The Differences Between The Round Brilliant Cut and The Old European Cut

Change the cut of a diamond and you completely transform its symbolism. Nowhere is this more clear than the round brilliant cut and the Old European cut.

Diamonds are one of the oldest and most beloved gemstones in human history. They’re a staple of jewelry the world over and come in a myriad of brilliant forms. Learning the differences between each cut will open up an entire world of symbolism at your fingertips. Whether you’re getting married soon or want to add vintage accessories to your wardrobe, read on.

We will explore the differences between the Round Brilliant cut and the Old European cut.

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Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds

You likely think of the Round Brilliant cut when you think of a modern diamond. This standard adorns wedding rings, engagement rings, and classy pendants alike. 

Diamonds are one of the hardest materials on the planet, so every little bit of help counts! The Round Brilliant cut was introduced in the 1930’s, hot off the heels of upgraded technology that could more easily carve out diamonds. This cut is known for its flat top and sparkling appearance. 

Compare this to the ‘old mine cut’, which was a much older style of carving diamonds that reflected the technology at the time. Another term for this cut is…

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Old European Cut Diamonds

Old European cut diamonds are a hallmark of a bygone age. They represent much more beyond the diamond’s classic symbolism.

Their similarities to the Round Brilliant cut diamonds are apparent. They boast a more domed top and a slightly rounder slope than the Round Brilliant cut. The Old European cut also has a gorgeous glimmer that refracts light in many ways.

There’s a surprising delicacy to the Old European cut that isn’t easily found in the Round Brilliant cut. The subtle irregularity makes it feel more organic, which is highly appealing to fashionistas who also like baroque pearls or vintage pieces.

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a gold ring with a diamond stud on a table covered in wine red sheets

Round Brilliant vs Old European

Which gorgeous diamond cut should you choose for your next purchase? This decision all boils down to your unique tastes and what you hope to get out of your wardrobe.

You should keep a few details in mind when requesting a diamond cut.

Table Size

How flat do you want the top to be? This part of the diamond is known as the ‘table’ and will literally shape your expectations. 

The Round Brilliant has a very smooth, flat top. The Old European is more irregular and has a domed top, not unlike a muffin.

Culet Size

The cutlet is the diametric opposite to the table: it’s the little point that forms the base of the diamond. 

The cutlet size in a Round Brilliant is very pointed and tiny, making it feel inherently delicate. The Old European has a slightly rounded cutlet that gives it a soft appearance.


Many people favor diamonds for how symmetrical they can be. This also depends on your unique taste. 

The Round Brilliant is more symmetrical than the Old European. On one hand, this can make it appear smoother and fancier. For others, this appearance can come off as too artificial.

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Motive of Cut

This term refers to the appeal of the diamond. Some jewelers prefer diamonds for their unparalleled brilliance, favoring how brightly they shine. Others are more interested in rich color.

Consider the motive of cut when choosing a diamond. What aspect is most important to you?


It’s no secret that diamonds fetch a higher price than other stones. Part of this is due to how difficult it is to both mine and craft them.

A Round Brilliant diamond will be a little more expensive than the Old European cut due to the extra work put in. However, remember that price doesn’t automatically mean more value for you.

Girdle finishing

This highly subtle detail refers to the little band between the table and the pavilion. It’s dubbed a girdle for its appearance to a belt, dappling gently around the diamond’s circumference.

The Old European cut will have a more bumpy and irregular girdle. The Round Brilliant cut will be more balanced.

a diamond necklace and a diamond ring on a black velvet backdrop

Buying an Old European Cut Diamond

While you want to pay attention to a diamond's GIA certificate for those round brilliant cuts, personal preference is much more important for an old European cut diamond. You want to choose a diamond that looks attractive to the eye and has plenty of character, rather than focusing on color, clarity, and cut.

These diamonds can be paired with a vintage setting. The best look for a European cut diamond is in a custom-made design. If you want to match the origin of the diamond, mount them in an Edwardian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, or Art Deco setting. You might want to consider a more rose gold or yellow gold setting for these historic pieces. 

Since any antique cut diamond has low color grades, you can use them in plenty of non-traditional settings. You might want to use colored metal to boost the look of your old European cut diamond. Plus, colored metal has a more period-appropriate look than those classic rings. 

The Four C's and Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds

When choosing a brilliant cut diamond, you need to know those four Cs: color, cut, clarity, and carat. You already have the round cut, now think about those other factors. 

When it comes to diamonds, many people often want colorless or white gemstones. The color scale starts at D and ends at Z. Each grade will indicate an increase in the stones' warmth. If you want a warmer tone, you may want to choose a brilliant cut with colors ranging from G to H. Cooler tone fans should look at diamonds with the D to F grades. In many cases, the differences are subtle, so many people will not notice a color difference, especially to the naked eye. Keep in mind that those diamonds with a D, E, or F grades are considered to be colorless, and they have a higher price tag. 

Next, think about the clarity. All natural gems will have imperfections, but how visible are they to the naked eye? A clarity guard of VS2 or SI1 is suitable for those diamonds up to 1 carat. As the weight goes up, the preferred clarity grade will increase. For example, a bigger diamond should have a clarity grade of VS1 or VS2. 

All diamonds are measured in carats. One carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams (200 milligrams). Round brilliant cut diamonds do not have a set number of carats. Why? The initial weight of the diamond is lost during the cutting process. 

The value and width of the diamond, including round brilliant cuts, will be determined by the 4 Cs. Remember that diamonds with a high carat weight will cost more than those smaller ones. After that, the color grade, clarity, and cut quality will significantly affect the price tag. Usually, round brilliant cut diamonds will range from $4,000 to $10,000. Comparing that with an old European diamond can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $30,000.

Which One Should You Choose?

Ask yourself what kind of fashion sense you have. Are you minimalist and posh, seeking out a very balanced wardrobe? Or would you rather go for a splashy, off-kilter, and artful look?

Having a clear outlook on your fashion sense will determine whether the Round Brilliant cut or the Old European cut is more suited to your wardrobe. You can even combine the two to shake up your look on-the-fly.

The symbolism of the diamond grows and changes just as much as you do. Mix and match your cut, girdle, colors, sizes, and accessories until you find the most suitable fit.

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