Antique diamonds, vintage diamonds, and old cut diamonds. Are they more valuable than modern diamonds? What makes them so special?
What is an antique cut diamond?
By definition antique describes an object any piece older than 100 years old can be deemed antique. However diamonds from the 1930, 1940's and even 1950's are often older cut stones as well.
What's the difference between and antique cut and a modern cut diamond?
Antique cut diamonds were not cut with the precision of modern machinery. Modern diamonds began to emerge in the 1950s with the invention of computer assisted diamond cutting techniques as well as more modern machining technology which allowed for the standardization of diamond shapes and more precise cuts. These cuts produced uniformity, something stones from the previous decades could not achieve so well.
The first diamonds that were cut made their jewelry debut as what are called Point and Table Cut diamonds. Increased in popularity in Medieval rings during the 13th century. Styles changed and the table cut was born with a flat top and 4 corners (similar to a table), and the Point Cut, which was essentially just a polishing of the rough diamond to reveal the natural surfaces of a well formed octahedral diamond crystal.
In the 16th century, new styles of cut began emerging. Faceted Rose Cuts began to become more popular. The Baroque era stones became something more as an intrinsic desire for sparkle pulled a 'brilliant' cut faceting style into play, the birth of which is called the Old Mine Cut.
The old mine cut diamonds are often asymmetrical, have uneven facets, and are not truly round (sort of like a round with corners (think a couch cushion)). They out sparkled the rose cut and table cuts and dazzled in the candlelight of the time. This cut started with a full pavilion. They also have triangular and diamond-shaped facets on both the crown (top) and pavilion (bottom) the true definition of a "brilliant cut".
You likely will not see a Point or Table Cut, as most substantial stones from the 16th century have been recut at some point in history.
Are antique diamonds more expensive than modern diamonds? Are antique diamonds cheaper than modern diamonds?
One of the key factors that has influenced antique diamond market price is increased market demand. Over the last 20 years, antique and vintage jewelry has seen a resurgence with the discovery of the charm of older cut stones. Old cuts become more scarce each passing year as stones are lost, recut, or broken (yes a diamond can actually break!) and likely may become more valuable. There is a limited supply of antique diamonds and today, in some cases, when an old cut diamond is exceptional, it will sell for more than a similar modern stone! This is not always the case however!
What to look for when buying and antique diamond or antique ring?
In many of the older rings the old cut diamonds tend to show warmer colors as often times these were the stones that were found at those mines. Many of the better stones have been recut over the years to more modern stones.. Due to the make, or cut of the stone, these often "face up" whiter to the eye. In other words, a K or L color old stone may look more like a J or even I color where as in a modern stone the color will generally look the color it is (yet not always)
If you are interested in a white stone they are harder to find and can come at a premium often times we won't even post them on our site and hold them for those who contact us privately. (in fact most of our diamonds are not listed at all!)
Can I buy an antique diamond and set it in a more modern designed setting?
Absolutely as we carry both original rings with original stones as well as several thousand loose diamonds of every era and design in which we move to modern settings when requested! Additionally our CAD team is ready to custom make engagement rings each day. As a leader in jewelry manufacturing custom jewelry we are proud to help you put the perfect piece together.
To learn more about diamond cuts, or diamond education see our education pages, or other blogs!