Old European Cut Diamonds: A Journey Through in Time

Old European Cut Diamonds: A Journey Through in Time

Old European cut diamonds, often referred to as antique diamonds, are beautiful testaments to a bygone era. Their unique characteristics, including a high crown, small table, and large culet, set them apart from the modern diamonds we're more accustomed to seeing today. This journey through time will explore the allure of these vintage gems and explain why they remain a cherished choice for many, especially those in search of a vintage engagement ring.

The Birth of Old European Cut Diamonds

Let’s begin our story in the late 1800s to early 20th centuries. Diamond cutters of this time period, primarily using gas lamps for illumination, developed a particular style of diamond cutting that showcased the stone's beauty to the naked eye. This was a time before modern technology and computer-aided designs, where hand-cut facets were meticulously created to achieve the perfect sparkle under the dim light of gas lamps. The old European cut diamond is often confused with the old mine cut diamond. While both are ancestors to modern round brilliant cut diamond, they have distinct differences. Old mines have a cushion cut, while European-cut diamonds boast a round shape. Both, however, feature the high crown and smaller table, which gives them a depth and inner fire often absent in modern cuts.

5 Carat Old European Cut Diamond

5 Carat old European Cut Diamond

The Anatomy of an Old European Diamond

The unique characteristics of the old European diamond cut can be seen when comparing them side-by-side with modern round brilliant cuts. The most notable features include:

High Crown and Smaller Table:

This gives the diamond a more pronounced profile and contributes to its unique light play.

Larger Culet: The bottom of the diamond, or the culet, is more prominent in old European cuts, leading to a visible dark circle at the center of the diamond when viewed from the top.

Large Facets: These antique cuts often showcase larger facets than the modern brilliant cut diamonds, giving them a unique sparkle that many find enchanting.

Art Deco Old European Cut Diamond
Art Deco Old European Cut Diamond

The Art Deco and Edwardian Eras: A Renaissance for Old European Cuts

The art deco era, as well as the Edwardian and Victorian eras, were golden periods for such diamond cuts. During these decades, white gold and rose gold settings were popular, and the antique ring designs of these times prominently featured old European cut diamond engagement rings, flanked by intricate patterns and smaller accent stones. The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a transitional period for diamonds. It was during this time that diamond cutters began experimenting with different styles, leading to the development of transitional cut diamonds and, eventually, the modern round cut diamonds we're familiar with today.

The Modern Perspective: Old Euros Vs. Modern Round Brilliants

In terms of brilliance, it's essential to understand that old euros were not optimized for white light reflection as modern round brilliant diamonds are. Hence, they may exhibit less brilliance but make up for it with their distinctive "inner fire." The larger culet in vintage cuts like the old euro cut creates a mesmerizing pattern of reflections within the diamond. Moreover, the visible culet often appears as a small open culet or dark circle at the center of the diamond. While some might see this as a flaw compared to the modern round brilliant cut diamond, for others, it's a characteristic that adds to the diamond's vintage charm. Modern technology and tools have allowed for precision in modern cut diamonds, optimizing brilliance and fire. Yet, despite this, there's an undeniable allure to the old European cut diamond and other antique stones. Their hand-cut facets, dictated more by the natural diamond's original shape than by a prescribed cut grade, make each piece of jewelry truly one-of-a-kind.

Victorian Old European Cut Diamond
Victorian Old European Cut Diamond

Choosing Your Diamond: A Matter of Taste

Finding the right diamond for a wedding ring or any other piece of jewelry ultimately boils down to personal preference. Whether you're drawn to the old diamond with its rich history, or you prefer the most popular diamond shape today - the modern round brilliant - it's essential to choose what speaks to you. The old European diamond cut, with its rich history from the gas lamp-lit rooms of the late 1800s to the glamorous deco period, offers not just a piece of jewelry, but a piece of history. It's a testament to the skills of the diamond cutters of yore and remains a beloved choice for those who value both history and style. In the end, whether you're gazing at an old European cut diamond's large facets and visible culet or admiring the precision of a modern brilliant cut, the journey through time these stones offer is a treasure in itself.

See our Large Collection of Old European Cut Diamonds:


Back to blog