A CUT ABOVE® : About Hearts & Arrows
A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Super Ideal
In the 1980s Japanese cutters were the first to produce diamonds cut so exactly that facet reflections overlapped, creating kaleidoscopic patterns when seen through reflecting viewers. The techniques spread to other cutting houses and evolved. Hearts & Arrows (H&A) diamonds reached the US in the mid 1990s. Top quality H&A diamonds are valued for their uniqueness and quality as the ultimate in cutting precision. They are sometimes called "superideals", although this is often misleading. In addition to having true hearts and arrows patterning, the diamond must also have perfect proportioning and light performance in order to be accurately referred to as super ideal. You can also visit this page to learn more about hearts and arrows diamonds.
A Hearts & Arrows viewer is a reflecting optical symmetry tool. Looking through it you will see arrows radiating outward in the crown of a H&A diamond. Turn the diamond over and a circle of hearts appears in the pavilion. The arrows pattern may also be seen in light return viewers and some actual photography, but the H&A Viewer is the best reflector tool to see hearts patterning. All facets must be precisely aligned for the hearts to appear correctly. If any part of the diamond is even slightly asymmetric the patterns will be uneven or distorted.
Because US labs have no grading standards for optical symmetry, examples of true H&A patterning are rare. And even though H&A diamonds have optical symmetry, not all are cut to ideal parameters and therefore do not have optimum light return. As the popularity of H&A diamonds grows more factories attempt to produce them and there are more of these diamonds in the market. If we regard the most acute level of optical symmetry as true hearts & arrows then examples of non-true hearts & arrows are much more commonplace.
Many people ask if a diamond with a top grade in 'symmetry' on a lab report will show hearts & arrows patterning. The answer is no, not necessarily. There is a difference between lab-graded "meet point" symmetry and optical symmetry.
Diamonds with top light performance, such as those graded by the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL), are diamonds that are near the top of the scale in terms of fire, brilliance and sparkle. If they also display true hearts and arrows patterning, they are perfectly "tuned" and are potential superideals. True super ideals such as the world class A CUT ABOVE® must pass performance testing beyond that performed even by the AGSL.
Whiteflash presented a grading system for optical symmetry at the International Diamond Cut Conference (IDDC) in Moscow in 2004. It was hoped that laboratories and peers would unite to maintain higher standards for manufacture of H&A as they have in Japan where the standard was set. As we do with our proportion guidelines for A CUT ABOVE® and the extensive light performance imaging we present in order to be completely transparent, we also publish our hearts and arrows grading criteria as presented at the IDCC.
For more specific questions ask our experts