History of Diamond Cutting: The Rose Cut, Old Mine, Old European, Round Brilliant Cut.

History of Diamond Cutting: The Rose Cut, Old Mine, Old European, Round Brilliant Cut.

Author: Ravi Kewalramani

The Origin of Diamond Cutting.

No one knows exactly when, where and who made the first attempt to cut diamonds. It is assumed that the first diamond cutting styles originated from India. However, it was only limited to chipping or grinding. Moreover in ancient times diamonds were valued more for their magical and mythological properties. By modifying the natural state of a diamond in any way would alter it's magical properties and render it useless. At the most the cleaving techniques of diamond were attempted to get flat faces on diamonds. It is believed that the early diamond cutting styles originated in Europe. The European travelers visiting India for it's diamond treasures used to transport diamonds from the Golconda Mine to Europe for cutting. It ultimately used to be transported back to India and made a part of the Kings, Moghuls and Maharaja's treasury.

The Evolution of Diamond Cutting.

The Old Mine Cut

Experimentation with diamond cutting did not yield any significant results till the seventeenth century. The early diamond cutters were unable to polish the rough octahedral diamonds. However, they found out that they could polish or grind diamonds into a point by polishing almost parallel to the diamonds rough faces, at an angle lesser than the diamond rough faces. They also realised that only diamonds cut diamonds. Hence they used a wooden table covered with diamond dust to achieve any kind of polishing. This resulted in the "Rose Cut". It was called the rose cut due to it's resemblance to the "Rose Bud". The rose cut came into existence in the early sixteenth century and was widely used till the early nineteenth century.

The Round Brilliant Cut.

Diamond Cut section

There have been a few intermediaries who have contributed to the present cutting style of the round brilliant cut. The most noteworthy and the direct ancestor (the grandfather) is the "Old Mine Cut" or the "Old Miner". It is also known as the "Triple Cut". It came into existence in the late seventeenth century. The old miner was the first diamond cut that had all the facets of the present round brilliant cut viz. the bezel, the star, pavilion mains, etc. However, the facet alignment and sizes were in a different manner as compared to the current round brilliant. The old miner was also more of a square or cushion cut, rather than being round. The direct descendant to the old miner is the "Old European Cut". I consider the old European cut to be the father of the present round brilliant cut. The old European cut was more evident in the late eighteenth century till the early twentieth century. Many experiments were done on the old European cut during the early twentieth century regarding it's various facet positioning and angles. Most notable were the one done by Henry Morse and Marcel Tolkowsky. More has been mentioned about them in the Ideal Diamond Cut section. They ultimately gave birth to the present round brilliant cut and the ideal cut diamond proportions.

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Gem Sutra