Old Mine Cut Diamonds

Antique diamond cluster ring by Birks of Canada, circa 1890.
Ref: 21655

Sunday 10th January 2016

In the history of diamond cutting, the cut considered to be the precursor to the modern round brilliant is today known as the ‘old mine’ cut.  This early brilliant cut is at its core a table cut to which additional facets have been added.  The result was most often a ‘cushion shaped’ outline, achieved by removing the corners of a table cut, and the addition of numerous kite shaped facets, fanning out like a star from the central table facet. 

Though its exact origins remain somewhat shrouded, the probable impetus for the invention of this design was the depletion of diamonds in India, which up until the early eighteenth century was the world’s only source of diamonds.   Because of this, cutters were restrained by the lack of rough material, and therefore they were forced to adapt old table cut stones with new facet patterns.  And so it follows that table cuts with damaged corners, for example, would have been re-cut with rounded corners, resulting a more rounded outline.  The star facets were likely a result of improvements in diamond cutting technology, as well as an increased understanding of the way light is reflected back out of the stone, which can be increased via additional facets.

Despite these innovations, table and rose cuts dominated jewellery of the late seventeenth century, and the old mine cut remained largely non-standardized.  It was not until the 1730s, with the discovery of a new source of diamonds in Brazil, replenishing the world supply of rough diamonds, that brilliant cuts became more popular.  For the first time a large supply of well shaped rough coincided with the technology to cut numerous facets, and thus the brilliant began its progression toward the highly regular round brilliant of today.  The charm of these early brilliants, however, in comparison with modern stones is surely their history and their unique irregularities—each cut by hand, the stones derived from historical mines long since depleted, and cut to maximize the glittering candlelight of the era in which they were worn.

Art Deco cushion shape old mine diamond ring, circa 1935.
Ref: 21607
front-view-Cushion shape old mine Golconda Type IIa diamond ring, circa 1905.
Cushion shape old mine Golconda Type IIa diamond ring, circa 1905.
Ref: 17160
front-view-Georgian two row diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1740.
Georgian two row diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1740.
Ref: 18839
Cushion shaped old mine cut diamond ring, circa 1905.
Cushion shaped old mine cut diamond ring, circa 1905.
Ref: 15235
Old mine cushion shape diamond stud earrings, circa 1920.
Ref: 18445
front view Old mine cushion shape diamond ring, circa 1950.
Old mine cushion shape diamond ring, circa 1950.
Ref: 20671
front view Antique old mine diamond solitaire engagement ring
Antique old mine diamond solitaire engagement ring, circa 1890.
Ref: 20391
Edwardian diamond coronet cluster ring, English, circa 1905.
Ref: 21525
Cushion shape old mine solitaire diamond ring, circa 1910.
Ref: 21362
FRONT VIEW Cushion shape old mine diamond cluster ring, circa 1910.
Cushion shape old mine diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1910.
Ref: 21280

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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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