Old European Brilliant Cut Diamonds

Old European brilliant cut diamonds are sometimes referred to as ‘old Euros’ or OECs and are more or less round in shape with a brilliant style of faceting.  

This style of cut developed during the latter half of the 19th century after the major diamond discoveries in South Africa in the late 1860s and the 1870s.  The initial find that changed the face of the diamond industry forever came in 1867 when a 15 year old boy discovered a large diamond on his father’s farm on the bank of the Orange River. Rather fittingly, this diamond would become known as The Eureka and it led to what is now widely known as the Diamond Rush. During the 1870s thousands of people flocked to South Africa as more and more diamonds were discovered, in fact, throughout this decade, South Africa would yield more diamonds than India had in over 2000 years.

A 1.75ct old European round cut diamond ring with sapphire band..

This huge influx of diamonds led to increased experimentation in diamond cutting and the willingness of cutters to lose a little more weight from the rough in order to be able to produce rounder stones.  The equipment used to cut and polish diamonds advanced and the process of bruting, whereby a diamond is made round by rotating it against another diamond, was improved on.  Experiments with proportions and patterns of faceting accelerated and a well cut round European brilliant with its circular shape, 58 facets and brilliant facet pattern is recognisable as the forefather of today’s modern round brilliant cut diamond.  However, old European brilliant cut stones still have the familiar deep crown and pavilion, high small table and flat polished culet of their old mine cut siblings.  These features combine to create a greater amount of spectral colour-flashes (known as fire) from inside the stone than we typically see in modern cut diamonds.

22ct yellow gold and old European cut diamond Gypsy-set ring.

However, as the 20th century dawned it brought the invention of the motor driven diamond saw which revolutionised the diamond manufacturing industry.  Gradually, through a process of trial and error, cutters discovered which proportions produced the finest balance of brilliance and fire within these new round stones and during the 1900s and 1910s the profile of these old European cut stones slowly starts to flatten out and lose the depth of the older stones

A 4.90cts old European cut diamond and rose gold full eternity ring.

It is important to remember that even with these advancements in the tools used to cut diamonds, the beauty of any particular stone still lay in the hand and eye of the individual craftsman who cut it. All judgements on the proportions, symmetry and polish of a stone were done by eye and the finest stones were cut by those people with years of experience in how to coax out the very best cut stone from any piece of rough.  We select only the finest stones for our collection, those cut by the best craftsmen with a true eye for beauty and the ability to create stones that brim with individual character and radiance.  It is only these stones that we set into our beautiful diamond rings, pendants and earrings, so they can continue to enchant us for another century and more.

A 1.83ct European cut diamond ring with hexagonal surround.
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