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    The History of Heart Shaped Diamonds

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    Hearts and diamonds are a match made in romantic heaven. Hearts
    display the tenderest of human emotions while the diamond symbolizes permanence
    and durability — the traits we want to experience in true love. When we think
    of popular diamond shapes, the heart is a stand out cut that is both au courant
    and sentimental. But, is it really so ‘courant’ or are we reading into things
    simply because we’re inundated with its romantic imagery?

    0.51 Carat heart diamond James Allen
    A very feminine pink heart shaped diamond conveys a timeless message of love. © James Allen

    The Historic Heart Shaped Diamond

    Digging deep into the annals of diamond history, we find an
    eye-opening trail leading us way back to the mid-15th century. The
    heart shape is an ancient cut with royal roots. In 1463, an early heart-shaped
    diamond cut made its debut during private exchanges between the Duke of Milan, named
    Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and the Duke’s confidante Nicodemo, where a heart-shaped
    diamond was discussed. While describing the literary quests of the affluent and
    powerful Cosimo de Medici, Sforza wrote “He commands a Titus Livy (meaning
    the works of Roman historian Livy) just as you might a heart-shaped
    diamond.” So, we find that heart shaped diamonds already existed by the
    mid-1400s. It didn’t take long before the royal preference for heart shaped stones
    became sought after by every aristocratic soul who could afford such an
    extravagance.

    2.01 Carat heart diamond James Allen
    With their distinctly modern vibe, it’s hard to imagine that heart shaped diamonds have an ancient pedigree © James Allen

    We encounter the heart shaped diamond again mentioned in royal
    courts by 1562. It seems that Mary Queen of Scots sent England’s Queen
    Elizabeth I a heart-shaped diamond ring. This gesture has gone down in history
    as one of the most ardent symbols of friendship and goodwill between royals
    ever recorded. Since this is the most famous early diamond heart reference recorded,
    historians believe that during this period, the diamond heart became associated
    with symbols of love and admiration. Around that same time, French clergyman
    and statesman Cardinal de Richelieu was said to own a gargantuan 20-carat
    heart-shaped diamond given to his holiness by a well-heeled diamond merchant.

    Cutting A Heart Shaped Diamond

    Considering how difficult and laborious it was for polishing a
    diamond into any shape during the Renaissance, we wonder how any crystals really
    ever ended up in this delicate heart profile. All polishing work was a tedious
    time-consuming effort by hand using rudimentary man-powered polishing devices. The
    heart shape required exquisite care to carve that cleft in the center of the
    stone. One bad slip and the stone was lost. It was quite difficult, especially
    with the shaping tools used in those days, and collectors understood that. So,
    you can understand why these diamonds were cherished over other gems of that age.

    In those early days, cutters were not going for the ultimate
    sparkle, of course. Little did they know about light return and how a diamond
    could handle light when it was well formed. They were more concerned with
    weight retention and color retention or color improvement. It was an
    extravagant gesture to submit a diamond crystal to the wheel in attempts to turn
    it into a heart.

    CustomMade.com pulls heartstrings with a gorgeous token of lasting love in this ruby heart claddagh ring.

    Modern heart shaped diamonds and colored stones have a
    distinct advantage of being created by knowledgeable polishers who know how to
    optimize the stone’s brilliance. Modern cutters understand how to balance weight
    retention from the rough, keeping the color as high as possible—all while still
    maximizing its scintillation. And this is essential: they can position its
    facets so the diamond heart is beautifully shaped and sparkles plenty.

    How To Identify a Good Heart Shaped Diamond

    Today, we consider an ideal heart diamond should be cut at a
    1:1 ratio, or as tall as it is wide. And while the 1 to 1 is the cutter’s goal,
    in reality it’s often more of an ideal than possible with each crystal. But
    there are hard rules that should be aimed for. It’s vital that the cut should
    be symmetrical on both sides. It often begins as a pear shape—a rather squat
    pear that will eventually morph into its ultimate shape. When a skillful cutter
    examines his stone, he will usually orient the rough so that the areas of
    greatest natural inclusions will be in the rounded area of that stone and be
    cut away by the artful placement of the cleft and its facets.

