Old European Cut Diamonds or Old Mine Diamonds
The terms Old European cut diamonds and Old Mine diamonds cut are commonly confused. Sometimes they are just grouped together and tagged an “old miner”. But there is an individual beauty to each of the different cuts that should be appreciated and celebrated.
Old Mine Cuts and old European Cut diamonds were commonly used in jewelry from the time spanning the Georgian through Art Deco Eras; approximately from the 1700s through the late 1800s. Diamonds from this time period were cut by hand because the machines we use today weren’t invented until the 1900s.
The diamond rough for these gems originated in the literal “old mines” of Brazil and India. The African mines that supply the whitest rough were not yet discovered. So, these diamonds tended to be of lower color and were more limited in number than what we see today; but nonetheless are beautiful!
Diamond cutters of this time were inventive. They assessed every diamond individually, making cuts to bring out the best color and sparkle for each stone while retaining as much weight as possible. The diamonds were meant to dazzle under low-light conditions such as candles and gas lamps which were the lighting sources of the time. Furthermore, cutting by hand and eye-balling the cuts meant that no two diamonds would ever be the same.
While old mine cuts and old European cuts reigned in overlapping eras, they are two very distinctive and different cuts with unique visual appeal.
The main difference between Old Mine and Old European diamonds is their shape. Old Mine cut stones have that beautifully cushion like shape, while Old Europeans are a traditional round shape.
OLD MINE CUT
As the name implies, Old Mine Cuts (OMC) resemble the rough form as it came from the mine. OMC diamonds were most commonly used during the Georgian and Victorian eras from the 1700 to 1800s.
The best indicators of an old mine cut diamond are the open culet, (which is the round facet on the very bottom of the stone), broad chunky facets and the squared-off “cushion” shape. An OMC diamond is essentially the antique version of today’s cushion cut diamond.
The proportions of old mine cut diamonds vary greatly from modern cut diamonds. Old mine cut diamonds have a smaller table, high crown, and larger facets than modern cut diamonds – 58 facets total. Because of their unique cutting style, OMC diamonds tend to face up whiter than most modern cut diamonds. They are also known for having incredible scintillation and fire because the cutter’s main goal was a beautiful stone- not achieving a set of computer guided specs.
The table (the very top facet) on old mine cuts tends to be very small. They also feature a high crown and a deep pavilion (above and below the girdle). Like our modern round brilliants, the old mine cut has 58 facets, but they are chunkier and more geometric facets than we see today.
OLD EUROPEAN CUT
Advances in diamond-cutting technology led to the development of the Old European cut diamond in the late 1800s. Diamond shapes became rounder, tables got larger, and the 58 facets became more elongated. Old European cut diamonds are the antique version of today’s modern round brilliant cut diamond.
OEC diamonds, like Old Mine cut diamonds, were also cut by hand. They have similar broad faceting patterns, but it is that round outline that makes them different. OECs will be near perfectly round (we say NEARLY as these diamonds were still cut by hand!).
Old European cut diamonds are known for their large facets, which are larger than round brilliant cuts. They are easily recognizable by the small circle at the center of the diamond’s table. This circle comes from the old European cut’s large culet. The culet is the facet at the bottom of the diamond. A large culet allows lighter to escape through the bottom of the diamond, which causes the dark circle to appear. It is also important to note that diamond cutters of this era cut the stones with a larger table and a shallower crown than that of an OMC.
In conclusion, while there are many differences to appreciate between OMC and OEC diamonds, one similarity between OMC and OEC diamonds is the culet. All diamonds have culets, which is the point at the bottom of the diamond. However, antique diamonds have what is known as an open culet which means the culet is polished flat, resulting in a noticeable circle within the stone.
While modern diamonds are mined and cut by the millions each year, a limited number of old mine and old European cut diamonds exist in the market today. Estate diamond dealers covet older cut stones because of their limited supply and unique beauty. They just can’t compete with modern cut stones, but the antique aficionado prizes them.
We would be happy to meet with you by appointment to explain how and why your diamond or jewelry has a certain value in the secondary market. It’s our mission to educate our clients so that they can make an educated decision and know that they’re getting the best possible price for their items. Which is why you may consider taking advantage of our free no obligation evaluation of your jewelry today.
Written by Kristyn Fitzpatrick
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