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Delve into the timeless allure of old mine cut diamonds, the quintessential symbol of enduring love, which predates modern brilliant cuts and offers a unique, romantic sparkle that captivates with its vintage charm and historical depth. This article invites you to explore the fascinating world of these enchanting gems, revealing their distinctive beauty, craftsmanship, and the enchanting options they provide for engagement rings, making it a must-read for those seeking a ring with a story as deep as their love.

  • 8 min read

In the quest for the perfect diamond engagement ring, couples often find themselves drawn to the classics. You know, a round brilliant cut solitaire, sparkling to the high heavens. But what's the most classic of classics? Go older, friends, to the timeless elegance and unique character of old mine cut diamonds. Now, sure, all mined natural diamonds are originally billions of years old. But their fashioning into modern sparkly engagement ring stones is a bit more modern.

And the OG of all these? You guessed it: the old mine cut. Steeped in history and exuding vintage charm, these diamonds came long before the modern round brilliant (which wasn't developed until the 20th century!), and offer a captivating alternative to modern cuts, enchanting romantics and connoisseurs alike. Let's dive into the epic allure of old mine cut diamonds and explore why they're the perfect choice for those seeking a symbol of an enduring love story.

GOODSTONE Translunar Tapered Baguette Engagement Ring With Old Mine Cut Diamond

Tell your love story with the, Translunar Tapered Baguette Engagement Ring With Old Mine Cut Diamond.

What is an Old Mine Cut Diamond?

Old mine cut diamonds are a testament to the artistry of bygone eras. Originating in the 18th and 19th centuries, these diamonds were meticulously hand-cut by skilled artisans long before the dawn of modern cutting techniques. I.e. no lasers were involved. An old mine cut diamond is characterized by its softly rounded corners and romantic sparkle, boasting a distinct charm that sets it apart from contemporary cuts.

One of the most alluring qualities of old mine cut diamonds is their enchanting beauty. Unlike their modern counterparts, which prioritize brilliance and fire, and sparkle under modern fluorescent lights, old mine cut diamonds offer a subtle, antique glow that evokes a sense of nostalgia and romance. Their larger facets and deeper pavilions create a mesmerizing play of light, casting a warm and inviting aura that captivates the heart. They were cut to reflect and sparkle their best under totally different conditions, including candlelight, which was the norm back in the day. They also tend to have more of that rainbow flash instead of bright white sparkle.

What's the Difference Between an Old Mine Cut and an Old European Cut Diamond?

Along with the term old mine cut, you may come across old European cut diamonds, as both are antique diamond cuts that originated long before modern tech came into the picture. However, these two distinct diamond shapes came out of different time periods and exhibit unique characteristics. Here's a breakdown of the differences between the two:

1. Origin and Time Period:

  • Old Mine Cut Diamonds: Developed in the 18th century and popular throughout the 19th century, particularly during the Georgian and Victorian eras.

  • Old European Cut Diamonds: Emerged in the late 19th century and remained prevalent until the early 20th century, primarily during the Edwardian and Art Deco periods.

2. Shape and Facet Arrangement:

  • Old Mine Cut Diamonds: Typically have a squarish or cushion-shaped outline with softly rounded corners. The facets are irregularly arranged, with larger facets and a smaller table compared to modern cuts.

  • Old European Cut Diamonds: Have a more circular or round shape with distinct facets, including a small table, a large culet (the facet at the very bottom of the diamond), and a high crown. The facet pattern is more symmetrical compared to old mine cuts.

3. Sparkle and Brilliance:

  • Old Mine Cut Diamonds: Offer a subtle, romantic sparkle characterized by a warm glow. They tend to have less brilliance and fire compared to modern cuts.

  • Old European Cut Diamonds: Exhibit a higher degree of brilliance and fire due to their symmetrical facet arrangement and high crown. They produce a dazzling sparkle that is reminiscent of vintage charm, yet still not as much sparkle as the modern round brilliant.

5. Rarity and Availability:

  • Old Mine Cut Diamonds: Are generally rarer and more sought after by collectors due to their earlier origin and unique charm.

  • Old European Cut Diamonds: Are relatively more abundant than old mine cuts, but high-quality specimens are still prized for their vintage appeal.

While both of these diamond shapes are antique diamond cuts with a rich history, they differ in their shape, facet arrangement, sparkle, and time period of popularity. Each cut offers its own unique beauty and allure, appealing to collectors and couples seeking vintage or antique diamond jewelry.

Are Old Mine Cut Diamonds Expensive?

All diamonds these days are priced based on the 4Cs, yet there will always be some nod to the shape's popularity and how many are fashioned. The cost of old mine cut diamonds can vary widely depending on factors such as carat, color, clarity, and overall quality. Sometimes, they can be more expensive than modern cuts of similar specifications due to their rarity and historical significance. However, because they are a totally different animal, there isn't really a direct comparison.

The 4Cs of Old Mine Cut Diamonds

You know them well: Cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. These 4Cs apply to old mine cut diamonds and other antique diamonds just as they do to modern cut diamonds. Here's how each C applies specifically to old mine cut diamonds:


While cut is the most important of the Cs when it comes to ensuring sparkle, the cut of old mine cut diamonds is a bit different than modern diamonds, and there is no industry standard for this diamond shape. Cut still refers to its overall shape, facet arrangement, and proportions, but old mine cut diamonds were hand-cut before modern cutting standards were established, so they often have irregular shapes and not super symmetrical faceting. Keep this in mind tho: the off-kilter cut of an old mine diamond contributes to its unique charm and vintage appeal.


