Posted on April 23, 2014 by Barbara Polinsky | 0 Comments
Diamonds have been sparkling in jewelry since the days of the Romans. As the hardest crystal on earth, fashioning them to reveal their brilliance has been a technological challenge. From the beginning, diamonds have been valued for their extreme hardness. They were considered divine and thought to impart invincibility. Perfectly formed crystals were very rare and prized above all other possessions.
The earliest known diamonds came from India where they were used as whole uncut crystals. Perfectly symmetrical crystals with lustrous facets were the ideal. It was taboo to cut them.
Over time, as new cutting techniques were developed in Europe, the taboo against cutting diamonds fell away. Stones were cut by eye and hand resulting in idiosyncratic gems with unique shapes and irregular facets. Preservation of carat weight was often the most important consideration. These “old mine” cut diamonds were characterized by fewer and larger facets that reflected light more softly. Light was drawn into the stone and less was reflected back to the eye. The resulting gems were beautiful, lively and unique.