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Vintage Diamond Cuts: Your Guide to Their Magnetic Appeal

Rose cut diamonds, with their rounded silhouette and flatter facets, represent one of the earliest forms of diamond cuts. Dating back to the 16th century in Europe, they are often most well-known for their use in the Georgian and Victorian jewellery design eras.

What is a rose cut diamond?

Considered one of the original diamond cuts, the rose cut diamond dates back to the early 1500s. With anywhere from three to 24 triangular facets, rose cut diamonds peak into a dome or kite shape. This structure resembles the soft curve of a petal unfolding on a rosebud (hence its name).

This individual diamond cut is hand carved, unlike machine cut diamonds. The majority of modern diamonds you see today with have crisp and angular facets, like the round brilliant cut or the emerald cut.

Unlike brilliant cuts, rose cuts possess a flatter shape on the back, showcasing a warm yet understated flash or glow of light. The absence of a pavilion highlights the stone’s internal characteristics, making inclusions and blemishes far more visible. Therefore, when considering a rose cut diamond, it’s important to place high importance on the clarity of the stone.

With their soft understated appearance, rose cut diamonds embody old-world romance in a distinctly subtle way. The clear flashes of light and simplistic faceting, perform beautifully in the atmospheric company of candlelight.

Rose cut diamond

The History of Rose Cut Diamonds

While India was the primary source of diamonds at this time, the rose cut faceting structure was developed in Europe. Sea trade routes were established between Europe and India at the time, allowing raw materials to pass across the world more prevalently. This increase in transportation opportunity corresponded with pioneering advancements in diamond cutting that were emerging across Europe, and more specifically, Belgium, at this time with the development of rotary craft tools and strong economic periods.

In fact, it’s said that the first diamond cuts featuring multiple triangular facets were cut in the city of Antwerp, which might be why the rose cut diamond is sometimes referred to as the ‘Antwerp cut’. From this point onwards Antwerp became the hub for diamond cutting and trading, and remains so until this day.

The early 1900s brought the advent of electricity, and with it, the discovery that angled bottoms could further enhance the sparkle of diamonds, emphasising the difference between the delicate shimmer of rose cuts and the deliciously ostentatious twinkle of round brilliants. As technological advancements progressed, the popularity of the rose cut waned. However, as fashion tends to cycle, rose cuts have been seeing a remarkable comeback, riding on the wave of vintage adoration. Today’s modern rose cuts adorn romantic and whimsical jewellery, showcasing an array of faceted shapes that breathe new life into this classic style.

Rose Cut vs Brilliant Cut Diamonds

The comparison between rose cut and brilliant cut diamonds highlights several differences. A round brilliant displays that typical eye-catching sparkle appearance that most people would associate with a stereotypical diamond, while a rose cut offers more subtlety and a nod to the past with its understated glow. As for the more technical aspects, the number of facets in brilliant cuts typically ranges from 57 to 58, emphasising its sparkle, whereas rose cuts, designed for candlelight, can contain anywhere from 3 to 24 facets. Additionally, while brilliant cuts have a pointed bottom for maximum light reflection, rose cuts lack this pavilion, offering a glow with slighter flashes and dimmer reflections of light. Due to their flat bases, rose cuts can appear larger than a round brilliant of the same carat weight on the finger. They sit closer to the skin, which often gives the stones a more transparent appearance – meaning you’re likely to see the skin through the stone.

 Brilliant cutRose cut
Overall shape and structure
Number of facets57-583-24

Reflection of light effectBrilliance, fire and scintillation–often known as sparkle
Softer flashes of glowy light

The Resurgence of Rose Cut Diamonds

In an era dominated by precision and uniformity in diamond cutting, the resurgence of rose cut diamonds represents a return to classical artistry and individuality. While technology has produced impeccably proportioned diamonds, the allure of the rose cut lies in its vintage elegance and delicate play of light. Its timeless charm evokes the memories of eras gone by, resonating with those who love discovering vintage pieces and thrifting the rarest of finds.

Why do people like rose cut diamonds?

Vintage Appeal and Nostalgia: Rose cut diamonds exude an old-world charm, appealing to those who admire the romance and artisanal craftmanship found in the style, as well as the emotion of jewellery from a bygone era.

Distinctive Look: Fewer facets and a flat base, create a softer, subtler sparkle compared to brilliant cuts. This uniqueness attracts those who enjoy a different play of light.

Understated Elegance: The gentle glow emitted by rose cuts convey a silent sophistication, resonating with those who prefer a more subdued sparkle.

Size Perception: Their flat base and larger surface area can make them appear larger per carat compared to other cuts. A flat base offers greater coverage on the finger which is a win if a larger appearance is of utmost importance.

What are the downsides of rose cut diamonds?

A different kind of sparkle: Compared to modern brilliant cuts, rose cuts exhibit a softer, more subtle glow of light. For those desiring maximum brilliance and fire, this gentler appearance might be slighly less appealing.

