If you’ve ever been shopping for vintage and antique engagement rings, you’ve definitely seen a ring with European cut diamonds, even if you didn’t realize it. Round center diamonds are the most popular style for modern engagement rings, and the old European cut (OEC) actually paved the way for this trend. European cut diamonds were cut at the turn of the 20th century and are commonly associated with the Art Deco design style and time period.

Antique Old European Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring
Antique Old European Cut Diamond Solitaire Ring

What is a European Cut Diamond

When diamonds were cut between the 1890s and 1930s, they were primarily chosen for carat weight. These diamonds were also cut and measured by hand. Diamond cutters during this time period cut the stones by candlelight, and they focused on how to maximize each diamond’s sparkle in the candlelight. That means each European cut diamond is unique due to its painstakingly handcrafted design.

The Story Behind the Old European Cut Diamond

Old European cut diamond engagement rings are a popular and beloved alternative to modern, manufactured engagement rings. Many people value the history and story behind a one-of-a-kind vintage or antique ring. An old European cut diamond ring has survived through 100 years of history, a testament to its quality and timelessness. 

The old European cut was a classic choice during the turn of the 20th century and inspired the rise in popularity of the round cut diamond design in the modern era. However, the European cut has a distinct originality because of the way each diamond and engagement ring setting was created by hand. While these diamonds are more likely to have an imperfect cut, they answer the question, “Are old European cut diamonds valuable?” with a resounding yes. As time passes, fewer European cut diamonds will be available, though their timeless designs will endure. This makes them all the more rare and special.

Old European Cut Diamond Engagement Rings

Selecting an old European cut diamond engagement ring is ultimately a choice of design and style that suits your interests. When you select this kind of diamond to sit in your vintage ring setting, you are investing in a piece of history that has likely been worn by many others over the decades. In fact, these pieces of jewelry are referred to as estate jewelry because they have had previous owners. Both high demand and value are placed on estate jewelry, especially when the previous owners were well-known icons and celebrities of decades past. 

If you want to find a one-of-a-kind engagement ring for your loved one, a vintage European cut diamond ring is a great option to consider. The European cut spanned multiple eras of antique and vintage engagement rings, making it both timeless and classic. The Edwardian era designs at the turn of the century involved ornate and intricate patterns, often surrounding an old European cut center stone. The Art Deco era introduced a more architectural style to engagement ring settings, with symmetrical and geometric designs. And then baguette side stones became a popular style to accent a European cut center stone. 

Each varying design style incorporated old European cut diamonds as their focal point, eclipsing decades of design differences with this gorgeous stone that pulled them all together to create stunning vintage European engagement rings that are highly sought after today.

Visual Characteristics of Old European Cut Diamonds

Old European cut diamonds have distinct, easily identifiable visual characteristics that set them apart from other round diamonds. While a European cut has 58 facets like its modern counterpart, these facets were typically larger than the round brilliant diamonds of today. Instead of coming to a point at the bottom, an old European cut diamond has what is called a culet facet at the base of the diamond that allows light to escape. The larger part of a European cut culet sits parallel to a small circle at the top of the diamond, known as the table. 

When looking at an old European cut diamond, you’ll be able to see a small circle in the center of the stone, which is the culet. It’s often darker than the rest, identifying it as this special stone. Vintage European cut diamond engagement rings also tend to have a taller crown than their modern counterparts. This helps draw your eye to the center of the stone so you can admire the gorgeous flashes of light that these cuts are known for.

Old European Cut Diamond Rings with Gold

Gold was the most popular metal used in antique and vintage rings at the turn of the century. Gold metals were paired with European cut diamonds and Art Deco details to create some of the time period’s most stunning pieces of jewelry. The Art Deco era then ushered in a transition from yellow gold to white gold with round center-stone diamonds and gemstones. If you are looking for vintage and antique engagement ring options, you can find many in both yellow and white gold settings.

Tips for Buying the Perfect Old European Cut Diamond

Due to their rarity and significance in history, old European cut diamond rings can be difficult to come by. And if you do happen upon one, how can you be sure it’s good quality? The experts at Roman Malakov have compiled some tips for buying the perfect old European cut diamond so that you’re more than satisfied with your purchase and have a stunning new piece of jewelry to wear. 

1. Shop with Experts and Get an Appraisal

This type of stone is not something you should purchase from just anyone. Ensure you’re only shopping with trusted, proven jewelers who have the expertise and experience to back up their selection. This will give you peace of mind that you’re purchasing a legitimate and quality diamond, but it will also give you access to their insight and advice when it comes to finding the best stone. 

You also want to ensure you get an appraisal of the stone or jewelry you’re purchasing so that you’re in the know regarding its value. Be sure to have the appraisal done by a reputable company, and hold on to the paperwork for insurance purposes.

2. Take Your Time and Consider Your Preferences

Buying an old European cut diamond isn’t something you should just run out and do on a whim. You need to do some research and take your time searching for the ideal stone. 

While you should compare the 4Cs and talk with jewelers about the availability and quality of stones, you will also want to consider your preferences above all else. Just because a diamond has excellent grading doesn’t mean it’s going to look the way you want it to, and how you feel about the look of a stone is far more important than what’s on paper.

3.Compare Settings and Diamonds

Certain settings and different metals can impact the overall look of a diamond, so take the setting into consideration when you’re selecting an old European cut diamond. Additionally, because this kind of diamond is handcrafted and unique, no two stones will be identical, even if they have similar grading and carat weights. Looking at the stones in person, ideally, side by side, is the best way to compare your options before making a final purchasing decision. 

Discover the Perfect OEC Diamond Ring at Roman Malakov

At Roman Malakov, you will see a stunning variety of old European cut diamond rings for sale. Visit Roman Malakov in NYC’s Diamond District location or book an appointment now for an online or in-person consultation, and our kind and knowledgeable staff can help you find the best European cut diamond ring for you!