Old European Cut and Old Mine cut diamonds

Forerunners to the modern round brilliant cut diamond, the old mine and the old European cut diamonds have a timeless beauty.
A Favorite of discerning collectors of vintage and antique jewelry ,old mine cut diamonds share the same number of Perspectives,58,as the modern brilliant cut round diamond, which dealers refer as one with “Persona" and “Charisma". Since diamonds first appeared in jewelry, these stones were a product of the technology of the mine - or rather the lack thereof. The diamonds, cut with the lack of motorized machinery, followed the rough diamonds octahedral shape. Until the late 1800's diamond cutters back than were faceting stones "to the best of their ability, creating mostly squares or rectangular wise cushion-shaped diamonds, as well as some that were rounded out only by eye, an expert in the field of old cut and estate diamonds. "The shape of the old stones of that time was not uniform at all. One side might be narrower than its opposite side. There were a lot of variations in the shapes and facet arrangements and the sizes of the facets were not uniform whatsoever".
 

What most people recognize as characteristic of these old stones, "are the heavy crown, usually a very deep bottom ,a wide open culet and a very small table “Even into the late nineteenth century ,he adds ,the more rounded-out cuts were "still heavy, and clunky, the facets not quite uniform and the culet very big on the bottom. The table tended to be small, but not always. The rough would always dictate the final shape of the stone."  The “reward of diamond cutting from this less-technologically-dependent age, was that the cutters of these old mine stones saw very little connection between rough crystal and beauty. “There was no academic grading process, no certificates, no labels, no liner scales. “The aim, he says, was to produce the brightest, whitest stone."
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The Old Euro
In the nineteenth century with the development of the motorized machinery ,there was a transition, into what is known as old European ,or old Euro, cut .A more mathematically precise round variation of the old mine cut, "it was the bridge between the roundish old mine cut and the modern round as we know today. The bottom halves added to the primary eight facets are short .They usually take about 50% of the distance between the girdle and the culet, whereas, in the modern stone those can go up to 85%.Most of the old European cuts are also Characterized by a very small .



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Old miners (Old mine diamond Cut), tend to "price out less expensive than a modern stone. In the past, 20 years 30 years even 40 years ago -an old cut diamond was priced according to the period of time it will take to cut it into a modern stone. The jeweler, or dealer, made a calculation, he would either re-cut the diamond or sell it “as is "for a beat cheaper price because than he would save the effort of cutting it". For example , "if a dealer has a2-carat diamond and it's going to take 20% to 25% to cut it into a modern cut, not only he will lose up to 25% of the weight ,he will also end up with a stone in a smaller and cheaper size category". That is the reason why he would sell it as an old cut and still make more profit than re-cutting .The demand for modern cuts is much higher than for old cuts, so the market price for an old cut is less than for its counterpart in a modern stone. However, the market is higher than the value determined if the stone were re-cut, since today there is a demand within the market for the old cuts the way they are". The price, says Goldstein, "is more about availability. And with the old stone, it's always going to be limited". Goldstein, Who publishes his own guide to prices ,says that many of the older stones are K,L,M,N,O,P colors and the market is educated so that they shouldn't have darker than I .So in terms of pricing ,there is a premium -the rarer something is, the higher the price is going to be. So we do charge premiums, on a case -by-case basis, for the whiter stones.
 
Real or Repro?
While there are modern “Old mine" diamonds being cut today. These reproductions can be detected by professional eye. “You can usually tell if it's a contemporary-made old European or old miner diamond ", explains Levine, "because it's so much better made .The facets line up, the girdle edges are not thin and chipped, it usually has a polished faceted edge to it". He agrees that "Most dealers with knowledge in older stones can see right away, the difference between a real antique cut diamond and stones which look like they are old but actually were cut today". With a lot of the newer stones, the girdles are polished, which is not indicative of the period. To an expert eye, when cutters today try to cut old cuts, many times the crowns come out too high, and the bottoms too flat. Too much emphasis is put on weight loss and yield rather than on the charisma of the cut". A trained eye can tell, agrees Goldstein, "one modern cuts do not tend to be as wasteful-you are looking for brilliance and you are looking to maintain weight. Most old stones have what is a very thin, knife -edge girdle, Moreover, Goldstein adds, the true old miners have a softness that only age can give". 


table, usually less than 53% The old European diamonds were very popular from the 1890's and through the Art Deco period, modern stones are cut for brilliance, "explains Michael Goldstein, dealer in antique diamonds and jewelry, "which means light comes in and height comes right back at you. Old stones tend to be a little deeper - light comes in and your eye is more drawn into the stone".
 

What Dealers Look for
Buonomo describes these stones "soft, glowing brilliance face up display and discernible facet arrangement. They will be deeper and a chunkier than modern cuts, although, he says ,too deep is undesirable .Depths deep in the high 70% or 80% lose their appeal as they appear too small for their weight. A dealer, will always look “at sell-ability, availability and value without compromising the integrity of the time period. We don't buy old cuts that later on in life were girdle polished during repair, drilled or enhanced in any way. Nothing is more aggravating than seeing a diamond cut in the eighteenth century with a laser drill in it.
Old stones, says Goldstein, usually will not be as white, most of the white stones we see in the market today come from Southern Africa-Angola, Botswana, Sierra Leone ,and those mines did not exist back then. Stones were coming from Brazil and Venezuela; they still do, by the way. For the most part, these are darker stones. As a general rule, however, Goldstein explains, old stones in mountings face one or two color grades whiter than what they actually are. Because of their open culet, color is not trapped in the stone.

Timeless Appeal
"Five or seven years ago ,these stones were bought to hit the re-cutting wheel ,says Levine, and now because of the scarcity ,people are buying them as a relic from the past ,it's all about rarity". "Whenever there is a technological development in any market, people will then look for the things that are genuine, nostalgic and handmade", claims Goldstein, "and things that are unique have seen the business grow dramatically geometrically, and one reason is consumer awareness".Shatz agrees ,"old cut stones have become more and more popular over the past 20 years. People have become intrigued by them. There are also those who want to own something with a kind of provenance-just the fact that it was once owned by somebody from a very long time ago". "The common thing of the older diamond cuts", says Buonomo,"is the broad facet reflections, in bold, highly characteristic patterns. The path of the light does not reflect back and forth into the fuzzy, crushed ice appearance exhibited by most modern cuts, collectors of old diamond jewelry have grown to love this softer, simpler path of light".
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