What is an Old European Cut Diamond?

"Culet 3135" by mliu92 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’ve been shopping online for vintage engagement rings, you’ve probably come across old European cut diamonds. An old European cut diamond is a round diamond primarily cut between 1890-1930. They were especially common during the Art Deco period. These antique diamonds were one of the predecessors to the modern round brilliant cut diamond, which is now the most popular diamond shape.

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Old European cut diamonds were cut for carat weight rather than brilliance. They are less sparkly than modern brilliant cut diamonds and were cut and polished with candlelight in mind.

Old European cut diamonds have 58 facets; modern round cut diamonds have 57-58 facets depending on whether or not they have a culet.

These antique diamonds have a special charm because diamond cutters had to rely on their eyes rather than modern technology to hand cut them, making each stone unique.

How to identify an old European cut diamond

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Old European cut diamonds are known for their large facets, which are larger than round brilliant cuts. They are easily recognizable by the small circle at the center of the diamond’s table. This circle comes from the old European cut’s large culet. The culet is the facet at the bottom of the diamond. A large culet allows more light to escape through the bottom of the diamond, which causes the dark circle to appear. Not every diamond has a culet – lots of modern diamonds don’t. Instead, they have a sharp point at the bottom of the diamond, reflecting light and preventing circles on the stone’s table.

Old European cut diamonds also have a smaller table and a higher crown than modern round brilliant cuts. They tend to have poorer symmetry than round brilliant cuts due to antiquated cutting techniques. 

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Sometimes they even have an imperfect circular shape, which can be seen above, because diamond cutters didn’t have the same technology that we do today.

Are old European cut diamonds valuable?

Because old European cuts are no longer being produced, they can be more valuable. However, the value of each diamond depends on its 4 Cs. Old European cut diamonds often have poorer cut grades which can reduce their value. If you have an old European cut diamond, it is best to take it to get appraised in order to understand its worth.

Already have a vintage diamond? Check out our tips for resetting an antique diamond!

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