When a diamond comes out of the earth, it is rough and unrefined. It takes hours of cutting and polishing to turn a rough diamond into the beautiful stone we know and love.
Not to be confused with diamond shape (such as round, pear or oval), a diamond’s cut refers to its symmetry, proportioning and polish. A diamond’s cut has an enormous impact on everything from its beauty and sparkle to its value and appearance. Here’s a guide to the various cuts you may encounter when shopping for a diamond.
Old Mine (Cushion)
With its rounded corners and curved sides, the old mine cut (also known as the cushion cut) is simply breathtaking. It has 58 facets — the same number as the modern round brilliant diamonds produced today. The cut’s name comes from the fact that hundreds of years ago, most diamonds came from India or Brazil. After Africa became the diamond capital of the world, diamonds that preceded this new era were said to be from the “old mines.”
Popular throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, old mine cuts are essentially the great-grandfathers of modern brilliant cuts. There are few good examples of old mine cuts around today, so demand is high for these vintage beauties.
Old European cut diamonds were handcrafted from 1890 to the 1930s, and were very popular during the Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco eras. This cut’s 58 facets take the shape of thick triangular blocks, as opposed to the thinner facets found in modern round brilliant cuts. Old European cuts also appear round from the top view as opposed to old mine cuts, which have a more squared-off top view. The 58 facets make the old European another predecessor of today’s modern round brilliant cut.
A rose cut diamond echoes the petals of a rose by imitating the narrowing spiral of the flower’s petals. Rose cut gems have anywhere from three to 24 triangular facets that come to a point at the top and a flat bottom that creates a larger surface area to enhance the stone’s brilliance. The rose cut was popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Invented by the Royal Asscher Diamond Company in 1902, the Asscher cut is one of the very first patented diamond cuts in the world. However, it didn’t gain widespread popularity until the Art Deco era of the 1920s. Distinctive and understated, its vintage-inspired style is a favorite among brides who envision their rings becoming future family heirlooms. The Asscher cut is typically more brilliant than its cousin, the emerald cut.
Stonecutters initially created the emerald cut for emerald stones — hence the name. It became popular partly because of the fact that its shape helped prevent chips from occurring in the emeralds during the cutting process. Diamond cutters took notice of this new shape and began to use it on diamonds as well.
The emerald cut boasts a stunning “hall of mirrors” effect, and while it’s understated, it’s also very glamorous. Its subtle elegance is associated with royalty, which may be why emerald cuts have remained one of the most popular choices for engagement rings and other jewelry pieces since the Art Deco era.
The marquise has one of the most interesting histories of all the modern diamond cuts. Named for the Marquise De Pompadour, the mistress of French king Louis XV, the marquise cut was created to resemble the shape of Madame de Pompadour’s mouth, which Louis believed to be perfect. The marquise cut is made to maximize carat weight and features 58 facets and an elliptical shape with pointed ends.
Invented early in the twentieth century, this versatile and sophisticated cut has become incredibly popular in recent years thanks to its sparkling brilliance and elegant symmetry. The round brilliant’s 58 facets are cut in such a way to increase the light bouncing off it, giving it unparalleled fire and radiance. It’s the cut of choice for brides seeking a thoroughly stylish, up-to-date and eye-catching look.
Learn more about the various diamond cuts available by visiting the experts at Eiseman Jewels at NorthPark Center in Dallas.