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The Cutting Edge of Diamonds - Part 1

Quite literally, in this case.

One of the most incredible things about April’s birthstone is that it is one of the hardest gemstones on the planet. Fifty-eight times harder than anything else, to be precise.

Because of diamonds crystallized resilience, only diamond can cut other diamonds.

That's right, the hardest item found in nature can only be cut the hardest item found in nature, and recently, lasers can cut and facet diamonds to a wide variety of shapes.

It is fascinating how diamond cutting and the technology involved has developed over the course of centuries.

The following diamond cuts eventually led to the universally adored modern round brilliant cut diamond.

The earliest polished diamonds appeared in Europe in the 1380s.

The Point Cut is the earliest diamond cut. It was produced from diamond cutters polishing the edges of an octahedron shaped diamond and changing the angles. As a result, it is difficult to separate polished diamonds from natural glassies. The Point Cut was popular in the 15th century until the arrival of the Table Cut in the mid to late 1400s.

The Table Cut is an octahedron stone with the top point removed and polished into a table-top shaped facet. This cut led to more brilliance and fire than its predecessor and it improved how much light entered the stone. Diamond cutters also removed the bottom point of the table cut diamonds, leading to the early culet. The Table Cut was available in other shapes too. Rectangles, trapezoids, and diamond shaped stones called lozenges.

The table cut remained popular until the 16th century when the rose cut was developed. The rose cut has a flat bottom and a dome with triangular facets. This was an ideal cut for flat diamond rough and it was the lightest cut in weight. It produces more brilliance than the table cut, despite a lack of fire.

The rose cut started out with 6 facets, then 12, and eventually led to complicated 24 facets, which is known as the Full Rose Cut. Another rose variation is the briolette. The briolette is actually an elongated and double sided rose cut stone. Moijey Fine Jewelry & Diamonds has this lovely Peridot and Diamond Earrings in the beautiful briolette shape. The rose cut remained popular until the 19th century.

Diamond cutters continued to experiment with different methods of cutting and polishing diamonds. Like a diamond called the Mazarin cut, named after the French Cardinal Jules Mazarin. The Mazarin Cut was cushion shaped and had a total of 34 facets.


During that time, the Single Cut was also developed based on the octahedral rough. It has more brilliance than the Table Cut and it had more facets, either 17 or 18, depending on whether or not a culet was applied. Some accent diamonds in jewelry today are Single Cut diamonds, like in this Asscher Diamond Semi-set Engagement Ring, the accent diamonds are single cut.

The single cut ultimately became the basis for the modern round brilliant cut. When diamond deposits were discovered in Brazil in the 1700s, mass production was possible for diamond jewelry. The Brazilian deposits evolved with the Industrial Revolution and the quantity of larger diamond rough led to the Old-Mine Cut.

The Old-Mine Cut is a cushion-shaped diamond with a high crown and a deep pavilion. One of its distinguished features is a large culet which can be seen through the table.

Another early cut is the Old European Cut, which has a circular girdle and, like the Old-Mine Cut, became one of the early blueprints for the modern round brilliant cut.

Stop by our blog next week to see how much the modern brilliant cut has progressed over time in The Cutting Edge of Diamonds - Part 2!

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