Your Go-To Guide on Antique Cut Diamonds

May 13th 2022

Your Go-To Guide on Antique Cut Diamonds

Does the love of your life move to her own beautiful beat? Does she find modern trends a bit overrated? Don’t just give her any diamond ring. Express your love with a special antique cut diamond. These gems have a charming vintage vibe and represent a piece of history. Ready to give a truly unique gift? Let us be your trusted source on antique cut diamonds!

What is an “Antique Cut Diamond?”

If you guessed that antique cut diamonds were cut many years ago, you’re on the right track! These natural stones were mined and crafted somewhere between the 1300s and 1930s, so they have a different, less sparkly look than the round brilliant cut diamond that’s popular today.

Antique cut diamonds are said to be more romantic than modern diamonds. In fact, they were apparently designed to be viewed by candlelight, which would highlight their soft glow.

Now, you might be wondering how much these diamonds cost. That depends on several factors, like the stone’s age, carat weight, beauty and historical significance.

Types of Antique Cut Diamonds

If your heart is already set on an antique cut diamond, there are several types from which to choose.

Single Cut: 

Also known as an “eight cut,” this is one of the oldest diamond cuts, dating back to the 1300s. Its simple yet elegant look is identified by the large, flat surface on the top of the stone and the octagon-shaped border (aka girdle). This stone features roughly eight flat surfaces on the top portion of the stone (aka facets) and eight more on the bottom, V-shaped portion of the stone

Rose Cut:

This cut gets its name because it looks like a blooming rose bud! It’s noticeably different than other diamond cuts, as it has a dome-shaped top and a flat (vs. pointed) bottom. These stones usually have somewhere between three and 24 flat surfaces, and they all meet in the center of the diamond. Although this design was first seen in the 1500s, it became popular again after actor Justin Theroux proposed to Jennifer Aniston with a rose cut diamond in 2012.

Old Mine Cut:

These diamonds feature the most flat surfaces – a total of 58 – out of all antique cuts so far. But what distinguishes these gems is their square-shaped border with somewhat rounded corners. Think of a modern cushion cut diamond! You can also identify the asymmetrical old mine cut gem by its height and the small, flat surface at the top of the stone. This design was first introduced in the early 1700s and remained popular for the next two centuries.

Old European Cut:

Considered the predecessor to the modern round brilliant cut diamond, this cut came onto the jewelry scene in the late 1800s and is considered the most advanced antique cut gem. The stone has a round shape, but it’s less precise than a modern brilliant cut stone. That’s because old European cut gems were crafted by hand, making each one unique!

How can you tell the difference between the two? Old European cut diamonds, which you may see abbreviated as “OEC," have a smaller flat surface on top of the stone and a flat bottom – vs. the standard pointed tip. In this sense, they’re similar to old mine cut gems. You’ll also notice more flashes of color (aka fire) in an old European cut diamond than in a modern brilliant cut stone. Due to the height of old European cuts, light is able to travel farther in the stone, therefore reflecting more color back to your eye. Brilliant cut gems, on the other hand, show more black and white sparkle.

Should You Buy an Antique Cut Diamond?

Pros:

Most antique cut diamonds tend to display warmer colors, such as yellow and brown tones, than modern diamonds. Therefore, these stones are perfect for vintage lovers!

Since the gems were cut by hand and are less available than modern diamonds, you’ll truly be giving a one-of-a-kind gift!

If you care about the environment, choosing an antique cut diamond is a more sustainable option. Rather than mining a new gem, antique stones are simply repurposed.

Without the added mining costs, an antique cut is reportedly about 20% less expensive than a modern stone with a similar carat weight!

For an even more unique look, antique cuts are also seen on colored diamonds and gemstones!

You’ll sometimes see antique cuts sold as loose stones. That’s because the original settings may be too worn out. This gives you the opportunity to design a completely new ring setting or recreate a special antique ring that you may have spotted.

Cons:

Getting your hands on an antique cut diamond might be harder than you think. You typically won’t find them through your local jewelry store or online dealers. Experts instead recommend checking higher-end stores, specifically those that sell estate jewelry and antique gems.

Since antique cut stones were crafted by hand, they don’t have the same precision as modern cut diamonds.

While antique cuts reflect flashes of color, they don’t give off as much sparkle as modern cut gems.

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Have a question? We can help!

Gage Diamonds is Chicago's premier jewelry showroom and online retailer of engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry. We offer a selection of dazzling antique engagement rings.

We’re committed to helping you find the ring of your dreams. For inspiration, browse our website or set up an appointment with a member of our trusted staff at our in-person showroom.

We offer no-credit-needed financing – feel free to apply and get your approval within 24 hours!

Pay over time, because love shouldn’t wait.

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