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An Overview of the History of Diamond Cuts

Choosing the right shape is one of the most exhilarating aspects of selecting a diamond. Every individual possesses their own preferences and viewpoints. Maybe some have a specific reason for favouring a particular haircut, or perhaps they simply prefer its appearance. There is unquestionably no undesirable form, and they are all alluring in distinctive ways. From the sophistication of a marquise-cut diamond to the purity and brilliance of a diamond, there is always something to adore. Has anyone ever been curious about the history of diamond cuts and shapes? Someone created and popularised them, after all. If the buyer has ever considered the background associated with particular cuts, proceed further and discover the narratives behind some of the most prominent diamond shapes. 

The History of Diamond Cuts

The origins of diamond cutting are unknown, as no one is certain where the practise originated. In the 1330s, the majority of definite signs appeared in Venice. Today, there is an extensive range of diamond cuts as well as designs with strict parameters regulating quality and style, whereas in the past, diamond cuts were determined by the merchants’ tools.

The earliest cuts were straightforward point and table cuts, with the point cut replicating the diamond’s natural shape and the table cut being the first to employ faceting. The comparable step cut following the table cut, which since the 1940s has been referred to as an emerald cut. Despite the fact that Venice was the first eliminating centre, by the end of the 15th century, Paris, Antwerp, and Brussels had emerged as the principal refining centres in Europe. Here, diamond cutting factories shifted their focus to new techniques for shaping and polishing unpolished stones.

It is believed that the history of diamond cuts originally emerged in India and was stored there. They were believed to possess magical, spiritual, and magical capabilities of strength and immortality and were worn as uncut jewellery by royalty.

20230912 Diamond Cuts

Point  Cut

Midway through the 14th century, the point cut was developed to enhance the appearance of rough diamonds. In actuality, the term “point cut” is a misnomer, as it merely entails the fundamental refining of the circular crystal faces to produce even and flawless features.

Table Cut

Midway through the 15th century, the point cut started undergoing refinement. A little under fifty percent of the octahedron could be sawn off, producing a square with a total of four reduced edges. This table-shaped diamond was initially the most widely recognised shape. From this table cut, the desirable emerald cut that is extremely common today evolved.

Mary of Burgundy was the very first person to get a diamond engagement ring, which Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave her in 1477. The ring was embellished with an “M”-shaped diamond and a point-cut diamond. Probably, this event initiated the custom of wearing diamond wedding jewellery, which is one aspect of the evolution in the history of diamond cuts. Due to the extreme hardness of diamonds, only diamond ash may have been used to burnish them. Particularly fond of point-cut diamonds in rings as well as additional jewellery, the Romans introduced the method of diamond cutting to the rest of Europe.

Heart Cut

The heart-shaped diamond represents one of the oldest European diamond cuts, emerging right after the table cut. This romantic shape appealed to the affluent, such as Mary, Queen of Scots, who presented a heart-shaped diamond ring to Queen Elizabeth I in 1562.

Pear Cut

Lodewyck van Bercken, a Flemish diamond polisher, developed the pear cut in 1458. In addition, he devised the scaif, which revolutionised the diamond trade. The scaife refining wheel allowed him to precisely cut diamond facets while opening the door for more intricate diamond cuts.

Rose Cut

It was said that the rose cut resembled a confined rose bud. Brought to Europe around 1530, it was the most popular diamond cut all over the nineteenth century. The most notable characteristic of a rose cut is the way its bottom is flat and its top is domed. The 24 facets of this cut produce a gentle, diffused light, as opposed to the dazzling brightness of the modernised brilliant cut.

Briolette Cut

This cut originated with the rose cut and is a three-dimensional teardrop shape with 48 to 88 facets.Napoleon gave his second wife, the Empress Marie Louise, a magnificent diamond necklace with ten 4-carat briolette drops in 1811. Consequently, briolette-cut diamonds became highly common and sought after by European royalty for the remainder of the 19th century.

Eight-Cut Single Cut

The single (or eight) cut is believed to have emerged in India at exactly the same time as the Table Cut, but it was not introduced to Europe until the mid-seventeenth century. The crown is composed of a table with a flat surface encircled by eight or nine facets. Essentially, it is identical to a square table with curved and faceted edges.

Peruzzi  Cut

The Peruzzi Cut originated in the 18th century. It was an enhanced version of the Mazarin Cut with 33 crown facets and was known as the triple-cut brilliant. The Peruzzi Cut, like the Mazarin Cut, was cushion-shaped rather than round. The ancient mine cut was inspired by the Peruzzi cut.

Mazarin Cut

In the mid-1700s, French Cardinal Mazarin devised the Mazarin Cut, which was initially pure brilliantly cut or double-cut brilliance with 17 crown facets. With the addition of more facets to their cushion shape, diamonds are now beginning to reflect light.

Old European Cut

The cut, like the old mine cut, had 58 facets on the crown and a more rounded profile. It is also among the previous phases of the contemporary dazzling cut. Old European-cut diamonds have triangular-shaped facets that are thicker than those of contemporary round brilliant cuts. Following the creation of a steam-powered diamond polisher in the mid-1870s, old European cut diamonds became popular, and the cut remained fashionable until the 1930s.

Asscher Cut

Joseph Asscher, a Dutch master diamond cutter and founder of the Royal Asscher Diamond Company, patented the Asscher cut in 1902, making it one of the earliest diamond cuts in the world to be patented. Asscher-cut diamonds are square-shaped and resemble emerald-cut diamonds, which are rectangular. In contrast to square emerald-cut diamonds, Asscher-cut diamonds have bigger step facets, a more prominent crown, a smaller table, and greater brilliance. The corners are trimmed to make the shape appear octagonal.

Baguette Cut

While the baguette cut was created before the mid-1500s, it did not acquire widespread popularity until 1912, when Cartier reintroduced it to the modern market. During the geometric frenzy of the Art Deco era, its elongated, table-cut form of rectangle became highly fashionable.

Oval Shape

Throughout the  history of diamond cuts, oval diamond cuts have been recorded, with the most renowned being the legendary Koh-i-Noor diamond, which was the focal point of a sacred Indian Hindu deity statue. Lazare Kaplan devised the modern oval cut in the early 1960s; it is a contemporary brilliant cut with 58 facets.

Diamonds in the Modern Era

Until the emergence of the Kimberly mine in South Africa in the late 19th century, the history of diamond cuts remained the exclusive domain of the aristocracy. As a result, diamond sales exploded at a phenomenal rate. With the commercial power of De Beers and the fact that diamonds were no longer as scarce, they were readily accessible to any individual who was capable of buying one. This, coupled with the sale of the French crown treasures (as an obsolete symbol of the monarchy) to a series of buyers in the 1870s, including New York-based Tiffany & Co., sparked an ongoing diamond craze. Robert M. Shipley founded the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in 1931, which instituted an assortment of classification parameters for cut, clarity, size, and other characteristics to assist in determining the value of diamonds for the consumer market.

As the twentieth century progressed, not only did stricter rules for diamond cutting and mining emerge, but the diamond also gained prominence in popular culture. From the renowned blue box of Tiffany’s to the mythical “Heart of the Ocean” at the centre of the Titanic, diamonds have captivated the imagination of the public and are deeply rooted in our history.

20230912 The Origins of Diamond Shapes
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