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H&A a marketing gimmick?

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tysonjc

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Messages
3
Hello,


I am planning to purchase a stone this year.I have conducted vast amounts of research on the internet and visited around 20 jewelers.I am in the market for a 2ct., G, VVS2-VS1 round cut.After learning about ideal cut diamonds, I then discovered Hearts and Arrows.There is only one jeweler in my area who is even familiar with H&A and the rest either have never heard of it or can''t get them.I also had one jeweler tell me that it is an additional classification of an ideal cut diamond and since the requirements for this certification are broad, there is no guarantee that the stone will even be a H&A cut.He then proceeded to tell me that the H&A is just a marketing gimmick to charge more for ideal quality stones.I have seen a H&A diamond through a H&A viewer and the stone does look excellent.I still have many unanswered questions.First of all, is there any difference between AGS and GIA?I have heard that AGS has lower standards and that GIA is the one to use.Second, can a stone be a H&A cut and just be classified as ideal?Is H&A really worth the extra money?Can an ideal cut look as good as a H&A?Do I even need to bother with H&A?I flew up to the diamond district in NYC this year only to leave with more questions than answers.I didn''t find one "broker" who carried H&A.I felt that everyone was trying to scam buyers and are using the fact that they are located in the "diamond district" to somehow certify that they carry quality diamonds.I didn''t trust anybody there and I couldn''t tell whether the diamonds were enhanced or not.I know that a diamond must be cleaned before viewing, but when everybody sprays liquid whatever on it and compressed air, certainly it will sparkle for a while.It was worse than arguing with a car salesman.I don''t see how there can be a 15k price difference in similar diamonds.Is the markup really that much?My jeweler says that his H&A diamonds only come from a particular town in Germany (I can''t remember the name) and that there are only a handful of cutters that are able to even produce this kind of cut.After visiting the diamond district, I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with someone from goodoldgold in NY.Although she was very helpful in answering my questions, she kept referring me to their website, which I had already read twice.In addition to all of this, what makes a diamond a Tiffany diamond?I read the particular classification for a Tiffany diamond on the website and went over them at one of their stores.What makes these diamonds so special?I feel that everyone I talk to has good information, but are plugging their merchandise or their particular store.Basically, I want a 2ct. rock that sparkles so much in a candle-lit restaurant that every other woman eating has trouble finishing her meal!Is that asking too much?


I know this is a very long post and I appologize.If anyone would like to contact me personally to discuss these issues, please feel free to do so.Any comments, ideas, or suggestions are appreciated.Thanks.
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
Boy, have you come to the right place.

On this forum you will find the vendors with the knowledge and goods you have been looking for. This forum is a microcosm of cut geeks such as you will probably never run across again...

You might start out by reviewing the thread "Is the H&A cut identical to the Ideal Cut..." thread in the current string of threads. It addresses many of the points you've brought up and is accumulating posts as we speak.

I'd also recommend that you read the excellent tutorial at the top of your screen, and then branch out to some of the tutorials on the dealer's sites you will see mentioned here. There are some extraordinary data banks of knowledge here.

Also, do a search on the PriceScope search engine for the diamond you're looking for. You can qualify the search with any cut parameters you want, including the H&A parameter.

Many, many consumers have had tremendous purchasing experiences through this forum after being dazed and confused on 47th Street, etc. The integrity and professionalism you'll find here is hard to match.

Good luck!
 

barry

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2001
Messages
441
tyson;

I'll second Rich's recommendation to you.
There is a wealth of information to be
found on the internet today.
In addition, new tools to evaluate the cut and beauty of diamonds are available on the net that
are not available from your neighborhood jeweler.
Good luck.

Barry
www.superbcert.com
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
Hello tysonjc, welcome to the forum,

Let me that these one at a time.

"First of all, is there any difference between AGS and GIA? I have heard that AGS has lower standards and that GIA is the one to use.
A- Yes, there is a difference in AGS and GIA labs. They both have very high standards. The big difference is AGS grades cut standards and GIA does not. All other grading standards are equal. In fact, the AGS lab is run by the same man that once ran the GIA LA lab.

