Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

1920s diamond with a big chip on its shoulder (I mean its girdle)

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,618
Here's another thread about an old diamond with a chip. I don't think I ever posted about it on PS--if I did, I can't find the post.

A decade ago I bought a c. 1920s diamond ring, a platinum setting with single cuts, rectangular sapphires (I assume synthetic), and a half-carat or so center stone. I assumed it was a transitional cut because of the culet and the blocky checkerboard pattern. The diamond had a big chip, so I got the ring for essentially the price of the setting, intending to ditch the diamond and set a colored stone in the setting, but I liked the patterning of the diamond so much that I kept the ring as it was; I just had a jeweler rotate the diamond so the chip is hidden.

To me the table seems very big and the crown seems very flat, especially for such an old stone. But the diamond is bright and fiery, and to my eye very attractive.

Questions:

1. Can anyone say anything interesting about the cut of this stone?
2. If this were yours, what would you do about the gigantic chip? It's in the girdle and reaches down into the facet beneath and up into the crown. If I just leave it the way it is--embraced by the side of the setting, not directly underneath that beadlike prong--is the diamond likely to break further? (I've been wearing it often for a decade without any further damage.) Can it be repaired somehow, or at least smoothed and made safer, without changing the look of the diamond? Would it be expensive to repair it?

Here are some 11-year-old photos, taken with my long-ago camera:

IMG_4532.jpg IMG_4535.jpg IMG_4536.jpg IMG_4539.jpg IMG_4561.jpg IMG_4562.jpg IMG_4604.jpg IMG_4671.jpg

In this photo, taken before the diamond was rotated to hide the chip, you can see the chip clearly:

IMG_4549.jpg

Here's the ring with my .73 J I1 CBI (I don't think they make I1 CBIs anymore, but I love mine!), in a setting from the same period:

IMG_4593.jpg IMG_4594.jpg IMG_4595.jpg
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,360
1. That is indeed a transional, which is not actually a "technical" name for a diamond cut but just generally describes diamond that mix characteristics of European cuts with MRBs (as I am sure you know). Those cuts were all over the place in terms of proportions, depending on where they were cut there were local "flavours". The "flat top" transitional (as coati used to call this style) is pretty characteristic of this era. Your's has very nice symmetry in the cut as evidenced by the fat arrows -- those only show when the facets are nicely aligned. I can see why you like it.

2. I'd also leave it alone most likely. You could look into a recut. There was a PSer who did it with a diamond with a MUCH worse chip and I was shocked to see how little weight was lost and how well the faceting was preserved. But leaving it alone is my vote.
 

LightBright

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
658
Hi Glitterata! It’s a stunning perfect “Transitional” cut, with subtle checkerboard patterning. Al Gilbertson’s book American Cut might describe it, but the checkerboard pattern is not too common.

The faceting is IMO a work of art. It might not be obvious from far away, but when you look at the magnified photos you can see a very even, purposeful pattern of on-off facets extending all the way to the culet. The setting is stunning and extremely unique and since you bought it before counterfeit settings from Argentina took off, I’m fairly certain everything about this ring is original and antique (at least 100 years old) including the original center stone.

I have learned my lesson about “polishing out” undetectable girdle chips on antique stones, including ones that look really icky under high magnification. Please do not polish out chips as this will change the original creation which was made by an artist to be a miniature piece of art.

Your diamond chip could be a “natural”, or it could be a girdle chip. If you’ve been wearing the ring for ten years, then keep doing what you are doing. If you polish it out to improve “mind clean-ness” or to improve resale value you will literally change the entire nature of the faceting. The perfect balance of an evenly distributed light pattern will be destroyed. You will likely not recognize the repolished stone and it will lose diameter and carat weight. Polishing a stone is based on carat weight of the original stone, I think last I checked it was min of $250 per carat max of $400 per carat but things could have changed.

The way I encourage anyone to deal with a chipped but otherwise excellently cut antique diamond is to see if you can hide the chip under a prong and wear it for a long time before thinking about repolishing. I always find it helpful to go look at Gem Concepts’ Internet site as he has some beautiful untouched antique diamonds with facet junction abrasions etc. I also look at antique cut sapphires which often are sold with facet junction abrasions etc. I’ve come to look at the wear and invisible chips on antique diamonds to be a patina that shows their lifetime of being worn. I guess you’ve figured out by now that it really is not recommended by me to recut most antique stones...
 
Last edited:

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,618
Thank you, DreamerDachsie & LightBright. My impulse always is to leave well enough alone with beautiful old things, and the chip is hard to see now that it's protected by the prong. I only asked because last time I took the ring to the jeweler to have the prongs checked he urged me to have the chip repaired to avoid breaking it more. Thanks for the reassurance that it's okay to leave it as it is.

A decade or so back, when I was a very active PSer, it felt like I was one of the lonely few who loved old cuts. It's startling to me to see how popular they are here now! So great for eye candy, and lots of great new-to-me info about old cut styles.

