They say diamonds are an example of resilience, and rightly so. The story of diamonds starts out with them being nothing but an ordinary mineral, deep inside the earth’s surface. Every piece of diamond remains that way until it is subjected to intense heat and pressure for millions of years.
But they are not still as precious until a miner finds them and assigns them the value they have earned in the world.
Diamonds are not just for aesthetics, they are a symbol of many human emotions and values. They have throughout history honored many chivalrous men and women. For ages, diamonds and diamond jewelry have been given as a token of love and commitment. They have been passed on from generation to generation as a family heirloom.
Diamonds in their crude form look no different than a shiny pebble, they are given their beautiful form by jewelers and artisans by cutting and polishing them with specially crafter techniques.
The Old Mine Cut and Old European Cut are two such detailed cuts that for a long time were a trend in the diamond industry. In this guide provided by RRP, you get to learn about antique cuts with a special emphasis on Old Mine Cut and the Old European Cut, a detailed comparison of both, and what each has to offer.
What are antique diamonds?
Antique diamonds are those gems that are cut in specific designs. These designs could have been generated anywhere between the 1300s and 1930s. Antique cut diamonds can be found with collectors or in museums.
They have double the value because it is not just the value of a diamond, but it comes with the added value of history. Most antique cuts are regarded as premium, and you can see many celebrities nowadays requesting an antique cut.
Antique cuts are also regarded as more romantic and meaningful because they have heritage attached to them. If you are looking for an engagement ring, our suggestion would be to go for an antique cut diamond, to add extra meaning and soul to your proposal.
The history behind the Old mine cut
The Old mine diamond cut originated around the 18th century. Their origin can be dated back to the 18th century. The most extensive use of the old mine cut can be seen in the Georgian era which is from the early 1710s to the late 1830s and the Victorian era which is from the late 1830s to early 1900s.
This was also the time when most of the diamonds were sourced from mines located in Brazil and India. The diamonds received the name ‘old mine cut’ because all these diamonds were cut in a particular style. During its reign, the old mine cut was a trend that everyone wanted to be a part of from the aristocracy to the royalty.
The name ‘old mine’ started to be strongly identified as a type after diamonds were discovered in South Africa and there was a paradigm shift in the diamond trading world. With the advent of technology, effective machinery, different diamond sources, and unmatched high-quality techniques, the previous cut, that is the old mine cut was used everywhere for reference and it became a classification in itself. The old mine cut is still regarded as one of the finest and most beautiful cuts developed during that time.
The history behind the old European cut
The European cut descended after the popular old mine cut. This cut was developed when nuanced and high-level technology was developed for diamond cutting. Before this era, all diamonds were cut, sourced, and crafter through hands, and rudimentary manual techniques.
The Old European cut also emerged around the time when a new source for diamonds was discovered, which was South Africa. The Old European cut saw increased fame from the late nineteenth century to the early 20th century.
The name European cut fits because European diamond cutters were the first and fastest to adopt this cut and from there it spread like wildfire. The reason why the old European cut became so popular, especially amongst the craftsmen, was because they could cut a round shape, without cutting off most of the original stone.
The cut focused on carat weight rather than brilliance. The old European cut is the father of the modern round brilliant cut. And the descendent of the precious old mine cut diamond.
A comparison between the old mine cut and the old European cut
The old mine cut and the old European cut though they originated at different times in history have many stark differences. Here is a detailed comparison between the two cuts.
- Shape: The old mine cut is now classified under the cushion cut diamond as it has a square-shaped girdle with additional rounded corners whereas the European cut diamond is a perfect round cut diamond. Because of their extremely geometric shape, the old mine cut is also known as the chunky cushion cut diamond now.
- Table and Culet: The table is the top flat surface of the diamond and the cutlets are small pointed surfaces that form at the bottom of the diamond. The old European diamond cut has a large table and small cutlets. Their faces are large and a bigger percentage of their girdle is the diameter of their table.
The Old European cut can be recognized by looking for a perfect circle in between. In comparison to the Old mine cut which has a cushion shape, meaning around mid-part with rounded corners. The old mine cut has a smaller percentage of its girdle than the diameter of the top table. The old mine cut as a result has a small top table and larger cutlets.
- Crown and Pavillion: Crown of the diamond is the slanting area on the top side of the diamond, just below the table. The pavilion is the slanting surfaces that join together to form the culet. The old European cut has a higher crown, larger and steeper pavilions. The diamonds were also deeper because of this reason. Whereas the old mine cut has a comparatively less depth, shorter pavilions, and shorter crowns.
- Girdle: The Girdle is the line that runs on the circumference of the diamond. This is what gives the diamond its shape when looking from a top view. The girdle separates the bottom and top of the diamond which is the pavilion and crown respectively. The old European cut diamond has a comparatively wider girdle because of its round shape, and the old mine cut had a narrower girdle because of the squarish shape.
- Facets: Facets are the flat surfaces on a diamond. The average old mine cut has 58 facets typically whereas the traditional old European cut has 64 facets. The facets of the old mine cut are flatter and larger whereas the old European cut has smaller facets.
- Development: The old mine cut was developed in a time with minimal to no advanced diamond technology. The main focus of the artisans and diamond cutters was to enhance and achieve the maximum brilliance, which meant shaving off a lot from the original stone. The old European cut was developed when technology was in a better state. The focus of the craftsmen now shifted to maximize carat weight and preserve as much as they can from the original stone.
Also read: Tips For Beginners Diamond Trader – How To Get Started
The most famous old mine cut diamonds:
- The Regent Diamond: The regent diamond which is now one of the top attractions in the Louvre museum of France, is an old mine cut diamond. It is owned exclusively by the French state. Originally it was found in India in the Kollur mine. It was discovered in 1698 and the weight of the original uncut diamond was 410 carats. Later after cutting the diamond weighed around 140.6 carats, The color of the diamond is white with a touch of pale blue. It is estimated to be worth 4759 Thousand crore rupees or 48,000,000 Pounds.
- The Allnatt: The diamond also known as one of the most popular fancy yellow diamonds is traced back to South African origins. The diamond weighs 101.29 carats. It is estimated to be worth 22 crores worth or 3 million US dollars.
- Star of the South: The diamond has been declared as one of the most popular diamonds found in old Brazillian mines. The diamond was discovered around the early 1850s. It is an almost colorless diamond with a shade of pink and brown. The star of the south now weighs around 128.48 carats, but when it was found in the Bagagem River in Brazil, the weight of the diamond was 254.5 carats.
- Hope Diamond: The Hope diamond is one of the most famous diamonds in the world. The color of the diamond is deep blue with a shade of grey. The current worth of the diamond is $2000–$3500 Lakh US dollars. It is owned collectively by the Smithsonian Institute and the people of the United States of America. The diamond is said to be cursed and there has been a lot of speculation around the Hope Diamond.
The most famous old European cut diamonds:
- Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond: A deep mystical blue diamond that was found in India, in the Kollur Mine. This diamond now weighs approximately 31 carats. The estimated value of the diamond is 80 lakh US dollars. The original owners of the diamond were the Mughals of Punjab and it is now owned by the royal family of Qatar. The diamond has been classified as internally flawless which is one of the highest-ranking on the grading of diamonds.
- Tiffany Yellow Diamond: The weight of the original uncut tiffany was 287.42 carats and now its weight is around 128 carats. As the name suggests, it is a yellow diamond currently owned by the big diamond label tiffany. The origin of the diamond is pin-pointed at the Kimberly Mine in South Africa. The estimated time of emergence is said to be the late 1870’s.
- Sweet Josephine: The diamond is owned by American nationals currently. Sweet Josephine is a vividly pink diamond. The diamond weighs approximately 16 carats and the value is estimated to be 2crore and 85 lakh US dollars. What makes it special is the fact that it is one of the few fancy pink diamonds which weight more than 10 carats,
- DeYoung Red Diamond: A rare deep red diamond, the DeYoung diamond is a fairly recent discovery, this diamond weighs around 5 carats. What makes the diamond so famous is the color red. It is now owned by the Smithsonian Institute and is only available for display. The current value of the diamond is estimated at 5,000,000 US dollars.
Also read: Difference between Full Cut and Single Cut Diamonds – Which one to choose?
The Old mine cut and the Old European cut have specific things to offer, nonetheless, both are exquisite works of art and craftsmanship that need to be appreciated for their own advantages. One thing that can be said for both the diamonds certainly is that they both carry an institution of history behind them.
Another fact that holds true for both of the cuts is that they are beautiful and very versatile to work with. The choice lastly depends on you; the consumer as to what are your requirements, what suits you more, and what is something that feels beautiful to you. Purchasing any of the two cuts adds extra value to your piece of jewelry and surely the cutting style of the diamond and the stories attached to it are a great conversation starter.