As far as we know, the diamonds were first mined in the East. It was in India that diamonds in jewellery were first revealed as the Indian lapidaries were skilful to facet diamonds.
During Antiquity, the Eastern people always tried to maintain as much weight as possible when cutting diamonds and could only remove the gum-like skin of the rough diamond and polish the natural facets. The brilliance of the diamond, as we know it today, was never seen in these gems.
In the 15th century, the disciplines of refraction and geometry developed considerately due to an increase of gem stocks from the East, which allowed more experimentation and improvement of diamond and coloured gem cutting. First, the pointcut was introduced, to be replaced by the table cut, but with not much brilliancy.
Around 1580 the first rose diamond cut or rosette was discovered in Antwerp: a hemisphere covered with triangular facets and arranged in a regular way with a flat base. This shape was probably derived from the old Indian diamond shape but was more regular and shinier.
Later in the 17th century, it is said that at the French Court, Cardinal Mazarin, motivated his lapidaries to improve this “first” rose cut to a shiny diamond. For the first time, the diamond could fully shine, because of a silver foil, which was set under the flat base of the diamond. The success of this “rose diamond cut”, is due to the light which falls on the facets to the base and returns directly to the eye. Many French Court diamonds were re-cut in a rose shape, to shine more into the candle lights of Versailles. Some famous diamonds, as the Sancy diamond, have been re-cut in the rose shape in France during the Louis XIV reign.
One of the oldest rose cuts, is probably the Holland rose (or Dutch rose) and consists of 24 facets above the flat base. The Brabant rose cut was also created but the crown of the diamond was slightly lower, had fewer facets and differently positioned. Finally, it was less successful because less brilliant. It has been invented in Antwerp to compete with the so successful Holland rose cut diamond. Both of the above rose cut diamonds have been slightly varied, by adding facets or change the position of the facets. Many other rose cuts were created to embellish the brilliance of the diamond.
The rose cut diamond never disappeared from the jewellery scene, even when the modern brilliant diamond-cut was invented by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1914. At that time also, most famous jewellers, as Fabergé, used the rose diamond cut in much of his jewellery and Easter eggs to express its exceptional charm.
Not only diamonds are still rose-shaped, other coloured gemstones are used to be shaped in this form. The techniques of setting have definitely changed, but the charm, the romance and exotism of this exceptional gem shape haven’t.
Text ©World Luxury Jewellers.
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