I don't know anything about counterfeit settings from Argentina--can you direct me to info? But I'm certain this ring is an antique. Not only are all the stones "right," but the gallery is clearly hand pierced, and it shows a century of wear from being worn next to a wedding ring. Here are a couple of shots of the underside:

IMG_6334.jpg IMG_6337.jpg

As for the big chip, I'm sure it really IS a chip. There's also at least one natural, but the chip is a gigantic, jagged chunk out of the edge. I was playing with my microscope a few weeks ago and took a bunch of pictures. (Someone on a silver collectors' board recommended the microscope for looking at hallmarks. It's a fun little tool.)

Photo on 8-30-19 at 1.49 PM.jpg Photo on 8-30-19 at 1.50 PM #2.jpg Photo on 8-30-19 at 1.50 PM.jpg Photo on 8-30-19 at 1.57 PM.jpg

Here is a micrograph where you can see the chip reflecting around under the table (lower right quadrant and also 2:00-3:00 just next to the culet):

Photo on 8-30-19 at 1.58 PM.jpg

And just for fun, here are a few shots of what I'm pretty sure IS a tiny natural:

4-up on 8-30-19 at 1.54 PM #3.jpg 4-up on 8-30-19 at 1.54 PM.jpg Photo on 8-30-19 at 1.56 PM #2.jpg
 

LightBright

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
658
Beautiful shots Glitterata! I love the details of your setting, yes it looks antique to me. The chip you show on the diamond pavilion looks like it is on the surface of the diamond’s pavilion and crown maybe? Maybe damage from setting it originally, in any case it’s practically invisible to me even when looking closely. It looks like a gorgeous ring all around. Enjoy!
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,360
Wow, cool images! That chip is pretty small, I wouldn't sweat it, especially since you have worn it so long already.

And your setting looks lovely. I can see the tool marks from the fine saw used to pierce the gallery. My previous authentic antique setting for my own transitional cut diamond has similar marks on its hand done piercing. (note I don't own this setting anymore. my finger size grew and coudn't safely resize it). There is a local jeweler to me who does hand forging and he basically lost a gasket over the craftsmanship. I don't think there are many (any?) metal smiths anymore doing work like you see on your setting and this one. At least none I have seen on PS.

_38295.jpg

For funsies, when I was looking for side stones for my transitional (it's now in a three stone) I found this little guy on Blue Nile. It had proportions very like yours, though yours is cut much better. But I trust you can see the family resemblance in the faceting.


DSC00564.jpg

This is my transitional, which Al Gilbertson would call an American Cut, or Early ideal cut. The crown on my diamond is higher than yours and the table smaller, but again, I am sure you can see the family resemblance. I don't know if this photo will blow up enough, but mine also has a natural on the girdle, at about 9 o'clock on the diamond. I can't see it with the naked eye, or even a loupe really.

dreamer1.jpg
 

LightBright

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
658
Dreamer_Dachsie thank you for sharing the wonderful photos and info about the similar diamond and your beautiful antique former ring, plus current setting and gorgeous Transitional. This was very interesting and informative.
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
7,404
Here's another thread about an old diamond with a chip. I don't think I ever posted about it on PS--if I did, I can't find the post.

A decade ago I bought a c. 1920s diamond ring, a platinum setting with single cuts, rectangular sapphires (I assume synthetic), and a half-carat or so center stone. I assumed it was a transitional cut because of the culet and the blocky checkerboard pattern. The diamond had a big chip, so I got the ring for essentially the price of the setting, intending to ditch the diamond and set a colored stone in the setting, but I liked the patterning of the diamond so much that I kept the ring as it was; I just had a jeweler rotate the diamond so the chip is hidden.

To me the table seems very big and the crown seems very flat, especially for such an old stone. But the diamond is bright and fiery, and to my eye very attractive.

Questions:

1. Can anyone say anything interesting about the cut of this stone?
2. If this were yours, what would you do about the gigantic chip? It's in the girdle and reaches down into the facet beneath and up into the crown. If I just leave it the way it is--embraced by the side of the setting, not directly underneath that beadlike prong--is the diamond likely to break further? (I've been wearing it often for a decade without any further damage.) Can it be repaired somehow, or at least smoothed and made safer, without changing the look of the diamond? Would it be expensive to repair it?

Here are some 11-year-old photos, taken with my long-ago camera:

IMG_4532.jpg IMG_4535.jpg IMG_4536.jpg IMG_4539.jpg IMG_4561.jpg IMG_4562.jpg IMG_4604.jpg IMG_4671.jpg

In this photo, taken before the diamond was rotated to hide the chip, you can see the chip clearly:

IMG_4549.jpg

Here's the ring with my .73 J I1 CBI (I don't think they make I1 CBIs anymore, but I love mine!), in a setting from the same period:

IMG_4593.jpg IMG_4594.jpg IMG_4595.jpg
@glitterata, It is so nice to see you again and I have to say I enjoy seeing your old cut diamond. It is easy to see the different flavor from your round brilliant, and it is easy to see that they are both very beautiful.

You could probably have the chip polished out, but it will change the appearance slightly. Your current mounting seems to be giving it adequate protection, seeing how you have worn it this way for a decade without further damage. Just keep on being careful and do not slam your hand in your car door or wear it at the gym.

;)2

Wink
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,618
Thank you, Wink! I don't spend much time in cars or gyms, and I take off my rings when I do anything very vigorous, so I'll try not to worry about it too much.

I hope all is well with you and yours. I see that Infinity diamonds are deservedly popular these days; I love mine!!
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top