Knowledge Centre > Gemmology > Cuts > Old Mine Cut

The Allure of the Antique Cut Diamond

Old mine diamond solitaire ring, circa 1905 hatton garden
Old mine diamond solitaire ring, circa 1905.
Ref: 27985

The Allure of the Antique Cut Diamond

Old Mine Diamond Solitaire Circa 1900
Berganza collection

For centuries, diamonds and diamond rings have been given and worn not just symbols of love, but as beautiful objects of desire. The Roman naturalist Pliny stated: “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.”

Searching for the perfect diamond for a loved one may sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Much of the literature and information around diamonds today relates to the modern era parameters, “the 4C’s”, intended to differentiate between modern laser-cut diamonds.

These parameters are somewhat less relevant for antique cuts of diamonds, such as Old Mine and Old Cuts. Cut in a time long before lasers and before ‘yield’ was the overriding priority, diamonds were once cut for beauty, and beauty alone! Each antique diamond cut is in itself unique, with slight variations in proportions, symmetry and sparkle. Opting for an antique cut allows the wearer to tell the stories not only of those who have worn them before, but also from those who compelled the beauty from under their rough exterior!

We firmly believe that acquiring and collecting exquisite jewellery is both an emotional and intellectual pursuit and each acquisition should be entirely right for you. Look for what draws you into the piece, as opposed to being led by carat size or any certifications that may accompany the stone. With antique pieces, you have to be ready to listen to instinct and let your heart guide you!

The Old Mine Cut

As the name implies, these diamonds would likely have originated from one of the first diamond sources ever discovered- namely India or Brazil, long before the discovery of the South African deposits in 1867.

This cut was particularly popular during the Georgian and Victorian eras. Today, when you see an old mine diamond, you can immediately assume that it was cut over 100 years ago in a time when Beethoven was composing his first symphonies, Jane Austen was authoring some of the world’s finest literature and Charles Darwin was thrashing out his theory of evolution.

Old Mine diamonds are characterised by their hand cut nature, with each stone unique to the hand who cut it and the candlelight they cut it by – very different to the fluorescent lights and modern technology cutters rely on today. It would take years of experience and training for a diamond cutter to be able to study a rough diamond crystal and find the optimum way to cut and polish it in order to reveal its maximum beauty and charm.

Old Mine Diamond Riviere Circa 1850
Berganza Collection

Typically with a soft cushion shaped outline, the majority of Old Mine Cuts have a small table, a prominent culet (a facet on the base of the diamond) and deep proportions, giving a completely different allure to the modern diamonds of today. This, combined with the large individual facets placed on the stone create the extraordinary old-world sparkle and drama these stones are celebrated for.

The Old Cut

By the end of the 19th Century, the Old Cut, also known as the Old European Cut, began to take over as the more popular cut of diamond. It is prominent in the ornate Edwardian and bold Art Deco designs, and was the favoured cut of many of the high-jewellery houses including Boucheron and Cartier.

As with Old Mine diamonds, this cut was taken from the rough crystal habit, and cut exclusively by hand. While still featuring deep proportions, developments in new technology allowed cutters more precision, resulting in smaller facets, a less prominent culet and most notably a circular outline. These cuts were designed to not only sparkle under candle light, but also to have a romantic scintillation under the gas-lamp glow of the era.

Hand cutting diamonds the way they once did is no longer time or cost effective, and there are now only a finite amount of stones in these cuts in circulation. Today, a fine Old Mine or Old Cut diamond has become a much sought after and coveted collector’s item.

Diamond Cutting By Hand

Both of these cuts are a beautiful way to continue the history of the stone. With each wearer, comes new life and significance, with a strong commitment to the past, present and future. For more information about our rare and unique diamond pieces, we invite you to set up an appointment with one of our jewellery specialists, which can be done via the Berganza website.

Cartier solitaire diamond engagement ring berganza hatton garden
Cartier diamond solitaire ring, French, circa 1950.
Ref: 25885
Boucheron old cut diamond solitaire ring, French, circa 1960. Hatton Garden
Boucheron old cut diamond solitaire ring, French, circa 1960.
Ref: 28283
Art Deco diamond cluster ring berganza hatton garden
Art Deco two stone diamond cluster ring, circa 1925.
Ref: 25822
Edwardian diamond three stone ring, circa 1905. Hatton Garden
Edwardian diamond three stone ring, circa 1905.
Ref: 27277
antique diamond ornate ring berganza hatton garden
Ornate diamond ring, circa 1915.
Ref: 25681
Old mine diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1920. Hatton Garden
Old mine diamond flanked solitaire ring, circa 1920.
Ref: 27986
Old mine diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1920. Hatton Garden
Old mine diamond coronet cluster ring, circa 1920.
Ref: 27816
Victorian diamond earrings hatton garden
Victorian diamond earrings, circa 1880.
Ref: 26935
Victorian diamond blue enamel ring berganza hatton garden
Victorian three stone diamond and blue enamel ring, circa 1890.
Ref: 26577
Old mine diamond solitaire ring hatton garden
Old mine diamond solitaire ring, circa 1900.
Ref: 27055
Georgian diamond  ring berganza hatton garden
Georgian diamond cluster ring, English, circa 1770.
Ref: 27536
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Updated 20/07/2024 at 2:17PM

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