"Second, can a stone be a H&A cut and just be classified as ideal? Is H&A really worth the extra money? Can an ideal cut look as good as a H&A? Do I even need to bother with H&A?"
A- First, you have to know that not all so called H&A are actually H&A. Can a non-ideal cut have what appears to be H&A..yes. What you need to look for is a diamond with an AGS-0 or Ideal report AND proper H&A. A good place to find such a diamond is to go to the top of this page and click on the small pricescope. It takes you to a page where you will find near the top center the words in red.. Search by Cut Quality, click there and fill in the blanks.
cut rank Excellent - Excellent, AGS-0 only, H & A only,
2.00 to 2.10 carats, F to G color, IF to VS1 clarity, AGS lab and click. There you will find two AGS Ideal cut H&A diamonds. If you take that price and compare it to what you have seen in the stores you have visited, they are quite a deal. Do all Ideals have H&A..no.

"In addition to all of this, what makes a diamond a Tiffany diamond? I read the particular classification for a Tiffany diamond on the website and went over them at one of their stores. What makes these diamonds so special?"
A- A Tiffany diamond is a diamond sold in a Tiffany store.
Their diamonds are Ideal cut and have been for as long as I can remember. I don't think Tiffany carries what are know as H&A. The same diamond cutter that sell Ideal cut diamonds to Tiffany also sells them to many other guild stores across the country. When you run into that situation, the only difference is the two are the ring and the little blue box. The ring has Tiffany stamped inside and everyone knows the Tiffany Blue Box. Oh, there is another difference...price!

I hope this clears up a few questions for you. Good luck!
 

barry

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2001
Messages
441
Both GIA and AGS are the top grading labs.
There are those in the trade that consider
GIA to be stricter on Color and Symmetry grading
compared to AGS.

Keep in mind that the "Cut" proportions provided
by AGS in the upper right hand corner of their report
are only "AVERAGES" of the 8 Crown and 8 Pavilliuon
facets of the diamond. As the AGS Cut Grading scale is very broad, it is very possible to obtain an
Ideal "0" AGS grade even though several of the individual
Crown/Pavillion facets fall outside the "0"
designation. Be aware that such stones do not
maximize light output and show more light leakage
compared to diamonds whose "Cut" fall into
the sweet spot of the scale range.

There are Internet Vendors selling GIA EX-EX Ideals
that will provide you
with detailed Sarin/MegaScope reports showing
you the precision cut of the stone and the
amount of variance between facets. This will really
tell you how well cut your diamond is. As a matter of fact, even with an AGS graded stone,
a detailed Cut analysis should be provided
and made available.

Barry
www.superbcert.com
 

tysonjc

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Messages
3
Thanks for the input. I remember visiting this website a few months ago and I used the diamond prices here as a base when I went to NYC. When the diamond is on her finger, can anyone tell whether it is a H&A or Ideal? If not, why spend the extra money? I have trouble distinguishing between the first few color grades anyway and I repeatedly mistake inclusions for pieces of dust in VVS stones. If I have a hard time recognizing these things at the jeweler under a loop, then there is no way she will know or even care, right? I definitely don't want to sacrifice quality for price, but I don't want to pay for rarity when it will never be appreciated. I'll save the 3ct. D, IF stone for our 25th! I was also told that normal wear will degrade the top qualities anyway. Is this true?

It seems like the more I learn, the more questions I have!
 

DiehardSearcher

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 27, 2002
Messages
94
----------------
First, you have to know that not all so called H&A are actually H&A.
----------------

dimonbob,

I have seen comments like these stated by Whiteflash quite a few times. I admit I have an untrained eye, but I have not found any diamonds purported to be H&A (when searching Pricescope vendors) that do not appear to have H&A. I spent a few hours with Brian as well, and he made a similar claim, but with no details.

I have no doubt that there are varying degrees of H&A qualities; and I also have no doubt that Whiteflash strives to supply the 'best' H&A's. I would really like to know specifically what you are warning against, or what characteristic of the ACA line of stones you feel are superior to the 'everyday' unbranded H&A stones I am looking at from other Pricescope vendors such as NiceIce, DBOF, and GoodOldGold.

