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There is a lot to like about James Allen. They have comfortably carved a space for themselves among the top diamond and engagement ring online vendors, offering an impressive inventory of diamonds and high-res diamond imaging. My full review of James Allen can tell you more.

However, the purpose of this review is to specifically look at their collection of in-house diamonds; the True Hearts™ which is marketed as a premier ideal-cut diamond with ‘perfect internal symmetry and proportions’. Do James Allen True Hearts™ diamonds follow through on this claim? This guide will give you the ins and outs of quality and value.

True Hearts™ Introduction

Let me tell you what I like to see when it comes to in-house, ideal cut diamonds:

  • Performance reports (ASET, Ideal scope, HD Video, Sarine, Hearts and Arrows and other diamond imaging)
  • Detailed specifications including angles and proportions
  • How the diamond exceeds a standard GIA ‘Excellent’ cut grade or AGS Ideal grade
  • Consistency throughout the collection

A super-ideal cut diamond will carry a premium, so for me the vendor must prove exactly where this premium is being spent. If there is tangible evidence of superior performance then the additional cost is a good investment, however if it hinges on vague promises and marketing jargon, it’s simply an overpriced diamond. The check list above is not exhaustive, but it let’s you know if you’re on the right track for a beautiful, well priced in-house diamond.

If you are familiar with James Allen, you will know that they do offer some great diamond imaging (like those pictured above) which is a step towards ideal-cut success. Their True Hearts™ collection features round brilliant, princess and cushion cut diamonds which is wonderful for those customers who know that cut is king but would like options when it comes to diamond shape.

True Hearts™ Specifications

When it comes to the specifications, things are a little less clear. Much of the ‘selling point’ of a True Hearts™ diamond is the promise that the hearts and arrows and Idealscope images show their superior symmetry and light handling abilities. I am a huge fan of diamond light performance imaging and encourage all buyers to familiarize themselves with it in order to make informed choices when shopping for diamonds. However, a GIA or AGS report and a diamond image does not mean the diamond is super-ideal and really, that is all James Allen give us in the way of specifications. We have no idea how the True Hearts™ measurements stack up against a GIA excellent cut or how they are any better.

Now let’s talk about that diamond imaging. A quick glance at some True Hearts™ diamonds through hearts and arrows view and the symmetry certainly looks impressive. However, closer examination reveals inconsistencies in the formation of the patterning, with many of the diamonds failing to hit the criteria of a strict hearts and arrows diamond. As an expert, I can spot this quite easily, but the majority of buyers would struggle. While it does not mean the diamond will be dull or poor quality, it does mean the very crux of these diamonds (the idea that they are perfect hearts and arrows) is thrown into question.

James Allen have removed a lot of the promises from their website – instead, they let consumers ‘see for themselves’ using diamond imagery. Well, this is great if you know what you’re looking for. Much of the True Hearts™ success is almost certainly focused on what the customer doesn’t know.

The diamond above shows good symmetry and light handling properties but it is not without fault. The hearts and arrows are not identical and while the small amount of white around the perimeter of the diamond (seen in the Idealscope image) is indicative of positive scintillation, there are also clear areas of light leakage.

It’s a good diamond, there’s no two ways about it. It just isn’t ‘perfectly proportioned and symmetrical’ or ‘taking sparkle to a whole new level’.

James Allen used to include depth, culet, table, girdle, crown and pavilion measurements on their True Hearts listings, but this has since been replaced with a very basic description that is limited to L/W ratio and L/W measurements. This is a step backwards for the brand and feels a little shady.

True Hearts™ Value for Money

James Allen generally offer good value on their diamonds, but as with any vendor, this should still be assessed on a stone to stone basis.

This 1.02ct H-VS2 round brilliant is part of the True Hearts™ collection and is $6,550. In the absence of any specifications, you can’t assess where it falls within the ‘ideal’ measurements for a round brilliant.

There’s so much we don’t know about this diamond, it feels pointless to compare it with a genuine, super-ideal cut diamond. When you compare it with a diamond with the same specs that isn’t carrying a ‘true hearts’ price tag, you can find GIA excellent cut diamonds for around the $5,000 mark.

The Final Word

James Allen have a wonderful selection of diamonds and if you know what to look for, you are likely to find a beautiful diamond that offers good value. When it comes to super-ideal or in-house cuts, James Allen cannot compete with industry leaders such as A CUT ABOVE®. It is clear they have dialled back the specifics and promises for their True Hearts™ diamonds because they do not hold up to scrutiny. If you’re thinking about purchasing a  True Hearts™ diamond, make sure you read my Astor by Blue Nile reviews as well.