James Allen True Hearts Diamonds Review

Understand the difference between True Hearts vs. Ideal cut Diamonds

James Allen are on of our most frequently recommended retailers – offering an incredible choice of diamonds at excellent prices.

True Hearts are at the top of the tree when it comes to James Allen diamond quality – they promise a higher cut grade, but there is also a price bump to match.

So are True Hearts diamonds worth it?

The answer is: it depends.

James Allen true hearts diamonds

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True Hearts Diamonds are James Allen’s ‘Hearts and Arrows’ diamond cut

Many jewelers have a signature cut which is above the ‘excellent’ or ‘ideal’ cut grade, and James Allen’s is known as ‘True Hearts’ in reference to the ‘hearts and arrows’ formation that can be seen when the diamond is examined through a tool called the ASET viewer.

james allen true hearts website

James Allen goes into it in more detail here, but as an overview, ‘Hearts and arrows’ refers to the shapes seen below and is a result of extreme symmetry and an indication that great care was taken in the cutting of the diamond.


This image is taken looking up at the bottom of the diamond (known as the ‘pavilion’):

HA hearts2

You can see that there’s excellent symmetry throughout: the hearts are the same size as each other and the gap between each heart and the V-shape underneath them is distinct (they shouldn’t touch) and identical.


This image is taken looking down at the top of the diamond:

HA arrows2

Each arrow head and the shaft should be perfectly aligned and the size of the arrow shafts and pointed tips should be uniform.

Achieving perfect hearts and arrows is extremely difficult and as a result a premium is charged for the extra care that is needed to create it and for the rarity.

Hearts and arrows doesn’t necessarily mean that a diamond is going to me more brilliant than a stone without it though. It’s also something that can only be seen when the diamond is examined through specialist viewers.

James Allen’s True Hearts selection

James Allen offer True Hearts diamonds in three shapes

  • Round brilliant
  • Princess Cut
  • Cushion cut

Round Brilliant True Hearts Diamonds

The vast majority of True Hearts diamonds that James Allen offers are round brilliant, but even then there is a relatively small selection to choose from compared to regular ideal cut diamonds.

At the time of writing, there were only 415 True Heart round brilliants above 0.5 carats at a color and clarity I would recommend:

james allen true hearts diamond selection

This isn’t a huge number, but is enough that you should always be able to find a True Hearts diamond at the carat weight and quality that you’re looking for.

These True Hearts diamonds are generally priced 40 – 50% higher than a ‘regular’ ideal cut diamond of the same carat weight and quality factors.

This will depend on exactly what you are looking for, so it’s worth clicking through to the True Hearts diamond search, inputting your search criteria and clicking between ‘Ideal’ and ‘True Hearts’ to see the price difference.

Round Brilliant True Hearts are accompanied by both GIA and AGS grading reports

As we explain in our main review of James Allen, the vast majority of diamonds in James Allen’s database have been graded by the GIA, which means that you can trust the grading reports and the stats that are shown on the website.

A selection of diamonds have also been graded by AGS which is generally accepted to be a slightly more stringent than GIA when assigning grades. About half of James Allen True Hearts diamonds carry an AGS grading report.

The good thing about the AGS grading reports on the James Allen site are that most of them include a computer-generated ASET image of the diamond, which can be used to judge the light performance of the stone.

james allen true hearts AGS grading report

ASET reports are one of the best ways to understand how much light a diamond reflects back and how much it loses as it passes through the bottom of the stone, or is reflected out through the sides rather than back to your eye.

A diamond that reflects more light will sparkle more, while a diamond that ‘leaks’ light will appear dull.

The general rule for judging ASET reports is that the more red and less green and grey, the better, and when it comes to assessing True Hearts diamonds, they are extremely useful to help choose between stones.

You can select AGS-graded True Hearts in the ‘Advanced Options’ of the James Allen search tool.

james allen true hearts ags selection

ASET and Idealscope images

ASET and Idealscope images are used to assess the light return and light leakage from diamonds. They’re a useful tool to compare two stones which have a similar cut grade to see which is going to return the most light and therefore be the most brilliant center stone for your engagement ring.

diamond ideal cut

James Allen offer Idealscope images of all of their top tier ‘True Hearts’ diamonds. Using the Idealscope image you can check the amount of light that leaks from the stone and also check the level its symmetry: to see whether it is a true ‘Hearts and Arrows’ diamond.

For the other diamonds on James Allen’s site, ASET and Idealscope images for diamonds are available if the diamond is located in NYC, where James Allen HQ is based.

To see the ASET or Idealscope images, users can contact James Allen with a shortlist of up to 3 diamonds and they will then investigate whether the stone is located in the Big Apple and therefore whether an ASET or Idealscope image is available. If it is – great! If it isn’t and you are basing your buying decision on ASET or Idealscope images, then you can choose another diamond for your shortlist.

True Hearts Princess Cut Diamonds

As mentioned, James Allen also has a range of ‘True Hearts’ Princess cut diamonds, which are all accompanied by an AGS grading report. AGS is the only grading lab that awards a cut grade to princess cut stones is AGS, and all True Hearts princess cuts are an AGS ‘0’ grade, which is their top grade.

AGS reports also have an ASET report included, which allow you to compare diamonds and understand their likely light performance.

As you can see from the ASET image of a True Hearts princess cut, the image is useful to understand the light performance of the diamond, but doesn’t show the ‘hearts and arrows’ formation that we saw above.

james allen true hearts princess cut ASET report

The reason for this is that ‘hearts and arrows’ is a phenomenon only found in round brilliant diamonds – princess cuts don’t exhibit this.

So, while Princess Cut True Hearts are graded AGS 0 for cut grade (the top level) and therefore higher quality than most other princess cuts, they don’t exhibit any ‘hearts’ in their facets.

