They say diamonds are forever – but what happens as time presses on, though? Do diamonds get better with age? Are antique diamonds more beautiful?
One thing is for sure: No matter how old a diamond is, it will still arouse interest. Diamond jewelry is always popular and sought after. Both antique diamonds and modern gems have their advantages.
But let’s talk about diamonds aging, shall we?
Old Or New? Are Diamonds Better With Age?
We have all heard a saying that fine wine gets better with age. Many people claim that the same goes for diamond jewelry. Every gem you buy is a little piece of art, especially the antique diamonds cut by hand. The classic jewelry pieces have a unique charm that modern machine-cut diamonds cannot offer.
Thanks to modern laser cutting techniques, gems are now cut with superior precision. It can be said that they are closer to perfection than their ancestors. But even though antique diamonds are often a bit irregular, they are always “one of a kind” – which can add to their value.
So, it is debatable whether modern technology and cutting techniques have facilitated the diamond industry or made it worse. Many believe that diamonds have lost a little bit of their magic.
Traditional diamond cutting has definitely changed, and now the goal is to work the way up to ultimate perfection. However, even though antique diamonds are far less “perfect,” they tend to stand out much more easily since they offer unique features and a nostalgic feel as a bonus, too.
For example, old-style diamonds provide more scintillation due to a heavier crown. People who prefer flashes of color and radiance will most probably like the antique cut facet rather than the modern look.
Diamond Craftsmanship Through History
The evolution of diamond shapes or different cuts has been quite a journey. Sadly, numerous diamond cut styles are no longer available, and you can admire them only in antique jewelry.
It often takes much more than visiting a local jewelry store if you want to buy such jewelry, though. Some of the diamond cut styles that belong to the by-gone era and are challenging to get a hold of these days are:
The “Old Mine” Cut
The Old Mine cut diamonds were the first diamonds in the Georgian era, but they remained popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
Unlike the Old European cut diamonds they are often confused with, the Old Mine cut diamonds are square in shape. They differ from the Princess cut gems thanks to the rounded edges.
Just like the modern brilliant-cut diamonds, the Miner cut gems have 58 facets, but that is where all similarities end.
The Old Mine diamonds feature a smaller table and a larger culet. They also have a higher crown. Their distinctive look is mainly owed to short lower half facets and a very thin girdle.
At first, the diamond cutters shaped Old Mine diamonds by following the octahedral shape of the diamond crystal. The diamonds were hand-crafted by grinding two diamonds together until the desired shape was achieved, and then polished.
For this reason, the dimensions differed from stone to stone. As a result, all the Miner cut stones are unique and have their own “personality.”
The “Old Euro” Cut
The rounded Old European cut diamond or “Old Euro Cut” was the diamond shape style typical for the late Victorian era, Edwardian era, and the beginning of the Art Deco era.
It came to be thanks to the invention of the bruting machine and motorized saw. These two inventions revolutionized diamond cutting and enabled cutters to shape the round and more brilliant gems with greater precision.
The Old European cut diamond features a round shape and a higher crown. Thanks to the greater total depth, it usually faces up whiter than the modern round brilliant of similar color.
Your eye gets more drawn into the diamond as well.
The Old Euro cut diamonds are considered to be the predecessors to modern round brilliant cut diamonds. As we have already mentioned, they are often confused with Old Mine cut diamonds; try not to make the same mistake.
The “Rose” Cut
The Rose cut diamonds became popular in the Georgian Era (the 1700s).
The Rose cut diamonds feature a domed top, a flat base, and distinctive triangle facets – they resemble a fully bloomed rose with wide-spread petals.
These gems might resemble the modern brilliant cut diamonds since they both sparkle and reflect light in a similar way, but they are pretty different: Brilliant cut diamonds always have 57 to 58 facets, while Rose cuts have anywhere from 3 to 24 facets.
The Rose cut diamonds do not have a pointed bottom section, and as such, they sit closer to your hand, have a more subtle shine, and appear more prominent.
On that note, here’s a piece of advice: If you want a one-carat stone that appears more prominent than it is, try to find an antique Rose cut diamond. It will be more visible than the brilliant-cut diamond of the same weight and price.
The “Asscher” Cut
The Asscher cut has been invented by the Royal Asscher Diamond Company. It first appeared in 1902 but hasn’t gotten viral until the 1920s of the Art Deco era.
This diamond has been one of the first diamond cuts to be patented.
Asscher is a step-cut diamond. It typically features a rectangular shape and a series of parallel facets that give it an orderly look.
