How to Pick a Heart-shaped gemstone for Your Sweetheart!
January 26, 2016
Valentine’s Day is nearing, and it’s hard to resist that warm feeling associated with this holiday. When you envision the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, the first thing that comes to mind is a heart shape. So why not turn up the romance with jewelry that features heart-shaped gemstones? Like all matters of the heart, making a wise decision in your purchase requires care and thought.
First, there are a few terms used to describe the parts of a heart-shaped gem that might be helpful to know. The cleft is the V-shaped area between the two rounded ends or lobes of the heart. The slightly curved center where it widens on each side below the lobes is called the belly. As it begins to taper toward the bottom of the heart, the area between the belly and the point is called the wing.
- The length of a heart-shaped gem is measured from its point to an imaginary line across the tops of the lobes. The width is the distance from side to side across its widest point. The preferred length-to-width ratio for heart-shaped gems ranges from 1:1 to 1:1.2. It is not unusual for the width to be greater than the length.
- Look for an appealing symmetrical shape. Uneven wings or lobes, flat or bulged wings, or an undefined point can create a distorted outline. A well-cut heart will have lobes that match in size and shape and curve smoothly towards the point. The cleft should have a well-defined V shape.
- Many fancy brilliant cuts (such as pear, oval, marquise, and heart) can show dark areas across the width of a stone that resembles a bow tie. This is especially common in shallow or very deep gems. The larger or darker the bow tie is, the more it detracts from the gem’s face-up appearance.
- To prevent your heart-shaped gem from being chipped accidentally, it’s important to examine the girdle. It shouldn’t be too thin, called a knife-edge girdle, or it could increase the risk of damage. The point is the most vulnerable part of a heart shape, so the gem should be set so the point is protected.
Inclusions might be easier to see in hearts and other fancy shapes, so look for eye-visible iclusions. Large inclusions might detract from the attractiveness of the gem, and could possibly affect its value or durability.