Color is an important factor in assessing the quality of an old mine cut diamond. These diamonds were cut during a time when diamond color grading standards were not as precise as they are today. As a result, old mine cut diamonds may exhibit a range of colors, from colorless to light yellow or brown. Some folks appreciate and prefer the warm, romantic glow of slightly tinted old mine cut diamonds in colors lower than J on the modern scale. These are especially beautiful set in warm yellow gold or rose gold ring settings.


Clarity refers to the presence of internal and external imperfections, or inclusions, within the diamond. In this aspect, old mine cut diamonds don't have more or less inclusions than modern stones, however given the size of the facets and softer brilliance of an old mine cut, you may have more visibility into the diamond by which to see these inclusions. You probably want to get a good photo, video, or in-person viewing of an old mine cut, especially in larger sizes, so ensure you can shop for an eye-clean diamond with no inclusions visible to the naked eye.

Carat Weight:

Carat measures the physical weight of a diamond, not its size, though they do have some correlation. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams, and this weight might be distributed quite differently in every diamond, depending on the proportions of its cut and shape (a high crown, deep overall depth, etc.). Old mine cut diamonds come in a range of carat weights, from small accent stones to larger centerpieces. Because old mine cut diamonds were cut by hand, their carat weights may be a bit less consistent than modern brilliant cut diamonds of similar dimensions. Some old mine cut diamonds may have deeper proportions, resulting in a smaller-looking face-up appearance compared to modern diamonds of the same carat weight.

While the 4Cs provide a framework for evaluating the quality of old mine cut diamonds, it's important to remember that these diamonds are prized for their unique charm, vintage appeal, and historical significance. Look for an old mine cut diamond with individual character and craftsmanship and you'll enjoy it forever!

Old Mine Cut Diamond Engagement Rings

When it comes to buying antique diamonds to set in a modern engagement ring, old mine diamonds are available yet still quite special and unique. You might have to do a bit of hunting to find your perfect engagement ring settings out there. But we've got a few favorites, from vintage engagement rings to super modern, minimal looks. Something for everyone, really.

Keeping it Simple and Sophisticated

For those of you looking to really show off the slightly square shape of your old mine cut diamond or just appreciate the curved edges by letting them stand out, a simple solitaire engagement ring should do the trick. This will highlight the key differences in the diamond cut while keeping the style super classic.

If you want to fancy this up a bit, you can add more prongs, a modern diamond bezel setting, or a vintage-style split shank to your old mine cut engagement ring, making it stand out a bit from all the other solitaires.

Amping it Up

Want more than one old mine cut diamond for your engagement ring? Try three! A classic three-stone engagement ring might feature smaller side stones, but why stop there? We went all out in the design of our Triad Engagement Ring, which matches your old mine cut diamond center stone with two additional, just barely smaller, side diamonds in the same diamond cut, for all out glamour. It's a big statement, but we're sure you can handle it.

If you want a look that's just a bit more subtle, with vintage engagement ring charm, set your old mine diamonds in a sweet cluster-style engagement ring setting. A few modern round brilliant cut diamonds on each side add a bit of extra sparkle without stealing the show from the antique cut diamond at the center. You can do similar with any diamond shape, like a modern cushion cut diamond.

GOODSTONE Triad Engagement Ring With Old Mine Cut Diamonds

Unleash your glamour with the, Triad Engagement Ring With Old Mine Cut Diamonds.

GOODSTONE Signature Cluster Engagement Ring With Old Mine Cut Diamond

Vintage charm meets subtle elegance in the Signature Cluster Engagement Ring With Old Mine Cut Diamond.

A Nod to Mod

If you want to add a completely modern spin to your engagement ring, think outside the box with a double banded beauty. Your old mine cut diamond will appear to nearly float between two slim bands of pave-set modern diamonds. While most folks might not think of antique cut diamonds for a style like this (given its super-modern flair), we love the contrast that old mine cut diamonds offer, with their softer look that tones down the hard edges of a contemporary setting. The negative space adds interest to any wedding ring stack.

GOODSTONE Double Row Gap Engagement Ring With Old Mine Cut Diamond

A modern twist: Double banded elegance, timeless allure, featuring the Double Row Gap Engagement Ring With Old Mine Cut Diamond.

Old Mine Cut Diamond Wedding Bands

Old mine cut diamonds can be found in a variety of ring styles beyond engagement rings, including wedding bands and anniversary bands. We love a five-stone ring with old mine cut diamonds set in simple prongs, but you can even customize those to your heart's content. Go with a chunky shared prong look that has mid-century charm, or slim claw prongs that grace the edges of your diamonds with just a hint of gold or platinum.

Overall, old mine cut diamonds offer a unique blend of vintage charm, historical significance, and romantic appeal, making them a sought-after choice for those who appreciate the beauty of antique jewelry.

GOODSTONE Five Stone Shared Prong Diamond Wedding Band With Old Mine Cuts

The Five Stone Shared Prong Diamond Wedding Band With Old Mine Cuts is a classic and timeless look.

GOODSTONE Five Stone Claw Set Diamond Wedding Band with Old Mine Cuts

Spice up your stack with some flavor, add in the Five Stone Claw Set Diamond Wedding Band with Old Mine Cuts for a little bit of edge.

About the Author:

Blake, our esteemed Creative Director at GOODSTONE, brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for excellence in the world of diamonds and ring design. Through his insightful contributions, Blake not only demystifies the process of choosing the perfect engagement ring but also shares his deep understanding of diamond quality with warmth. His commitment to guiding our readers through their jewelry journey makes him an invaluable asset to anyone seeking to make informed and inspired decisions in selecting their precious pieces.

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