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Old Cut Antique Diamonds

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Lynne

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Mar 27, 2001
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I am trying to learn all that I can about the "Old Cut Diamonds". Can someone help answer the following questions for me:

1. What is the difference between an “Old Mine Cut”, “Old European Cut”, "European Cut", and a "Transition Cut" diamond?
2. What years were the ”Old Mine Cut” diamonds made?
3. What years were the “Old European Cut” diamonds made?
4. What years were the "European Cut" diamonds made?
5. What is the difference between an “Old European Cut” and a “European Cut”?
6. What is a “Transition Cut” diamond?
7. What years were the “Transition Cut” diamonds made?

Someone mentioned to me that the "Old European", "European", and "Transition" cut diamonds were the same cut with different names? Is this true?

Thank you for all your help!
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2003
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Here are two sites:

http://www.midwestgems.com/oldmine20.html
http://www.gemsutra.com/diamond_cutting.html
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
----------------
On 5/6/2003 6:21:18 PM DiamondExpert wrote:

and...http://www.diamondexpert.com/articles/cut.html


----------------
Oh, thanks Gary. I was looking for your site, but I couldn't remember the name of it!
 

Lynne

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
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15
Thank you Hest88 and Gary for the web sites. I checked all of them out. They don't mention anything about the "Transition Cut" diamond. Can you tell me anything about them? Is a "Transition Cut" the same as the "Old European Cut" and the "European Cut" diamonds? Are "Old European Cut" and "European Cut" the same thing? I had a jeweler tell me that the "Transition Cut" is the same thing as the "European Cut".

Here is my story:

My husband and I went to a jewelry store. We both fell in love with this particular ring and I ended up buying it! They told me the ring was from the Art Deco period around 1935 and that the center stone was an Old European cut diamond, .69 points, F, VS quality, and the 16 smaller stones (very small, about .02 each) were also Old European cut stones. I was not absolutely convinced that it was an OEC because the crown didn't seem to be much higher than a modern stone and the table seemed to be larger, but we both thought the ring mounting itself was beautiful. Anyway, I had my husband call back the next day to talk with the owner of the store. The owner said that he had someone else take a look at the ring mounting, the center stone, and the small stones. He said that the ring was from the Art Deco period between 1920 and 1925. He said the center stone is not an Old European cut but a "Transition" stone so it would be called a "European cut" not an "Old European cut". The 16 smaller diamonds are "single cut". The person who looked at it said that the prongs did not look like they had been touched, so they figured the center stone was the original stone (not 100% sure, but thought it was). The owner of the jewelry store said the culet was considered small back then, would be considered medium size today. He said the culet is centered and the facets are balanced and symmetical, no chips or existing weaknesses. He said the bottom portion is definitely cut like an OEC and the top portion cut more like a modern stone. The depth is 54% which he said is perfect and the table is larger than an OEC (he could not tell me the size of the table).

I am confused, I didn't know there was a stone called a "transition" cut and that these stones are called "European cut". Can someone please tell me the difference between a "Transition/European Cut" and an "Old European Cut"? Maybe I was too quick to buy, but you know how salespeople are - "Our other store is calling to try to get this ring back, so how would you like to pay for this?" So, of course, I thought, I can't let it get away - so I bought. My husband says I have buyers remorse. Anyway, is a transition stone a good old cut stone? Any help would be appreciated. I just need some reassurance. Can you tell me if I should ask any other questions about this stone? So if the ring mounting is 1920-1925, was a transition cut in the same period 1920-1925?

Thanks for your help!
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
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Well, I'm no expert, but here's what one told me when I went to get my grandmother's engagement ring appraised.

He called the main stone "transition cut"--explaining that that referred to the transition between old European cut and modern brilliant cut. I believe he said some of the pavilion facets (at the bottom of the stone) don't go down as far toward the culet as in a modern brilliant, but it was a while ago, so I may not be remembering exactly. As with your stone, the top part looks more like a modern stone. And the little diamonds surrounding it are single cuts, like in your ring.

My grandparents were married in 1929, so my ring is from about the same era as yours. I also have an old European cut from my other grandmother (which she received around 1920). It has a smaller table, bigger culet, and even shorter pavilion facets (if that's the right term), but the crown isn't as high or the table as small as in some pictures I've seen of OECs. I guess it might have been from earlier in the transition? Or maybe there just was a lot of variation in how they cut diamonds, depending on what material they started with? These are guesses on my part, but the appraiser told me that the shift from OEC to modern brilliant happened gradually--hence the term transition cut.

