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Old Mine Cut Diamonds Make Unique Engagement Rings

Updated: Oct 24


What is an Old Mine Cut Diamond

Mine cut diamonds were primarily cut in the 18th and 19th centuries. They’re characterized by thick girdles, a high crown and a small table facet. This gives them a deep look compared to a modern round brilliant diamond. The diamond appears to be a hole in the center but it’s simply a large culet formed as a result of the diamond being hand cut and polished. Often referred to as Old European Cut Diamonds, the Victorian Era and Edwardian Eras are names you commonly hear associated with an old mine cut diamond. I have told this story many times in my store when someone asks about used jewelry. I just laugh because all diamonds, by their nature are very old, as in millions of years old. But the reality is you may purchase a diamond from a traditional jewelry store but you have no idea of the real history. Diamonds are sold in a second hand market to dealers on a daily basis. I myself sell some into the market each year at and event specifically for doing just that. To my way of thinking there are few things you can possess that could have such an incredible history, even though you don't know the history. That's partly what makes antique diamond cuts so interesting and what makes such a unique engagement ring, if that's what you are creating.



Antique Diamonds make Beautiful Unique Engagement Rings

In most Jewelry Stores you can find antique style engagement rings but to find a real piece of antique jewelry the best place is your local Pawn Shop. Hilltop Pawn Shop in Virginia Beach, VA is your go to store for an old mine cut diamond. Now there are mainly two ways to own a piece of antique jewelry.

First, you can buy a piece of actual antique jewelry with a mine cut stone and in an old ring. Now remember, old rings need work. They may have been refurbished many times before. Afterall they are, or could be, a hundred plus years old. If you buy one make sure to have it thoroughly examined by your jeweler.

Second, you can buy an old mine cut diamond and have it mounted in a retro mounting or any ring you really want it in. The most important part of this process is to pick something you really love and will want to wear. Again, the mine cut diamond itself is potentially hundreds of years old and has probably been in a number of rings already. Hint; rings wear out, diamonds are forever.

Another possibility, so I guess there’s really three ways, is to find an antique engagement ring mounting. Anytime my wife and I travel we always look for antique auctions to go to as well as visiting all the pawn shops in the area. I not only own several I shop in them as well. I have found some of the most beautiful jewelry we have ever sold in other pawn shops. My daughter, who runs our stores, saves all the vintage diamonds that come through and clearly have been remounted in a modern mounting. We mount modern round brilliant diamonds in those mountings and wait for an antique mount for the old cut diamonds. Yep, Nina has a group of old cut stones just waiting for a proper mounting. It sometimes takes a while because were waiting for one that a particular stone will fit. These are not calibrated diamonds. Some are Rose cut diamonds of irregular shape, in fact most Vintage Diamonds have irregular shapes.



Remounting your Old Mine Cut Diamond

When you get ready to remount your diamond in a new or a refurbished vintage mounting go to a jeweler that sells those same type items. Meaning if the store sells Vintage or antique Jewelry they surely have the experience needed to repair or remount yours. Not to pick on any other jewelry store’s bench man or woman but if a goldsmith spends the majority of their time working on new mountings or making new jewelry they won’t be as practiced as a goldsmith that works on repairing jewelry, new or old. If you happen to live in Hampton Roads just google Jewelry Repair Virginia Beach and you’ll likely find Hilltop Pawn Shop. We are indeed a pawn shop but we are also the best Jewelry Store in Virginia Beach. Our staff are experts in repairing and restoring both new and old jewelry. We make very few pieces new in our stores and our goldsmiths stay busy restoring every piece of jewelry in our cases. That means something when you realize we are one of the largest jewelry stores in Virginia Beach. Stop in and see for yourself.



Price of Old Mine Cut Diamonds

The price of antique diamonds and antique jewelry in general is only somewhat tied to the market for modern cut diamonds. What I mean by this is everything in the fashion world is trendy, so prices can swing up or down based on what the latest celebrity is talking about. For the most part the price of old cut diamonds will flow with the price of modern diamonds. They should be plus or minus ten percent based of course on quality, the same as the normal diamond market. Now to put in a plug for our stores, remember to check with your local pawn shop first. When you want antique your local pawn shop is the best source.


Your New Old Diamond Ring | Modern Cuts vrs Old Cuts

The General shape if a diamond is normally the first thing the naked eye picks up on someone else’s ring. If someone happens to favor modern brilliant cut diamonds then that person as a casual passerby might not ever pick up on fact you have a vintage engagement ring. It would take a closer look unless you also have it in a vintage white gold or maybe rose gold ring. However, if you have a cushion cut then even the passer-by might take note of something different. Afterall the modern cushion cut diamond is much closer to the shape of an early 18th century diamond with their squarish shape. There are other modern diamond cuts that mimic hand-cut diamonds but if you actually want and like antique cuts then there is no substitute for a real old miners cut.


Unique Engagement Rings & Vintage Jewelry

I find that people who like old mine-cut diamonds also gravitate to vintage jewelry in general. Some people, particularly younger people, consider these to be poorer cut grades of gem with their smaller table, larger facets, larger culet, and overall softer look. Then when they see the “hole” in the middle created by the large open culet they seem to believe this to be less quality. I guess it’s the same thing as people who like black lacquer furniture over high quality antique furniture. Funny how their modern standards change over time as the get older. To appreciate a vintage diamond engagement ring is to appreciate the historical value, even though you may not know the full history.



Best Way to find an Old Mine Cut Diamond for your Engagement Ring

I mentioned above the best way to find unique engagement rings is you local pawn shop. Now having said that, there are several things you want to make sure of when combing pawn shops for a good antique jewelry selection.

First, go to the places you know. What I mean is the places like our stores that spend huge money on advertising and marketing. The reason is simple. A store that spends thousands of dollars a month to attract people is going to protect that investment by treating people well.

Second, consider the age of the business. Any business that has been around a long time has managed that by again treating people well. In our case it’s not the past decade but for nearly 3 decades now my wife and I have been treating people as we want to be treated in any store we patronize.

Hilltop Pawn Shop has just moved down the street from its previous location of over ten years to a Brand New building. Decorated by Glenda Craddock when you walk in you’ll be surprised and thrilled by the atmosphere. Bright and roomy with the walls covered in personally nostalgic pictures and items from our own home, barn, and farm. If you are interested in old world charm, antique cut diamonds from the early 18th century to the art deco era then Hilltop Pawn Shop in Virginia Beach VA and its sister store, Greenbrier Pawn Shop in Chesapeake are the places to visit in Hampton Roads. For 28 years as of this writing we have been creating beautiful jewelry for our customers. Please stop in and see why your friends and neighbors are already our customers.

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