History of the Round Diamond
Diamond Cutting Styles:
Diamond is a mineral of essentially pure carbon. It is the only gem made of a single element. This pure carbon crystallizes in an isometric or cubic structure. Most diamonds in the rough are in the form of an octahedral crystal.
Old Mine Cut:
This cut was originally developed in the early 1800's and used well into the late 19th Century. These diamonds were solely cut by hand in the beginning. Steam power enabled diamond sawing and sped up the cutting process during the mid century, but hand cutting was still predominant. The Old Mine Cut Diamonds most notably possess a cushion shape as a result of maximizing the rough shape and weight. This cut typically has a very small table and an open culet, and often very clumsy symmetry. These extreme variation give the older cuts their distinct beauty and unique personality.
European Cut Diamonds were present in the last decades of the 19th century until about the 1920's. The earlier European cuts were similar to their Old Mine Cut ancestors but with a rounder outline. European cuts soon had much smaller culets, slightly larger tables and thin girdles. The cutting techniques improved into the early part of the 20th century with the transitional or Early Modern Cut diamonds.
In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky described a specific mathematical computation of angles and proportions that would allow maximum brilliance and dispersion of all light striking a diamond. This new cutting style uniform proportions would increase in popularity and would lead to many variations and inspire others to continue to research the perfect diamond.