Old European–Cut Diamonds: The Complete Guide

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old european cut engagement ring

Courtesy of The Back Vault/Design by Chloe Jeong

If you fall into the camp of brides-to-be who prioritize a vintage engagement ring, the old European–cut diamond ought to be at the tip-top of your list. This style has a cult following among antique lovers and has come back into the spotlight, thanks to celebrities like Mary-Kate Olsen, Miley Cyrus, Scarlett Johansson, and Olivia Wilde who have all endorsed the historic stone silhouette.

What Is an Old European–Cut Diamond?

An old European–cut diamond has a round shape featuring 58 large facets and a small circle in the center (the open culet). The majority of these stones were cut by hand between 1890 and the 1930s.

“These stones were taken from the rough and were measured, cleaved, and cut by hand,” says Ashley Zhang, jewelry designer and founder of Ashley Zhang Jewelry. "During the majority of this time, candlelight was the main source of light in use so diamonds were cut to maximize their sparkle for this type of lighting.” 

Old European–cut diamonds were popular during the Victorian, Edwardian, and art deco periods and predate the popular round brilliants of today. Often, you'll see art deco and vintage influence when shopping for this style of ring, and it makes for a stunning vintage engagement ring look.

Pros and Cons of the Old European Cut

If seeking out a lower-cost diamond is on your ring checklist, you're in luck. "Old European–cut diamonds are usually priced lower than a modern round brilliant," says Zhang.

Another benefit of old Europeans is that they tend to appear whiter than their certified color grade. “When diamonds are graded by color, they are turned upside down and looked at from the side,” Zhang says. “Since old European–cut diamonds were produced in a time period with lower lighting (candlelight), they were cut to maximize color over brilliance.”

Unfortunately, this cut is a bit harder to shop for online. Due to the artisanal techniques these diamonds were cut with, each stone can look slightly different. “I don’t recommend shopping for an old European–cut diamond by looking at the certificate alone,” Zhang explains. “You need to see how it looks in person.”

They have a shallower proportion that can make your diamond appear larger for its carat weight. “Any time you are looking at proportions of a diamond you need to make sure they are not too extreme to the point where you are losing sparkle,” she adds.

What to Look for in an Old European Cut

  • What settings work best with an old European cut? "My clients tend to choose a more simplified setting when working with an antique diamond because they don't want any design elements to distract from the uniqueness of their stone," says Zhang. That's not to say that a more ornate setting won't work with this cut. In fact, you may run into more unique settings with old Europeans, as they were popular during the art deco period. If you are looking for a simpler look, consider a solitaire setting. But for a bolder look, opt for a filigree or vintage setting. 
  • Are all old European diamonds hand-cut? Yes, machine-cutting wasn't available during the time old European diamonds were cut, which means that each diamond was handcrafted. That's why you will never see two old European-cut diamonds that are exactly the same.
  • Where can I purchase this type of cut? Since old European-cut diamonds are considered antique, it can be a bit harder to find various options in this style. You will want to work with a seasoned jeweler who can help you seek out the old European-cut ring that best fits you. 

How to Care for Your Old European Cut

When cleaning your old European-cut diamond, stay away from any harsh cleaning chemicals or detergents. Instead, stick to a combination of lukewarm water and gentle dish soap for your cleaning solution. When not wearing, store inside a cloth-lined box.

Old European cuts can have a tendency to chip over time, depending on the grade of the girdle. “This is the edge of the diamond between the crown (top of the diamond) and the pavilion (bottom of the diamond),” Zhang says. “This is the area most likely to get chipped." The thinner the grade, the more likely the stone will chip.

Ashley Zhang Victoria Old European-Cut Engagement Ring

Ashley Zhang Victoria Old European Cut Engagement Ring

Courtesy of Ashley Zhang

This traditional six-prong solitaire engagement ring is the perfect match for an old-meets-new aesthetic.

Price at time of publication: $26,000 for 2.06 carat I/VS2

Mark Broumand Old European-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Mark Broumand Old European Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Courtesy of Mark Broumand 

For the bride looking for an art deco engagement ring with plenty of brilliance, this beauty does not disappoint.

Price at time of publish: Price available upon request

Maeby Vintage Old Euro Diamond Ring

Maeby Vintage Old Euro Diamond Ring

Courtesy of Yates Jewelers 

This striking ring, hailing from the 1920s, is a unique choice for the vintage-obsessed bride.

Price at time of publish: $995

Sofia Kaman Chloe Ring

Sofia Kaman Chloe Ring

 Courtesy of Sofia Kaman

An 18k gold band featuring a 1.05ct. old European-cut diamond mounted in a cushion frame setting. It’s as gorgeous as it sounds.

