Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 12am

The Story Behind the Stone: Have a heart

Jarrett ring eFancy deep pink heart shaped diamond halo ring. Courtesy Leibish & Co.Early each February, jewelry stores experience a spike in sales which exponentially speeds up as February 14th, or Valentine’s Day arrives. Jewelry and in particular, diamonds have been relied upon for centuries to convey a sense of love and devotion from the giver.

With that said, what better diamond or gemstone gift could one give on Valentine’s Day than a heart shaped piece of jewelry? While its origins have long become obscured throughout the centuries, we do know that this rare diamond shape had royal followers early on.

Very Early Beginnings

Mid-15th century royal correspondence between the infamous Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza who died by assassination, and one Nicodemo in 1463 refers to a heart shaped diamond. Later In 1562, Mary Queen of Scots sent a ring featuring a heart-shaped diamond to Queen Elizabeth I. This may seem odd to us nowadays, considering they were bitter rivals for more than two decades. However, there’s a precedence for this token. These specially-designed diamonds were exchanged between royalty for centuries as a symbol of alliance and good will. In those days of diamond cuttings’ infancy, heart shaped diamonds were an exceedingly difficult cut, considering the primitive shaping tools used back then. So, heart shaped diamonds were cherished above all other gems.

Details of the Cut

Industry trackers say that less than 2% of all GIA certified diamonds available globally at any time are heart shaped. And there are specific traits considered to be ideal for the heart shaped stone. Basically, a heart shaped diamond is a pudgy pear with a cleft cut in its top center. It consists of between 56 and 58 facets; similar to a round brilliant which has 57-58 facets. Ideally it should have a length to width ratio of .90 or 1 to 1:10.

Jarrett pendFancy yellow heart shape and white diamond necklace. Courtesy Leibish & Co.Since it is one of the most complex cuts to get right, master cutters endure lengthy extra training to become qualified to produce a heart with perfect symmetry on both sides of a well-cut cleft. Those perfectly balanced arches are what makes a heart shaped diamond either successful or look like a dud. Consumers may not understand the subtle nuances of diamond cutting, especially as it relates to a heart shaped stone, but they do know when something doesn’t look quite right.

Expert Commentary

Top diamantaires take on the awesome task of pairing exceptional stones with expert cutting. Leibish & Co., one of the world’s leading fancy color diamond authorities offers superb examples of heart shaped gemstones to its customers. When they cut a diamond or gem into an iconic heart shape, you know you’re going to experience something rare.

Leibish Polnaur, president of Leibish & Co., explains: “The sweetest of all diamond cuts, heart-shapes are considered the ultimate symbol of love and romance. Heart-shape diamonds are full of fire and life, due to their unique cut and faceting. Additionally, they are one of the rarer diamond cuts, making them the perfect expression of your unique love and affection.”

Undeniably Glamorous

The heart speaks in a universal language of love that needs no one to interpret. For the hopeless romantic a luxurious heart shaped stone is still the ultimate expression of endearment. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Award winning trade journalist and gemologist Diana Jarrett is a Registered Master Valuer Appraiser and a member of the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers (AIJV). She’s a popular speaker at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett writes for trade and consumer publications, online outlets, her blog: Color-n-Ice, and www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit her website at www.dianajarrett.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (Loupey).