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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Berganza the jewellers is based in the heart of Hatton Garden, London. We specialise in the finest examples of ancient, antique and vintage engagement rings. We are proud to have one of the largest collections of these rings in the world.

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, so no two are alike.

Every item of jewellery is set with hand cut diamonds or natural and unenhanced gemstones, often from mines long since depleted. Our team of specialists are trained in all aspects of gemology 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. We deal in rarity and as such have a vast collection of posy rings, the precursors to 'modern' wedding rings.


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

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


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