    A casual viewer may not know why they prefer one heart over
    the other, but symmetry has a lot to do with visual appeal and a sense of
    beauty.  The modern heart has 59 expertly
    sculpted facets. It is often one of the most popular ways for a cutter to transform
    a diamond crystal with small inclusions into a flawless sparkling jewel. One
    shouldn’t think that a heart-shaped diamond is anything less than perfection
    when executed properly, even if it started as an imperfect diamond rough. Most
    diamonds have had their natural inclusions taken into consideration for the
    shape they will eventually display. The talent of expert cutters always lies in
    their vision and execution. Hearts are, in fact, one of the most sought-after diamond
    shapes, even though they present the most challenges to the cutter. Only a very
    skilled cutter can create a flawless heart-shaped diamond. The slightest error
    could spell ruin to its profile and reduce its carat weight significantly even
    if the stone can be repaired.

    Heart-Shaped Diamond Halo Pendant in 14k White Gold (1/4 ct. tw.) Blue Nile
    You’ll be pleased to wear your heart for the world to see when it’s a sparkling diamond. © Blue Nile

    If heart shaped diamonds have caught your eye, you should
    learn all about the parts of its profile. Train your eye to look for the
    outstanding stones. Each part of its face-on profile has a name. The center
    V-shape cut at the top of the stone is called the Cleft. This is where the
    expert polisher shows his cutting prowess. Next, let’s look at the upper
    rounded areas on either side of the cleft. These are called the Lobes. The
    widest part of the heart profile is called the Belly. This begins to narrow
    down to continue the heart outline—in the area called the Wing. Finally, your
    heart shaped stone reaches its very bottom tip—or the Point.

    Heart shaped solitaire ring from Blue Nile
    Find this Ring at Blue NileThe heart-shaped diamond in this ring from Blue Nile truly conveys its intent.

    Now ask yourself: does the heart stone look as wide as it is
    tall? Is there perfect (or close to it) symmetry? Meaning, does the cleft
    reside exactly in the center of this stone? Here’s where we should point out a
    bit of artistic license used by the cutter. In reality, you’ll notice
    variations in how deep the cleft is cut into a diamond. The cutter makes a
    judgement call on how deep that cleft should be. He can make a weight retention
    choice, or have other considerations that only he understands from cutting into
    the rough.

    A striking example of a more delicate cleft is seen in the
    legendary Blue Heart Diamond, a 30.62 carat South African blue diamond owned by
    American heiress Marjorie M. Post who gifted it to the Smithsonian Institute in
    1964. It was faceted in 1910 by a French jeweler starting with a 100.5 carat
    rough. Perhaps he was acutely aware of how much the stone was reduced in
    creating his heart and was unwilling to make it any smaller. We’ll never know.
    But we are still amazed when looking at this natural wonder which lost 2/3 of
    its weight in the process of being cut into a heart.

    Famous blue heart diamond. © https://geogallery.si.edu

    Are the lobes nicely shaped, and do they mirror the opposite side in their curvature? Is the belly not too pudgy? Do the wings curve gracefully (not a straight downward slant) downward toward its point? And finally, does the point finish the shape well, not too sharp, but in proportion with the rest of the stone’s curvatures? Is the point directly under the V of the cleft at the top of the stone?

    1.110 VS2 Fancy color Heart Brian Gavin
    What’s better than a heart shaped diamond? How about a pair of fancy colors to boot? © Brian Gavin

    Commanding Prices Not For the Faint of Heart

    Diamond connoisseurs have a soft spot for the famed
    Moussaieff 2.09 carat heart shaped fancy red diamond that went to an Asian
    investor from a Christie’s auction in 2015. The final hammer price was $5,095,872, making it a jaw dropping $2.44
    million per carat. The list goes on. But you can clearly see there has never
    been waning interest in heart diamonds—and our love for them will likely stay
    strong.

    In
    a less-is-more way, heart cut diamonds hold their own in solitaire settings of
    any kind. Overall, we can’t imagine a more story-telling diamond shape—with a
    message that is simply lovable.

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