How different are vintage diamonds from modern diamonds?

Vintage Diamonds We are so excited to have a source of vintage diamonds. Ethics are close to our hearts and we believe recycling is key to sustainability in the jewellery industry. Old cut and mine cut vintage diamonds are a great alternative to newly mined brilliant cut diamonds:
  • Each diamond is completely unique
  • As they were cut by hand, they have much more character and individuality
  • Ethical - they already exist, no need to mine a new one!
  • Because they don't adhere to the industry standard of four C's* they are less expensive

*Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat

How different are vintage diamonds from modern diamonds?

Well, that depends on the stone. Some vintage diamonds look quite similar to brilliant cut diamonds. You might not even notice the difference if you don't look at stones as much as we do! Whereas others are very organic and really stand apart from their 'perfect' counterparts.

Modern brilliant cut diamonds are cut at very precise angles to maximise sparkle. Today they are cut by machines but back in the day all stones were cut by hand. So, the same precision just wasn't possible. As these old cut stones were polished hundreds of years ago, they were shaped to reflect candle light of a bygone era. No two are the same, making them a perfect pairing for our sandcast rings.

Our vintage diamonds fall into two categories:

Old Mine Cut Diamond

Old European Cut Diamond

Old Mine Cut Diamond quarter view

Old European Cut Diamond quarter view

Old Mine Cut Diamond side view

Old European Cut Diamond side view


Mine cut (miner’s cut) diamonds were cut following the natural octahedral shape of diamond crystals; Often with the objective of keeping as much of the stone intact as possible. They are most characterised by their organic cushion shape. But there are rounder versions too. These are beautifully organic stones, they are quite deep and feel as if they have just emerged from the earth. Such diamonds are perfect if you are looking for a diamond with a bit more character. 

Old European cut diamonds are the precursor of the modern brilliant cut diamonds. They were cut by hand from 1890-1930s, to maximise sparkle in candlelight. Because the proportions were judged by eye they can still a bit asymmetrical. A key difference is the culet (the facet at the bottom of the diamond) which is clearly visible through the table (the facet at the top of the diamond). While they don't sparkle as much as modern stones, many experts agree they have more inner fire - the dispersion of white light into its different component spectral colours within the stone.

Comparing an Old European Cut (left) next to a Modern Cut Diamond (right):

Vintage Diamond Vs Modern DiamondVintage Diamond Vs Modern Diamond Vintage Diamond Vs Modern Diamond

See our current collection of vintage diamonds here.

We can source both Mine Cut and Old European Cut diamonds in a variety of sizes. So, please don't hesitate to get in touch if you are looking for something particular. We're always happy to help.