The History Of The Rose Cut Diamond

Buying a ring for your significant other can be a daunting process. With so many styles, cuts and designs to choose from, it can be overwhelming. One cut which is steadily growing in popularity once again is the Rose Cut Diamond. With its origins going as far back as the 1500s, this cut is embedded with history and romance. As the modern consumer becomes enticed by this sultry design, we’ll delve into the Rose Cut Diamonds’ history, features and its revival.

The History

Diamonds have been around for centuries. The Rose Cut diamond in particular is known as one of the oldest diamond cuts around, with its origins going as far back as the 16th century. Whilst its widely known that India was a primary source for diamonds, diamond cutting was not developed there. If we head just over 4000 miles West, to mainland Europe – this is where diamond cutting developed and evolved. Due to developments within transportation and craft tools, this ignited the invention of the diamond cutting mill. Assisting with the creation of more facets placed at varying angles, new and interesting diamond cuts were developing. 

One European country which played a key role in developing diamond cuts was Belgium, more specifically the city of Antwerp. Known to introduce the earliest forms of true faceting, the first diamond cuts featuring multiple triangular facets were illustrated in the city. Antwerp had many advantages such as transport factors, alongside political and economic links with surrounding countries which catapulted Antwerp to become the richest city in Europe. Antwerp became the primary cutting and diamond trading centre and is still going strong to this day. Due to this strong connection with the diamond cutting industry, the commonly known ‘Rose Cut’ diamond also adopts the names of the ‘Antwerp’, ‘Holland’ and ‘Dutch’ Rose. 

Known as one of the earliest diamond cuts to date, alongside the ‘Mogul’ cut, the craft didn’t have the knowledge it does now. Many assumed that the more facets a diamond had, the more brilliant it would be. These were periods where the concept of refraction wasn’t well understood and there was little knowledge on the matter. Visible  on the ‘Rose Cut’, when creating it, they didn’t facet an angled bottom, which in modern times, now emphasises the antique/vintage feel of the design.

As the diamond cutting industry developed, knowledge grew on the craft and new cuts appeared. Eventually the ‘Rose Cut’ was dominated by the ‘Brilliant Cut’, with many symbolically relating its rounder shape to the idea of eternal love. 

An engagement/wedding ring is embedded with the emotions and bond of love. Many are already aware of history behind the ‘ring finger,’ and with the romanticism of the ‘Rose Cut’, the cut became a symbol for love as the ring would be “wrapped around the part of the body that connected directly to the heart”. The ‘Rose Cut’ became an embodiment for love and romance which is why many gravitated to its design – and yet we still do to this day as it illustrates a gentler love between spouses.

The Features of a Rose Cut Diamond

This romantic diamond cut, whilst subtle, includes intricate features that give it its iconic name. Commonly defined by its rounded outline and multiple triangular facets, these features were said to resemble unfolding petals seen on a rose bud. Other recognisable features include a faceted domed top with a flat base, usually containing between 6-24 facets (24 earns the name ‘full rose’ cut).

Whilst the Rose Cut traditionally features a rounded outline, it can be modified to take on a more unique and modern design such as a heart, oval, pear or drop shape. These shapes will usually be encased in a bezel setting as it offers more protection for the diamond. 

The first of the Rose Cut diamond family is the Single Rose Cut. Features include a single layer of facets, a centered double layer in the stone. To heighten its design, they’ll often be surrounded by smaller diamonds. 

Furthermore, you have the option to take the Rose Cut to the next level and have it faceted on both sides, forming a Double Rose Cut. One of the world’s oldest diamonds created in the 1500s, known as The Beau Sancy, is a double rose. Also known as a Double Dutch Rose Cut, this design sees the diamond set high or deep whilst containing additional layers of diamond facets, mirroring the briolette diamond cut. 

Other Rose Cut diamond designs include the pendeloque Rose diamond which features a water droplet-like shape. Its top is sharp whilst its base is shaped in an obtuse angle. This too can be cut to form a double rose cut. This design is commonly used for pendants and necklaces. Another variation on the Rose Cut diamond is the Barbant Rose Cut diamond. Containing no more than 12 facets, this design features a raised base and a shallower top to the stone itself – creating the effect of a wider top. Due to this design, the diamond will feature less of a shine compared to its counterparts. 

More traditional shapes of the Rose Cut diamond include rounded (a more modern design if circularly perfect), a Cushion shape which features a more “pillowy” and lengthier shape, and lastly the Old Mine Rose cut. Commonly seen in antique pieces which feature an ‘uneven’ rose cut diamond and can be the happy median of a round and cushion design.

The cuts romanticism is amplified through its garnished tale of its flat base design. Unlike other diamonds, which feature a sharp bottom which causes the diamond/ring to be raised, its flat base allows the wearer to have contact with the diamond itself. Whilst the ring finger is said to be connected to ones heart, wearers of a Rose Cut diamond engagement ring are said to form a heightened special bond with their ring.

