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Many people have seen Hearts & Arrows diamonds and many have heard of the term, but most people don't quite know what "Hearts & Arrows" means. Hearts & Arrows is a term that specifically refers to a type of round brilliant diamond cut which was discovered by the Japanese in the late 1980s. This special cut creates an overlap of facets that, when applied to a perfectly structured diamond, creates beautifully symmetrical patters of hearts and arrows. The effect is reminiscent of a kaleidoscope pattern in its circular symmetry and sparkling brilliance.
It was in the '70s and '80s that the Japanese began working on new technologies in diamond cutting. To help them evaluate the quality of diamond cuts, they developed a special view-scope which they called the FireScope. When viewing a diamond through the scope one was able to determine the fire, or optical performance, of the diamond.
About a decade later, master diamond expert Takanori Tamura noticed a special pattern while looking at one diamond through is FireScope: a pattern of 8 symmetrical hearts and 8 symmetrical arrows. He then began searching for this pattern in other diamonds, but he found that only a very small percentage of diamonds showed the special hearts and arrows pattern. After years of researching and experimenting, Takanori Tamura discovered that only perfectly symmetrical diamonds with precise overlap of facets and a special cut caused the unique pattern to appear in the FireScope. It was in 1984 that Tamura commissioned cutter Kioishi Higuchi to cut a diamond with the highest possible light return that boasted an eight-arrowed pattern. This would be the predecessor of the Hearts & Arrows Diamond.
Soon enough, a new Hearts and Arrows viewer was developed. This new scope allowed one to analyze not only the optical performance of the diamond, but also the cut, symmetry and alignment of facets in the pavilion (bottom) and crown (top) of a diamond. Not long after, the first, perfectly proportioned Hearts & Arrows diamond was cut in Japan. It didn take long for Hearts & Arrows cuts to arrive in America. They immediately grew in popularity and spurred developments in precision diamond-cutting technologies.
Today, Hearts & Arrows diamonds are still extremely popular. They are considered by many to be the most beautiful and most valuable of all diamond cuts. Due to the complexity of the cut, Hearts and Arrows Diamonds are also typically more costly. Only the most experienced master cutters are able to create the Hearts & Arrows diamond. The cut requires first and foremost, a high quality rough diamond, next, extraordinary precision and patience, and finally, a willingness to sacrifice a significant amount of expensive rough diamond. Only about 1 tenth of 1% of all diamonds can be used for true Hearts & Arrows cuts, due to the symmetry required to achieve the proper Hearts & Arrows effect. Moreover, a notable amount of the rough diamond must be shaved off in order to cut the stone accurately. When cutting a Hearts & Arrows diamond, all facets of the stone must be perfectly proportional in shape and size and even the slightest slip will damage the pattern. However, once the cutting process is completed, the resulting Hearts & Arrows diamond can be quite a breathtaking sight to behold.
Now, there is still some controversy regarding the term "Hearts & Arrows". There is simply no standardized industry criterion for categorizing Hearts & Arrows diamonds. Many excellent-cut or ideal-cut round brilliants do exhibit some sort of a hearts and arrows pattern. However, these patterns may be incomplete or imperfect. Should these diamonds be referred to as Hearts & Arrows? Also, the result of perfect symmetry in a properly cut diamond is that it is capable of reflecting 98% of the light that hits it. This doesn't happen in all Hearts & Arrows Diamonds. Usually, the more brilliant the diamond, the more valuable it is considered to be. It is extremely rare to find a Hearts and Arrows diamond boasting a 98% light reflection level. Should only the finest Hearts & Arrows diamonds be allowed to carry the label "Hearts and Arrows Diamond"? Well, this has apparently been left for the marketers and retailers to decide. So be careful. Not all super ideal cut diamonds display the hearts and arrows pattern, and some of the most superior ideal and super ideal cut diamonds are not Hearts & Arrows diamonds.