Despite this, the are a great option to ensure that a princess cut has optimum proportions to sparkle well.

Lab-created True Hearts Round Brilliant Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds have grown hugely in popularity over the last three years and are now definitely an accepted alternative to natural diamonds. However, super ideal cut lab grown diamonds have only just become available.

James Allen recently introduced Lab-Grown True Hearts round brilliant diamonds, and they’re a great option for those who want the highest possible cut wuality and light perfomrance from a lanb-grown stone.

Lab-grown True Hearts are either graded by GIA or IGI, and I’d recommend choosing IGI over GIA as they include the hearts and arrows image on their grading report:

james allen lab grown igi grading report

Value-wise, lab-grown True Hearts are very reasonable. While a natural true hearts is around 40% – 50% more expensive than a regular ideal, lab-grown true hearts are priced almost identically to regular ideals. So, you get the benefits of true hearts with the increased light performance without the same increase in price that we see on the natural diamonds.

At the time of writing, this diamond is priced at $7,130, which is around 40% higher than an ideal cut diamond :

James Allen True Hearts

The first test I conducted on the diamond was using the Holloway Cut Adviser tool (HCA).

The HCA takes into account the key angles and proportions of a diamond and how they will work together to reflect light to give a prediction of how brilliantly a diamond will sparkle.

diamond measurement

The proportions that it looks at are:

  • Table %
  • Depth %
  • Crown Angle
  • Pavilion Angle

Each diamond is scored on the following scale: 0 – 2: Excellent, 2 – 4: Very Good, 4 – 6: Good, 6 – 8: Fair and 8 – 10: Poor.

As a general rule, you should never consider a diamond that scores more than 2 on the HCA.

Looking at the results on below for the James Allen True Hearts diamond, we can see that it gets an overall score of 1.5 and scores ‘Excellent’ in each of the three categories that relate to ‘light performance’ – light return, fire and scintillation.

James Allen True Heart holloway cut adviser

This is a good result and confirms that the diamond isn’t a dud.. Phew!

But it’s also to be expected from a stone that has been graded as ‘ideal’ by the strictest diamond grading lab, the AGS.

If it had scored over 2.0 on the HCA (which would have been a big surprise) then I would have recommended that this diamond was not worthy of consideration.

To really ascertain the quality of the diamond, we need to look at the other images that James Allen supplies.

True Hearts Test Diamond’s Hearts:

Looking at our True Hearts diamond, we can see that eight hearts are all very equal, with squared off shoulders, which is what we are looking for.

James Allen true hearts hearts

The V shapes in front of the arrow are pretty similar in size and distance away from the hearts, but not completely symmetrical.

One area that that this diamond does fall down in a little is the clefts between  the two lobes of the hearts e.g. in the heart at 2 o’clock.

The small clefts  does stop this diamond from being a 100% perfect ‘Hearts and Arrows’ diamond. However, it is so close to being perfect that only close examination at magnification through an Idealscope viewer by someone who knows what they are looking for would show this.

True Hearts Test Diamond’s Arrows:

Looking at the arrows on the James Allen True Hearts , we can see that the arrows are all evenly sized and symmetrically spaced.

James Allen true hearts arrows

The dark triangles between the arrow heads are very similar in size and spaced regularly and evenly.

This diamond’s arrows are pretty much spot on.

True Hearts Test ASET image

As this is an AGS-graded diamond, it’s accompanied by a grading report with an ASET image which shows the light performance of the diamond:

james allen true hearts round brilliant aset

ASET images are incredibly useful to compare diamonds across retailers to understand which is actually going to sparkle the most.

The ASET image shown above is about as good as you are going to get and compares favourably to retailers who are known for offering the very highest diamond quality like Whiteflash or Brian Gavin.

The aim of this review was to answer the question of whether James Allen’s ‘True Hearts’ are worthy of being classed as ‘hearts and arrows’ and if they are worth the price premium over other diamonds which have been graded as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Ideal’.

I chose the least expensive diamond that met our standard carat, color and clarity reviewing criteria to see whether the ‘worst’ diamond in the True Hearts range would perform well.

On the three tests performed – the Holloway Cut Adviser, reviewing the Hearts and Arrows through the Idealscope image, and reviewing the ASET image, the diamond performed extremely well.

It was not quite 100% perfect on hearts and arrows, but it was very, very close.

To answer the question as to whether James Allen True Hearts diamonds are worth the premium I would say that yes, they are.

James Allen starts with the highest cut grade – Ideal – from the most discerning Diamond grading laboratory – AGS – and then applies their own criteria meaning that they are among the most carefully crafted and rarest diamonds in the world.

James Allen True Hearts Review

James Allen True Hearts Review

James Allen True Hearts are a solid choice for those that want to ensure that their diamond has an extremely high cut grade, which correlates with the diamond sparkling well.

If you are looking for a round brilliant True Hearts, it’s a good idea to select an AGS-graded diamond which allows you to assess the ASET report and understand the stone’s light performance.

If a perfect ‘Hearts and Arrows’ diamond is what you are looking for, it’s definitely worth reviewing the True Hearts stones carefully to ensure that hearts and arrows are indeed perfect. However, hearts and arrows actually have very little bearing on the light performance of a diamond.

Overall, a well-chosen AGS-graded True Hearts will be able to stand up against the very best cut quality from any retailer.


  • AGS-graded diamond are accompanied by an ASET report, which allows you to understand
  • Priced lower than some other retailers Super Ideal cuts
  • Good selection to choose from
  • James Allen offers excellent service and support policies


  • Not all True Hearts are perfect Hearts and Arrows
  • While they are lower-priced than some competitors super ideal cuts, they’re still 40% more expensive than regular ideal cuts