Benefits arise from the Rose Cut diamonds’ flat base which isn’t only secular for the Barbant Rose Cut design. The general cut causes the diamonds weight to be spread across its width. This allows the stone to look significantly larger than other traditionally cut diamonds.

One thing we love about diamonds is the way they catch in the light. Due to the Rose Cut’s flat base and lack of pavilion facets, the diamond reacts very differently to light. Displaying soft flashes, it’s muted shine adds to its antique/vintage essence. Still retaining an element of shine, the cut emphasises its softer approach to a diamond, creating a warmer and romantic glow when hit with a beam.

We all associated the diamond as a clear and transparent stone. However, in Rose Cut form, its ‘colour’, referring to how white or colourless the diamond appears, is a lot more versatile. Diamonds are graded from D (most colourless) to Z (brown/yellow tint) by the GIA. Adding to the Rose Cut’s antique feel, the cut commonly features warmer tones such as grey, champagne, opaque white, salt & pepper, black and yellow tones; offering an alternative for those that prefer a softer stone. Showing off its versatility, the Rose Cut is also available as a transparent, glass ice diamond.

This understated yet romantic cut gains its charm from its antique past. Cut by hand, many Rose Cut diamonds, especially the vintage kind, often include minor imperfections and asymmetries – only adding to its uniqueness and character. You may spot misshaped facets as well as asymmetrical facet patterns or girdles in the antique designs.

The Rise of the Rose

Like all things, the ‘Rose Cut’ diamond came in and out of style. Whilst it first appeared in the 1500s, its height of popularity was in the 1700s through to the 1800s. Popular within the Georgian and Victorian eras, their ‘Rose Cut’ diamond rings would often feature a cluster of ‘Rose Cut’ diamonds accompanied by other older cuts.  Within these times, all rose cut diamonds were hand cut, resulting in no two diamonds identical to one another. An aspect of the cut which emphasised its individualism, not only for the diamond in itself but an alluring detail for buyers, wearers and the bond between the spouses.

Whilst the popularity of the cut died out after the Victorian era, a resurgence known as the ‘Rose Cut’ renaissance appeared at the turn of the century. Growing in popularity with its use in diamond and engagement rings, the ‘Rose Cut’ became a trend of its own. Its popularity leaked into mainstream society/consumerism, most visible through Tiffany & Co’s creation. In the late nineteenth century, they created a solitaire rose cut diamond ring. As the diamond cutting knowledge had developed extensively since it was created, Tiffany & Co designed the ring to feature a more open mounting, which would allow the light to shine through the stone more easily. This enhanced its dazzle effect, allowing it to contend with ‘Brilliant Cuts’ and ‘clearer’ stones.

Since then, the ‘Rose Cut’ has swayed in and out of our hearts. As more people fall in love with vintage and antique jewellery, many lean towards the romantic and subtle design that is the ‘Rose Cut’. And with many of our favourite celebs sporting such of an engagement ring, are we beginning the lean away from the flashy and into the subtly of jewellery.

A Modern Romance  

Since 2010, the Rose Cut Diamond has experienced a resurgence over the past decade. Celebrity engagement announcements boosted this revival through the revealing of their Rose Cut Diamond engagement rings. This included actress Jennifer Aniston, who back in 2012 received an 8-carat antique rose-cut ring from her partner Justin Theroux. This was one of few times, where it ‘opened people’s eyes to this “olde worlde” diamond cut. 

Actor Matthew McConaughey also proposed to his now wife, Camilla McConaughey back in 2011 with a Cathy Waterman Rose cut engagement ring. Most recently actress Lily Collins also received a rose cut diamond engagement ring from her partner Charlie McDowell, where the ring featured a rose cut, bezel set diamond. Other celebrities also sporting the romantic cut are Alison Brie and Camila Alves.

As some celebrities opt for a more subtle yet beautiful diamond cut, this shows its popularity creeping up on the industry. Furthermore, we can thank the rise in popularity of general antiques and antique jewellery. Not only might people favour a ring which is rich in history and character, but antique rings also have an environmental factor to them. More and more consumers are being enticed by this cut because it’s a more approachable design and because it’s so romantic – the idea of big, shiny and new is becoming less enticing. 

The Rose Cut Diamond is a design which will forever ooze romance and love. With its roots stemming centuries back, this rose’s roots will only grow stronger. Just like most things, diamond cuts, styles and trends come in and out of fashion. But one thing that is certain, is that the Rose Cut Diamond will forever be a design which we’ll fall in and out of love with. A true illustration and marking of love and affection within a diamond, this cut will always be cherished by those who love romance and appreciate a truly timeless design.