It is probably safe to say the most popular gemstone in not only antique estate jewelry, but also modern jewelry is the diamond. Thought to have origins in India, its extraction, exportation and use over the years reflects much of the advances in Western technology, shifts of economy and change of lifestyles. Originally prized for purported magical qualities, today it is valued for its simple yet fascinating ability to reflect and refract light.
Antique estate diamond rings are highly collectible and highly sought after by modern brides and grooms. Most vintage jewelry currently found in stores was created during the mid-1800s to the early-1900s. Their delicate designs and sheer uniqueness make antique diamond jewelry stunning accessories for celebrating the most special of occasions. Their individuality is the reflection of not only the hand craftsmanship of skilled artisans but also of the time, thought and patience required to create a quality piece jewelry. In a world of mass production, this is part of what makes antique jewelry so coveted and admired.
There are a few different types of antique diamond cuts. The Rose cut, developed in the 1500’s, is one of the older cutting styles with a simple flat bottom and faceted domed top that is often compared to the bud of a rose (hence the name). The old Mine cut, which began to reflect a more sophisticated style of cutting, gained popularity in the 1800’s and is known for its high crown, off-round shape and chunky facets. Similarly, the Cushion cut had made its appearance by this time and offered a different shape to the mix. Then, by the late 1800’s, the old European brought a more refined brilliance as well as a more uniformly round girdle with improved symmetry. Because these diamonds were cut by hand by individual artisans rather than the lasers and machines of today, no two diamonds are alike in finished shape, which is seen as a big asset for fans of vintage jewelry.
Though many people may not be aware, the modern diamonds we see in the market today have roots in the old cuts of centuries ago. The old Mine and old European cuts were precursors to the Modern Brilliant cut just as the antique Cushion is an earlier ancestor to the modern Cushion cut. Another style, the Asscher cut, predates the modern Emerald cut, with its dramatically terraced facets. These different characteristics paired with a romantic history are what make these diamonds special and so sought after today.