Hearts and Arrows
Hearts and Arrows Cutting

Hearts and Arrows Simulated Diamond

The hearts and arrows pattern (often sold under brand names such as ‘Hearts on Fire’) is a symmetrical light pattern in diamond cuts, which becomes visible when placed under a specialized viewer. are in harmony the result is a repeatable, near perfect pattern of eightsymmetrical arrows in the face up position called 'crown' and eight symmetrical hearts when viewed in the table down position, called 'pavilion'.

Modern, portable H&A viewers
Modern, portable H&A viewers

History of Hearts and Arrows

The hearts and arrows pattern was first viewed using a Firescope, which was a tool developed by Kazumi Okuda in the 1970s. This viewer uses coloured reflectors to show the direction and intensity of light emitted from a diamond. These colourful patterns can be evaluated to find out the amount of light that exits the diamond at proper angles. Moreover, it can also display whether the diamond is optically symmetrical (as indicated by a uniformed pattern). Modern equivalents of the Firescope are the H&A Viewer, Idealscope and ASET-scope.

An Ideal-scope image displaying symmetry
An Ideal-scope image displaying symmetry

Looking at this picture, the red represents the light emission from the diamond. This indicates the direction and intensity that will be perceived by the viewer as brightness. Areas in pink represent areas of less brightness. The dark areas show areas where light id blocked by the viewers head. These areas are the result of dark flashes, or scintillation, when the viewer or the diamond moves. Finally, the white areas represent the spaces where light passes through the diamond, and ‘leaks’ out of the bottom (perceived as dull or dark areas in the diamond). Different types of viewers will use different colour schemes, but all will produce same patterns.

Hearts as seen in the viewer
Arrows as seen in the viewer
Hearts (left) and Arrows (right) as seen in the viewer

One of the possible patterns is currently known as the “hearts and arrows”. The arrow-like pattern can be viewed from the top, while the “hearts” are visible when the diamond is turned over and viewed from the bottom.

Impact of Hearts and Arrows

The hearts and arrows pattern was first noticed accidentally by the Japanese. Kinsaku Yamashita, first coined the name and eventually trademarked it in 1988. Marketing of the hearts and arrows pattern in diamond then began. In the early 1990s, this phenomenon quickly spread from Japan to the U.S. As a result of its popularity, many diamond manufacturers cut diamonds to a specification that will yield to this pattern, even at the expense of overall cut quality.

Given its association to Cupid, the hearts and arrows pattern has an intrinsic appeal even if the heart pattern becomes concealed once the diamond is set. Most of the time, the presence of the hearts and arrows pattern in a diamond, affirms that the diamond is well cut. In a round diamond, optical symmetry is apparent when there is a clearly defined set of 8 hearts and arrows. Optical symmetry is an important component of cut. Hence, appearance is a likely sign of superior cut, however it is important to note, that this is not always a guarantee.

Consumers often hold some misconceptions about the quality of a hearts and arrows pattern. Though a diamond may appear to have a prominent hearts and arrows pattern, other details, such as the shape, spacing and position of the pattern, can have a significant impact on the desirability of the diamond. This then influences the value ascribed to it. These subtle variations are often noticeable only to experience graders or jewellers.

However, the marketing campaign of hearts and arrows has still been influential in creating perceptions of high value. To begin with, well cut diamonds are rare and diamonds having a hearts and arrows patters is much rare. Hence, H&A diamonds are more expensive. This is not only because of effective marking, but also because of the significant amount of time required to make a well cut diamond, including those with hearts and arrows pattern. A well cut piece also generates 15% more waste than lower quality cuts.

The widespread popularity of the hearts and arrows pattern brought about increase attention on the grading of cut. In the late 1990s, major laboratories, like GIA, perceived the demand for a cut grade and developed a criteria to help consumers evaluate the quality of a diamond.

A note of caution:

GIA does not consider hearts and arrows as a component of a cut grade. This is partly because the presence of the pattern does not guarantee the quality of the cut. Sometimes, you will see a hearts and arrows notation on a GIA certificate. This simply indicates that an H&A inscription is present on the girdle of the diamond. This is provided as information only of the presence of hearts and arrows pattern in the diamond itself. But it does not confirm the quality.


At Heart to Heart Jewellery, we place more importance on the cut grade. We believe that the best approach is to know the limitations of the hearts and arrows patterns and not be carried away by its marketing. One of the reasons GIA (and ASG) does not include the H&A pattern in their grading is because there is no evidence that consumers prefer this in blind tests. Though the pattern has an emotional appeal, its actual impact on appearance is still arguable.

At Heart to Heart Jewellery, we guarantee that all our jewellery set with Hearts and Arrows Simulated Diamond will deliver the utmost brilliance like a natural diamond.

Hearts and Arrows Chart