Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Onto Old Mine Cuts..into my favorite the European Cuts

In the 1700's old mine cuts or cushion cuts became a diamond cutting style. They called it a cushion cut because it resembles a square that has the corners softened by two or three cuts. Also the point or culet was cut off flat-so when you look down through this diamond you see a circle.

In the late mid 16th century through the early 1800's diamonds were cut into a rose cut. The shape of the diamonds are not circular but more of a free form. There really isn't a table and they have a flat bottom sometimes completely covered by silver and they do tend to be gray in color. A lot of Georgian jewelry has rose cut diamonds which are backed in silver such as the example to the right.

Into the 1800's diamonds became more rounder and closer to what we consider the brilliant modern cut. This is my favorite cut. Having less cuts and the open culet really creates a deeper brilliance in my opinion.
Just this past weekend I attended an auction of a european cut 3.13 carat diamond ring set in platinum. It is the most beautiful diamond I have seen in a long time. It was obiliviously cherished and there was a slight chip on the table and a carbon feather which had been hidden by a prong. It was clean to the eye and even with a loop of carbon. Just a tinge of yellow-maybe a h-i in color. Anyway the hammer price was 5, 900.00 I think that was a buy...even with polishing out the slight chip you would have about a 3 carat ring for 6k--what would you have paid for in a modern jewelry store?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Here is an excellent example of a Middle Ages diamond ring. Just found in mid-2008 in a freshly plowed field in England--what a find. The new owner saw it in the dirt. To imagine that this diamond came from Africa to England, perhaps as early as the 1400's, and was then crafted for a very rich and important person then was lost to the dirt for 100's of years baffles my mind. I have been trying to track if it has been sold but I can't find any mention-it must be worth--geez who knows?

During the Middle Ages most betrothal rings (what we consider a wedding ring today) were made of colored gem stones such as rubies and sapphires. Their rich deep colors were prized. However it is in the late middle ages that diamond rings begin to appear. The first known recorded account of a diamond betrothal ring is from 1477 which was presented by Archduke Maximilian of Austria to his love Mary of Burgundy. Early on these diamonds would not be the near white diamonds we think of today- they would be dark, almost black and in a very authentic form -octahedral state- as is the ring above.

Here is another later example of a Middle Ages diamond ring around 15-16th century. Note the diamond is becoming whiter but is still in a very natural state.

As time progressed the diamond began to have the top cut off to create a table cut and were typically set in silver. This type of cutting can be seen from the 16th century up to the early 17th century.
Whew...that's enough diamond cuts tonight... more to follow. I hope this weekend when I am out auctioning there might be a buried Middle Ages diamond ring-hey a girl has to dream.

Monday, February 16, 2009

So many diamond cuts so little time.

This sweet little buttercup stickpin with a european cut diamond reminded me that it is time to brush up on how to date diamonds by their cut.
I am off to research........

Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Information on Filigree

The word filigree is derived from the Latin word filum (meaning thread). The art of filigree consists of twisting fine wire to create patterns. The majority of pieces that I see consist of silver or high grade gold. The image to the left shows a truly handmade silver filigree piece. Early examples can be found dating back to Etruscan and Greek times. I remember during my ancient studies course that the Walters Art Gallery had quite a few examples of Etruscan works in finer metals.

In regards to the cameo filigree ring that I purchased last Saturday, the filigree in this piece is not handmade but massed produced from a mold. It is pretty impossible to twist 14kt gold into the fine lacy patterns. When looking at more modern examples of filigree wear is an important consideration. The more crisp the filigree (detailed) the more the piece is worth.