As best I understand it, diamonds in the early days of diamond mining and
cutting used to be cut (polished) at or near the mines (Old Miners). Since
these folks hadn’t yet realized the potential of proper cutting, the
cutters generally polished the flat spots already on the raw crystal as
it came from the ground. The shape was a bit random and difficult to set.
This generally applied to the smaller size stones. The larger stones were
cut a little better, but not much. They had the table, crown, girdle,
pavillion, and usually a flat “open” culet, but were still a little
random. Then along came what is called the “Old European” cut. These
stones were cut with a little more planning, but not much. They were
still a bit off round with high crowns,fat unpolished girdles, deep
pavillions and small tables and the open culet. Then around the 40’s, I
think, along came the method of cutting we now see. The stone was
beginning to be cut to scientific proportions to maximize the brilliance
of the stone taking into consideration the way light is refracted and
reflected in the stone. This modern method of cutting must weigh the
visible advantages of cutting to proportions against cutting around
visible defects while trying to retain as much weight as possible.
Sometimes not that easy to do and still come out the other end with a
pretty stone and keep as much weight as possible. In between the old
european and the modern cuts was a period while cutting standards were
slowly being accepted throughout the trade and a diamond I call a
transitional cut was on the market. This stone is not too random, has the
standard 57 facets, a larger, lower table, and a very small culet.
Although the stone has a slight old european appearance, it is quite a
pertty stone and still desireable to some customers.
At the same time we can’t forget the cutters of colored stones. Not only
must these folks take into consideration the finished weight,
imperfections, and proper facet angles, they also have to contend with
proper orientation of the crystaline structure to the light source in
order to maximize the beauty of their finished piece. A stone cut to
"ideal" proportions, properly oriented and calibrated can be a beauty to
behold. The metal portion of a piece of jewelry is simply a vehicle which
allows a person to display the cutters’ art. It sounds as if I am a stone
cutter. Well, I’m not. Never would I try to trivialize the jewelers’ art
and skill - I work with the metal. I don’t do a bit of cutting. I just
enjoy a well cut stone - as all jewelers should. I feel my job as a
jeweler is to enhance the beauty of the stone with the metal and create
something pleasing to my customer at the same time (sometimes myself).
Quite often in the beginning phases of a piece for a customer I am not too
crazy about the design they want, but by the time I am finished with it I
have included enough “touches” to where I am pleased with the end result.
My philosophy is I don’t have to like the design, just do my best to
insure that the end result is the best I can do. Makes for a happy
customer. Well, enough editorializing. The bench calls. Maybe now you
understand the different cuts a little more.