Price at time of publish: Not listed

Rive Gauche Jewelry Old European-Cut Diamond Platinum Ring

Rive Gauche Jewelry Old European Cut Diamond Platinum Engagement Ring


This bright white, old European-cut diamond shines with a weight of 1.37cts. The shank holds two equally white baguette-cut diamonds.

Price at time of publish: $8,900

Estate Diamond Jewelry Tavira Ring

Estate Diamond Jewelry Tavira Ring


A hint of color makes this art deco ring all the more unique. Two calibre-cut natural sapphires flank the center old European-cut diamond, and the band is sprinkled with more old-cut diamonds and filigree.

Price at time of publish: $2,800

The Back Vault Old European-Cut Diamond Ring

The Back Vault Old European Cut Diamond Ring


Cluster diamonds surround this old European-cut diamond to create a floral-like design. The pavé band is crafted in Edwardian platinum.

Price at time of publish: $9,700

A.J. Martin Old European-Cut Diamond Engagement

A.J. Martin Old European Cut Diamond Engagement


The old European-cut diamond on this ring is held in four split prongs, and the band is a marvel in itself with alternating baguette-cut and rounded diamonds.

Price at time of publish: $26,100

Long's Two-Tone Three-Stone Old European-Cut Diamond Ring

Long's Two-Tone 3 Stone Old European Cut Diamond Ring


Three stones are better than one with this triple old European-cut array of diamonds. The stones are set on a two-tone band.

Price at time of publish: $18,700

The ReLux Old European-Cut Diamond Antique Engagement Ring

The ReLux Old European Ring

While the old European diamond on this ring is undoubtedly impressive, the real star is the intricately engraved band that makes for an antique look.

Price at time of publish: $7,500

1stDibs Old European-Cut Diamond Platinum Engagement Ring

1stDibs Old European Cut Diamond Platinum Engagement Ring


French art deco is the driving style of this ring. Its old European-cut diamond is held in an eight-prong setting with a pavé band.

Price at time of publish: $9,950

Trumpet & Horn Holderness Ring

Trumpet and Horn Holderness Ring


This art deco ring feels reminiscent of the jazz age with its milgrain details. Additional stacked rounded diamonds surround the center old European-cut diamond.

Price at time of publish: Not listed

Doyle & Doyle Solitaire Engagement Ring

Doyle & Doyle Solitaire Engagement Ring


This bezel-set old European-cut diamond is held in an ornately crafted 18K yellow gold band.

Price at time of publish: $9,900

Brilliant Earth Rozelle Ring

Brilliant Earth The Rozelle Ring


You can't go wrong with a timeless look, and this retro-era ring shows how classic can still look modern. The old European-cut diamond is set in a flared 14K white gold band.

Price at time of publish: Not listed

Trumpet & Horn Fifth Avenue Ring

Trumpet & Horn Fifth Avenue Ring


This Trumpet & Horn ring holds all the glamour that comes with its namesake, Fifth Avenue. The set sparkles with a 2.17ct. old European-cut diamond. And the coolest part? It was designed by Tiffany & Co. in 1935.

Price at time of publish: Not listed

Etsy Old European-Cut Diamond Vintage-Style Engagement Ring

Etsy Old European Cut Diamond Vintage Style Engagement Ring


Vintage from the 1970s, this art deco ring is a funky take on the classic engagement ring with its two-tone metal band. The old European-cut diamond is flanked with diamonds that lead into the start of the gold band.

Price at time of publish: $14,000

Erstwhile Old European Diamond Engagement Ring

Erstwhile Old European Diamond Engagement Ring


This circa-1930 ring is a still chic and modern look today. Two baguette-cut diamonds are on both sides of the shoulders, and there is a 2.26ct. old European-cut diamond in the center.

Price at time of publish: Not listed

Sofia Kaman Annika Ring

Sofia Kaman Annika Ring


The cinnamon-champagne color of this old European cut brings a feeling of warmth to the diamond. With a solitaire setting, this ring is a simple and sweet choice.

Price at time of publish: Not listed

Ashley Zhang Emmeline Three-Diamond Ring

Ashley Zhang Emmeline Thee Diamond Ring


This old European-cut diamond is beautifully placed in a bezel setting. With an open back, this diamond glitters like no other when it hits the light. Two smaller rounded diamonds accompany the center diamond on either side.

Price at time of publish: Not listed

Meet the Expert

Ashley Zhang is a jewelry designer whose eponymous label is composed of pieces that are made to order in New York City. Zhang studied at Parsons School of Design and launched her first collection in February 2018.

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