A Comprehensive Guide to Antique Diamonds

In the market for an antique diamond engagement ring? We’ve created a comprehensive guide to buying antique stones to make things a little easier. Antique diamonds are desired because of their romantic feel, larger faceting and greater scintillation (flashes of light that appear when the stone is in movement). This causes the stones to have a fiery sparkle, especially in dim lighting, as they were cut in the 1800s with candlelight in mind.

Most antique stones range in color from J all the way through O, as their whiter counterparts were re-cut into modern stones. However, since diamonds are graded when they are face down, antique stones face up much whiter than their technical grade. This is why it’s so important to look beyond the paperwork when searching for the right diamond.

Combining an antique stone with a clean, modern setting creates a fashion-forward look that is equal parts timeless and on-trend. Most antique jewelry from the early 1900s feature Old European cut diamonds, old mine cut diamonds, rose cut diamonds, and single cut diamonds. The most popular antique diamond cuts today are Old Mines and Old Europeans.

Old Mine Cut

Old Mine cut diamonds are the precursors to today’s cushion cut stones and describe rounded diamonds that were cut before 1890. Also called the "Miner Cut," this was the primary shape used in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Though old mines vary in shape from stone to stone (some being elongated), they can generally be best described as rounded squares.

Old Mine Cut with Bullet Side Stones Engagement Ring - Ring Concierge

Old European Cut

Old European cut diamonds are the precursors to today’s modern round brilliants. They are perfect circles and were the primary diamond cuts made in the Art Deco period. Old Euros feature larger facets than modern diamonds, yet the same number of them: 58. Since every Old Euro diamond is hand-cut, it's inherently unique and increases in rarity with time as fewer Old Euro cut diamonds are available for sale.

Old European Cut with Tapered Baguettes Engagement Ring - Ring Concierge

We can’t stress enough how important it is not to base your decision on a diamond’s specs on paper. Something that may seem like it would look bad on a certificate can often end up being beautiful in person.

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