How to Find an Old Cut Diamond

The past few years have seen a huge increase in demand for vintage and vintage-style diamonds. 1920s art deco is cool again and people are looking for diamond rings, necklaces and other pieces of jewelry either from that era or cut in that style. If you’re looking to upgrade to an old cut or vintage style diamond, Diamond Lighthouse will make selling your used diamond jewelry easy, so all you have to do is find the perfect vintage piece for you. That’s where things may get difficult. Despite a rise in popularity, vintage diamonds still aren’t quite as popular, and therefore not quite as common, as the modern round brilliant cut. Then there’s the issue of certifications and appraisals. Choosing a modern diamond is complicated enough with all the certifications and grades. How do you make sure you’re getting a good diamond when you’re looking for one that was cut before modern certifications and cutting standards existed? And do you even want an older diamond, or would you prefer a new one cut in an old style?

First, let’s determine exactly what an old cut or vintage diamond is. An old cut diamond is a stone that was cut and sold before modern cutting technologies were invented. The tools weren’t as exact back then. The facets in the crown of these old diamonds were larger, creating an almost checkerboard-like pattern of light and dark. The table (or top facet of the diamond) is also typically smaller in old cut diamonds. These diamonds may also be less symmetrical than modern diamonds. Vintage-style diamonds are brand new diamonds cut with modern techniques and tools in the style of an old diamond. These will have the larger crown facets and a pattern that looks a lot like a true old cut diamond, but will be more perfectly symmetrical. They will generally sparkle brighter than authentic old cuts, owing to the more exact cutting techniques available today. So which type is right for you?


 The advantage of buying an actual antique diamond is authenticity. You’re not getting something like an old art deco piece, you’re getting an old art deco piece. These diamonds have a history and personality that can’t be quantified by a certificate or grading report. There’s also a huge difference in the way the diamond looks. Newer diamonds cut with modern methods will generally have a much more perfect and symmetrical cut. While that may be more desirable to some, a lot of people buying old diamonds want them because of their eccentricities. Older cut diamonds play with light differently than newer cuts. Newer cuts reflect more light to maximize brilliance. Older diamonds may not have the same sparkle, but they have a unique look that’s beautiful in its own way. The larger facets and darker areas present in older diamonds tend draw the eyes into the stone so you can admire its internal structure.


Another advantage of buying actual vintage diamonds is price. A new diamond cut in the style of an old one will be sold at new prices. Unless the particular piece you’re looking at is something really special, like a flawless, one-of-a-kind piece with a verifiable history, you will generally be paying secondhand prices for it.

If you’re looking specifically for vintage diamonds, diamonds actually cut during the time period before modern cutting technologies and methods existed, you need to shop around in person. Visit antique shops or jewelers specializing in vintage jewelry. Examine each diamond very closely for scratches, chips and other signs of damage and wear. If possible, take any piece you consider buying to an independent jewelry appraiser. Somebody who isn’t connected to the sale, and preferably someone who specializes in vintage and antique jewelry. The monetary value an appraiser would give you isn’t super important. What you really want to know first of all is if the stone is actually what the jeweler says it is. They might even be able to give you an idea of when it was originally cut. Most importantly, they can find any damage you might have missed on your own and advise you on how to repair it.


If the old cut diamond you have your heart set on is damaged in some way, it may be in your best interest to get it repaired, even if that means a slight drop in carat weight. Damage left unrepaired can leave your diamond vulnerable to further chips and scratches. A properly recut and repaired diamond is far less likely to sustain further visible damage. An appraiser can advise you about what repairs are necessary and which repairs will least affect the value of your diamond. Be advised that when you get your diamond repaired, make sure the jeweler doesn’t change the style or shape of the stone. Many jewelers might try to make it more symmetrical to match today’s standards. If you’re buying the diamond because of the way it looks, don’t let the jeweler change that to make it look more “perfect.”

Or maybe you want a new diamond cut in the style of the old one. The advantage here is that modern cutting techniques can cut edges finer, making the diamond sparkle more than older ones ever could. Some may prefer the way the older gems look, but these modern vintage stones are what the jewelers and cutters of old were aiming for. These were what they had in mind when they cut those old diamonds, and these are what they would have produced had they the technology. These stones still have that vintage look, but they have all the sparkle and quality of cut you’d get with a new round brilliant. The symmetry and consistency you get with new cutting techniques is especially handy if you’re looking for diamond earrings. You’re much less likely to get two identical diamonds from before cutting techniques evolved to where they are today.


The process of shopping for a new vintage-style diamond is the same as shopping for any other new diamond. Go to different jewelers, and tell them exactly what style you’re looking for. Find a diamond you like and one that best suits your personality. It’s best to look for one that comes with a grading report from the Gemological Institute of America, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Remember: other gemology laboratories aren’t as trusted in the diamond industry and may be more lenient in their grading. Since cuts like these are less common, it’s important to get the best, strictest and most trusted grading report in the business. That’s the GIA.

Whether you choose a new vintage-style diamond or an actual antique is a matter of personal preference. Look at both and decide what’s right for you. Whatever you choose, Diamond Lighthouse can help you upgrade your current diamond to whichever fancy vintage cut you have your eye on. We’ll sell your current diamond for you to our elite network of expert diamond buyers and dealers. Our unique position in the diamond industry has allowed us to build a network of buyers who don’t normally buy from people outside of the industry. When you decide to sell your diamond with Diamond Lighthouse, we’ll push our buyers for the best price, guaranteeing you more money than you’d get from any pawn shop or secondhand jeweler. Upgrading to a vintage piece is easier than ever with Diamond Lighthouse..



One thought on “How to Find an Old Cut Diamond

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *