The Diamond Pro

European and Antique Diamond Cuts: What You Need to Know

By Michael Fried
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Antique cut diamonds offer a beautiful, soft appearance when compared to modern cut diamonds. They make an excellent choice for those who particularly appreciate antique and vintage styles. Custom-made settings are usually crafted for these stones—giving you the opportunity to design a completely customized ring. Antique cut diamonds are also environmentally-friendly and socially responsible, as they require little impact on the environment and people.

Most importantly, we recommend purchasing antique diamond cuts from a reputable vendor, like Abe Mor Diamonds. Different than buying from an estate sale or second-hand store, you’ll receive a high-quality, certified diamond with Abe Mor

For personal assistance in finding a stunning antique diamond, send our experts an email

What are European and Antique Diamond Cuts?

Antique and European Cuts are diamonds that were mined and cut anywhere between the 1300s and the 1930s. Several varieties of antique diamond cuts exist in the market, depending on the time period and jeweler who cut the stone.

Most antique cut diamonds offer a very romantic and soulful appeal. Their most distinguishing characteristic is that they’re not as blingy or sparkly as most modern cut stones.

Instead, antique cuts often feature larger faceting and a softer look. Many antique diamonds were meant to be viewed in the candlelight, offering a soft glow and romantic feel. Many people are attracted to the antique appearance of these cuts, especially if they appreciate vintage styles.

Types of Antique Diamond Cuts

Not all vintage diamond cuts and shapes are the same. There are several distinct diamond cuts within the antique category: the Single Cut, the Rose Cut, the Old Mine Cut and the Old European Cut.

Single Cut

Dating back to the 1300s, the Old Single Cut diamond features eight crown facets and eight pavilion facets. The octagonal shape of these stones sets them apartalong with their simple, elegant design. Single Cuts are also known as Eight Cuts.

Rose Cut

One of the oldest diamond cuts, the Rose Cut Diamond features anywhere from three to 24 facets. First introduced in the 1500s, this diamond resembles the shape of a rose bud’s bloom. Its flat bottom and dome-shaped crown allow the facets to meet in the center at an apex.

Symbolizing romance and love, the Rose Cut Diamond remained popular during the Georgian (1714-1837) and Victorian (1837-1901) eras, with a resurgence due to the Rose Cut Engagement Ring that Jennifer Anniston received from Justin Theroux in 2012.

Old Mine Cut

Arriving onto the jewelry scene in the early 1700s, the Old Mine Cut Diamond remained one of the most popular cuts throughout the Georgian and Victorian eras. The Old Mine Cut resembles the Cushion Cut, as it’s more square in shape. To reduce the loss of the crystal coming out of the ground, jewelers followed the rough shape of the diamond.

Old Mine Cut Diamonds feature a square-shaped girdle with slightly rounded corners. They’re known for having a large culet, a deep pavilion, a small table and a high crown. With 58 facetsjust like the modern round brilliant—the Old Mine Cut’s asymmetrical shape offers a distinguished, lively and poetic feel.

Old European Cut

Dating back to the late 1800s, the Old European Cut remained a prevalent design throughout the late Victorian era, the Edwardian era (1901-1910) and the Art Deco period (1920-1930s). Similar to the Old Mine Cut, Old European Cut Diamonds feature a small table, a high crown and a large culetalthough the culet is smaller than that of the Old Mine Cut.

The Old European Cut is round in shape and is the predecessor to the modern round brilliant. Different than the round brilliant, though, the Old European is cut less precisely and is, therefore, more organic in shape. The Old European Cut is regarded as the most advanced antique cut. Its stunning, organic feel makes it a vintage favorite.

Why Choose an Antique or European Cut Diamond?

There are two main reasons to choose a vintage cut diamond.

First, if you love antiques and a more timeless style, an antique cut stone might be ideal for you. Rather than owning a diamond that’s similar to what others have, you’ll be wearing a stone that’s truly one-of-a-kind. Plus, it provides a classic, romantic feel to your ring.

Second, if you desire a more sustainable choice, an antique diamond fits that need as well. You’re selecting a diamond that’s being repurposed rather than causing the environmental and social impact of mining a new diamond.

Choosing a conflict-free diamond from a sustainable source is becoming increasingly popular. And with a vintage cut diamond, you can feel the peace of mind knowing you chose a stone that is environmentally-friendly and socially conscious.

The Pros and Cons of Antique Cuts

If you’re looking to purchase an antique cut, you might be curious as to the advantages and disadvantages of this decision. We’ve laid out the main considerations below.

Warmer Coloring

Most of the rough diamonds that came out of the ground a few hundred years ago came from mines that produced warmer-colored diamonds. That’s why many antique cut diamonds fall in the J, K, L and M color grades, even down to the P, Q and R tones. Some people like the charm of these colors because they don’t look as glitzy or blingy and offer an antique appeal. Others enjoy the brighter white colored diamonds, like those in the G, H and I ranges.

Less Expensive

Antique cuts tend to be less expensive than modern cuts. They don’t require new mining and all of the associated costs. In general, an antique cut of a similar carat weight will be 20% less expensive than a new modern cut. This is an advantage to buyers that allows them to save moneyor spend more of their budget on an ornate, unique setting.

Environmentally Conscious

Opting for a vintage cut stone is more sustainable and environmentally-friendly than choosing a newly mined diamond. Without a doubt, you’re reducing environmental and social impact by choosing an antique stone. You can have the peace of mind knowing that you’re purchasing a safe and sustainable gemstone.

Harder to Find

Walking into a jewelry store or searching online dealers, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a selection of antique cuts. Usually, vintage cuts are found in high-end stores that carry specialized estate jewelry and antique diamonds. That’s right: antique and European cuts are niche items.

While we often recommend James Allen and Blue Nile to our readers, they don’t carry antique and Old European cut stones.

On the other hand, Abe Mor, a specialty diamond vendor based in New York City, does carry a variety of antique cuts. They buy second-hand and estate jewelry, and maintain one of the largest inventories of antique cut diamonds. They consistently carry hundreds of beautiful antique diamonds to choose from. We recommend viewing their diamond collection or sending them an email if you’re interested.

Opportunity for a Truly Unique Ring Setting

Most antique cuts are sold as loose diamonds. The actual antique settings are often problematic. They are old, the stones have a likelihood of falling out and the metal may be too thin. That’s why you’ll have an opportunity to help design a custom setting that matches your style.

You can choose to design an entirely new ring setting. Or you can find an antique ring that you love either online or at an auction. Then, you can ask the jeweler to replicate it exactly. Luckily, jewelers today craft ring settings with extreme precision, including ornate touches and filigrain detailing.

If you’re unsure which type of setting you want, find inspiration from other antique engagement rings.

GIA and AGS Certified

Just because antique diamonds were cut hundreds of years ago doesn’t mean they don’t come with a legitimate certificate. European and Antique Cuts on the market today are usually certified. That means you’ll receive verification with your purchase as to the Carat weight, Color, Cut qualityClarity and more. As with all diamonds, we recommend only choosing stones that are certified by the two most reputable lab entities (GIA and AGS).

Colored Diamonds Options

Antique cut collections include more than white colored diamonds. Colored diamonds are also an option. In fact, many fancy yellow diamonds were produced during the antique periods. You can find stunning, vivid yellow diamonds from reputable sellers.

Colored gemstones are also available in antique cuts.

Where to Buy Antique Cut Diamonds

Finding an antique cut diamond is more difficult than finding a modern cut stone. Most jewelry stores and online vendors don’t carry vintage and Old European cut diamonds.

That’s why we recommend Abe Mor, a highly reputable vendor that specializes in antique diamonds and estate jewelry. They maintain one of the largest inventories of antique cut diamonds.

You can look through the Abe Mor online inventory or contact them directly. They can send you high-quality videos and photos of any antique diamond before purchase, and guarantee that buyers don’t have to keep a diamond they’re not satisfied with.

If you’d like personal assistance in finding an antique diamond, don’t hesitate to contact our diamond experts.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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