The Charm of Old Cut Diamonds

Important Jewels. Leonard Joel Auction

Old cut diamonds are certainly having a resurgence in popularity with the modern jewellery connoisseur. They date back to the 18th century when all diamonds were measured and cut by hand, following the natural shape of the stone. These diamonds have an alluring charm and timeless attraction and are cherished by many.

Important Jewels. Leonard Joel AuctionThanks to the manual process, these beautiful stones are full of character. Their shape is often not exact, and they typically possess a high crown and small table with large “chunky facets” and an open culet that may not be completely centred. While they don’t have quite the sparkle of a modern brilliant cut, with old cut diamonds it’s more about the subtle refraction and warm glow. The old mine cut, designed to sparkle in candlelight, is the predecessor of the modern cushion cut, and the old European cut, slightly different in proportions to the old mine cut, is the predecessor of today’s brilliant cut. 

These stones have been collected and worn as adornment by royalty, maharajas, women, and men for centuries. Some iconic old cut diamonds include the “Le Grand Mazarin” 19.07ct pink diamond, which has decorated the crowns of French royalty for more than 200 years. Another famous example is the “Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond”, 31.06 carats of deep blue diamond (originally 35.56ct prior to Laurence Graff having it recut), and let’s not forget the famed 45.52ct “Hope” blue diamond.

Anyone who manages to acquire an old cut diamond holds a piece of quiet beauty and subtle extravagance.

TROY MCKENZIE / Queensland Representative Specialist 

Banner Image and above: Solitaire Diamond Ring, Claw-set with an old European-cut diamond weighing approximately 4.00 carats, mounted in 18ct white gold, size N1/2. | $20,000-25,000 | Property from a Private Queensland Collection

November 2022