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Stop, Don’t: 5 Antique Cuts for Pure Diamonds

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Style Guide

Stop, Don’t: 5 Antique Cuts for Pure Diamonds

Diamond Industry

Stop, Don’t: 5 Antique Cuts for Pure Diamonds

August 27, 2015 BY Mari Pack IN Style Guide

We make pure diamonds. Not cubic zirconia. Not white sapphire. Diamond. You can do anything with our lab created diamonds that you might with a mined diamond. You can put them in lasers. You can wear them as jewelry. You could, if you wanted, shape them using antique cuts like “Old European” or “Gold Mine.” This sounds like a badass Indiana Jones move, but it’s not. Hear me out.

Although diamonds were popular in Europe during the Middle Ages, they were only valued for their extreme hardness and general luster, rather than light dispersion. Today, we cut diamonds to emphasize light dispersion – what is sometimes referred to as the diamond’s “fire.” Contemporary diamond cuts (most notably the Round Brilliant) have been perfected with both mathematical and empirical analysis to better showcase the way pure diamonds reflect light. Hence, by contemporary standards, antique cuts make a diamond less shiny and therefore not as nice.

That said, there is something exciting and adventure-y about distinguishing old designs and patterns. As long as you promise not to ruin your diamond, check out these antique cuts in the pursuit of knowledge.


Single Cut


 If you think that this cut bears a striking resemblance to the diamonds mined by dwarves in Snow White, then you are correct. Dating back to the 14th century, the Single Cut has only 18 facets. It’s essentially a very basic table cut with the addition of four corner facets.


French Cut

French cut

French cut is a square or rectangular cut diamond. The top of the crystal is ground into a table, and the pavilion is cut into four main facets. This cut, as its name suggests, was popular in France. Go figure! Invented in the 15th century, the French cut became hugely popular in the 17th and 18th – or, er, at least that’s what the Internet says. While seeming to bridge the gap between Single and Rose cut, French cut diamonds don’t really appear in the literature until the Art Nouveau era. It is certainly possible that is actually a modern diamond cut with a pretend past.


Rose Cut

rose cut

Variations of the Rose Cut have been in use since the 16th century. The Rose marks a transition from older basic cuts like the Single to the Brilliant cut predecessors. It has a flat base and a crown composed of 12 or 24 triangular facets.


Old Mine Cut

old mine cut

 This cut is considered the earliest ancestor of the modern day Brilliant cut, which best reveals a diamond’s “fire” – i.e. it’s brightness. Dating to the 19th century, the Old Mine cut diamonds came from the “old mines” in India, rather than the new mines South Africa. It contains 58 facets and resembles a modern square-shaped “cushion” cut.


Old European Cut

old european cut

Another predecessor of the Round Brilliant cut, Old European cut diamonds have a high crown and small table with a large, flat culet. Like the Old Mine, this cut has 58 facets. It was popular during the Victorian, Edwardian and Art Nouveau eras in the 19th century.

Despite their inferior brilliance, a few of the more recent antique cuts like “Old Mine” and “Old European” are enjoying a sort of renaissance. Some people say that they prefer the softness of the old cuts over the fire of the new ones. However, alongside technological advancements like lab created pure diamonds, modern cuts take the stone to a whole new level. While many antique motifs are neat, antique cuts are probably better left to the past.



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