Old Mine Cut (OMC) and Old European Cut (OEC) diamonds are two of the most sought after antique cuts by those in the know. Cut by hand well over 100 years ago, we’ve seen the demand for these beauties skyrocket over the last decade and even more so in the past 2 years. In this article we’ll give you the rundown of what defines each cut, how they compare, and give you some of the staff-favorites in our carefully curated collection.
But first, a quick intro video to antique cut diamonds:
What is an Old Mine Cut Diamond?
An Old Mine Cut diamond is essentially the antique version of today's cushion cut diamond. Old Mine cut diamonds were cut by hand over 100 years ago, mainly during the 18th and 19th centuries. They have broad, chunky facets and a beautiful pillowy shape that really draw your eye into the depths of these beautiful stones. Here is an example of a classic Old Mine Cut diamond in our ever-popular Emmy setting.
What makes Old Mine Cut diamonds so great?
These diamonds were cut by hand to enhance each diamond's unique characteristics. They are cut to maximize beauty and to look good in a multitude of lighting scenarios including dimly lit rooms such as those lit by candlelight which was the main light source then.
Because of their unique cutting style, OMC diamonds tend to face up whiter than most modern cut diamonds. They are also known for having much more life and fire because the cutter's main goal was a beautiful stone and not certain specs which is what is seen in modern diamonds.
But don't take our word for it! Here's a little video so you can see their magic for yourself!
What shapes do they come in?
Old Mine Cut diamonds can come in many different shapes, but all are some variety of the cushion. Some Old Mines are so round they look almost circular (such as our Camille 4.19 ring), while some have more rigid, rectangular corners. The most desired shape of Old Mines tends to land somewhere in the middle, featuring a rectangular shape (aka elongated) with softer, more rounded corners for that perfect, pillowy feel.
Here are a few examples of the various shapes these lovely Old Mine Cuts come in:
1.) The Bella 1.51 ring features a super-elongated, almost oval, that we adore.
2.) Marielle 5.06 Champagne features a chunky shape with more square corners. The light champagne color is a (much appreciated) added bonus!
3.) Chelsea 5.34 has a classic, elongated, more rectangular outline that is ever in demand.
Why is "elongated" special?
As you research Old Mine cuts you're likely to see reference to the word "elongated" quite often. Elongated = longer than it is wide. Elongated Old Mine cut diamonds are extremely sought after and very rare. Because of their high demand, there are few left to source and sell!
Our Alyse 4.47 ring is the epitome of an elongated OMC. Feast your eyes:
Can't get enough?
What is an Old European Cut Diamond?
Old European cut diamonds are the antique version of today's modern round brilliant cut diamond. These stones were cut from the end of the 19th century to about 1930, coming after the Old Mine cut.
Our Paloma 3.67 ring features a classic OEC with its perfectly round shape and fiery faceting.
What makes OECs so great?
Old European cut diamonds, like Old Mine cut diamonds, were also cut by hand. They have similar broad faceting patterns, but it is that round outline that makes them different! OECs will be near perfectly round (near perfect because these beauts were cut by hand by master artisans). Round diamonds by nature tend to be brighter and more sparkly than other shapes.
Here are three lovely loose Old Euro stones catching the afternoon sun here in NYC:
What shapes do they come in?
Old Europeans come in a traditional round shape, but since these unique stones were all cut by hand, some Old Europeans can have more of an oval shape or a slight cushiony shape.
Old Mine Cut vs Old European Cut
The main difference between Old Mine and Old European diamonds is their shape. Old Mine cut stones have that beautifully cushion like shape, while Old Europeans are a traditional round shape.
OECs, being round, are often brighter and more sparkly while OMCs have the more unique shape, faceting, and overall look.
Here's a fun comparison of an Old Mine and Old Euro both in our much-loved Benedicte setting:
**One caveat worth noting - because OMCs and OECs were cut by hand, no two diamonds are alike. Even two OMC or OEC with similar specs (carat, color, clarity) will look different**
One similarity between OMC and OEC diamonds is the culet. All diamonds have culets, which is the point at the bottom of the diamond. However, antique diamonds have what is known as an open culet which means the culet is polished flat, resulting in a noticeable circle within the stone.
This is one of the main characteristics of an antique diamond. It is an acquired taste but antique aficionados LOVE to see a culet in their diamond!
Chelsea 5.34 is a prime example of a prominent culet in an Old Mine cut and we're here for it.
Paloma 3.67 brings a nice culet to the table for the Old Euro category:
Best styles of rings for OMCs + OECs
Old Mine cut diamonds and Old European cut diamonds are very versatile, and can be set in a variety of gorgeous settings ranging from solitaires to three-stones, gold to platinum, and prong-set to bezel-set. These beauties have a lot of variety in the look and shape of the stone, so which setting fits best will depend on the look of your stone and your own preferences!
