Old European Cut Diamond: Can The Old Outshine The New?

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What is an old European cut diamond? 

An old European cut diamond is a diamond that was cut by hand in the period between 1890 to 1930. It has a few differences from modern cut diamonds and some advantages over brilliant cuts. Old European cut diamonds are a good option for those who want something different for their rings and jewelry collection. 

Choosing a diamond is serious business. It means spending a lot of money and finding something that you and your partner will cherish for years. If you’ve never chosen diamonds before, it can be an intimidating process. There’s so much to learn and so many choices to choose from. But one thing is for sure—you must include an old European cut diamond in your options.

Fascinating Facts About Old European Cut Diamond

Brilliant cut diamonds are the most common pieces available in the market. These are often made using laser and are the typical diamonds you see in ads. However, not everyone wants a brilliant cut diamond. For some reason, people might want something different yet classical. 

Let’s introduce you to old European cut diamonds. But first, let’s look at the brief history of diamonds and how they were formed and developed. As we go along, we’ll discover why an old European cut diamond should be your top choice. Are you ready? Let’s begin this fascinating journey!

History of Diamonds

Diamonds are forever, and they will keep shining—repeating their radiant history.

Diamonds have been used as jewelry and adornment ever since man discovered these amazing stones. The first recorded use of diamonds in jewelry can be traced back to India, approximately 3,000 years ago. Indians and Buddhists valued the stone’s incredible ability to reflect light and they believed that using it helped ward off evil. 

The practice continued in the middle ages. However, diamond cutting techniques weren’t developed yet during this time. People didn’t see the full potential of diamonds and they mostly used them for medicine. In the old days, our ancestors believed that diamonds can cure a sick person by making the sign of the cross while holding it. They also ingested the stones to protect themselves from poisons. 

It was only in the 1400s that diamond cutting was developed, and the modern diamond-cutting industry was born in Belgium. Diamonds may be among the hardest substances to find, cut, and polish. Fortunately, gem cutters discovered that the stone can be cut using their dust. 

How Diamonds are Formed

It’s adorable how diamonds do well under stress and pressure.

The scientific explanation of diamond formation is quite interesting. We might be familiar with the “diamonds are from coal” story, but the truth is less straightforward than that. The best word to associate with diamond formation is “pressure.” Yes, these stones are formed under conditions of immense pressure. In fact, all the diamonds that you see right now were formed approximately three billion years ago within the Earth’s crust. 

The intense heat and pressure of the Earth’s crust cause the formation of diamonds. However, their story doesn’t end there. For these diamonds to reach the surface of the Earth, something had to bring them there. Such became possible through subsurface volcanic eruptions, which formed kimberlite and lamproite pipes. Miners sought the kimberlite and lamproite pipes because they were abundant with diamonds. However, not all these pipes bear diamonds. Only one in every two hundred kimberlite pipes are estimated to have gem-quality diamonds. 

Early Development of Diamond Cutting

Diamonds have to be cut in a manner that will reflect the most light. Otherwise, the stone can look dull or flat. Making the diamond sparkle is the most challenging task for a gem cutter, not to mention that it’s already hard to create different shapes for your diamond jewelry piece.

In the middle ages, gem cutters produced point, table, heart, and pear cuts. The heart cut diamond appealed to wealthy people, including Mary the Queen of Scotts and Queen Elizabeth I. 

The rose cut was introduced to Europe at the beginning of the Tudor & Stuart periods. It was designed to make the most of the stone and not lose much of it. Rose cut diamonds didn’t really have the fire and brilliance of modern diamonds, but they were pretty revolutionary at that time. 

Innovations were inevitable when it came to diamond cutting. As gem cutters gradually improved and honed their skills, they settled on a cut that seemed to bring out the most life in a diamond. These kinds of cuts are called mine cut diamonds. They were a step ahead of rose cuts, but they couldn’t hold a candle to modern brilliant cut diamonds. Mine cuts also looked flat and lifeless like their rose cut predecessors, although they fared better in the candlelit atmospheres of the era. 

Introducing Old European Cut Diamond

Classic, unique, and naturally beautiful—old European cut diamonds can be the next biggest thing in your collection.

After the mine cuts came another innovation—the old European cut diamond. It’s the closest that we have to the fire and brilliancy of modern diamonds while retaining the charm and grace of older cuts. Old European cut diamonds were created in 1890. During this time, diamonds were still cut by hand. The modern process of creating brilliant cuts wasn’t available yet.

When did old European cut diamonds stop? The cutting process began to evolve in the 1930s, and cut diamonds were already called modern round cut diamonds or transitional cuts. Thus, the making of old European cut diamonds stopped around 1930, and the only ones you’ll find in the market today are from that period.

What is the difference between old mine cut and old European cut diamonds?

Unlike old European cut diamonds, old mine cuts have a softer look. They weren’t cut with the brightness of modern lighting, so they can look dead or flat. Old mine cut diamonds usually need candlelight to bring out the fire in them. Do old European cut diamonds sparkle? Yes, they do. Hence, an old European cut diamond is rare and more valuable than an old mine cut. 

