Victorian Style

Vintage Ring With Historic Diamonds in Yellow Gold, Sheffield 1990

The shape of the diamond has evolved over many centuries. For a long time it was technically impossible to change the raw crystal more than rudimentary, because the diamond is so extraordinarily hard. In the 17th and 18th century it was then possible to extract more and more facets from the crystal and in the course of the 19th century the cuts came closer and closer to the shape we know today as a brilliant. It was not until 1919, however, that Marcel Tolkowsky calculated the ideal shape of the brilliant on an optical-physical basis; the exact shape, which is the standard in Germany today, the so-called fine cut of the practice, was not even determined until 1938. It was after the war that the shape of the modern brilliant was really established. One speaks here also of a full cut. Such a modern brilliant may sparkle more conspicuously, but it is precisely the individuality and the special, softer brilliance that make old European cut diamonds so sought-after by collectors. In this ring, for example, there are four old mine cut diamonds - even though the ring was created in modern times and full cut diamonds would have been widely available. The four diamonds have a combined weight of about 0.96 ct and show a particularly beautiful brilliance due to the large facets. They are arranged in a gradient, i.e. the two inner diamonds are larger than the outer ones. Presumably, the diamonds were used here in a secondary application and originate from a piece of jewellery from the 19th century. However, they complement the ring, which has been cast in high karat gold in the Victorian manner, and they are a perfect match. As evidenced by the sequence of stamps inside the ring band, it was presented to the Sheffield Assay Office in 1990.

The brilliant is actually a fairly recent invention - and this also means that with a diamond cut in the 19th century or at the beginning of the 20th century, a so-called "old European cut", the proportions of the stone do not follow the standard of today's brilliant. Old European cuts were always cut individually in those days: One wanted to find the optimal way between the best brilliance on the one hand and the least loss of material during cutting on the other. We find that it is precisely this individuality that makes old diamonds so particularly interesting. They are less easy to compare, and their value cannot simply be determined by means of a table: Because you have to look at each stone individually to really be able to say whether it has the fire and brilliance that you expect from a diamond.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.