Antique rose cut diamonds


Apr 2, 2011
I'm starting to understand the 4 Cs insofar as evaluating diamonds. What confuses me, however, is how to evaluate diamond cuts when there wasn't the technology available to cut them to show the brilliance of today's diamonds.

If you look at my earlier post (antique diamond and enamel necklace), you'll see that the diamonds are crudely cut, at least what I've been told by others who have some knowledge. Also, the color of these diamonds are all over the place.

My question is this. Would you evaluate old rose cut diamonds based on today's diamonds or would you evaluate them based on the technology of diamond cutting available at the time the piece was made? Let's say, for argument's sake, that the necklace was fabricated in the mid-1800s, what you expect the rose cut diamonds to look like?

I really am confused about this piece. It's obvious that someone devoted a lot of time making it. Each hinge was individually constructed. Each part was individually hand scalloped. Each diamond was hand set. Yet, the necklace is probably low carat (9k) and the diamonds are not top of the line.

I'm hoping that someone with experience in antique diamonds can shed some light on this.


Jul 22, 2007
As a lover of antique jewelry, I only go by my eye when evaluating pieces. A "good" rosecut is hard to find. However, an interesting piece with acceptable sparkle is not. Even modern stones have a wide variety of acceptable. For example, some people love the crushed ice look in a cushion, others only like the chunkier cushions. Additionally, in very old cuts, you're going to be looking at the cutter's idea of a fine gem, not necessarily the mass's. I've seen several OEC's that get horrible HCA scores but are some of the most beautiful stones. Likewise, M colors have been stunning.

Basically, go by what you like and forget about numbers and technology. If it makes your heart sing, that's what matters.

Good luck on your search. Please post pics when you find a treasure!

Pandora II

Aug 3, 2006
I have a late 19th, early 20th century 3-stone OEC ring - the diamonds are each around 0.70ct, around an I colour and SI in clarity. I happened to be talking to a man who is probably one of the world experts in antique diamonds and at the end of the conversation I asked him if he thought my stones looked okay.

His response: Does your ring sparkle? Does your ring look pretty? Does your ring look pretty good under the crappy lights in here? Yes? Okay so you've answered the question...

My ring has incredible fire and sparkle and the stones do face up whiter than they really are so I guess they are cut very well - but I doubt they'd look too great on a SARIN report or on the HCA.

Basically go with what your eyes tell you and don't worry about numbers.
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