Because of their rarity, old European cut diamonds may command a higher market price than commercially-made brilliant cut diamonds. They also sparkle more brilliantly than old mine cuts since the technique used was more complicated and advanced.

If you’re interested in a unique and classic diamond ring, an old European cut diamond might be a good option. Since it’s hand-cut, no two pieces are the same, which is something that can’t be said for brilliant cut diamonds. If you want to explore more about vintage diamonds, you can read our post: “Is The Old Mine Cut Diamonds For You? 5 Things To Keep In Mind.”

The Modern Market For Diamonds

From head to toe, diamonds are literally everywhere. Everyone’s walking fancy and elegant with these stones.

Developments in science and technology led to the creation of the modern brilliant cut diamonds. Marcel Tolkowsky introduced it in 1910, intending to make a diamond seem like the most brilliant stone. You may read our Pompeii3 review to look for diamonds that can be a great investment. 

The modern market for diamonds is primarily driven by the demand for rings. Diamond rings have become de rigueur when it comes to engagements. Every lady carefully notes the four C’s when her man proposes: carat, clarity, color, and cut. 

4Cs of Diamonds


Carat refers to the diamond’s size. Diamonds may have the same carat, but the look can vary widely. For example, a 2 carat old European cut diamond will appear larger on your hand than a 2-carat emerald cut. This is because emerald cuts are usually smaller in appearance than old European cuts. 


Clarity is measured whether there are inclusions in the stone. Inclusions are imperfections brought about by the formation process. If you use a loupe, you can see if your diamond has inclusions—they tend to look like specks of dirt trapped inside the stone. The more inclusions a diamond has, the less valuable it is as a gemstone, although salt-and-pepper diamonds have recently been gaining traction. 

Sometimes, there can be good in the bad things. | Source: Diamond Producers Association

Color is exactly what the name implies. We’re all familiar with diamonds being colorless or the “D-colored diamond,” but the truth is they come in a variety of colors. It could range from the more common yellow and blue to the rarer red and green stones. A diamond’s color can change depending on how it was formed.


Finally, we get to the cut. We have more options when it comes to diamond cuts. You can even request a custom cut for a particular shape you like, and it’s much more expensive than the regular diamond jewelry you see in the stores. The cut is often the most overlooked factor in the four C’s of choosing a diamond, but it’s no less important than the other three. As mentioned before, the diamond cut can influence its look markedly. 

Old European Cut Diamond vs Round Brilliant Cut

Old European cut diamonds are the closest predecessor of the most popular diamond shape—the round brilliant cut. The two stones are similar in terms of facets, but they differ hugely in shape and characteristics. Vintage diamond cuts emphasize the stone’s color while brilliant diamonds are cut for brilliance. 

When you examine a round brilliant diamond, you’ll notice that it automatically shines when it captures light. However, it’s different for old European cuts. You need to look at them closely to see them sparkle. They’re more natural and require intense moments with the eyes to see their true beauty. As for the shape, an old European cut diamond is rounder. It has a higher crown and greater depth than the modern round brilliant cut.  

Why You Should Choose an Old European Cut Diamond

An old European cut diamond is one of the best pieces that you can add to your jewelry collection. Hesitant about the value of this stone? Allow us to list down the reasons why you should choose an old European cut diamond over all other options available on the market.


Diamonds, due to their value, are the subject of many shady transactions. You might have heard of the term “blood diamonds,” or diamonds that are sourced from areas of conflict and used to finance insurgencies. Who wants their stone associated with such a troubled history? The good news is that if you’re buying old European cut diamonds, you’re more likely to be helping the Earth and having a clean conscience. All European cut diamonds on the market are recycled and come from older settings. 


Of course, everyone wants a unique stone. We all want to stand out especially if we’re wearing an expensive, elegant piece. Fortunately, an old European cut diamond is one-of-a-kind. It’s nothing like the modern diamonds and a perfect fit for vintage lovers. If you’re looking for beauty that never fades, an old European cut is your best choice.  

Value and Price

You may ask: are old European cut diamonds worth more? As previously mentioned, these stones are recycled from older settings. They might come from older pieces of jewelry repurposed and refashioned. Because of this, the cost of old European cuts is cheaper than brand-new retailed diamonds. If you want a diamond badly but don’t want to spend a fortune on one, you may consider getting an old European cut diamond. 


Since old European cuts were made in a short period, they’re fast becoming rare. Gem cutters aren’t making more of them, so if you want to get your hands on something rare and valuable, this is a great option. 

Do you want to own an old European cut diamond now?

Old European cut diamonds are a great option for those who are looking for a unique, vintage piece. They have numerous pros over brilliant cuts, targeting the Earth-friendly and budget-conscious consumer. It’s no doubt that if you choose an old European cut diamond, you’ll find something that you’ll love and cherish for a long time. 

Looking for old European cut diamonds for sale? Check our Michael M review and get a glimpse of their stunning collections. 

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