Unique Antiques: Determining Which Diamond Makes the Cut

When shopping for a special piece, keep in mind that each antique is unique. In all honesty, selecting the right piece is like selecting the right partner – you need to weigh all of your options before making sure that you have the perfect fit.

To help you get started, familiarize yourself with what’s out there. Here are a few of the most popular antique diamond cuts you’ll find on the market today:

  • Single Cut

    diamonds are simple and distinguished by their large table and octagonal girdle. The bottom edge of the diamond – known as the cutlet – is either pointed or flat. The single cut diamond is a vintage style which dates back to the 1300s and the surface of this cut typically totals 18 facets.

  • Rose Cut

    diamonds will blossom on its beautiful owner. Resembling the shape of a rose bud, rose cut diamonds feature a flat bottom with a dome-shaped crown that rises to a single apex. The amount of facets found on this Georgian and Victorian-era cut range between three and 24.

  • The Old Mine Cut

    diamond gives a gentle shine with its square shape and softly rounded corners. Similar to today’s cushion cut diamond, old mine cut diamonds feature a high crown, small table and large, flat culet. Similar to the rose cut, the old mine cut reflects the Georgian and Victorian eras – dating back to the 1700s.

  • Old European Cut

    diamonds are fancifully detailed. Very similar to the old mine cut – shaped with a high crown, small table, and a large, flat culet – the difference between the two lies in its circular girdle feature (versus the square shape of the old mine cut). This cut is the predecessor of today’s modern, round brilliant cut with 58 facets. Dating back to the 1800s, the old European cut traces back to the Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Nouveau eras.

  • The Modern Round Brilliant Cut

    lives up to its name – and is in one word, brilliant. Diamond cutters invented the cut through new techniques that maximized the fire and brilliance of the gems. Developed in the early 1900s, the round brilliant cut is by far the most popular way to cut diamonds – becoming the industry’s standard of processing. Like the old European cut, the lavish radiance of this cut comes from the 58 facets compacted in its circular girdle, though the round brilliant cut lacks a culet. This cut became prevalent during the Art Deco and Retro periods.


Diamond cutting techniques determine the fire and brilliance of the shine. As techniques evolved, diamonds developed a bright shimmer – much different from older techniques, which gave gems a warm glow. Nonetheless, antique diamonds express a romance that is as tender as the hands that made them. For those looking for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to set themselves apart from “trendy” pieces, the style and grace of an antique diamond cut remains a classic selection.


For photos of these elegant cuts, visit our antique ring gallerytoday.