What’s the Difference Between Old European Cut and Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds?

By Over The Moon
Old European cut versus round brilliant cut diamonds.

If you’re not a diamond historian, you may have missed the memo that the cutting process has changed over the years, resulting in variations between cuts from the late 19th century and now. In light of this shift, one of the most commonly asked questions about vintage versus modern diamonds is regarding the difference between antique stones and today’s counterparts. Enter the vintage experts at Erstwhile Jewelry. Lucky for us, they’re stepping in to answer all of our burning cut, color, and clarity questions.

After diamond cutting became less crude in the late 1800s, the old European cut was popularized in the Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco periods. As technology improved, “diamond cutting techniques changed the placement and proportion of a diamond’s facets. Tables became larger, culets (the tiny point at the base of the pavilion where the facets meet) became smaller, and facets themselves became longer and leaner. These changes led to the creation of what is now the world’s most popular diamond shape: the modern round brilliant,” shares Alisa Klusner, co-founder of Erstwhile.

The differences between the old European cut and the modern round brilliant cut are how light reacts with the stones and what the two cuts were meant to enhance. “The modern round brilliant diamond and the old European cut both have either 57 or 58 facets, but the shape and placement of those facets gives each cut its distinctive personality. Whereas vintage diamonds were cut for color, modern round brilliant diamonds, as their name suggests, are cut for brilliance,” says Klusner.

With modern diamonds, light is intended to go into the diamond and bounce back brightly. Antique stones capture light in a way that draws the eye in rather than immediately sparkling back out.

Partial to the latter? Erstwhile is too—that’s why the by Erstwhile collection uses antique stones and mixes them with their modern aesthetic to create contemporary heirlooms.

Want to see the by Erstwhile collection IRL, along with their selection of vintage and antique rings? Good news—they’re is having their first Los Angeles trunk show right now! 

Their entire namesake collection is available to shop in person on Friday, June 14th, as well as their selection of vintage engagement and cocktail rings. Bubbly will be served, flower crowns will be worn, and one lucky bride will leave with an antique garnet and diamond ring, as part of their exclusive trunk show giveaway. DM @erstwhilejewelry on Instagram, email [email protected], or call 212-390-1144 to make an appointment. Appointments are recommended, but not necessary.

June 13th -14th 
LOHO Bride
8282 Melrose Avenue
12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

This post is sponsored by Erstwhile Jewelry.