Visible Inclusions: The shape of a rose cut allows for any potential imperfections to be more visible. However, all of our stones are sourced to be clean to the naked eye and inclusions are not in prevalent positions to ensure you won’t have any noticeable imperfections in your stone

Limited Availability: While experiencing a resurgence, rose cuts are not as commonly available as more popular cuts. However, our talented procurement team will literally search the Earth for the perfect stone for you, even if stone cuts may be rarer and supply is limited.

Prone to Chipping: The flat surface of a rose cut diamond can potentially be more prone to chipping, especially if the wearer is more unwieldy with their hands. But fear not, a Taylor & Hart designer will ensure your stone is securely set with protected edges and a considered a bezel setting.

Lily collins rose cut pink sapphire engagement ring

Which celebrities wear rose cut diamond engagement rings?

Despite their rarity, rose cut diamonds are making a comeback in modern jewellery design. Stars such as Lily Collins, Jennifer Aniston, Alison Brie and Camila Alves all wear rose cut diamond engagement rings–a clear mark of their resurgence.
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Due to their large open facets, a rose cut diamond with a flawless appearance is incredibly rare. Rest assured that our in-house diamond procurement team twice-inspects every diamond that passes through our office to look clean to the naked eye.

Are there other vintage diamond cuts?

There are. Rose cuts aren’t the only vintage diamond cuts – there are many vintage diamond cuts that that offer a diverse range of styles and aesthetics. Some of the notable vintage diamond cuts include:

Old Mine Cut: Predating the modern brilliant cut, these diamonds are known for a cushion-shaped outline with a high crown, small table, and larger facets, often displaying a distinct sparkle.

Old European Cut: Popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these diamonds have a round shape with a smaller table, a higher crown, and larger facets compared to modern brilliants, providing a charming, chunky sparkle.

Single Cut: An early form of diamond cutting, single cuts feature only 17 or 18 facets, usually used for smaller stones and seen in antique jewellery pieces like Art Deco designs.
Old Mine Brilliant Cut: A transitional cut between the Old Mine Cut and modern brilliant, combining elements of both with a round shape, a smaller table, and a higher crown.

Transitional Cut: Bridging the gap between Old European Cuts and modern brilliants, these diamonds feature a mix of older and newer cutting techniques, exhibiting unique characteristics.

Briolette Cut: An elongated, double-sided cut featuring triangular facets, often used for earrings or pendants, providing a captivating, mirrored sparkle.

Each vintage cut possesses its own distinct characteristics, offering a glimpse into different eras of diamond cutting techniques and styles.

What is an Old European cut diamond?

A predecessor of the round brilliant diamond, the old European cut also has 58 facets and was created in the late 19th century.

Its higher crown, smaller table and larger culet gives the stone an incredible depth and presence.

Why should I choose an old European cut diamond?

Old European cut diamonds have astounding vintage appeal. You’ll often find them set in heirloom designs including Edwardian, Victorian and Art-Nouveau jewellery.

Vintage collectors often refer to the cut’s ‘inner fire’, which describes the distinct contrast of bright and dark flashes of light within an Old European cut, resulting in a checkerboard effect.

European-Cut-Diamond anatomy

Cut using antique techniques, the organic feel of an Old European cut diamond makes this cut a vintage lover’s favourite.

Should I choose an old European or round brilliant diamond?

While both being round in shape, the old European cut and the modern round brilliant cut certainly achieve different aesthetics.

At their heart, old European cut diamonds are more subtle stones. They are cut by hand, which gives them an artisanal charm and history, that draws attention to their glowing centre.

With advancements in technology, new cutting techniques revolutionised the placement, quantity and proportion of a diamond’s facets.

Diamond cutting began to be optimised for brilliance, and so, modern round brilliant cut arrived. The facet structure is cut in such a way that when light enters the stone, it reflects back out, giving a bright, sparkly diamond. This scintillating appearance is now synonymous with modern jewellery.

round brilliant vs old european cut

A diamond is certified by the GIA as Old European Cut when the diamond meets three out of the following four criteria:

  1. The table must be smaller or equal 53%
  2. The culet must be bigger or equal to slightly large
  3. The crown must be bigger or equal to 40 degrees
  4. The lower half length must be bigger or equal to 60 degrees

Otherwise, Round Brilliant will be used as a more general term by the GIA on a diamond that experts classify as an Old European Cut.

As with most ring design elements, both of these diamond cuts exhibit unique beauty, but ultimately, the choice is yours.


What is an old mine cut diamond?

Dating back to the mid 1800s through to the 1900s, the old mine cut diamond was developed in Brazil. It is considered one of the earliest forms of the brilliant cut, with 58 facets.

Why should I choose an old mine cut diamond?

Often seen in jewellery from the Georgian and Victorian eras, old mine cut diamonds are similar to a modern day cushion cut.

Much like other vintage diamond cuts like the old European cut and the rose cut, old mine cut diamonds tended to be hand cut with the aid of early machinery.

Each stone possesses its own individual character, making this diamond cut a favourite of those longing for a one-of-a-kind jewellery piece.

old mine cut diamond with diamond halo in rose gold and platinum

From a side view, old mine cut diamonds have a square shaped girdle with gently rounded corners, a high crown, a small table and large, flat culet.

old mine cut diamond side view annotation

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