European Cut Diamonds

European cut diamonds have become more popular in recent years due to the surging popularity of antique engagement and wedding rings, where they are most prominently found. But if you go shopping for old cut European diamonds you first need to know what you're going to be looking at.

The old European cut was developed long before today's technology made it possible to cut diamonds with the "perfect" precision and geometrically perfect diamond cuts that people are familiar with today and see advertised in all of the commercials. These diamond cuts evolved from the the old mine cut and were developed to be refinements of the cushion cuts. You can recognize them by their very small tables and bulky, heavy crowns. They have deep bodies and typically larger, more open basal or point culets. These diamonds are still generally round or oval. The old European cut saw its greatest prominence in the late 19th and early 20th century, after which its prominence fell due to the continued advancement of gem-cutting technology. But for their day, these diamonds' cuts were the best for creating the "sparkle and fire" that diamond ring wearers wanted and they had been developed in accord with that day's technology to achieve just that effect.

Of course, old European cut diamonds were first developed in--Europe. The Europeans dominated ownership of diamond mines during this time and they had the oldest tradition of gem-cutting science in the world. So, what should you be looking for if the antique appeal of these diamonds appeals to you in particular?

*Rounded appearance--these diamonds can be found in 2 ct. or even larger sizes, even set in rings of the period. These are the most valuable, as jewelers see in them the possibility of re-cutting them today.*58-facet cuts. This was cutting-edge technology (pun intended) in those days.*Hand-faceting. Research this to get a feel for how to recognize it.*Small tables.*High crowns.*Open bottom culets.*Deep pavilions.*Settings in Victorian, Edwardian, or Art Deco antique rings.

European cut diamonds can be hard to find today. Many have already been re-cut to modern standards, and they are only going to be found among antique jewelry anyway. You'll need to seek out antique or vintage jewelry specialists to get a good selection. They may be easier for you to find online. Look at the websites of Elisha Morgan Gemologists, Fay Cullen, or The Jewelry Expert for some really good choices. Be prepared to pay upwards of $2000 for one of these diamonds.

If you are an informed buyer, you can lend your engagement a touch of class by getting antique engagement rings. This is becoming more popular now, as people are becoming more interested in some of the "old time values" again. People who buy antique engagement rings typically buy those from the Victorian Age or from the first half of the 20th century, which began with the Edwardian Period.

Engagement rings are the modern version of the "betrothal" ring. It was in the 19th century, which included the Romantic and Victorian periods, that individualized engagement rings became the rage, although in the 20th century it became fashionable to have matching engagement rings.

The diamond rose to become the gemstone of most popular choice during the late 1800s. So when you shop for antique engagement rings, old miner cut diamond engagement rings where the diamonds have an additional facet on the bottom. When you shop for antique rings, take a 10X jeweler's loupe with you and use it or have the proprietor use it to see if that extra bottom facet is there, to ensure authenticity. Diamond rings from the 1920s onward will feature the European Cut, which removed the bottom facet of the mined diamonds. This was the cut that eventually evolved into today's very brilliant cuts.

Older cut diamonds aren't worth as much as today's cut diamonds, but that just means that an antique diamond ring has a unique charm as well as giving you more stone for your bucks. Old cuts that are larger (2 ct. or bigger) are prized by jewelers, as they offer the possibility of being recut; this makes them more valuable. Also, antique rings had some amazingly detailed workmanship that is hard to find in modern rings.

Yellow and pink gold were main metals of choice in rings during the Victorian age. Diamond rings were, additionally, often topped with silver. But once the prototype modern blowtorch was invented early in the 20th century, the most popular ring metal became platinum. However, during the World Wars, white gold and platinum were needed for the wars, so rings weren't made much with those metals during those periods, since even if they were they weren't going to sell very well. But in between the Wars, Art Deco rings were prominently made from those metals.

If you go looking for antique engagement rings:

* Make sure the prongs are not bent and the gems are well-secured.* Look for breaks in the filigree and avoid those rings.* Get the "certs" and the seller's appraisal on the ring you buy; if there are no "certs" don't buy it.* Understand the "4 Cs" of diamonds before you go shopping.* Only buy from reputable jewelers, preferably specialists in antique jewelry.

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