History of Diamond Cutting

The history of diamond cutting officially began in the middle ages when diamonds became fashionable in Europe. This diagram illustrates the six most popular antique diamond cuts throughout history.

1300 Early Point Cuts

The very first diamonds were found in India and kept as loose unpolished stones. They were considered sacred objects that were believed to have possessed magical powers. Not until the 11th century were diamonds worn in jewelry but still in an uncut form. Initial diamond cutting began in the 14th century but at that time it was likely very superficial type of polishing of the stone in order to give it some shine. Initially there was the point cut, which followed the natural shape of the diamond. Diamonds were very rare and were only worn by kings and queens.

1400 Point & Table Cuts

The table cut was the first major faceting technique to be used. Followed by the step cut. The precursor to the emerald cut diamond, which wouldn’t be called that until the 1940s. It was during the 15th century that it was discovered that diamonds could be cut by their own dust!

In 1477 Mary of Burgundy became the first to receive a diamond engagement ring which was gifted to her by Archduke Maximilian of Austria. The ring was set with a point cut diamond and thin flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “M”. It is likely that the tradition of the diamond engagement ring really began with this event.

1500 Early Rose Cuts

In the 16th century tools were invented to cut facets into diamonds. The rose cut and transition cut were added to the diamond cutter’s repertoire. It was at this time that early bruting, faceting, and polishing of diamonds began to be used by European cutters.

Until this time most of the diamond trade took place in India. As cutting techniques matured, diamonds began to take on a new perception and demand grew but they were still rare and would continue to be until the discovery of African mines in the late 19th century.

With just 24 facets, the subtle beauty of rose cut diamonds is that they impart a soft diffused light rather then the bright light of the modern brilliant cut. The most significant trait of rose cut diamonds is that they are flat at the bottom and dome shaped at the top. Unlike other diamonds which have culets and tables.