I realize this may seem confrontational, but I am honestly interested in finding out which specific characteristics of H&A stones you feel Whiteflash is superior in.

Thanks!
 

Rhino

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Mar 28, 2001
Messages
6,272
Hi Tyson,

Thanks for giving us a phone call. If you called on Saturday I had 5 appointments with people from various states and it was tough for me to get to any phone call that day. If you would like to speak with me personally I'll be in all day tomorrow from 10am - 6pm so feel free to ask for me personally and I'll be glad to speak with you and answer all your questions regarding the brands, unbrandeds, mall & tiffany stuff. We've appraised it all in a way that is exclusive and unique to our lab.

Look forward to hearing from ya.

Peace,
Jonathan
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
No problem DiehardSearcher,

I will not name names here but for example there is a vendor here on pricescope that sells "B" grade H&A diamonds. These people claim there are none good enough to meet the "A" grade H&A.
In the first place there is no such thing as a "B" grade H&A. They are either H&A or they are not.
To form the hearts and arrows the facets must be exact! The exact shape, size, angle and placement. If you have an ideal cut diamond with perfect hearts and all except one arrow is perfect and one arrow is off or bent, it is not a H&A, it is a reject by those of us who care, which is not just Whiteflash. Those rejects are picked up by
those others who sell them as "B" grade H&A.
Have you ever been to a mall outlet store. Do you know what is sold in an outlet store and why the price is less? Those shirts, shoes, whatever are rejects for some small or large reason.
Whiteflash takes pride in selecting only the top diamonds with an AGS Ideal cut grading report and with perfect or very near perfect H & A. You can go up on our website and see the actual H&A for each A Cut Above diamond. The diamonds that do not make the grade are added to our Ideal cut supply and do not receive the A Cut Above brand that we inscribe on the girdle of every H&A diamond.
Would you buy a new car with a bent fender or chipped paint or a small crack in the windshield? The car goes just as fast, is just as confortable, looks good from a distance, etc., and cost a little less. Whiteflash is not a used car lot nor an outlet store. We sell a high quality product at a very fair price and provide very good service.
 

Beith

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2003
Messages
21
I learned a lot in this forum and I went checking out H&A diamonds in the LA Jewelry District last weekend. A couple of stores showed me how to use a H&A viewer. It was neat since this was the first time that I got to play with the tool.

We compared the pattern of some H&A stones and some well proportioned non H&A stones with the viewer. We then compared their brilliance under various lights. I was a little diappointed with the H&A stones since they did not decisively outperform the well proportioned non H&A stones. They are beautiful but so are the well proportioned ones. I probably need to go back and develope a better trained pair of eyes. If I can't see the difference, then I am not convinced that I should pay a premium for it.
 

Caratz

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
222
diamonbob said: "In the first place there is no such thing as a "B" grade H&A. They are either H&A or they are not."


I am not sure it is that clear cut, diamonbob. I am not so sure that there is a clearly defined industry standard. If I see hearts and I see arrows, is it a H&A? What if there is a crooked shaft on one of the arrows, but it is clearly still recognized as an arrow? Or what if one of the hearts is slightly smaller than the other hearts? Is it H&A? My guess is that you would say no, because symmetry has to be "perfect" -- but how perfect is perfect? Isn't there some room for differences of opinion???
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
Caratz,

This is not rocket science. Do yourself a favor and go back to the Pricescope homepage. On the left hand side you will see Hearts and Arrows Explained. Take a few minutes and see what it takes to make hearts and arrows and what they should look like.
To answer your questions:
No, if you see hearts and arrows, it does not make it H&A.
If there is a crooked shaft on one of the arrows, it is not H&A. If one of the hearts is smaller than the others, it is not H&A.
I do believe that I said "perfect or very near perfect H&A" which leaves very little room for error.
When I was at GIA there was a small war with a couple of ruby dealers in LA. GIA had graded several rubies as pink sapphires and the owners of those pink sapphires were highly upset because they wanted GIA to call them rubies. You see a ruby is a red corumdum and a pink sapphire is a pink corumdum but the price of a ruby is much greater than a pink sapphire. I did not do the grading of those stones but they were clearly pink sapphires. But I did not have any money invested in them. I think the dealers had purchased them as pink sapphires at the pink sapphire prices and wanted to sell them, with GIA's belssing, as rubies at ruby prices. The point is..at what point is a pink sapphire red enough to be called a ruby?
Whiteflash is not the only vendor on pricescope to grade H&A strictly. If we start getting loose in our grading of the H&A, where do we stop? The standards were set several years ago and we will follow those standards.
 

