H&A Inscription on GIA Diamonds
By Bryan Boyne (g.g.) , Thursday, January 14, 2016
Hearts and arrows patterning on round brilliant diamonds is a strong indication of faceting precision. Sometimes referred by the acronym H&A, these diamonds show a distinctive pattern of 8 arrows when viewed through the table and 8 hearts when viewed through the pavilion with a simple reflector tool. However, the H&A label is often misapplied to diamonds that do not have a high degree of facet precision- even to the extent that H & A inscriptions are laser engraved on the girdles of diamonds that do not qualify for the hearts and arrows diamond designation.
H&A inscribed on the girdle of a GIA Round Diamond
It is important to understand inscriptions done by and/or reported by laboratories such as GIA and AGSL. Neither lab grades hearts and arrows specifically and neither lab inscribes diamonds with the H&A designation. Consumers are often confused because the inscription of H&A is reported by the lab under “Comments”. This is simply part of the process of describing the diamond, and is in no way a validation of any claims of hearts and arrows patterning. Such inscriptions are placed on the diamond by the manufacturer or vendor prior to submission to the lab. The lab is simply reporting that the diamond is inscribed with this statement.
In the absence of independent diagnostics, an inscription of H&A should never be taken as proof of a certain level of faceting precision or cut quality. Case in point is the diamond below. It is a large (over 2 ct) and very expensive D IF that is inscribed H & A on the girdle. The reflector images below show the diamond to have irregular patterning, with dramatically variable size hearts and other patterning and light performance faults.
Hearts of a 2ct D IF diamond inscribed "H&A" ASET of a 2ct D IF diamond inscribed "H&A"
This is not to say that the diamond is not well cut and beautiful. It is! But the faceting precision is not fully optimized for precise alignment. And while there are some variances in the tolerance for patterning faults in the ideal and super ideal market, none of the well respected vendors would represent this stone as a true hearts and arrows diamond.
By contrast, the A CUT ABOVE® diamond below (which also happens to be a 2 carat D IF !) shows the optical precision of a top quality hearts and arrows ideal cut.
Hearts of a True "H&A" Super Ideal Cut diamond ASET of a True "H&A" Super Ideal Cut diamond
So, when shopping for diamonds of the finest cut quality and light performance, do not mistake an inscription for proof of claims. Ask for light performance imaging to verify light return, light leakage, contrast and facet precision.
For more on the impacts of cut quality on diamond beauty see our article on diamond cut craftsmanship.
For more specific questions ask our experts