A heart shaped diamond is the ultimate symbol of everlasting love. People usually have strong opinions on whether they really love or really don’t love heart shaped diamonds, but whether it’s set in an engagement ring or a solitaire pendant, the romance is subtly undeniable.

The History of Heart Shaped Diamonds

We don’t have any images or examples of storied heart shaped diamonds that have stood the test of time, but references to heart shaped diamonds can be dated all the way back to 1463. This initial reference comes during a documented exchange between Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza and the Duke’s confidante Nicodemo. Sforza wrote to Nicodemo describing Florentine banker and politician Cosimo de Medici, “He commands a Titus Livy just as you might a heart-shaped diamond.” While this is a vague reference that doesn’t give us any information describing a specific gemstone, it is clear that the concept of cutting a diamond into the shape of a heart was already a concept known to exist.

Another reference comes in an inventory of jewels sent to King Henry VIII of England in 1514 which is described as “a harte [heart] of dyamant, rising full of lozenges”. The “lozenges” mentioned are a description of additional facets in the stone.

Another historic reference to a heart shape diamond comes a few decades later in 1562. Mary Queen of Scots sent a gift of a heart shaped diamond ring to her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. This kind gesture was not completely in vain; upon her forced abdication in 1567, Mary fled to England where she was confined to various castles for over 18 years, before being convicted of plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and sentenced to death.Shortly after Queen Mary gifted the heart shaped diamond ring to Queen Elizabeth, another heart shaped diamond is documented, this time owned by French politician and clergyman, Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu, also known more simply as Cardinal Richelieu. It was said that Cardinal Richelieu owned a 20 carat heart shaped diamond, which is believed to have been a gift. The evidence that exists for this is that the massive diamond ring had originally been willed to the king by well known French diamond merchant Alphonse Lopez.

These early heart shaped diamonds were almost certainly more pear shaped than heart shaped, the rudimentary tools they had at their disposal were just recently able to handle basic faceting, much less carving a cleft in a diamond. The fact that these stones were associated as hearts and not “pears” or “spear heads” or a “water droplet” says something about the romantic mentality towards diamonds dating back to the very beginning.

What is an ‘Ideal’ Heart Shaped Diamond

The modern heart shape diamond as we know it today consists of 56-59 total facets (58 is the most common), and the level of symmetry amongst the facets will go a long way in ensuring the stone produces the maximum amount of sparkle. The most important aspect in creating a “pretty” heart shaped diamond is that each half of the heart is the same size and shape. The wings (the top curved section of the diamond) should be slightly rounded with enough definition to clearly make out the heart without appearing too exaggerated or “squatty”.

A modern heart shape diamond will start off as a pear shape, before the lapidary adds the finishing touches and creates the cleft at the widest part of the pear. The depth of the cleft will be where he or she is able to use their own artistic interpretation to make the stone as beautiful as possible, while retaining as much weight as possible. The cleft should be distinct, but there is no precise measurement to determine an “ideal” cleft.

The ideal ratio of a heart shape diamond is going to be 1:1 when comparing the width to the height. That said, if you prefer a wider or more elongated stone, that doesn’t make you wrong. That part all comes down to personal preference.

Heart shape diamonds, much like a marquise or a pear shape, do have the potential to produce a “bow-tie effect”, which creates a black spot in the center of the diamond in the shape of a bow-tie. However, skilled diamond cutters can avoid this.

Famous Heart Shaped Diamonds

The complexity behind cutting the perfect heart shape diamond is one of the many reasons so many important stones have been cut into the shape of a heart.

One of the most famous heart shaped diamonds in history suitably found itself in the hands of one of the greatest jewelry collectors of the twentieth century: Elizabeth Taylor. This impressive diamond is impossible to accurately weigh due to the elaborate jade setting, which dates all the way back to the 17th century. The stone grades as “D-F” in color and has never been graded for clarity due to the inscription, which translates to “Nur Jahan, Lady of the Padshah; 23; 1037”. This tells us the diamond was originally a gift from Shah Jahan in 1627 to his favorite wife, the queen who inspired the Taj Mahal.

Other famous heart shaped diamonds include the 30.62ct Blue Heart Diamond, the 18.80ct (apx) Cullinan V diamond (cut from the famous Cullinan Diamond), the 115.34ct Guosi Black Diamond, the 118.78ct Graff Venus Diamond, the 27.64ct Heart of Eternity Diamond (Fancy Vivid Blue), and one of the largest fancy purple diamonds in the world, the 7.34ct Royal Purple Heart Diamond.

Modern day celebrities who have shown an affinity for heart shape diamonds include Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Gwen Steffani, and Avril Lavigne.

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