Caratz

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
222
diamonbob said: "This is not rocket science. Do yourself a favor and go back to the Pricescope homepage. On the left hand side you will see Hearts and Arrows Explained."


Do yourself a favor and don't patronize me. I have read the H&A explanation. You are the one who said "They are either H&A or they are not." And then the H&A must be "perfect or very near perfect." Which begs the question: How much of an imperfection is tolerated under your definition?

This is my last post on the subject.
 

cowboystu

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
111
Caratz brings up a good point. Since GIA, AGA, etc don't certify as H&A, what standards are used by the various vendors here...is it just the call of whoever is posting the diamond?

For example, there is a diamond posted on Whiteflash that has an image as seen below.

It seems to me that some of the spacings aren't "perfect." Obviously it still exhibits some great symmetry. However, at least from the picture provided, it seems off. I think the question that has been posed is "how much off is too much"?

Stu

di_AGS-2840105crop.jpg
 

optimized

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 28, 2002
Messages
306
I'm a little late, but I'll jump in here too...

I've posted my thoughts on H&As in a few different threads, and I've always basically said that H&As are nice to have, but they aren't exactly the holy grail of diamonds. I indeed do like H&As (and purchased one myself), but the incessant emphasis placed on them in some quarters is IMO borderline silly.

My general opinion of H&As is encapsulated in an excerpt that I sometimes paste into H&A threads, and it goes like this: "Hearts and Arrows" is the result of cutting a diamond extremely symmetrically, with precise facet alignment. Although the marketing dollars thrown at the cut would say otherwise, I think it's important to remember that an H&A cut is only a definitive indicator of the overall symmetry of the diamond's facets, and doesn't always mean it's a well-proportioned diamond. In my experience H&As typically are also very well proportioned (probably due to the fact that a cutter who puts the level of craftsmanship required into producing an H&A will also go to the trouble of making sure the proportions/angles are ideal as well), but the H&A pattern by itself isn't a concrete indicator of brilliance/fire/scintillation.

I really don't want to attack anybody here, but I must confess that I find Dimonbob's attitude (and some impressions I've gotten from others at Whiteflash as well) rather extreme when it comes to H&As. I have yet to see ANY diamond that truly exhibited "perfect" H&As, from Whiteflash or any other vendor. I've done plenty of browsing at the various sites, and I've viewed the H&A images for dozens (hundreds?) of "H&A" diamonds (many at Whiteflash), and there is ALWAYS some variance between the spacing/symmetry of the hearts/arrows. This doesn't bother me at all since I consider them all to be "true" H&As, but I do find it to be somewhat self-serving and misguided for a vendor (or employee of a vendor) to wax on about "true" and "perfect" H&As when not a SINGLE diamond they themselves are trying to promote exhibits the vaunted "perfect" pattern. I'll issue a challenge: Find any single diamond listed on ANY site that has H&A images posted, and I'll find something imperfect about the pattern. I've yet to see the "perfect" H&A image, and I don't expect I'll be seeing one anytime soon. Like I said though, I don't see this lack of perfection to be a problem since even these imperfect patterns still ARE H&As. There are many fantastic diamonds out there. Some are H&As and some aren't. Some diamonds classified as H&As by some vendors would be discounted by others, but that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't H&As.

I only point this out to illustrate the folly of promoting "perfect" H&As. Sure, there are lots of symmetrical diamonds, and they show really clean H&A patterns, but when folks start making statements like "they are either H&A or they are not" those folks open themselves up to all kinds of scrutiny. As you say, we're not talking about rocket science here, so why make it sound like the H&A pattern is so exacting and inviolable?

