The Brilliant Cut on the left is 1.02 carats whilst the Old Mine Cut on the right is 0.75 carats, yet they appear similar in size. The limited depth in combination with greater facets on the Old Mine Cut helps to give the cut stone a larger appearance.
What is the difference between an Old European/Old Mine and a Brilliant Cut?
Most of you are probably familiar with the brilliant cut diamond, with its intense sparkle, circular shape, and strict dimensions for every one of its 58 facets. It’s believed that 9 out of 10 of diamonds in the world today are cut as Brilliants. But, it’s less known that the standard brilliant cut comes from a rich historical legacy of diamond cutting that stretches back as far as the 17th century, and the predecessors of the Brilliant Cut deserve recognition in their own right. Classical and captivating, the Old Mine Cut (and its younger adaptation, the Old European Cut) adds a note of elegance to contemporary diamond jewelry designs that is at once timeless yet original. If the beauty of a diamond lies in the artistry of its facet arrangement and how it captures light, the Old Mine Cut is one of the most captivating cuts to be found.
What is the Old Mine Cut?
The Old Mine Cut's most distinctive feature is its uncommon square shape - which differentiates it from the rounder designs of the Rose and Brilliant Cuts. This shape comes from its history as one of the oldest cutting styles in the world and reflects the types of cutting technology that was available in the 18th and 19th centuries. Because diamonds had to be cut manually by carefully and laboriously grinding two diamonds together, diamantaires often looked to the naturally octahedral shape of rough diamonds to determine the exact design of their cut. Hence, the Old Mine Cut allows each diamond to be cut based on its natural shape, in turn enabling the optimal facet arrangement. It’s a cut that prioritizes the unique and natural beauty of the diamond, rather than impelling the diamond to conform to rigid dimensions.
A hand-sketched comparison of the Brilliant Cut (Left) and the Old Mine Cut (Right).
Another key characteristic of the Old Mine that is essential to its beauty is its unpointed culet. In simple terms, an Old Mine diamond lacks the sharp end on the tip of a diamond that the Brilliant Cut possesses. Whilst this is also reflective of hand-cut disposition of the cut, it also gives it one of its most special features. The flatter culet creates a unique window for light to stream through the gem. Therefore, instead of reflecting the light back at you as with the brilliant cut, the Old Mine cut gives the rare opportunity to peer inside of the diamond and appreciate the stunning clarity of the stone itself. It’s easy to understand why it was the most popular form of cut in the Victorian and Georgian periods - its individuality, its clear glimmer, and time-honored appeal makes the Old Mine cut as striking today as it was over 200 years ago.
A gorgeous loose 2.51 carat Internally Flawless (IF) Old Mine Cushion Cut. The faceted culet is evident and can clearly be seen in the center of the diamond.
What is the Old European Cut and how is it different from the Old Mine Cut?
The Old European Cut is often used interchangeably with the Old Mine Cut because they are highly similar in terms of design and characteristics. However, the Old European Cut is slightly younger than its Old Mine co-part and also shares some similarities with the Brilliant Cut. It can be useful to visualize the Old European Cut in the middle-point of the evolution of the Old Mine Cut to the Brilliant Cut most know today.
Like the Old Mine cut, the Old European Cut’s culet point is replaced with a facet to allow rays of light to glide through the diamond, creating a subtle but shimmering note of refractive color. However, unlike the Old Mine and thus more akin to the Brilliant, the Old European Cut is round and its facets slightly more symmetrical. Although lacking the strict mathematical proportions of the Brilliant Cut, it shares some of its vivid sparkle whilst significantly retaining the special, age-old glow that can only come from the artistry of the diamantaire.
Why do 64Facets love the Old Cuts?
Whilst previously these striking cuts were only considered to be available within antique jewelry, jewelry buyers are increasingly drawing inspiration from the past to discover alternatives to the prevalence of Brilliant Cut. However, at 64 Facets we are enamored with these cuts not only because of their rich connection to eras gone by but also because of what they embody for the artistry of cutting diamonds. The Old Cuts demand that each facet conforms to the natural shape of the individual diamond, meaning that the stone always emerges in its most authentic and beautiful form. Their distinct radiant qualities translate into a dedication to the inherent arrangement of facets for every diamond.
One of 64Facets’ beautiful custom design Old Mine Cushion Engagement Rings.
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