Heart-Shape Gems Get Lots of Love

Jewellers and designers say clients now prefer the silhouette to traditional round stones.

Article by Ming Liu

Heart jewellery_4At Cannes, Gigi Hadid wore a Messika Toi & Moi ring, featuring two big heart-shape diamonds, on her left hand. Photograph by Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images.

From heart emojis to hands held to form a heart, heart motifs abound at the moment, and the jewellery world has gotten the memo: heart-shape stones seem to be everywhere.

The large heart-shape diamond now worn by Lauren Sánchez — reportedly estimated at 25 to 30 carats and the ring Jeff Bezos used to propose marriage, made headlines during the couple’s cruise around the Mediterranean.

It had some competition in May at the Cannes Film Festival, where Natalie Portman honoured emerging talent at the Trophée Chopard event in a blue Dior gown that matched her Chopard necklace of 25 sapphire hearts, totalling 119.95 carats, with each one trimmed in diamonds. Just days later, Gigi Hadid was photographed on the red carpet in a Messika Toi & Moi ring that juxtaposed two sparkling hearts: a 7.06-carat pink diamond and a 16.18-carat yellow diamond, each accentuated with white diamonds.

In the record-breaking $300 million Christie’s auction of the Austrian billionaire Heidi Horten’s jewellery collection, several heart-shape diamonds exceeded their high estimates, like a 15.05-carat orangy pink one that hammered down for 2.5 million Swiss francs ($4.3 million).

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An orange yellow diamond from Paloma Diamonds.
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A diamond heart ring by Boodles.

Once considered twee or even tacky, heart-shape stones are “back in the game”, said Valérie Messika, founder of her Paris-based diamond jewellery brand. “When I was younger, I wasn’t so comfortable with hearts. They were too cute and overly romantic.”

The pandemic actually propelled their return, she said: “There are more declarations of love and the need to say I love you — or, ‘I love myself.’ ”

Heart-shape stones are currently best sellers for the Israeli dealership Paloma Diamonds, which sold several coloured heart-shape diamonds, including a purplish pink one, at the Couture jewellery show in Las Vegas in May. It followed what the business described as strong sales of heart shapes earlier that month at the GemGenève fair in Switzerland.

“A heart is a symbol of love — a symbol of affection,” said Benjamin Zenou, Paloma’s sales manager. “And then you combine that with diamonds and the effect is an explosive cocktail. It’s a real attraction.” And at the moment, he said, buyers are avoiding the classic round brilliant-cut diamonds in favour of fancy cuts and shapes, the more unusual the better.

When it comes to hearts, designers agree that shape is everything. Caroline Scheufele, Chopard’s co-president, said that it was her favourite and that she preferred “generous hearts”, which she described as “not too skinny, not too fat — and not like Mickey Mouse ears”. (In addition to using the motif for high jewellery pieces, like the one that Portman wore at Cannes, Chopard has a Happy Hearts fine jewellery line featuring the look). 

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At the Cannes Film Festival in May, Natalie Portman wore a Chopard necklace of 25 sapphire hearts, each one trimmed in diamonds. Photograph by Vianney Le Caer / Invision, via Associated Press.

The London jeweller Roxanne First described heart jewellery today as “quite kitsch, but in a cool way.” She, too, is particular about the shape. “It needs to be quite chubby, rather than thin and angular,” she said. “A little cherub-y, chubby heart which makes you feel warm and fluffy rather than, ‘Oh, that’s a bit tacky.’”

First sets her heart-shape stones into minimalist designs, making the gem the focal point, like the Honor’s Baby Blue Necklace ($1,174), named for First’s goddaughter, which has a 1.8-carat blue topaz heart on a simple gold chain.

She also offers 14-carat gold chain-style Love rings, set with 8-millimetre green tourmaline, citrine or amethyst hearts ($729). Coloured hearts, First said, are fun and lighthearted, especially when compared with a white diamond heart, which would cost far more and appear to be more serious jewellery. (Zenou of Paloma noted that cutting a heart shape produced more waste than creating a round brilliant-cut gem.)

Sophia Hirsh, the managing director of the jewellers Hirsh London, also likes coloured gems, but in offbeat shapes — like a 10.8-carat black opal heart pendant with a shape that she described as “thicker on one side and not a perfect, perfect heart.”

“It has character and a fabulous play of colour,” she said, “with soft pastels that went slightly violet and reddish in the daylight.”

Gucci has been playing with colour as well as size: its latest high jewellery collection, presented in Florence, Italy, in June, featured an 80.8-carat heart-shape yellow sapphire dressed in diamonds and suspended from a chain dotted with multicoloured sapphires and diamonds, and an ultrafeminine gem-set bow motif at the clasp.

Graff has mixed colour with different cuts, like its Tribal Heart earrings, where a 13.10-carat yellow diamond heart rests on a mélange of pear-, marquise- and baguette-cut diamonds. The London-based jeweller also owns one of the world’s largest heart-shape stones, the 157.8-carat Infinity diamond, cut from a 373-carat rough diamond discovered in the Karowe mine in Botswana, and which Graff acquired in 2017. In 2021, the house paired the Infinity heart with 18 more heart-shape diamonds in a tiara that was unveiled to mark the opening of Graff’s Tokyo flagship store.

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A chain-style ring by Roxanne First with an amethyst heart.

Nicholas Wainwright, the chairman of Boodles in London, said there was a big appetite among clients for hearts right now, so one of the house’s new high jewellery suites, called Florence in honour of the city, included an 8.33-carat diamond heart necklace and a matching ring set with a 5.39-carat diamond heart.

Boodles also makes jewels with smaller hearts, too, like a pair of platinum Firework earrings, each one featuring 13 heart-shape diamonds, or a relaxed, sautoir-style Beach necklace that dangles nine diamond hearts.

“We obviously like big stones, three-, five-, 10-carat hearts,” Wainwright said, “but it’s the smaller heart stones that make such delightful jewellery — with individuality and which help the design, rather than just using round stones yet again.”

Boodles also plays with coloured hearts, like its Heart 18-carat gold collar that pairs 27 diamond hearts totalling 12.27 carats (and haloed with pavé-set gold hearts) with 17 sapphire hearts totalling 55.87 carats. There also is another version with 33 diamond hearts and 15 ruby hearts.

Three heart motifs in one jewel? It must be love.