Old Mine Cuts
If you want to hunt for treasure, you have to know what you’re looking for! This is going to be the first in a series about the diamond cuts I find the most intriguing, the most beautiful, and the most desirable. We’re going to reach way back to the early 1800s first, to talk about the Old Mine cut diamond.
History of the Old Mine Cut Diamond
The Old Mine cut diamond first made its appearance around 1830, and it is one of several predecessors to the modern round brilliant. Diamond cutting technology at the time was rudimentary, and cutters made no real attempt to make neat round stones. Rather, the Old Mine cut has a roughly rectangular shape similar to the modern cushion. Indeed, some experts consider the Old Mine the predecessor to today’s cushion cut diamond. Others put it in a line that led to the Old Euro and then the round brilliant. Opinions, like stones themselves, run the gamut! The Old Mine was cut to perform best under the candlelight, as it long predates electric lighting.
The Old Mine cut diamond gets its name because, at the time the style became popular, most of the diamonds cut in this way came from the oldest mines then known; mines in India rather than in South Africa.
Characteristics of the Old Mine
The Old Mine is a deep stone, with a high crown and a small table. Like the Old Euro that came later, it has a large open culet. It’s got a softer glow than modern cuts exhibit, and because of the cutting techniques available when this style was in vogue its facets and table can be somewhat irregular compared to modern stones.
True Old Mines are Scarce and Special!
The Old Mine is a true antique; nobody cuts them like this anymore. If you come across one, you can be fairly sure it’s a stone with some history! I personally love that about a stone, as its provenance gets me daydreaming about when and where it was mined and cut, for whom it was made, and the utterly different world it first showed up in. There’s something really special about a piece of jewelry that has endured through the ages like that, sparkling on unfazed as the world developed electric power, mass production, and ever increasing levels of technological advancement.
Because of the truly handmade nature of the Old Mine cut diamond, no two stones are ever really alike. Working without the benefit of mechanical cutting aids, computers, lasers and all the rest of the trappings of modern diamond cutting, each Old Mine offers a wonderful sense of uniqueness and individuality that’s hard to find in newer cuts.
It’s that sense of uniqueness, along with its soft and romantic glow, that puts the Old Mine cut near and dear to my heart.