How old are old-cut diamonds?

In the spirit of sustainability, we primarily use old-cut diamonds for our jewelry! Old cuts are all cuts that existed before the brilliant cut, which was developed in 1910 and is so popular today. They have a very special character, as each stone is cut by a diamond cutter as a unique specimen. He tried to work out what he recognized and saw in the rough stone in terms of beauty, proportion and life of its own. The results are therefore just as varied and characterful as their producers. Each stone only exists once! The old-cut diamonds unfold their unique charm in our jewelry – your SIGNUM team wishes you lots of fun with them!


Characteristics of the old-cut diamond

The third illustration shows an old-cut diamond on the left and a modern brilliant-cut diamond on the right for comparison. The old-cut diamond has an unpolished and matt, thick round bar (facet that runs around the stone between the upper and lower part of the stone). This is often not the same thickness and the stone is not perfectly round. You can also see that the upper part has more volume and is higher than a diamond. In those days, the stones were cut by hand from a diamond rough cube to maximize the weight yield. The grinder has also tried to ‘capture’ a maximum of light through the remaining facets. It should be noted that candles and oil lamps were still the main sources of light in those days! If the stone has been optimally polished, it is fantastically flooded with light, which seems to ‘play’ in the stone. They appear brighter to us than brilliant-cut diamonds, which are cut with the aim of achieving maximum brilliance and evenness.


A brief insight into the historical development of the old-cut diamond

The development of the old cut began in the 14th century, as diamonds had previously only existed in their natural octahedron shape. The first actual old cut shape was the pointed stone, which was limited to optimizing the optical effect of the natural octahedron sides by polishing. A continuation of the pointed stone was the table stone in the 15th century, in which the upper and lower points of the octahedron were removed, creating flat surfaces.

In the course of time, the square round bar of this old cut was replaced by an octagonal one and additional cut surfaces (facets) were added. This cut is also known as a single cut. This new achievement was thanks to the use of grinding wheels.

A further step towards today’s brilliant cut was taken with the old cut in the 17th century. The result was the double cut – also known as the Mazarin cut in reference to the minister under Louis XIII – in which the round bar already had 12 facets and the upper part had 16.

The 18th century is probably of the greatest importance for the development of the brilliant cut, in which Vincent Peruzzi developed a shape that is now known as the old diamond cut. The round bar consists of a rounded square; there are 32 facets on the upper side and 24 facets on the underside, as well as a flattened tip. This old-cut diamond, the triple good, was further refined in the period around 1900, when the round bar was brought ever closer to the circular shape. The final refinement of the old-cut diamond to today’s brilliant cut took place at the beginning of the 20th century during the Art Deco period.

Diamonds are described using the so-called 4Cs: Carat (weight), Cut (cut), Color (color) and Clarity (purity).
There are internationally standardized codes for color and purity from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).


Farbe / Color

Diamonds are divided into the following color classes:

D, E, F, G: colorless / I, J, H: almost colorless / K, L, M: slightly yellowish / N – R: slightly yellow / S – Z: yellow


Purity / Clarity

The purity of a stone is an important criterion for all gemstones. And this is especially true for diamonds. The GIA has therefore also established a scale for the purity of diamonds. Here is the GIA description of the clarity of a diamond:

Purity Description
Flawless (FL) Clean as a magnifying glass. Shows no inclusions or defects at 10x magnification
Internally Flawless (IF) Flawless inside. Shows no inclusions and only minor, small surface defects at 10x magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Very, very small inclusions. Contains tiny inclusions that are difficult to see at 10x magnification.
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Very small inclusions. Shows tiny inclusions at 10x magnification.
Slightly Included (SI1, SI2, SI3) Small inclusions. Contains inclusions recognizable at 10x magnification. The SI3 purity level was introduced because many experts felt that the difference between SI2 and I1 was too great. The Rapaport Diamond Report, the reference price list for diamonds, included this category after the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) began issuing SI3 certificates.
Included (I1, I2, I3) Inclusions. Contains inclusions. These are clearly visible at 10x magnification.
Piqué (PK) Clear inclusions. Inclusions visible to the naked eye.



The cut is the most important criterion of the 4C. Unique symmetries and balanced proportions, not too flat and not too high – the precise facets of a diamond must be harmonious. This is the only way to ignite the extraordinary beauty and fire in the diamond that make it so coveted. The most popular cut is the brilliant cut with a total of 57 facets. Other cut shapes are:


Weight / Carat

The carat (abbreviation ct) is the unit in which the weight of a diamond is measured – one carat corresponds to 0.2 grams. In principle, the following applies:

  • If all other classification factors are equal, diamonds with a higher carat number are more valuable than diamonds of lower weight.
  • It is difficult to deduce the weight or number of carats of a gemstone from its size. However, the brilliant-cut diamonds are an exception. As both the mass and the number of facets of a brilliant-cut diamond are precisely defined, the weight in carats can be determined without calculation based on the diameter of a brilliant-cut diamond. The following table provides an overview: