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One of the oldest diamond cuts available, the old mine cut is a vintage diamond shape that was highly popular during the Georgian and Victorian. Since the evolution of diamond cutting techniques and the demand for brilliant diamond cuts surged, the old mine cut had fallen out of favor.
But of late, there is renewed interest in the old mine cut.
With all things vintage coming into vogue, the old mine cut is being re-examined. For those with a love for vintage jewelry, this diamond cut is one not to be missed.
Let’s take a look what the old mine cut is and whether you should choose it over a modern cut.
What is the Old Mine Cut?
The old mine cut was first introduced around 300 years ago, in the 1700s. It was very popular and continued to be so until modern technology changed how diamonds were cut.
While today’s diamonds are precision cut using machines, in the past, diamonds were cut by hand and eye. Cutting a diamond was a laborious process, with diamond cutters grinding one diamond against another to create the shape they wanted. Just in case you didn’t know, a diamond is one of the hardest substances on earth and only another diamond can cut it.
There were no standard dimensions as each stone was cut to suit the individual rough. As any hand made item, each old mine cut diamond was unique and individual. No two were ever exactly alike.
The old mine cut had 58 facets like modern round brilliant cuts. However, they were not round, but rather square with rounded corners, much like the cushion shape. Cutting a diamond into a round shape is very difficult to do without the help of special tools, so the cushion shape was the closest to round that they could get.
The table of the cut was smaller, and the overall shape had more depth due to a higher crown. The facets varied in size but were larger than today’s brilliant cut facets. The girdle of the old mine cut was generally very thin which meant that it had to be set carefully to protect this part from being damaged.
Old Mine Cut Sparkle and Fire
The diamonds featuring the old mine cut were shaped in this way to glimmer under candlelight. It’s intriguing to think that the type of light was an influencing factor in the features of this cut. This is why the sparkle of the old mine cut is very different to the sparkle of a modern brilliant cut. Under modern lights, old mine cuts don’t appear very brilliant, but under candlelight, they glowed.
The way old mine cut diamonds displayed fire in a different way as well. As the facets are larger than modern brilliant cuts, the colorful flashes that emanate from the diamond under lights are larger and more intense.
Why Choose an Old Mine Cut?
If you love all things vintage, then you’ll fall in love with the old mine cut. It is the quintessential antique diamond cut, harking back to a simpler time. Old mine cuts have a long and rich history and are an important part of the evolution of the diamond.
While old mine cuts had fallen out of fashion for a long time, the recent surge in popularity of vintage jewelry styles has brought this cut back into the spotlight.
This diamond cut goes beautifully with vintage settings and styles. It stands out in its simplicity and in the focus on the aesthetics of the diamond. Unlike today’s diamonds, where each is a carbon copy of the next, these old mine diamonds were unique. For someone who wants something out of the ordinary, this diamond cut is a way to go.
Old Mine Cut Diamond Engagement Ring
Is an old mine cut a good option for a diamond engagement ring? After all, most people choose diamonds for their exceptional brilliance and sparkle, and as we’ve discussed already, the old mine cut doesn’t show a diamond to maximum advantage where sparkle is concerned.
Be that as it may, the allure of the old mine cut in engagement rings is that it is truly unique and distinct from other diamond cuts that are churned out these days. If you want a sparkling diamond, then this isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for something off the beaten track, with history and a story, then an old mine cut has a lot to offer you.
Most old mine cut engagement rings are set in vintage designs, evoking past eras such as Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian and Art Deco periods. Here are some vintage ring designs to inspire you, in order of the eras:
If you’re inspired and want to learn more about these eras, check out article on antique and vintage rings.
Old Mine Cut vs. European Cut
Many people confuse the old mine cut with the European cut but there are distinct differences between these two.
The European cut dates back to the 1800s, making it slightly more modern than the old mine cut. It has similar cut specifications to the old mine cut however the girdle of the old European cut is circular whereas the girdle of the old mine cut is squarish. Also, the old European cut had 58 facets making it the predecessor of the round brilliant cut of today.
The European cut was popular during the Victorian, Edwardian and Art Nouveau eras while the old mine cut was at its heyday during the Georgian and Victorian eras.
Where to Buy Old Mine Cuts
Until recently, many old mine cut diamonds were re-cut into modern diamond shapes. These diamonds were turned into brilliant cuts to suit modern designs. However, this has stopped as people have begun to see the vintage value of the old mine cut in all its glory. Today, there’s a high demand for original old mine cut diamonds.
As finding original antique old mine cuts is proving more and more difficult and expensive, you’ll find that some jewelers new old mine cut diamonds on offer. You can check at antique jewelry stores for original cuts but a replica cut is the next best thing.
We recommend searching at antique stores or online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy as they have a good range of old mine cuts on offer. Both Amazon and Etsy have vintage and modern engagement rings and jewelry designs featuring old mine cuts available from multiple independent jewelry boutiques.
As each Amazon and Etsy shop has its own polices, it might take some time to review all their details ahead of making a purchase, but that’s usually time well-spent.