Knowledge Centre > Gemmology > Gemstones > Diamond

Old Mine Diamonds Unearthed

The Story of Old Mine Diamonds

Victorian diamond riviere necklace hatton garden
Victorian diamond riviere necklace, circa 1850.
Ref: 26581

Diamonds have long symbolised strength and eternal love. An old mine cut diamond evokes the past when diamonds were measured by eye and cut by hand, making them true one of a kinds. The world’s fascination with diamonds is thought to have started in India, where diamonds were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams. India’s early diamond deposits in the Golconda region are famed for being the finest diamonds in the world, with some of the most famous diamonds originating from there. Gradually, the demand for diamonds increased as global trade improved and Indian diamonds found their way into the Western market. By the 1400s, diamonds were becoming fashionable accessories for Europe’s royalty, nobility and clergy. Just as India’s diamond supplies began to decline in the early 1700s, the Brazilian diamond deposits were discovered. Diamonds from these mines are known as old mine diamonds and have a very distinctive look.

For the first time, a large supply of diamonds coincided with the technology to cut multiple facets and an increased understanding of diamonds properties, meaning that diamond cutters could maximise the beauty of each stone. Old mine cut diamonds mostly have a soft square outline, known as a cushion shape. Producing these diamonds is incredibly difficult as it could only be achieved by laboriously grinding two diamonds together. This makes every old mine diamond totally unique, with every facet being placed there by hand.

The charm of these gemstones is their history. Each hand cut, the stones were derived from historical mines long since depleted. The beauty of old mine cut diamonds is their soft sparkle and individuality. Three hundred years ago when these stones were being cut, the aesthetic appeal of the diamond was everything. You’ll never get two old-mine cut diamonds that are the same, the very nature of how they are produced makes it impossible. Their rarity has only increased as over time many have been recut.

Sustainability is one of the wonderful side effects of a diamond being cut hundreds of years ago. You are lessening your impact on the environment by being a conservator instead of a consumer. 

Edwardian diamond drop earrings berganza hatton garden
Edwardian diamond drop earrings, circa 1910.
Ref: 24415
Edwardian diamond three stone ring berganza hatton garden
Edwardian fancy light yellow diamond three stone ring, English, circa 1910.
Ref: 25209
Victorian diamond cufflinks berganza hatton garden
Victorian diamond cufflinks, circa 1890.
Ref: 24830
Art Deco cushion shape diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Art Deco cushion shape old mine diamond ring, English, circa 1930.
Ref: 23747
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Updated 19/05/2024 at 1:34PM

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