Hearts and Arrows Diamond Education

Perfect Symmetrical Hearts Results in Perfectly Formed Arrows in Hearts and Arrows Diamonds

“It’s All In The Hearts”

In actuality, all diamonds that claim to be hearts and arrows are not created equal. Some diamond wholesalers have sold pseudo hearts and arrows diamonds to uneducated retailers, who then sell them to consumers as true hearts and arrows brilliant round cut diamonds.

That’s why Brian Gavin developed his internationally recognized grading system to educate consumers and retailers and clear up any confusion about what qualifies as a true hearts and arrows cut. These standards and guidelines are detailed in this education site as a resource for both consumers and retailers. It provides clear and easy to understand information and pictures that describe the differences between a poorly or inferior cut stone and one with exceptional symmetry and accuracy that deserves the term, “hearts and arrows.” This is meant to ensure that consumers receive the greatest value and quality in their selection of a hearts and arrows cut diamond.

History of hearts and arrows – The hearts and arrows cut was first developed in the 1980s by Japanese cutters who produced diamonds cut so exactly that the facet reflections created overlapping, kaleidoscopic patterns when seen through reflecting viewers. These diamonds created a visual pattern of eight “hearts” visible through the pavilion (the bottom, or pointed section of the diamond) and eight “arrows” when the stone was viewed in the table-up position. This visual phenomenon was nicknamed the “Cupid effect,” and these diamonds became known in the trade as “hearts and arrows.”

In these early days, many diamonds were called hearts and arrows, but without clear standards and consistent quality guidelines, there were many “untrue-hearts” and “misshaped arrows” circulating in the marketplace. Consumers, thinking they were purchasing high quality diamonds, were often misled.

Development of the “ideal” hearts and arrows cut – Brian and his father, Benjamin Gavin, seeing this widespread discrepancy in quality recognized the need for establishing consistent standards that could easily be understood and measured. Between 1997 and 1999, they researched and refined the mathematical proportions of the original Japanese hearts and arrows design. Their combined knowledge in the fields of cut and light performance, based on five generations of experience, helped them achieve consistent standards in the symmetry and shape of the hearts and arrows design. They developed an “ideal” hearts and arrows cut that maximized the performance of the diamond, and ensured optimum light reflective performance under all lighting conditions. Their hearts and arrows cut diamond met “ideal” mathematical proportions in which every facet was placed at exact angles to create an ideal balance between optimum brilliance (return of light to the eye) and the scattering of light, or “fire” (the prism effect that separates white light into its spectral colors).

Hearts and arrows grading standards – significant milestones:

  • In 1999, research and standards developed by Brian were first published in an article in Professional Jeweler magazine. His findings set a new quality benchmark and created a grading system that could measure the quality of any hearts and arrows pattern cut simply and effectively.
  • In 2004, Brian presented a formal paper at the1st International Diamond Cut Conference in Moscow, Russia, explaining how Hearts and Arrows are formed in a cut and how they should be graded based on his father’s research. Those who attended – from major diamond grading labs and industry peers – approved and endorsed the new hearts and arrows grading standards. As one individual said, “holding to these traditional values has given us ‘self-imposed strict standards.’” For the first time, consumers, as well as appraisers and labs, had clear standards to follow. See Presentation Here.
  • In 2010, Brian Gavin was a featured speaker at the ASA International Conference Gems and Jewelry Program in Las Vegas, Nevada. Brian reviewed the development of his Hearts and Arrows Grading System and the strict parameters he enforces to ensure true, symmetrical hearts and arrows patterning, in order to sharpen the hearts and arrows diamond grading skills of the appraisers in attendance.
    See Pictures, the Story and the Press Release