diamond shapes. It is important to keep it in mind when considering diamonds as part of a wealth preservation belief or even as a gift.

No one should act upon any opinion or information in this website without consulting a professional qualified adviser.

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