May 18

Mine Cut Diamond vs Modern Cut | Key Differences in Terms of Shape, Faceting, and Appearance


Author: Alene Geed

If you've stumbled upon this blog post comparing an old mine-cut diamond to a modern-cut diamond, it's safe to assume that you have an interest in diamond engagement rings and are seeking to understand the differences between these two popular diamond cuts.

And let's be real, who isn't? As someone who's been in the jewelry industry for quite some time, I've noticed that there's often a debate between two types of diamond cuts: the mine-cut diamond vs the modern cut.

Now, before we dive into the nitty-gritty of these two diamond cuts, let me give you a brief history lesson. The old mine-cut diamond was popular between the 18th and 19th centuries, while the modern cut diamond emerged in the 19th century. Hence, the main difference between the two is their age!

But what really sets these two diamond cuts apart? Well, that's what we'll be exploring in this blog post. We'll take a look at the key differences in terms of diamond shape, faceting, and overall appearance, as well as the pros and cons of each. By the end of this post, you'll hopefully have a better understanding of which diamond cut is right for you (or, at the very least, you'll have some fun learning about these beautiful gems).

So without further ado, let's jump into the world of diamonds and explore the differences between old mine cut diamond vs modern cut. Are you ready? Let's go!

Key Takeaways

  • Shape and Cut: Old mines have a rounded outline with a high crown and small table, while a modern cut diamond has a more geometric shape with a larger table and shallower crown.
  • Faceting: Old mines were cut by hand, resulting in unique and irregular facets, while a modern cut diamond is cut using advanced technology with precise and symmetrical facets.
  • Brilliance and Fire: A modern cut diamond has a higher level of brilliance and sparkle due to its precise faceting, while old mine have a softer, warmer glow with a subtle play of light.
  • Rarity and Value: Old mines are considered antique or vintage, and their rarity and historical significance make them valuable, while a modern diamond is more widely available and priced accordingly.

What is an Old Mine Cut Diamond?

As someone who has seen my fair share of diamonds, I can tell you that old mine-cut diamonds are truly unique and are referred to as antique diamonds. These diamonds typically have a squarish or cushion-shaped outline, with a high crown and a small table. They also tend to have a deeper pavilion, which means they're thicker from top to bottom than a modern cut. This depth, combined with a smaller table, gives old mine cuts a more subtle sparkle and less brilliance than modern cuts.

The old mine-cut diamond has a fascinating history that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. These are also called old European cut diamonds. An old mine-cut diamond was originally shaped using other diamonds as cutting tools due to the diamond's hardness and inability to be sliced by any other substance. 

Old mine diamond cuts

This hand-crafted technique resulted in varying dimensions for each diamond, making every old mine cut unique. Despite their often lumpy appearance, these diamonds possess an individual personality and charm.

The demand for old mine diamonds was high during the 18th century, but eventually declined as cutting and polishing technology improved. The old European cut diamond is the predecessor to the modern round brilliant cut diamonds.


  • Antique diamond
  • More affordable.
  • Historical significance.


  • Less brilliance.
  • Less precise cut.
  • Less availability.

Overall, old European cut diamonds have a unique charm and these are basically antique diamonds more than 100 years old!

What Are Modern Diamonds?

Let's now explore the world of modern cuts, shall we? So, allow me to tell you that a modern diamond, also known as European cut diamonds, is truly stunning. These diamonds are typically cut with a round or square shape and have a larger table and shallower depth than old mine-cut diamonds. The faceting is also more precise and uniform, which means that modern cuts have a higher level of brilliance and sparkle.

Modern diamond cuts

These diamonds emerged in the 19th century, thanks to advances in diamond-cutting technology that did not need hands as diamond cutters. The most notable development was the invention of the bruting machine, which allowed diamonds to be cut and polished with much greater precision. This led to the creation of the round brilliant cut, which is the most popular and widely used diamond cut today.

Modern round brilliant cut diamonds are typically cut with a round shape as diamond cutters and have a larger table and shallower depth than mine cut ones. The faceting is also more precise and uniform, which means that modern cuts have a higher level of brilliance and sparkle.


  • More brilliance.
  • More precise cut.
  • Wider availability.


  • More expensive.
  • Less unique.
  • Less historical significance.

Mine Cut Diamond vs Modern Diamonds

The development of diamond-cutting techniques progressed rapidly due to advancements in technology, particularly during the industrial revolution. The old mine-cut diamonds directly preceded the brilliant-cut diamond, which was created by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919. The old European cut diamond served as the link between the old mine cut and the modern brilliant diamond.

Now that we've explored the characteristics, history, and pros and cons of both mine cut and modern diamonds, let's compare the two.

Shape and Cut

Typically, old mine-cut diamonds have a more square-ish shape with round edges and a deeper cut, while modern diamonds are more square or rectangular and have a shallower cut. In my experience, this means that antique diamonds may have a softer, more romantic feel, while modern diamond shapes are sleeker and more contemporary.


When it comes to faceting, modern diamond cuts tend to have more precise and uniform faceting, which means they have a higher level of brilliance and sparkle. Mine cut d, which can also be called antique diamond cuts, on the other hand, may have more irregular facets, which can give them a unique and charming look.

Brilliance and Fire

In terms of brilliance and fire, both the mine cut and the modern diamond can be stunning. However, I have observed, modern ones tend to have a more intense and dramatic sparkle, while mine cut diamonds may have a more subtle and romantic glow.

Rarity and Value

When it comes to rarity and value, mine-cut diamonds are typically rarer and more valuable than modern diamonds. This is because mine cut diamonds were cut by hand and are considered antique or vintage, which gives them historical and sentimental value. A modern diamond, on the other hand, is more widely available and may be less expensive than an old mine-cut diamond.

After comparing them both I would like to say, choosing between antique diamonds and modern brilliant-cut diamonds ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget.

Images of diamond rings

Frequently Asked Questions

Now I will answer the most frequently asked questions.

Are mine cut diamonds worth more?

Typically, mine-cut diamonds are worth more than modern-cut diamonds because they are considered antique or vintage. Additionally, mine-cut diamonds are rarer and were cut by hand, which adds to their value. However, the value of a diamond ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including the quality of the diamond, the setting, and the market demand.

Do old mine sparkle?

Old mines may not have the same level of sparkle as the modern cut because they were cut by hand and may have irregular facets. However, they do have a unique and charming look that many people find appealing. In my experience, the sparkle of an old mine depends on the quality of the diamond and the cut, just like any other diamond.

When did they stop using the old mine?

Mine-cut diamonds were popular from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. They were eventually replaced by modern cut diamonds, which were cut using advanced technology and had a higher level of brilliance and sparkle. However, mine-cut diamonds are still available today, and many people still appreciate their unique and vintage look.


In my experience, the choice between a mine-cut diamond and a modern-cut diamond is ultimately a matter of personal preference. While modern cuts offer maximum sparkle and a contemporary look, mine cuts have a romantic vintage feel with historical significance. Whether you choose one or the other, both are stunning options that will make any diamond lover's heart skip a beat.

About the Author:

Alene Geed

I am a published writer and an experienced jewelry designer. In my designs, I use gold, steel and silver, and adds gemstones to enhance the beauty of my unique, sparkling pieces of jewelry.

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