A solitaire will always show your center stone off the most as it will be the star of the show. Of course you can always have a solitaire setting with some glitz such as a setting like the Alyse and get the best of both worlds.
If you are after a larger look, our Marielle setting incorporates lots of beautiful chunky antique stones for a big, finger-spanning look.
Another setting that really highlights the antique diamonds charm is our Camille setting. The baguette diamonds contrast the broad facets of the Old European and Old Mine cut diamonds beautifully!
Top 10 Old Mine Cut Diamond Rings
1.) Emmy 5.52
*THE DREAM OMC* centers this timeless solitaire. A perfect pillowy shape, slightly elongated with those chunky facets, this Emmy ring is perfect for a big look in a minimalist setting.
2.) Monique 3.02
This East- West set beauty centers and Old Mine cut with broad faceting and a slightly flatter look.
3.) Drew 2.81
We drew strong inspiration from Victorian Era rings with scrolling, open-air designs in the gallery and beautiful, warm, chunky old mine cuts at the forefront.
4.) Benedicte 1.99
We love the simplicity of the Benedicte ring from the sleek baguette side stone to the minimal double prongs. This rendition centers a bright, and perfectly shaped Old Mine cut diamond.
This beautiful vintage piece centers a stunning elongated Old Mine cut diamond flanked by two deep blue sapphires. We love this style of antique ring that most commonly hails from the UK and spans the finger beautifully.
6.) Bella 1.51
This ring centers the rare elongated old mine cut that we're always seeking but never finding enough of! Grab this beauty before she's gone for good.
7.) Camille 4.19
This ring centers a perfectly faceted and chunky Old Mine cut diamond with the most beautiful pattern. It is flanked by vertical baguettes for that distinct Art-Deco feel creating a vivid look and offering full finger coverage. Camille is one of our favorite designs for good reason!
8.) Marielle 3.17
This ring features three gorgeous and glittering old mine cut diamonds all that have that charming antique chunkiness we adore. We love the finger coverage that these large stones provide and the sleek mix of big, bold stones with a delicate setting.
9.) Chandler 1.99
This antique center stone is a gorgeous, chunky, pillowy stone set on the diagonal for a chic, unique look.
10.) Kendra 5.03
A sleek bezel encircles this perfectly pillow stone with subtle side stone accents.
Top 10 Old European Cut Diamond rings
1.) Vivian 3.17
A classic beauty centering a bright, scintillating, dream OEC in a staff favorite M color. This timeless style keeps the focus on the center stone and provides an elegant flow on the finger.
2.) Paloma 1.76
One of our favorite styles for its use of different shapes and beautiful details.
3.) Marielle 2.34
This old European cut diamond really has more of that chunky old mine cut look and appears more cushiony than round. The stones are bright white and full of that antique charm we adore.
Intricate engravings combined with dazzling Old European cut diamonds give this antique beauty plenty of sparkle, shine, and finger coverage.
5.) Atlas 2.66
This stunning stone has the most perfect checkerboard faceting that plays beautifully with light. The old European cut side stones create an elegant flow to the finger-span of this ring.
6.) Petra 2.65
A beautiful pairing of a very bright antique diamond and vibrant, deep green emeralds create this chic, low-profile ring.
7.) Vera 1.33
This finger-spanning beauty is a collection of bright white antique diamonds that glitter beaitfully in this low-profile dream.
8.) Kendra 2.53
A super sleek beauty centering an incredibly bright OEC with endless shimmer. The side stones add just a bit of extra glimmer to each shoulder in this low-profile, golden number.
9.) Julian 4.29
This diamond was love at first sight for us! A super spready, unique looking OMC, we knew she had to stand alone. We set her in one of our favorite solitaire settings: the Julian. With its buttery smooth, chunky golden band and lots of dainty prongs that makes for a very antique feel.
10.) Cynthia 1.62
This tapered baguette style will always be a classic. This rendition centers a beautiful OEC diamond with the dream checkerboard faceting!
Celebrity Old Mine Cut and Old European Cut Vintage Engagement Rings
Just a little fun to end with :)
Mary Kate Olsen Rocked this gorgeous Vintage Cartier ring, made in 1953.
Scarlett Johansson once stunned in this unique Art-Deco antique engagement ring with old European cut diamonds.
Olivia Wilde and her gorgeous antique Old European cut ring that she says is from early 1920s Paris and it looks French Deco to us!
Miranda Kerr sporting an antique cluster engagement ring with old mine cut diamonds from then Husband Orlando Bloom.