You mention that "the standards were set several years ago and we will follow those standards," but what standards do you speak of? Are these the Japanese standards I've heard of? What is the EXACT criteria that determines what an H&A is by those standards? Before answering, let me tell you now that vacuous and vague statements like "perfect or very near perfect" aren't going to cut it when we're talking about something that you promote as being so precise and specific. There needs to be some objective criteria to go by if we're going to raise some diamonds up as "true H&A" while denigrating others as "outlet store" fodder. Besides, who's to say they are the "correct" standards to begin with? Are these standards carved into granite in the great hall of Zeus? Perhaps engraved on the back of the Ten Commandments? The fact is, despite Brian's confident assertions in the H&A tutorial, the parameters of an H&A diamond aren't exactly set in stone. There are no industry-wide codified standard for what a "true" H&A stone is that I've ever seen. The Japanese may have their idea of what a "true" H&A is, but other than ACA, nobody else seems to put so much emphasis on that system. It's not exactly an ISO standard, as it were. You might not like that fact, but it's the truth. So, what you are promoting is basically what Whiteflash/ACA considers to be "true" H&A, and that's great, but to say that your idea of what constitutes H&A is an absolute empirical standard is a very tenuous position to assume. I also would note that the H&A tutorial here on Pricescope is written by Brian, the man behind the "A Cut Above" diamond, so that should be taken into account when using that as a reference.

Going beyond that, let's not forget my comments at the beginning of this. There's an awful lot of marketing behind the H&A, but the pattern itself doesn't really prove anything. A great many H&As are indeed wonderful performers, but it's also a fact that there are H&As that do NOT perform that well. And yes, it's even quite possible for an H&A AGS0 stone to be less than spectacular visually. Don't get me wrong, everything I've heard indicates to me that ACA products are great diamonds, but the amount of emphasis that's put on an optical trait that by itself really has little bearing on the overall visual performance of the diamond would seem out of proportion (pardon the pun).

To appropriate the car analogy, would you buy a new car that had perfect paint, perfect fenders, a perfect windshield, but a chainsaw engine under the hood? By all superficial external appearances it would be a true beauty, but it's the performance that matters, and no amount of shiny paint and chrome is going to change the fact that it won't be able to get you from your driveway to the corner convenience store in less than a day. I'm not saying ACAs aren't good performers, but so are many other stones that don't exhibit the pattern.

As an aside, there also comes a point when all this talk of "perfect" this and "perfect" that prompts another question. Unless the stone is a "D" color "Flawless" diamond with "perfect" angles/proportions (exact girdle-corrected Tolkowsky ideal, since there have been no "better" proportions devised), why is the symmetry sooooo important? The diamond will already be "flawed" in one way or another, so why get all in a lather over hearts and arrows? Just a thought...

I hadn't originally intend to be so brazen in my assertions here, but this post is basically the result of me being inundated with all manner of promotional messages concerning the rapturous H&A pattern for quite a long time, and my general skepticism about the real importance of this "perfection," to the exclusion of other very important factors. Like I said, I like H&As, I bought one, and I'm glad to have the added value. But, it's still just a small chunk of carbon, and the little pattern by itself (that's virtually invisible once mounted anyway) is really not that important in the grand scheme of things.

End of rant...

-Tim
"Reclaiming his signature line"
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
Stu & Tim,

You two guys read what I wrote but only the word "Perfect" registered. I also said "Near Perfect". The picture that Stu put up is what we would call near perfect. I will grant you that few things on this earth are perfect but that is the starting point and near perfect is the best term I can think of to make my point. If all but one of the arrows are "near perfect" and one arrow head is bent 15 degrees to one side or the other, would you grant that it is not a true H&A? What about 10 degrees? 5 Degrees?
Do you see what I mean?
Tim said that the H&A "pattern doesn't prove anything". I am sorry but it does. It proves that the diamond has super symmetry.
22 years ago when I first jumped into this jewelry business, nearly all diamonds were what we might call today as fair to good cut. Three cutters in the United States were cutting Ideal cut diamond. Tiffany's and many other AGS jewelry stores were selling the Ideal cut diamond. The ideal cut was a great improvement over the regular commercial diamonds in most stores. Back then most retailers were down playing the Ideal cut as a gimmick. They are not. Later someone improved on the ideal cut with the super symmetry H&A while staying withing the Ideal cut standards. For the last several years some are saying H&A are a gimmick. NOT!
The question is why would anyone buy a regular diamond in a B&M store when he or she can get the same size, color, clarity and better cut in the internet for LESS??
 

Beith

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 5, 2003
Messages
21
I guess it is a matter of choice. I am just a consumer trying to learn as much as I can so I can make an informed and intelligent decision as it comes to the selection of diamond. Besides cut, other factors such as size, color and clarity are as important and they have to be well balanced in accordance to personnel budget and preference.

I have a 1 ct D color IF Ideal Cut diamond and a 2.0 ct G color SI good cut diamond. The small one is more brilliant; however, you can only notice the difference when you compare the two side by side and with the stone well cleaned. I got a lot more compliments on the bigger stone, even though it is a lower grade in color, clarity and cut. So far, I haven't gotten even one comment concerning the well cut/brilliance of the smaller stone.

There are a lot of posts on the forum concerning the choice of diamonds and the reply always point to a few vendors who emphasize heavily on cut. I think it is also a good idea to give them some other choices so they know what they gain/lose if they sacrifice a little on cut. Just like color or clarity, if one stays within some range, the effect of cut may not be as pronounced especially in smaller diamonds. The consumer also needs to be informed about the potential resale value on these super cut diamonds. I am just afraid when it comes to the time for trade up or resale, all it matters will be the shape, size, clarity and color grade which is what Rapport report calls for. The super cut factor, which is a premimum at time of purchase, beomes only a bonus to someone when it comes the time to sell.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The question is why would anyone buy a regular diamond in a B&M store when he or she can get the same size, color, clarity and better cut in the internet for LESS??
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think the question here is the price difference between a B&M and the internet stores. Without the overhead, the internet of course perform better. The question is:

Can he or she get the same size, color, clarity and not as perfect cut but still brilliant diamond for LESS?


I hope my post would not offend anybody but this is only my humble opinion as a consumer.
 

tysonjc

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Messages
3
Wow,

I never imagined that my post would turn into this. But, all of the replies have helped me better understand what it is I am looking for. One of my original questions was basically how much variation in H&A is acceptable and does it really matter? The long post really cleared that up for me. It seems like it is really up to the buyer to decide how much variance they are willing to accept. Besides, its on her finger. Who will ever know or care if the arrow at the 3 o'clock position is 5 degrees off line when compared to the rest under a H&A viewer? I know I don't and I doubt many people carry H&A viewers in their pockets. Where do you draw the line between wanting a good looking, excellent symmetry stone and just being anal? If a "true" H&A stone doesn't even exist, they why even try to get close to this unobtainable ideal? Does H&A even bring a premium if the diamond is ever resold? If H&A really is the "premium" cut, then why don't "premium" jewelers like Tiffany's carry them?

just my .02
 

ccuheartnurse

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 22, 2002
Messages
1,806
Perhaps one of the vendors here can post a pic of an ideal or ex/ex NON H&A & a pic of an ideal H&A. That might help with people that need visual validation. :)

I love my H&A stone. I remember when I 1st started looking at diamonds & didnt care if that pattern existed or not. Then the more I looked, the more I liked it. Sometimes I cup my fingers around my stone & move my hand just to see those arrows. I know, I'm stunned. But hey, thats me & arent you glad none of you are engaged to me.


I am helping a friend look at stones now. This couple doesnt care about the H&A but they do like the idea of an ideal cut stone.


Judy
 

dbretton

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 1, 2002
Messages
50
Here's a good question:

What difference does it make? If one of the arrows is bent by 5 degrees, will it make a perceptible difference? 10 degrees? 15 degrees?
How about 2 bent arrows? 3? 4?

How about the hearts? If the tips of the hearts almost touch, is it still H&A? Does it make a difference?
 
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