Antique cushion cuts were the precursor to today’s popular modified brilliant cut. Also called the “Miner’s Cut” or “Old Mine”, antique cushion cuts are quite rare and date back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras. These vintage cuts are a stunning option for someone looking for something unique yet classic, gentle, and romantic.
What is an Antique Cushion Cut
As stated above, antique cushion cuts are very rare as they are much harder to cut than modified brilliant cushion cut diamonds. Additionally, this cut requires the manufacturer to cut more of the rough diamond than with any other shape.
History of Antique Cushion Cut Diamonds
Old Mine cuts date back to the 1700s but were not made popular until the Victorian and Edwardian Eras, respectively (approx. 1830-1914). During this time, this was the only way to cut this shape. These cuts became common practice in Brazil after the original mines in India slowly stopped yielding new diamonds.
Before round brilliant diamonds took over as the most prized diamond cut, Old Mine cuts took top prize as the most widespread and sought after diamond shape. Other less popular names for this cut of diamond are Pillow Cut and Candlelight Cut.
Famous Antique Cushion Cut Diamonds
There are several famous diamonds throughout history that many people don’t realize are actually Old Mine cuts. Some of them include the Hope Diamond, the Tiffany Yellow Diamond, and the Regent Diamond.
Source: Smithsonian Museum
The Hope Diamond was originally extracted from the Kollur Mine in India in 1701. The diamond gets its rich blue color from boron having been introduced during its formation process.
Before it became the Hope Diamond, this spectacular 45ct diamond was a part of a bigger, uncut 112ct stone called the Tavernier Blue. This extravagant uncut stone was later cut into a 69ct diamond called the Blue Diamond of the Crown, or the French Blue. The stone was then stolen and recut into what we all know now as the Hope Diamond.
The earliest known owner of the Hope Diamond was French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (thus where the Tavernier Blue gets its name from) who purchased it in 1666. Tavernier sold it to King Louis XIV of France in 1668 who cut it into the French Blue. After the stone was stolen, it appeared in a gem catalog under the Hope name in 1839. Since then, famous owners include Evalyn Walsh Mclean and Harry Winston. The stone is currently on permanent display at the Smithsonian.
Tiffany Yellow Diamond
Source: Women’s Wear Daily
The Tiffany Yellow Diamond is exactly what it sounds like—a Fancy Yellow Diamond owned by Tiffany & Co. This magnificent diamond was extracted from the infamous Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa in 1877. When it was found, it weighed a whopping 287.42ct. It was purchased by the co-founder of Tiffany & Co., Charles Lewis Tiffany, for a mere $18,000. Tiffany brought it to his chief gemologist to be cut into what is now the Tiffany Yellow Diamond.
The first notable woman to wear the diamond was Audrey Hepburn while doing press for her movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
In 2012, the Tiffany Yellow Diamond was reset in celebration of Tiffany & Co.’s 175th anniversary. The diamond was placed in a necklace with more than 100 carats of white diamonds. In 2019, Lady Gaga wore this version of the diamond necklace to the Oscars where she won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in A Star is Born.
Beyonce and Jay-Z became the faces of Tiffany & Co. at the end of 2021 with the world-famous singer dawning the Yellow Diamond necklace in all their ad placements.
The Regent Diamond
Source: The Louvre
Originally part of the French Crown Jewels, the Regent Diamond was discovered in 1608 by an enslaved man in the Kollur Mine in India… according to legend. Not much is known about the origins of this famous diamond except that when it was found, it weighed over 400 carats!
The diamond was acquired by Thomas Pitt who brought it to London between 1704 and 1706 and had it cut into 140ct and renamed it ‘Le Régent’. He later sold it to King Louis XV who had it set into his coronation crown. The stone was later passed down and worn by all French royalty.
The Regent Diamond is the largest colorless diamond in the world and is now on display in the Louvre in Paris.
Antique vs. Modified Brilliant Cushion Cuts
Originally, antique cushion cuts were the only way to cut this shape of the diamond. As the years have passed and technology has improved, cushion shaped diamonds can be cut in a multitude of ways. Most common is the modified brilliant cushion cut. So, what’s the difference between the two?
See all the different cushion cuts on our Instagram!
Modified brilliant cushion diamonds have very similar faceting to their much rarer counterparts, cushion brilliants. This specific cut of the cushion is the most common cushion cut that is found today. Consisting of an extra row of facets just beneath the girdle of the diamond, this classic option boasts exceptional brilliance.
This faceting style is most popular as a square-cut cushion. However, elongated modified brilliant cushion cuts are just as beautiful and plenty popular. These diamonds are cut to maximize refraction and shine whereas antique cushion cuts don’t maximize brilliance.
2.05 carat Cushion Diamond Yellow Gold Solitaire Ring
Antique or “Old Mine”
Similar to modern brilliant cushions, antique cushion cuts also have 58 facets. However, these facets are much larger and “chunkier.” Additionally, these vintage stones feature an open, visible culet at the bottom and a steeper crown where modern brilliant cushion cuts do not. These gorgeous cushion cuts can be square or elongated.
These unicorn stones look good in any number of settings: yellow gold solitaires, halos, three-stones, etc. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself!
3.02 carat Antique Cushion Lab Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring
2.58 carat Antique Cushion Lab Diamond Three-Stone Ring
Lab-Grown Antique Cushion Cut Diamonds
Unlike any other jeweler, Lauren B has an exclusive collection of add-to-cart ready lab-grown diamond rings—the LAB Ready collection. Within that collection, we offer an ultra-exclusive, first-of-its-kind selection of lab-grown antique cushion cut engagement rings and loose diamonds.
Each engagement ring in our LAB Ready collection features the highest quality lab-grown diamond center stone (or stones) with premium cut, clarity, and color. These styles are “shopping cart” ready for a romantic proposal; choose your desired metal color, your partner’s ring size, and you are well on your way to a fruitful engagement and the journey of a lifetime. You can browse a few of the LAB Ready styles by shape below, or shop the entire collection.
Now that I’ve convinced you that you absolutely need an antique cushion cut diamond, I must warn you that I have some bad news… these natural vintage stones are going to cost you a pretty penny.
Due to their rare status, antique cushions are hard to find in a specific size and quality range, as well as lower price points. Part of the beauty of this particular cut is that the earliest versions were cut by hand, which is now nearly impossible to find. Today’s antique cuts utilize the best diamond technology to recreate their signature look but still come at a higher cost compared to their modern counterparts!
If you still have your heart set on an antique cushion cut diamond and you’re willing to sacrifice having a natural diamond, Lauren B has an exclusive selection of lab-grown antique cushion cut diamond rings and loose stones to choose from!
What Are You Waiting For?!
Do you absolutely need to get your hands on an antique cushion cut diamond? Email email@example.com to get in touch with us and start designing your dream ring!