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Old European Cut Diamonds vs. Brilliant Cut Diamonds

Old European Cut Diamonds

Diamonds have been available in various cuts throughout the ages. As tools and technology advanced, diamond cuts evolved. Let’s have a look at two most popular diamond cuts: The Old European Cut and the Brilliant Cut.

Art Deco Inspired Engagement Ring Baguette


Old European Cut Diamonds

The Old European Cut Diamond was the predecessor to the new Brilliant Cut Diamond. It was the standard way to cut diamonds between 1890 to 1930, which we know is my personal favorite era of ring design- The Art Nouveau and Art Deco Era.

The Old European Cut was used mostly on round diamonds but can also be seen on square diamonds. European cut diamonds were popular in the era when the cutting of a diamond and shaping strongly depended upon the mastery of the diamond cutters. The cutting of the edges and facets were done solely by eye which means that the cuts would vary widely. This also gives Old European Cut diamonds their unique look as they were all meticulously made by hand and without the use of modern day microscopes. Pretty amazing!

Old European Cut Diamonds were meant to be worn under candlelight, what this meant is that the cutting and polishing of them is quite different than the Brilliant cut diamonds we see today. While they both of 58 facets, Old European diamonds are meant to glow and exude warmth and charm. The table is a smaller and they have a much higher crown as well as visible cutlets. This draws your eye into the stone and gives it more warmth and glow. I personally find them perfectly charming and so very unique.

The Old European Cut Diamond features deeper cut proportions. This, in turn, makes these diamonds appear to be thicker than the Brilliant Cut Diamonds. Another wonderful detail about Old European Diamond Cuts is that they tend to “face up whiter” as we say in the business. What this means is that even though they may be graded a J or I or even lower on the color scale; when they are set into a ring and “facing up” they still appear white.

Brilliant Cut Diamonds are known for their fire and sparkle. They are designed in so that the light goes in the diamond and it gets pushed right out, hence giving it more shine and sparkle. The Old European Cut Diamonds, however, give off a different effect of light. The light is drawn to the stone instead of getting pushed out, and therefore the overall effect of the diamond is that the sparkle is warmer, deeper and more romantic.

Old European Cut Diamonds also are eco-friendly and socially responsible as you are purchasing a heirloom from a by-gone era. Be aware that Antique Old European cut diamonds will require a custom setting. Don’t worry about that though, because making custom settings for these antique beauties is one of our specialties. Old European Cut diamonds go perfectly with our vintage style engagement ring settings.


Brilliant Cut Diamonds

Most of the jewelry we see today is set with Brilliant Cut Diamonds, which are evolved from vintage European cuts. As technology progressed, the equipment of cutting diamonds and the creativity of the craftsmen was modified which resulted in being able to cut diamonds in a more precise manner.

In this era, the round brilliant cut is considered to be the ideal cut for diamonds, but it was not always the same. Before the year 1939, there was no standard system to grade the diamonds, until the 4Cs were introduced, which were, clarity, cut, carat weight and color. All of which depend upon nature’s creativity except the cut of the diamond which depends upon the creativity of the craftsmen.

The brilliant cut diamond features table facets which are cut to be larger, while the lower half facets and star facets are cut to be longer. The brilliant-cut includes 56 to 58 facets with a cutlet. In between the girdle and table, there are nearly 32 facets while below the girdle, there are 24 facets.

What this means for you is that the light which is reflected from inside is maximized by these facets which improve the fire, brilliance & sparkle of the diamonds. As we mentioned earlier, the table of the diamond is flat and not domed as in the Old European Cut.


Old European Cut Diamonds vs. Brilliant Cut Diamonds

Old European Cut Diamond or Brilliant Cut Diamond? Which one should I choose?

If you love the all things vintage and a glowy, romantic & elegant feel I would go with an Old European Cut diamond. It will be more unique and feminine.

If you like a more modern, clean and brilliant look then I would choose a Brilliant Cut Diamond. You will get a lot more sparkle & fire.

It really is up to personal preference. There really is not one option that is better than the other. They all work well in any of our Vintage Inspired Engagement Rings. If you need help sourcing an Old European Cut diamond or designing the ring of your dreams for your beloved we would be happy to help you out. It would be our pleasure.


Heather Charlick

Heather Charlick

Hello There! I'm Heather-a jewelry artist living with my beloved husband & horses in the rolling hills of Tennessee. I make vintage inspired engagement rings for the romantic bride. I would love to help you custom design your dream ring, so feel free to contact me anytime.