Old Cut Diamonds

front-view-Solitaire old cut diamond ring, circa 1920.
Solitaire old cut diamond ring, circa 1920.
Ref: 17546

Thursday 10th December 2015

Also sometimes referred to as ‘old European cuts', old cut diamonds are characterised by a symmetrical rounded outline, and a deep crown and pavilion (the top and bottom sections of a brilliant cut stone when viewed in profile).  Though they existed as early as the seventeenth century, they did not reach the height of their popularity until the late nineteenth century. 

This was largely due to two men in the United States, Henry D. Morse and Charles M. Field.  In 1874 they patented a steam driven bruting machine--bruting being the term for the process by which the outline of a diamond is fashioned during the cutting process.  Morse was a diamond cutter, and was the first to utilize this invention to create rounded symmetrical stones with newfound relative ease. 

Not only did it allow diamonds to be cut more easily, the invention coincided with an influx of diamonds into the world market, with the discovery of the gems in South Africa in 1867.  The downside to this cut, which is in part why it was avoided in the past, is the inevitable loss of weight, which would otherwise be retained when sticking more closely to the squared shape of a natural rough diamond, as in table and old mine cuts. 

However, another machine--the power-driven circular saw--invented around the same time, made it possible to cut a diamond and retain the excess, which could then be cut into smaller diamonds, rather than grinding the excess into diamond dust, as was done in the past.  As a result of these three converging factors, this cut soon became the new standard, largely replacing the cushion shaped old mine diamond.  The cut remained popular well into the mid-twentieth century, and are today a much-loved feature of antique and vintage jewellery.

Art Deco diamond ring, English, circa 1925.
Ref: 21690
front-view-Fancy colour yellow and white diamond three stone ring, circa 1910.
Fancy colour yellow and white diamond three stone ring, circa 1910.
Ref: 17347
Old cut diamond earrings, circa 1930.
Ref: 16994
front view Round coronet diamond cluster ring, circa 1920.
Round coronet diamond cluster ring, circa 1920.
Ref: 22549
Diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1920.
Diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1920.
Ref: 17684
front view Antique diamond and gold cufflinks, circa 1905.
Antique diamond and gold cufflinks, circa 1905.
Ref: 21661
front view Antique diamond three stone carved ring, circa 1905.
Antique diamond three stone carved ring, circa 1905.
Ref: 20582
front view Ornate diamond ring, American, circa 1920.
Ornate diamond ring, American, circa 1920.
Ref: 21593
Art Nouveau solitaire diamond ring, circa 1900.
Ref: 21570

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A long established retailer of fine period jewellery, Berganza the jewellers is based in the heart of Hatton Garden, London’s historic jewellery quarter. We specialise in the finest examples of ancient, antique and vintage engagement rings- each one unique, hand crafted and expertly created. We are proud to have one of the largest collections of antique and vintage diamond engagement rings as well as natural gemstone engagement rings in the world, our inventory boasts over two thousand rings. We are fascinated by the history, myth, tradition and design of engagement rings and their evolution over the last two millennia.

We believe in only offering exceptional pieces from each design period, from Ancient Roman intaglio seal rings, Viking twisted rings through to rare gem-set Medieval pieces, Georgian, ornate Victorian, elegant Edwardian, bold Art Deco and retro vintage designs. Each piece has a unique historical background and dates to a time when jewellery was crafted by hand in the days before mass-production, so no two are alike. We deal in rarity and as such have a vast collection of posy rings, the precursors to 'modern' wedding rings, which are most often only available to be viewed in museums. Berganza also has an extensive selection of other types of jewellery such as antique earrings from simple stud earrings through to ornate drop earrings, the finest quality from each of the historical design periods. Another specialty are antique and vintage one-off signed pieces of jewellery by the most famous of jewellery houses such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Oscar Heyman Brothers and Boucheron but to name a few. These pieces of jewellery ooze the glamour of bygone eras and are highly sought after today.

Every item of jewellery is set with hand cut diamonds or natural and unenhanced gemstones, often from mines long since depleted. We are proud to include in our compilation, jewellery set with old mine diamonds from India and Brazil, Burmese rubies, Colombian emeralds and Kashmir, Ceylon and Burmese sapphires. Our team of specialists are trained in all aspects of gemmology and history of jewellery design, so we are able to select the finest quality pieces of jewellery for our extensive one-of-a-kind stock. Our expertise in this area is unparalleled and our shared passion for antique jewellery is paramount to our business.

88-90 HATTON GARDEN, London, EC1N 8PN, England

Telephone +44 (0)20 7430 0393 / +44 (0)20 7404 2336

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