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From the Blog…

A Guide to Old European Cut Diamonds

November 8, 2019

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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. 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 on the hunt for an engagement ring!

What Is an old European Cut?

Old European-cut diamonds contain 58 facets and were cut individually by hand (with the majority cut between 1890-1930s). Because the main source of light during this time was candlelight, these diamonds were cut to maximize their sparkle for this type of lighting (dreamy, we know). This cutting style was developed in Europe and makes every diamond unique… meaning no two stones will ever be the same.

Compared to modern cut diamonds, old Euros have a higher crown, smaller table, and open culet (that small circle seen in the center).

Explore old European diamond rings:

Last One
Marrow Fine Jewelry White Gold Old Cut Diamond Bombe [White Gold] Marrow Fine Jewelry White Gold Old Cut Diamond Bombe [White Gold]

White Gold Old Cut Diamond Bombe

$5,500

One of a Kind
0.74ct Old Euro and Sapphire Toi Et Moi - Marrow Fine 0.74ct Old Euro and Sapphire Toi Et Moi - Marrow Fine

0.74ct Old Euro and Sapphire Toi Et Moi

One of a Kind
[yellow gold] [yellow gold]

0.46ct Old Euro Diamond & Montana Sapphire Maude Engagement Ring

What are the characteristics of an old European cut diamond?

There are a variety of features that differentiate the old European cut diamond from other modern cuts.

Shape

The stones are outlined to be round when you view them from the top.

Facet

There are 58 facets around the diamond, similar to the number of cuts in a round contemporary stone.

Culet

The old European cut diamond has an open culet, which means that the bottom ends in a flat facet instead of a sharp, knifelike point.

Cutting

The old European cut diamond is often cut by hand, giving it a high value for those in favor of the intimate and antique.

Symmetry

Since there isn’t a technology to cut these diamonds, the old European cut stones are often asymmetrical. Their facets might be irregular and do not align properly with each other, which is why they are pointed outward. However, it’s the asymmetrical characteristics that give it a unique personality and ensure that there’s no other diamond out there like yours.

Old European cut diamond engagement ring in yellow gold setting

What’s the difference between and old European and old mine cut diamond?

Another Marrow favorite, old mine cut diamonds are older than old Europeans (think more than 200 years before the old European cut was born). Dating back to the 1700s and popular during the Georgian & Victorian eras, this diamond cut also has 58 facets. But, unlike an old European, old mine diamonds have a square girdle which is different from the round structure of the old European cut. The old European cut has more brilliance and innovation than the old mine cuts. However, here at Marrow, we love working with these old stones equally!

Old mine diamond engagement rings:

One of a Kind
.38ct Old Mine Diamond Sweet Pea Ring - Marrow Fine .38ct Old Mine Diamond Sweet Pea Ring - Marrow Fine

.38ct Old Mine Diamond Sweet Pea Ring

$3,650

One of a Kind
[yellow gold] [yellow gold]

2.18ct Black Diamond Pear and Old Mine Cut Toi et Moi Ring

$7,375

One of a Kind
1.00ct Old Mine Tessa 1.00ct Old Mine Tessa

1.00ct Old Mine Tessa

$7,000

Why choose an old European cut diamond?

The old European cut is a timeless classic - it’s become one of the most sought after diamonds, especially since there aren’t very many of them (compared to modern round brilliants, which are readily available). The mines in Africa that provide 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. However, many appear to be whiter than they are because the cut was meant to enhance the color of the stone. Since they are handcrafted and each of these stones has their own personality, old Euros are the perfect choice for anyone who wants to stand out from the crowd.

close up of an old European cut diamond engagement ring against a blurry red background

The pros & cons of old European cut diamonds

Pros of old European 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!

Cons of old European 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.

People often ask: "Should I buy an old European cut diamond or stick to the modern round brilliance?"

It all depends on what you are looking for. If you want a timeless classic that has its own personality and flair, then definitely go with the old European cut. However, if you want perfection and precision, then the modern round cut may be best for you.

Old European cuts are definitely worth checking out! We don’t play favorites...but they just might be.

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