Most conversations centered around diamond ring cuts tend to revolve around the usual suspects: round, emerald, princess, oval, or cushion cuts. But as of late, we’ve noticed several brides gushing about their “old mine cut” diamond rings; an obscure term that hasn’t exactly made its way into the mainstream wedding conversation—yet.
With the revival in popularity of vintage engagement rings, future brides and grooms are starting to become interested in hand-cut, measured-by-eye diamonds, too. (Almost all modern diamonds today are cut by laser machine.) An old mine cut diamond was once one of the most common cuts in jewelry, particularly during the 18th-century Victorian era. Like a brilliant round cut diamond, it has 58 facets, but unlike the perfect circle shape of a round cut, old mine diamonds tend to have a more squarish shape because they were crafted by hand. In essence, no two old mine cut diamonds will ever be the same, which is probably why couples tend to fall in love with them—they are the definition of unique.
So why are they called “old mine”? Back in the day, most diamonds were sourced from Brazil and India. Then Africa’s massive diamond deposits led the continent to become the new epicenter of the industry, with most of the modern age diamonds coming from there. And so, when people refer to “old miners cut” diamonds, they mean those produced in mines from before the rise of modern African mines.
If you’re interested in finding an old miners cut diamond ring, the best bet will be to scour vintage jewelers, such as Croghan’s Jewel Box in Charleston and The One I Love in New York City, which is where Zoe Kravitz fell in love with her 18th-century diamond engagement ring. (The actress actually first spotted it on Instagram!) Not only are old mine cut diamonds good for the environment—recycle and reuse, people!—but they are also one-of-a-kind pieces, and who doesn’t want that gracing their finger for all eternity?