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Bespoke Jewelry: A Guide to Old European Cut Diamonds

May 16, 2018

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Bespoke Beauties: Old Euro Cuts

Have you ever gazed into the face of a diamond and not been able to look away? This is what we catch ourselves doing every time we encounter an Old European cut at Marrow. We’re totally hypnotized by them! In the spirit of sharing our obsession, we’re talking about what exactly Old European cuts are and why you should check them out if you’re in the hunt for an engagement ring!

Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds

It is without a doubt that round-cut diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry pieces alike.

The version we see most commonly is referred to as a round brilliant cut (or RBC). This cut was born out of lots of scientific study around enhancing the fire and brilliance of a diamond through the cut and after many years of hand-cutting diamonds.

Old Euro Cuts: The "IT" Diamond

Before the round brilliant came onto the scene, the most popular round cut was an Old European Cut, which was the “it” diamond from 1890-1930 in the Edwardian and Art Deco periods.

You can spot them by their open culet (the pointy bottom part of the stone) and their big, broad facets which create more of a checkerboard pattern than the splintered light and dark patterns of RBCs.

Both cuts have 58 facets, but because diamonds were still cut by hand and measurements were made by the cutter’s eye, Old European cuts are often unique, even from one another. This is one of the best qualities about Old Euros!

Old Euro Cut

The mines in Africa that provide the high-quality colorless diamonds of today, were not around in the days of Old European cut diamonds. These diamonds were mostly mined in Brazil and India, and typically have a warmer hue to them. But in fact, many appear to be whiter than they are because the cut was meant to enhance the color of the stone.

The Pros & Cons of Old European Cut Diamonds

Naturally, since we are BIG fans of this cut, there are some serious positives to owning one of these beauties.

Pros of Old Euro Cuts:

  • Antique and recycled, thus environmentally friendly

  • Unique because it was cut by hand

  • Draws you in with broad facets 

  • Better price per carat

  • They grow more and more rare as the years pass!

However, there are some drawbacks to selecting old euro cuts for your fine jewelry pieces.

Cons of Old Euro Cuts:

  • Often a lower color; many of the whiter antique diamonds were recut into modern round brilliants in order to garner a higher price.

  • Often the cut/symmetry is graded as “fair” or “poor” when they are graded against the Round Brilliant standards, although many in the industry argue that it’s unfair to grade a 70-100 year old diamond against the standards of today.

Whether you’re looking for a truly unique diamond for your engagement ring, or want to go with an environmentally-friendly option, Old European cuts are definitely worth checking out! We don’t play favorites... but they might be our favorite!

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