Vintage Diamonds or New Diamonds, They Are All Lovable.
Older cut vintage diamonds vs. new diamonds do look different. That’s not a bad thing. What’s bad is when you combine the two.
The new modern brilliant cut diamond will out sparkle the older European cut diamond or old mine cut diamond. Therefore in designing with older cut diamonds there are some design rules. Which I will share with you.
Seven Rules For Designing With Older Cut Diamonds
1. Do not mix modern cut diamonds with older style cuts of vintage diamonds. (Subtle sparkle vs. focused and flashing sparkle.)
2. Chose designs with vintage details to accent the charm of your older cut vintage diamonds. (Details like filigree, decorative hand engraving and fancy detail around center diamond.)
3. Use engraving details like milgrain edging to enhance older diamond beauty. The sparkle of milgrain engraving enhances the impression of sparkle in your diamonds. (See my blog post on milgrain engraving.)
4. If your older diamonds exhibit slight off color details, try setting them in yellow gold or rose gold. (Yellow gold is better for slight yellow tones, rose gold is better for brown and grey tones.)
5. If your older cut diamonds have visible inclusions, include them in a grouping of diamonds off to the side. ( The optical illusion of the better diamonds nearby will fool the eye to forgive the more imperfect one.)
6. If your older cut diamonds don’t hold their sparkle when dirty use them in earrings or pendants instead of rings. (Rings tend to get dirty easily unlike earrings and pendants.)
7. Walk away from a jeweler who doesn’t offer matching older cut vintage diamonds and tries to sell you on using modern cut diamonds with your old ones saying, “Oh, it’ll look just fine.” (It won’t!)
A History of Diamond Cuts in Pictures
A True Life ”Grandma Vintage Diamond” Story
Today I’ll share a story with heart and a good example of re-purposing your older cut diamonds. I’d love to inspire you to re-design and wear the diamonds from your grandmas and aunties and people who love you.
Pat’s Jewelry Loving Aunt Lolly
“I have seven pieces of inherited jewelry from my Aunt Lolly that I never wear,” Pat said to me one day. “My challenge to you is to design a brand new custom piece of jewelry using all of the old diamonds from my aunt.”
“Yes!” I love a good challenge here at Calla Gold Jewelry in Santa Barbara.
There Are Many Different Cuts in Diamonds
A week later, Pat and I sat down at her kitchen table with her favorite aunt’s five rings and two pendants. I could immediately see that many of the diamonds were single cut—an older style with fewer facets.
The sizes and colors of the diamonds also varied widely. Fortunately, the largest diamond rated the best of the lot. Unfortunately, it had a few small chips on the sides.
“Aunt Lolly was my favorite and I’ll always love her,” Pat said. “She managed to take me on lots of adventures when I was young. What I really want is to somehow use all her diamonds in one piece of jewelry.” I pulled out my pad and pencil and we got down to work.
Pat’s Design Wishes Translate into the Basic Shape
Pat wanted a heart shape to represent her love for her aunt. We began with that. Since there were a lot of diamonds there was no way that we could do a ring unless it was huge and kind of gaudy. However we could totally make it as a pendant. Pat loved that idea.
Problem Solving For a Chipped Diamond
Since the large, center diamond was chipped in multiple places on the sides, I suggested we bezel set it to cover up the imperfections. Pat agreed. She didn’t want to re-cut the diamond. She kind of liked the personality of those chips.
She liked the idea of knowing they would be hiding there under the bezel setting. After several different configurations, we finally settled on placing the largest diamond in the center of the heart. Then we could figure out where the rest of the mixed size diamonds could go.
Dealing With Different Sizes and Colors of Diamonds
Since the diamonds were different sizes, we chose to arrange them from biggest nearest to the center to smallest radiating outward. I suggested we place some of the more “off color” diamonds on the outer edge where the design curved down, where they’d be less visible. Pat liked that idea.
“I also think pave setting would be the way to go,” I said to her. “For setting the smaller diamonds.”
“Pave is a style of setting that would allow us to set the diamonds close to each other and capture the curvy puffed nature of the design we’re looking for. After we cast the basic shape, the setter will create the tiny prongs to hold the diamonds. This allows the setter to accommodate different size gems. It’s like he’s putting together a puzzle.
The Happiness of Your New Piece of Redesigned
Four weeks later I presented Pat with her finished heart pendant.
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed with tears running down her cheeks.
Admittedly, my eyes weren’t completely dry either. It was such a happy moment. Pat gets many opportunities to tell stories about her aunt when people ask about her pendant. Pat told me, “Calla, I’m so glad I re-used Aunt Lolly’s diamonds. I love my necklace!”
Do You Have Unworn Older Jewelry?
Do you have older cut vintage diamonds? Loose or set, you might like to make use of in a new piece of jewelry? Redesigning older jewelry is a wonderful adventure. Call me and we’ll find your inner jewelry designer! And make you a piece of jewelry to cherish.
Old Cut Diamond Re-Designer,