The history of the cut-down settting.

Thursday 26th January 2023

Over the course of history, settings used in jewellery have changed as fashions, resources, and knowledge have developed. It was the Georgian era (1714-1837) that saw the cut-down setting come to prominence, as a method of setting diamonds and gemstones.

The cut-down setting is a method in which a layer of metal surrounds the stone. The setting is raised at intervals by narrow vertical strips of metal, adding further security. This gives the impression that the metal has been gathered around the stone creating a three dimensional undulating look. In this era, gemstones were cut and faceted entirely by hand, as such, cuts were more irregular and asymmetric. The cut-down setting lent itself to how gems were fashioned in this era, as it enabled the metal to wrap around each unique shape.

This technique can be seen in both silver and gold; however, this beautiful setting method was mostly crafted from silver. Over time, the silver reacts with oxygen in the air, creating the most stunning darkened effect. This feature, oxidisation, is characteristic of original Georgian jewellery today. The cut-down setting required an immense amount of skill, and is therefore a true reflection of the incredible talent that went it into creating jewellery in this era.

The cut-down setting can also be seen in jewellery from the Victorian era (1837-1901). However, as knowledge of cutting gemstones developed, jewellers more frequently started to use claws to set gemstones, as this allowed more light to pass through.

At Berganza we are very privileged to have pieces with original cut-down settings, some of which hail from world-renowned jewellery houses. One exquisite piece that showcases this is a Victorian brooch featuring moonstone, diamond and ruby, signed by Carlo & Arthur Giuliano. Carlo Giuliano was a Neapolitan-born London based jeweller, known for creating jewellery that took inspiration from Renaissance jewels. This extraordinary brooch features cut-down settings in both silver and yellow gold, a true rarity!

Today it is exceedingly rare to find jewellery featuring original cut-down settings, which is why they are so highly sought after!

If you have been charmed by these astonishing pieces, visit our showroom or explore our extensive website, where every piece in our collection is available to view and purchase. We offer complimentary shipping within the UK and worldwide.

front view Georgian diamond brooch English berganza hatton garden
Georgian diamond brooch, English, circa 1740.
Ref: 25435
antique diamond stud earrings berganza hatton garden
Antique diamond coronet cluster earrings, English, circa 1880.
Ref: 26189
Antique pearl turquoise ring berganza hatton garden
Antique turquoise and pearl locket memorial ring, circa 1837.
Ref: 27533
Carlo & Arthur Giuliano Brooch berganza hatton garden
Carlo & Arthur Giuliano Brooch, Circa 1890.
Ref: 25372
Georgian emerald and diamond cluster ring, English, circa 1830.
Georgian emerald and diamond cluster ring, English, circa 1830.
Ref: 24291
antique diamond ruby ring berganza hatton garden
Antique diamond and ruby cluster ring, English, circa 1850.
Ref: 23338
Victorian rose cut diamond drop earrings berganza hatton garden
Victorian rose cut diamond drop earrings, circa 1880.
Ref: 25079
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Updated 30/05/2024 at 2:02PM

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