My OEC gives of beautifully colored chunks of light, instead of thin, pointy stripes of light meeting in the center of the stone, like a modern brilliant. And my transition cut, as you'd expect, is somewhere in between. They're both lovely, and it sounds like your stone is, too.

By the way, Dave Atlas, who posts on this board, is an appraiser who's an expert on antique cuts.

Good luck! I bet your ring's a beauty. Post a picture!
 

Lynne

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
Messages
15
Pyramid, thank you for the information. It would be nice to have a ring like Bagpuss!

Pollyshu, thank you for the information. I'm really disappointed that my center stone is not an Old European stone - that's what I really wanted. I was too quick to buy and now I am having regrets. I don't have my ring yet - it is suppose to be ready May 15. Is your transition cut stone as pretty as the Old European? Have you ever heard of a "Transition cut" being the same thing as an "European cut"? The jeweler told me that was what you say - but I want to find out for sure. It sounds better to say, "My diamond is a European cut stone". Instead of say, "My diamond is a Transition cut stone". You know what I mean? Thank you for your help!
 

pyramid

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 10, 2002
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4,607
If you are unhappy with the diamond does the seller not have a refund policy?
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 25, 2002
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4,924
1860-1900 Old Mine Cuts (cushion shaped outline)
1900-1915 Old European Cuts (round outlines)
1920-1935 European Cuts (more streamlined)
1940-1950 Transitional Cut (transitioning from European
to Round Brilliant Cut)
1950-2003 Round Brilliant Cut

These dates are not absolutes, but generalities.

I have only heard the term transitional cut used referring to the transition from Euro to RBC. I don't think it's correctly used for the period of OEC transitioning to Euro Cut.

You've probably either got an Old European Cut or European Cut. From your description, it sounds like a European Cut, which would be right for a 1920-1925 dating.

Old European Cut characteristics- High crown, small table, short star facets, very large to extremely large culet, very large lower girdle facets, symmetry poor to good.

European Cut characteristics- Lower crown, larger table, larger star facets, medium to large culet, smaller (but larger than modern RBC) lower girdle facets, symmetry usually better (fair to very good).

If you can find out the proportions for your stone, we can tell you what era it falls in. A close up picture using a magnifier or loupe might do the trick as well.
 

glitterata

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
3,618
Well, you loved it when you saw it. If it's beautiful, who cares what it's called? It's an antique--nobody else has one exactly like it, and they're not making any more of them. If you're unhappy with it and there's still time to return it, then do. But if I were you, I'd just revel in my beautiful ring.

Please post a picture so WE can revel in it, too.

It's hard to say which I love more, my transition cut or my OEC--partly because they come from my grandparents and carry so many memories with them. The OEC is a bit bigger and a lot yellower; the setting it's in is new. The Transition cut is smaller, whiter, and clearer, and it's still set in the mounting that Grandma wore for almost 70 years. I love them both. I like to think of my grandfather buying the latest word in diamonds in the hottest new setting, to give my lovely grandmother. The other stone twinkled on my other grandfather's pinky finger all through my childhood. Both of them have a lot of sentimental meaning for me. And I thinkthey're both beautiful.
 

Lynne

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
Messages
15
Rich, thank you for the date information regarding the old cuts. Some people say there is no such thing as a "European cut". I'm glad to see that you say there is such a cut. I called around today to alot of the local independent jewelry stores and you would not believe all the different answers I received! I just hope that the jewelry store I bought from is honest in telling me the dates.

Pyramid, I've never been one to ask for a refund after I purchase something. I guess I figure it wasn't their mistake that I bought, although they did mislead me some. Anyway, maybe I am over-reacting about wanted only an Old European cut.

Pollyshu is probably right. I shouldn't care what the stone is called. It is suppose to be an antique and that makes it unique. I did love the ring mounting alot. It was at night when I saw the ring so I didn't get to look at the diamond in natural light, only the light in the store. I don't have the ring yet, it is suppose to be ready on Thursday. They are suppose to give me an appraisal report, so maybe that will have more information on it.

I would love to post a picture of it - how do I do that?
 
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