What is an Old Mine Cut Diamond? | The Diamond Reserve

What is an Old Mine Cut Diamond?

Old mine cut diamonds have a soft and beautiful appearance that dates back to an era when stones were cut and polished by hand. These diamonds have a squarish shape, smaller table, and curved edges, resembling a modern cushion-cut with a vintage touch. They were designed to sparkle by candlelight and shine in a different way than modern cut stones. 

Old Mine or “Miner’s Cut” Diamonds

An old mine cut is a type of diamond cut that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, and is also called a “miner’s cut” or an “antique cushion cut.” Instead of being related to the stone’s shape, the name “old mine cut” comes from the origin of rough diamonds used for jewelry in that era. Originally, the term “old mine” referred to diamonds sourced from mines in India or Brazil, at the time, the “old” mines of the diamond industry. 

The term “miner’s cut” is sometimes used to describe any antique diamond cut by hand before the advent of modern diamond cutting technology. An old mine cut is characterized by a somewhat squarish or rounded shape, with a high crown, which makes them appear larger than other stones of the same carat weight, small table, and deep pavilion. They typically have 58 facets, including a culet at the bottom of the diamond. Their facets are larger than modern diamonds, which can create a unique play of light and a “chunky” appearance. 

These stones were cut by hand, so each is unique and varies in shape and proportions. They have a square shape with soft, slightly rounded corners. From above, this cut will have an outline that’s similar to the modern cushion cut. Old miner’s cut stones also often have imperfections that add to their character and charm. Like other antique diamonds, old mine cuts have a warm and softer look than modern diamonds, with large facets that produce a unique fire. 

Do Old Mine Cut Diamonds Sparkle?

Old mine cut diamonds do sparkle, although they look different than modern cut diamonds. Unlike modern diamonds, which are cut and polished using high-tech equipment, old mine cut stones were cut by hand, giving them a charming and warm look. They have a softer, more romantic appearance than a modern cushion cut diamond, which have more pronounced facets and a sharper, more angular shape.

Although the sparkle of an old mine cut diamond may not be as bright or fiery as a modern diamond, which is cut with more precision and symmetry, the character and beauty of an old mine cut lies in its unique individuality, history, and vintage charm rather than its brightness or brilliance. Old mine diamonds also tend to be warmer in color than the modern-day diamonds, because they were designed to sparkle by candlelight, making them truly lovely and ambient.

A modern cut diamond is created with factory-like precision, tighter light patterns appearing like flashes of colors, and greater brilliance. Unlike modern diamonds, which are cut to look beautiful in any setting, old mine cut diamonds were cut to be viewed under the candlelight and offer a unique warm appearance, with a soft, romantic glow. This cut is closest to a modern cushion, but will show rainbow flashes instead of bright white brilliance and are usually found in warmer colors (think J-K range). 

When purchasing vintage or antique jewelry, it’s important to shop in reputable places, and talk to a trusted jeweler. Whether you’re working with a heirloom diamond or want to incorporate vintage elements into a modern design, The Diamond Reserve can help. Give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule an appointment!