Morse, Tolkowsky, Higuchi and Other Revolutionaries
There were a few main players through history that had a hand in development of today's Super Ideal Cut diamonds. It is curious that three men from different continents and different time periods could be so influential in taking us to where we are today. In America in the 1870s, Boston cutter Henry D. Morse introduced the concept of cutting diamonds (and re-cutting) for “beauty verses weight” and pioneered a cutting style that would later become the
Red-ringed loupe with Zeiss optics
Fig 1-1
American Cut. He and his colleagues produced some revolutionary innovations that would forever change the diamond world. The contrary idea of sacrificing valuable rough to produce a more scientifically crafted diamond was taking hold despite the resistance of the status quo in the cutting world.
Decades later in 1919, Belgian mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky documented specific angles and percentages in his book Diamond Design. These top and bottom angles would later become the basis of the cut grade system taught by GIA as “Ideal Cut proportions” in their gemology course materials until about 1980. Contrary to popular thought Tolkowsky’s treatise was not his doctorial thesis nor did he himself use the word “ideal” to describe his best cut parameters.
In the 1980s in Japan a paradigm shift was looming. Japanese gemologists, cutters and scientists were studying the ideal cut model while experimenting with tools that could show brilliance and light return in diamonds. A scientist named Kazumi Okuda was key in the development of research tools using colored reflectors. His small red-ringed loupe with Zeiss optics was among the first tools used to observe precision of facet placement in diamonds. Fig 1-1.
Fig 1-2
Okuda was contracted by diamond dealer and researcher, Tsuyoshi Shigetomi and his colleague Kazuo Inoue to develop a more sophisticated reflector tool, which led to the creation of an instrument they called the Firescope in 1984. Fig 1-2, 1-2a.
Firescope Patent
Fig 1-2a
This unique device showed a three-dimensional view of the diamond easily demonstrating light return and light leakage in the stone. Realizing that Tolkowsky only addressed two-dimensional modeling of the 16 main facets and table, this instrument permitted a new three-dimensional visual view of the whole diamond showing the interplay of all 57 facets. Japanese cutter Kioyishi Higuchi, an early pioneer in high performance ideal cuts, used the Firescope and experimentation to create diamonds that would produce superior light refraction and reflection (aka light performance) while not deviating much from the original proportions of Tolkowsky. Ultimately the Super Ideal cut was born. These early Japanese ideal cuts were very tight tolerance and also showed superior optical symmetry when viewed in the Firescope. Another exciting feature of these diamonds was the perfectly symmetrical eight-rayed star that was clearly visible in the Firescope. Fig 1-3.
Hearts and Arrows Diamond in Firescope
Fig 1-3
Earliest Super Ideal cut brands such as Eightstar and Apollon 8 surfaced in the mid-80s. Around this time, legend has it, quite by accident someone discovered that when one of these diamonds was viewed upside down in the Firescope, one could see a visible pattern eight symmetrical “hearts” through the pavilion of the stone.
Japanese Hearts and Arrows diamond viewer
Fig 1-4
This was the birth of a totally new concept in diamonds that would become known as Hearts and Arrows. Kinsaku Yamashita, an associate of Shigetomi, coined the name and trade marked it in 1988. He also is credited with development of the Hearts & Arrows viewer, for which he received a patent in 1990. The Hearts and Arrows Viewer though a reflector device like Firescope, this instrument allows the viewer to analyze the physical symmetry, contrast and alignment of facets in both the pavilion and crown of a diamond, by directing light at set angles to catch and reflect light back from specific facets and angles in the diamond. An early version of a Japanese Hearts and Arrows viewer like the one shown here, was developed in Japan for use across the retail counter to show this unique phenomenon to consumers. Fig 1-4.

Romancing the stone- Japanese style

In Japan, in the early 1990s ideal cut diamonds were all the rage. In this country, the second biggest diamond market, where quality, status and brand names are in vogue consumers became big buyers of ideal cuts. Cut grades of Excellent and later Super Excellent or Triple Excellent were much sought after. Some ideal cuts with these grades were known to show the "Cupid effect", a
Japanese Gemological Laboratory showing Hearts and Arrows diamond pattern
Fig 2-1
visual pattern of eight hearts while looking down through the pavilion and eight arrows when viewing the stone in the table up position. A Hearts and Arrows Scope was needed to show this phenomenon. These new diamonds become known in the trade as Hearts & Arrows.
Sarin Dia-mension System to Assure Accuracy of Hearts and Arrows cut grade diamonds
Fig 2-2
According to both Roman and Greek mythology a person shot with Cupid's arrow supposedly fell in love, so the link between the hearts and arrows and love is obvious. Japanese bridal magazines, featuring these romantic jewels, sent young couples out into the streets shopping for these exciting new diamonds. Now, for many young buyers, ideal cutting without the hearts & arrows was not good enough. Gemological laboratories in Japan, realizing a golden opportunity, began issuing certificates with Excellent cut grades with photos showing the hearts & arrows pattern. See Fig 2-1.
To assure accuracy of the new quantifying cut grades, Japanese labs used new computerized automatic measuring systems like the Sarin Dia-mension machine at right. Fig 2-2.