The Round Engagement Ring: A Classic of Medieval Design
The round engagement is the most popular of diamond cuts, along with other similar cuts such as cushion cut, its evolution can be traced back to medieval Europe. In around the 11th Century AD, before a proper diamond cutting process and trade had started, there was a general mistrust of diamonds. Superstition reigned in these times and came from India, spreading to Europe.
In 1375 the first diamond cutting guild was formed in Nuremberg in Germany. Diamond cutters took advantage of the natural cleaves in rough diamonds and used a hammer and mallet to cut diamonds in facets. If there was an error, it meant that the diamond would crack and be ruined. It was a trial and error process. The first primitive forms of the modern round engagement ring were created around this time.
In the 14th Century, developments in diamond cutting meant that the table cut, an early version of the cushion cut was created. This didn’t have the same brilliance as modern cuts as there was no absolute symmetry and precision in cutting that is common in later times. This meant that other gemstones like ruby and emerald were more popular during this period.
Later in the 16th century, diamond cutters named Tagliacarne and Della Corniole perfected the art of diamond cutting. A new form of cut called the rose or rosette was created and proved to be very popular with the Italian aristocracy in medieval times. This form of diamond was still crude by today’s standards and didn’t create enough fire and brilliance and led to further developments in diamond cutting technology. The earliest form of the round diamond ring or round brilliant cut was subsequently created.
The first round cut was introduced into European society in the 17th century. It is attributed to an Italian Ambassador named Jules Cardinal Mazarin. The first round brilliants were named after him and called ‘Mazarins’ or ‘Double Brilliant Cuts’ with 17 facets in the crown. The Mazarin cut was later developed into 33 facet cuts by a designer named Peruzzi and known as the ‘Triple Brilliant Cut’.
The 17th and 18th Centuries both saw the increasing popularity of the round cut engagement ring in European aristocracy and the burgeoning middle classes. It also saw the expansion of the Dutch East India Company who mined for diamonds in parts of India and Pakistan and then transferred these rough diamonds back to Europe. Once there, they used increasingly sophisticated steam-driven diamond cutting tools to create round cut engagement rings.
One of the most famous diamonds of this period was the ‘Koh-i-Noor’ diamond, consisting of 105 carats and cut for Queen Victoria’s crown in 1851. The splendid crown and the ‘Koh-i-Noor’ diamond inside it now lie in the Tower of London, where they are stored for safe-keeping. These are the antique predecessors of the round brilliant cut diamonds that are found everywhere today. Contemporary round brilliants are no less interesting and can be found in our range of engagement rings. Take a look right now!