Everything you need to know about Estate Jewelry and Antique Diamonds

Today on the blog, we have a wonderful guest blog post by the Mother and Father of a 2016 Bride! I found out during the wedding planning that they own a wonderful jewelry store not far from my home and they specialize in estate jewelry and antique diamonds! This eco-friendly part of the giant wedding machine is near and dear to my heart as it also involves a love of all things vintage. So, I asked them to share a few things with my dear readers about what you need to know about estate jewelry and antique diamonds.

Glen Moscoe Jewelers discuss estate jewelry and antique diamonds on McKay's Photography blog

We are frequently asked about our inventory of estate jewelry and antique diamonds. Concerns regarding human rights and political unrest have propelled the demand of these pieces. Diamonds sourced before 1975 are free from the title “conflict”. Finding a vintage ring in good condition can be a challenge. After a lifetime of wear, the mounting can show its age. However, the diamond is usually in good condition and can be easily remounted.


Old mine cut diamonds are some of the earliest full cut stones (pre 1880). They are not round and were often cut to reflect the shape of the crystal and for weight retention. Although they have the same number of facets as modern stones, the proportion, angles and facet alignment vary.

antique diamonds and estate jewelers in Rochester NY by Glen Moscoe JewelersOld European cut diamonds are round or very near round. They illustrate advances in polishing in that they are not as “lumpy” as their predecessors and have a better brilliance. The crowns are more shallow and the culets are smaller. Stone cutters are encouraged to cut for brilliance rather than weight. Diamonds were cut this way through the turn of the century.

Transition cut diamonds are those that display characteristics of both the Old European cut and the modern cut. Some transition cuts may still show an open or wide culet with a more shallow crown.

Around the 1920’s the modern brilliant cut diamond was patented. Marcel Tolkowsky engineered what we now recognize as the ideal proportions of a round brilliant cut diamond. With improved equipment and a better understanding of optics, it was determined what angles and proportions were necessary for maximum light and brilliance. We continue to use this model today and it is the standard from which diamond brilliance is measured.
Estate diamonds have been in high demand lately. Their history is very intriguing to our younger clientele. Combined with a Victorian, Edwardian or Art Deco mounting, these diamonds make for very special pieces.

alternative wedding ring materials

vintage inspired wedding planning and alternative antique wedding rings

Glen Moscoe Jewelers discuss estate jewelry and antique diamonds on McKay's Photography blog

Bride and Groom wedding rings