Table Cut Diamonds


Diagram of a table cut.
Antique diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1680.
Ref: 18068
Georgian seven stone diamond ring, circa 1770.
Ref: 16594
Georgian diamond brooch in silver, circa 1750.
Ref: 19063

Tuesday 1st December 2015

Diamonds have been set into jewellery since ancient times.  The stones were probably worn as early as the sixth century BC, though the oldest extant examples date from Ancient Rome.  During this period, however, the technology did not exist for cutting diamonds—the hardest substance on earth—and so the gems were set in their natural form, an octahedral crystal.  Though not technically a cut as the diamond was largely unaltered from its natural state, these are now termed ‘point cut’ diamonds.

It was not until the thirteenth century AD that the first true diamond cut appears, known as the table cut.  The simplest of all methods of faceting a diamond (or creating additional planes on the surface of a stone), it consists of removing the top and to bottom points of the octahedron.  Though it is the hardest substance known to man, the crystalline structure of diamond is such that a relatively weak plane exists in parallel layers through the stone from top point to bottom point, which can be ground down with the application of another diamond, and then polished with diamond dust.

This technology likely originated in the Middles East or Venice, along the major trade route from the sole source of diamonds at that time—India—to the courts of Europe.  The ability to grind further facets, as seen on modern diamonds, would not be possible until the invention of the rotary diamond wheel during the fifteenth century. Table cut diamonds set into Medieval and Renaissance jewels are extremely rare, as diamonds were highly uncommon and, as a result, very valuable at the time.  Often colourless stones, such as quartz and white sapphire, were cut in this manner to mimic diamond.  Furthermore, most old table cut diamonds were subsequently unset and re-cut, once technology advanced, over the following centuries, rendering any such jewel a remarkable survival.

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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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