Glittering by candlelight

If you find yourself browsing the Argyll Arcade, looking in the windows of each jeweller, there may be something you notice – the diamond rings all look very similar. You will find modern brilliant cut diamonds galore and whilst they are appealing in their own way, they can lack that special something.

Old mine cut diamonds have been in existence for around 300 years. The term ‘old mine cut’ is believed to have originated in the late 1800’s when Africa’s production of diamonds began to overtake the original diamond mines located in India and Brazil. Back then, any stone considered to be old mine cut was any brilliant cut stone which was near colourless and originated from the ‘old mines’ in India or Brazil.  As diamonds grew in number from African mines, any stone which was near colourless and cut in the old mine style was described as ‘old cut’. 


Up until the early 1900s all diamonds were measured by eye then cut and faceted by hand. This would involve diamond cutters following the shape of the natural diamond crystal and grinding two diamonds together to achieve the desired shape. This makes each old mine cut diamond existing today truly unique with no two diamonds being uniform in size or shape. These diamonds produce boast a level of sparkle and brilliance that no other diamond can match. The display of fire and brilliance that these diamonds produce is down to the fact that they were cut to shine by candlelight and if you ever get to view one in such a setting, it’s something truly magnificent. As the facets are much larger than modern brilliant cut diamonds, the colourful display of fire is much more intense.


Lot 10 in the 3rd of November Jewellery Auction is an impressive old cut diamond bangle totalling approximately 4.50 carats. With a total of fifteen old cut diamonds, the sparkle from this bangle is undeniably unique and eye catching. Estimated at £6000 - £9000 with well matched diamonds, it is unlikely that you will find a bangle with such character that could compete with this one anytime soon.

To view the Jewellery catalogue click here >>

Amy Cameron


McTear’s sells more jewellery than any other traditional auction house in the dedicated jewellery auctions that take place twice monthly, run concurrently live online on a platform that attracts six million visitors annually from over 120 countries worldwide.

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