Diamond cut: Antique

Diamond cut: Antique

Modern cuts   |  Antique cuts   |   Side stones  

An antique cut does not imply "old." In fact, most "antique" stones have been cut very recently. By going back to the beginning of the Diamond Era, we are able to recapture the magic of these magnificent stones. 

Antique stones

Asscher Cut

An Asscher cut is classified as a square emerald cut by the GIA, but there is much more to it. An Asscher cut diamond seems to draw your eye to the center of the stone, to its magical depth, the source of its incredible fire.

The Asscher cut is a step cut, so its clarity must be taken under consideration, unlike a brilliant cut that easily hides SI inclusions with its brilliance. When it comes to Asschers we suggest to look for stones graded VS1 by GIA, and to consider a VS2/SI1 stone only when no other option is available.

Asscher Cut

The traditional Asscher cut is an octagonal step-cut stone with 58 facets. The depth of the true Asscher cut should range between 65% and 72%, and the table should be in 50% to 60% range. The modern "Asscher" cut has 60% to 70% depth and 60% to 65% table - too flat and too spread.

A souped-up version of a generic Asscher is marketed under the trade name The Royal Asscher. It has two additional rows of facets numbering 74 in total. It is a beautiful but very expensive cut, although there is no reason to believe it to be superior to a generic Asscher, despite being a premium cut. Adding extra facets rarely enhances a stone's appeal.

Asscher cut diamonds, just like other antique diamond cuts tend to mask the diamond color, make it less obvious. Therefore, the warmer stones look more natural and face up whiter than expected. The yield from the rough is very low with this type of cut, which makes it a very uneconomical way of treating precious material. That is the reason why the true Asscher cuts, with a high crown and small table, are rarely cut today.

Traditional Asscher cut is a square stone with a length-to-width ratio of 1.00 to 1.06. Elongated Asscher is called The Krupp cut after the chubby emerald cut diamond Richard Burton gave it to Liz Taylor. He purchased it at the Krupp estate auction for 300K (it's currently worth as much as $9 million)

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Antique Cushion Cut

The traditional Antique Cushion cut diamond is a beautiful and timeless jewel with its pillow-shaped outline, soft, rounded corners, large culet, small table, and a high crown. The classic cushion is a diamond cut that has The Old World beauty and romantic appeal.

True antique cushion

An antique cut does mean that the stone is "old." In fact, most antique cushions have been cut very recently. By going back to the cut that was all the rage of the Golden Era we are able to recapture the magic of these magnificent stones today.

The antique cushion is usually classified as the Old Miner or Cushion brilliant on a gem lab report. The Antique cushion was the essential "diamond cut" for a century, until the advent of round brilliant cuts which are uniform and scalable, easier to make, compare, and use.

Classic cushion diamonds are biased towards dispersion they produce in abundance when lit by flickering candlelight they have more fire than any other diamond cut. The open culet, high crown, and larger facets are making the classic cushion a perfect choice for a connoisseur seeking sophistication, character, and pedigree.

The antique cushions transform the light much like step-cut stones such as the Asscher, unlike the modern cushions with their fragmented "crushed ice" brilliance. Modern cushion cuts typically have a large table, shallow crown, four main bulges on the pavilion, smaller facets, and none of the appeal of the classic antique cushion.

Jubilee Cut

Jubilee cut

The Jubilee diamond cut is reserved for large diamonds and empowers stones to shine spectacularly. Compared to the 58 facets found on the round brilliants, the Jubilee diamond has a total of 88 facets (sometimes 80).
Because it has no culet and it is not deep, the Jubilee gives a glittering effect that is second to none. It is one of the brightest cuts you can find. It is also extremely rare.

French Cut

The "French cut" is credited with being a marvel of elegance. French cut diamonds date back to the 1400s but they came into fashion during the 17th century and have been worn by royalty, nobility, and celebrity ever since. Their name reflects the fact that they were favored by French jewelers.

leon mege french cut small

A French cut diamond can be easily recognized by a square table that is turned 90 degrees in relation to its outline. French cut diamond's shape is usually square, but they can be rectangular or even trapezoid as well.

The pavilion of a French cut diamond is split into 4 plain facets sometimes divided in half. The edges have smaller facets for extra brilliance. French cut diamond's table is created by slicing one end of a well-formed octahedral crystal utilizing the maximum of the crystal. Antique-style French cut diamonds are produced using well-formed octahedron rough.

Modern French cuts that tend to have lower crowns and larger tables are re-cut baguettes and princess cuts, as well as new stones fashioned from rough. The Scissors cut is a variety of a French cut with slightly more elaborate faceting.

Single Cut

Invented all the way back in the XIV century, the single-cut diamond was created by adding corner facets to the primitive Point Cut preceding it. It has an octagonal girdle, an octagonal table, eight bezels or crown facets, and eight pavilion facets. Because of that, the single-cut is called sometimes an Eight Cut.

single cut

Later only the smallest diamonds were left off with only 17 facets, the larger stones were fashioned into full cuts - either a European cut or a modern round brilliant. In fact, every round diamond at the early stage of faceting has 17 facets, and technically speaking can be called a single cut.

Old style single cuts were not uniform, they had poor symmetry, varied in proportions, and were off-shape. They are often found in antique jewelry, usually filling up tight spots in pave pieces. This is not the case with modern single cut diamonds, they are not substitutes for full-cut stones anymore. Today, the great majority of single cuts are consumed by the watch industry to be used in dials and hands of luxury watches.

Single cut diamonds smaller than 1.2 mm are more brilliant than the full cuts of the same size because their facets are larger in comparison. They are cut with high precision by robots and command premium prices. 

Old European Cut

The first brilliants, known as "Mazarins" each had 17 crown facets. They were introduced in the XVII century. Until then there was no uniform diamond cut, each diamond had highly irregular mixed step- and brilliant-faceting patterns.


The European cut was developed before the perfection of the diamond saw. A single piece of rough was yielding only one stone, so in order to maximize the yield, the European cut typically has a high crown, small table, and an open culet. The modern round brilliant is the direct descendant of the European cut, both have the same round shape, but the proportions and angles were drastically changed. Both have 57 facets or 58 facets if the stone has a culet.

The main source of illumination in the XIX century, the candlelight gives the dim, flickering, and very warm light. The newly developed European cut was designed to produce the maximum brilliance and fire under this lighting, the fire that was never seen in diamonds until then.

The current proportions of the modern ideal cut owe a debt to the timeless charm of the good old European cut, the cut that inspired Marcel Tolkowsky, Henry Morse and others to experiment with angles and facets in their search for the Ideal Cut.

Rose Cut

Picture a flat diamond with a bulging pavilion and a huge table. Flip it upside-down and you got yourself a rose-cut diamond - essentially a diamond cabochon. Rose-cut diamonds were introduced in the 1500s and were popular until the early 1900's when the cutting technique improved to allow for more complicated and precise cuts. The shape of a rose-cut diamond after few drinks resembles the petals of a rosebud, the fact that gave the stone its name.

Rose cut

The bottom of a typical rose cut is flat. The crown is dome-shaped with the facets meeting at the center. It has a flat base, a fact that makes stones less brilliant and often transparent.

The number of facets traditionally varies from 3 to 24, but there are stones with multitudes of facets arranged into multiple rows as opposed to two rows of a conventional rose: the "star facets" (a hexagon consisting of six triangles) in the center, and the proportional number of facets in the second row.

A rose with a large table is called a portrait diamond. The rose cuts come in all kinds of shapes, but the majority are round. Variations include: the Briolette, Antwerp rose (hexagonal); and double Dutch rose (resembling two rose cuts united back-to-back).


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