Symmetry is very important for this type of diamond – it needs to be flawless. If it is not, it will be very visible, more than for any other shape. Therefore, you must always inspect the table of the diamond head and make sure all the lines meet at the same point.
If they are not, the diamond is poorly cut.
Asscher diamonds are ideal for people who prefer clean lines, but if you enjoy the extra sparkle, you should best opt for another shape. In comparison to the dazzling sparkle of a round brilliant, or an oval cut diamond, the Asscher diamonds appear somewhat subdued.
We should also warn you that Asscher diamonds are notoriously hard to find.
Well, only about 2% of diamonds are cut this way. So, if you’re looking for a specific weight and high quality at a reasonable price, you might be on a mission impossible.
Even if you are lucky enough to find an Asscher cut diamond at your local jewelry store, you’ll probably be limited to one or two pieces of jewelry. If you want to have more options to choose from – and do not want to lose too much time searching for a diamond – opt for a different cut.
If you are still determined to buy an Asscher, be careful not to be tricked into taking home an emerald-cut diamond instead.
How can that happen?
Both Asscher cut diamonds, and Emerald cuts are cut into squares and thus look very much alike.
However, you still can recognize an Asscher by its more significant step facets. It also features a higher crown and a smaller table. Typically, Asscher gems are more brilliant than their kins, the emerald cut diamonds, too.
The “Emerald” Cut
The Emerald cut was born in 1930 to replace the table cut and step cut diamonds. It became standardized in the 1940s.
Emerald cut diamonds are appreciated and admired for their dramatic hall of mirrors effect. It is a “fancy shape” diamond quite different from a Brilliant cut:
These diamonds are exceptionally strong, durable, and resistant to chipping. They also have a dominant vintage feel – but go well with modern jewelry as well.
You can easily find an Emerald cut diamond in the preferred size and quality, but getting a very high clarity may be a problem. The good news is that their price is usually lower in comparison to that of round brilliants.
So, at least you have that going for you, huh?
The “Brilliant” Cut
The Brilliant cut rose in popularity around the 1940s and remained as popular and sought for until this very day. There are no indications that it will fall from grace any time soon.
So, what’s the secret of its success?
A brilliant-cut diamond features 58 angular facets distributed among the gem’s crown, girdle, and pavilion. It is typically round and offers superb brilliance.
In fact, it earned an iconic reputation thanks to its incredible sparkle and brightness.
Nowadays, round brilliant cut diamonds take up almost 75% of all the diamonds available in the world. They are undoubtedly the most popular choice of shape for engagement rings.
These diamonds carry the highest premium due to their enormous popularity and the amount of waste produced while cutting them.
To make sure you get the best for your money, pay special attention to the cut grade. It is the most important C of the 4 Cs as it guarantees the maximum sparkle.
Are There Any Good Reasons For You To Buy An “Aged” Diamond?
As you can see in our short historical overview, diamond cutting advanced quickly. It was partly due to new technology – but most of all, to the human desire to cut a perfect diamond.
A modern round brilliant cut is very near the sought-after ideal, especially now that humans have been replaced with top-notch machines. Diamond cuts are now more standardized and regulated.
On the other hand, antique diamonds have their advantages too.
First, they are the “greener” option. They have been made by hand and mined in the past, thus having a zero-net effect on the environment.
Old diamonds are often recycled as well. Numerous heirloom diamonds and old family stones are now repurposed or even recut to fit in with the modern styles, making them as popular and relevant as ever.
Plus, there’s the financial aspect: Buying an antique diamond is a good investment. Generally, people get more for their money when they opt for an older diamond – and these diamonds hold their value longer, too.
Finally, antique diamonds are more romantic: A legend says that a worn diamond brings a bride the luck of a woman who wore it before.
The history of an old diamond can be both interesting and profitable. How come? Well, diamonds that have a good story are often worth more. For example, gems worn by royalty are enticing and highly valued.
Related Read: Can a Single Woman Wear a Diamond Ring?
Choosing a diamond for a special occasion is a personal thing. We cannot make it easier by telling you whether you should select an antique diamond or a modern one.
It is up to you, your taste, and preferences.
Diamonds might not be better with age, but older diamonds still have a lot to offer. They are hand-made, one-of-a-kind gems perfect for an independent young generation we are raising right now.
Unfortunately, antique diamonds are very rare on the market. A high-quality piece is notoriously hard to find. But given everything we’ve discussed, we encourage you to at least try.
Related Read: Are Old Diamonds More Valuable?