February 13

What Is a Mine Cut Diamond? | Guide to Antique, Hand-Made Gems

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Author: Alene Geed

You’ll likely come across an old mine cut diamond while shopping for a vintage engagement ring. Also, you’ll notice that these diamonds have a distinct square shape and curved edges that resemble the modern cushion cut diamond. Although old mine cut diamonds aren’t as famous as in the 18th and 19th centuries, jewelry enthusiasts can still find these less refined diamonds. 

Key Takeaways

  • Old mine cut diamonds go way back to the early 18th century.
  • Stonecutters cut and measured the diamonds in that period using their hands. 
  • The diamond cutter’s perception and skill played a crucial role in the diamond’s beauty, proportions, and general appearance.
  • By assessing their clarity and color grades, old mine cut diamonds have the same value as other diamonds.

So, what is a mine cut diamond? “Mine cut” was a term used to describe diamonds mined from Indian and Brazilian mines. This article gives you a glimpse of what you need to know about these diamonds. 

What Is a Mine Cut Diamond? 

Unlike modern diamonds, which are cut and polished using advanced technology, old mine cut diamonds are antique diamonds cut using the hand. The manual way of cutting the old mine cut diamonds adds to their charm and warm appearance, making more people love their antique nature.

According to GIA, “Old Mine Cut” is a term from the 1800s at the inception of diamond production in Africa. Aesthetically, these diamonds share specific similarities with modern diamonds. In addition, old mine cut diamonds have differences that give them their unique appearance. 

Some of the distinct characteristics of old mine cut diamonds include:

  • Imperfect symmetry: Old mine cut diamonds have asymmetrical attributes and imperfect facets common in diamonds cut by hand and measured by eye.  
  • 58 facets: These diamonds include a large culet and 58 facets.
  • Short lower half facets: Compared to antique diamonds, the old mine cut diamond has short lower half facets.
  • A deep pavilion and high crown: As opposed to modern diamonds, an old mine cut diamond has a deep pavilion under the diamond girdle and a high crown above the girdle.
  • A large culet: Most of these diamonds have a visibly prominent culet
  • A small table: This antique diamond has a small table.

When placed next to modern cut diamonds, the old mine cut diamond proportions may appear too bulky and oversized when you see them for the first time.

Where Does the Name “Old Mine Cut” Come From?

“Old Mine Cut” was initially used to refer to hand-cut diamonds from Indian or Brazilian mines that had squarish shapes and produced some sparkle. As African mines began to make better color quality, the diamonds had similar cuts and were known as old mine cuts.

Do Old Mine Cut Diamonds Sparkle?

Old mine diamonds have yellow gold colors. With all their flaws, these diamonds have an unmatched sparkle that no contemporary diamond could ever match. These diamonds were designed to sparkle under the candlelight, which made them ambient and truly breathtaking. 

Are Mine Cut Diamonds More Expensive?

Old mine cut diamonds are more affordable than modern-day diamonds because their quality is lower. Occasionally, you’ll find antique stones that command a higher collector-worthy price. So, it’s best to know your desire and set your budget accordingly.

What Are the Best Ring Settings for Old Cut Mine Diamonds?

The best diamond settings for old cut mine diamonds should let the stone genuinely shine. They include:

  • Halo: A halo cut uses surrounding stones on diamond engagement rings to make the center diamond pop, putting it front and center.
  • Three stone: This setting enhances your stone’s opulence on an engagement ring, allowing it to shine.
  • Solitaire: The solitaire diamond setting allows light to penetrate from all angles, enhancing the engagement ring’s sparkle. 
a person putting the ring on

Old European Cut vs Old Mine Cut

Old mine and European cuts are both antique diamond cuts that have gained popularity over the last decade. While they share a few similarities, here are some key differences.

  • Fire: Because they have different sizes and facet shapes, they both display contrast patterns and colors differently.
  • Proportion: The old mine cut appears shallow to the European cut, with shorter pavilion facets and a larger culet. On the other hand, the European cut possesses a heavier crown and a slightly smaller table.
  • Culet: The old mine cut diamond has a much larger culet, and you can view it through the table with your bare eye.
  • Shape: The old mine cut diamond has a cushion cut, while the European cut is similar to the brilliant round cut.
  • Age: The European cut is 100 years younger than the old mine. European cut diamonds became common in the late 19th century, and the old mine cut diamond goes back to the early 18th century. 
white drawings of the diamonds on the dark surface

Pros and Cons of Old Mine Cut Diamonds

Because you must make an informed choice when buying old mine cut diamonds, here are some advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

  • These diamonds possess a unique charm because they’re cut by hand, and each is unique in terms of the asymmetrical shape and uneven facets.
  • They have a timeless appeal and exude a beautiful warmth.
  • Old mine cut diamonds are versatile and look great in different styles and settings.
  • These are one-of-a-kind stones, and you can easily reset them in various settings.

Cons

  • Well-cut old mine diamonds are rare.
  • Compared to modern diamond cuts, they don’t exhibit the same brilliance, fire, and sparkle.
  • It would be best if you had more effort and time to find an old mine diamond that fits your preferences.

Tips for Buying Old Mine Cut Diamonds

When purchasing an old mine cut diamond ring, there are several factors to consider because they’re unique, and you must view them as such.

  • Antique: Remember that an old mine cut diamond is antique, meaning it’s rare and hard to find compared to a modern diamond. If you come across one, close that deal as fast as possible to own a beautiful and unique piece of diamond history.
  • Suitability: Choose a mine cut diamond that fits your desire. For instance, if the diamond has color, determine whether it works with the jewelry pieces you’re creating and the carat weight.
  • Uniqueness: Because every diamond cutter has its way of designing diamonds, you must appreciate every piece for its identity because each diamond is a little different.
  • Appearance: When it comes to old mine cut diamonds, you should focus on their appearance, not the four C’s. While creating these diamonds, there weren’t cut grades to follow. So, how we judge diamond jewelry today doesn’t work with mine cut diamonds. 
  • Buy from the correct vendor: An antique diamond cut like an old mine cut diamond is rare. Thus, you won’t find them with every other vendor. Ensure you visit vendors who stock a wide range of engagement ring settings and antique diamonds.
a person holding a diamond ring

FAQs

How Can You Tell If a Diamond is Mine Cut?

You can tell if a diamond mine is cut if it shows more significant facets than modern brilliant cut diamonds (58 facets), a high crown, and a smaller table. The bulkier sections make the diamonds sparkle under candlelight.

Are Mine Cut Diamonds Good?

Yes, mine cut diamonds are good because they’re more affordable compared to other diamonds because their quality is at the lower end of the scale. Because they’re 10-15% less expensive, they’re larger than other cut diamonds on an engagement ring. 

Are Mine Cut Diamonds Rare?

Yes, mine cut diamonds are rare compared to other diamonds, making them a one-in-a-million kind of stone. This makes them unique compared to other diamonds.

Do Mined Diamonds Hold Their Value? 

No, I think antique diamonds don’t hold their value because when they’re sold and purchased on the same day, they lose 30-70% of the initial purchase price. Thus, naturally mined diamonds have an underwhelming resale value. 

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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