A Brief History of the Rose Cut Diamond

Rose cuts are flat bottomed stones that feature triangular facets on the tipped crown. A rose cut gem features 6, 12, or 18 triangular facets on the crown of the stone. The name for the rose cut stemmed from its appearance of an opening rose bud. This cut dates back to the 16th century, but the rose cut became wildly popular in the 19th century.

Work by Caroline Gelman

Work by Caroline Gelman


Student work

There are a few different theories on how the popularity of rose-cut diamonds came to be. Most reliable sources agree that the earliest rose cut diamonds came out of India. According to Gerald Wykoff, CSM GG, International Gem Society member, “Macles and thin fragments were plentiful in India. Indeed, cynical Indian merchants are known to have hoodwinked ignorant miners into believing that the best test of a diamond was to strike it a blow with a hammer. If the crystal did not withstand the hit, it could not possibly be a diamond, the wily merchants explained. Few hard, but brittle diamonds could withstand such a destructive test. When the miner departed after a testing session, the merchants gathered up the broken pieces and fled back to town and the cutting shops. History simply does not record how many fine, large Indian diamonds were destroyed this way. The loss must have been substantial. India was famous as a reservoir of large diamond crystals at the time.” What a shame!

In the past diamonds were prized for their weight rather than the now more popular brilliant cut that accentuates a diamond’s sparkle and “fire” (dispersed light that appears as flashes or rainbows). This modern cut tends to chip off more of the rough diamond, thereby causing to lose a lot of it’s weight. Old rose cut diamonds have less fire, therefore lost popularity when diamond cutting technology advanced.

One of the most famous rose cut diamonds of all time was undoubtedly the Great Mogul, owned by the Shah Jahan, the Emperor of India during the mid 17th century. The Shah’s son showed this diamond to the famous french jeweler Jean Baptiste Tavernier, who was traveling through India at the time. Tavernier wrote that “the stone is of the same form as if one cut an egg through the middle”.


It was said to weigh 280 carats, but to have been cut from a rough stone of 787.5 carats. Unfortunately the Great Mogul disappeared in the 18th century after the Persian Ruler, Nadir Shah, sacked Delhi and then returned to his home in Isfahan.

In the present day we are seeing a resurgence in popularity of the rose cut. As demand grows, the vintage supply dwindles so we are seeing more lapidaries fashioning rose cut gems in present day.

Now that you know so much about the history of rose cuts, I’m sure your excited to find that Liloveve is offering a rose cut diamond workshop on Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th from 11:00 am to 5:30 pm. You can register here!

Sources: The International Gem Society, The Modern Jeweler, The Diamond Cuts.com, Wikipedia

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