The Art of Giving New Life to Old Stones

Polishing up the past: When does it make sense to recut antique diamonds? New York-based jeweler Bernard Nacht & Co./Under the Crown created the proprietary Crown Jubilee cut for just that purpose. Ross Nacht, its director of sales and brand development, offers some insight.

May 23, 2023  |  Adrianne Sanogo
Tulip Crown Jubilee diamond ring in 18-karat pink gold

What is the aim of recutting antique diamonds?

To fully understand the characteristics of an antique diamond, it’s best to understand the time period in which it was cut. Electricity was not yet available; old stones were cut by foot-pedal power and without the use of technology. The aim when cutting was to maximize the weight of the rough material, rather than keeping stones symmetrical.

Recutting these pieces of history is often for monetary gain, and we disagree with this perspective. Given the age of antique diamonds, they often have chips and wear from years of adornment. To avoid further damage, we repair these one-of-a-kind diamonds by removing chips and bruises while maintaining their original look and feel. We also recut chipped and worn ones into Crown Jubilee diamonds, our proprietary diamond cut, to repurpose them and give them new life. 

What is challenging about it?

From our perspective, we do not want to lose the beauty and individuality of each diamond. We want to pay homage to the original cutter’s goal to maximize the weight of the rough material. The challenge to touching [up] antique stones is to make sure the history and individual beauty is not lost in the process. 

What shapes do antique gems yield?

We repair antique diamonds that we purchase, and keep them in their original shape the best we can. Our goal for recutting is not to change their shape, but to [return them, to the best of our ability, to the same condition] as when they were originally cut. 

What is the average weight loss?

Because each antique diamond is unique, weight loss for repair is all dependent on the work that needs to be done. Recutting into different shapes would lose too much weight, as well as the romance and charm of the original diamond. 

How does recutting impact the clarity and color?

It is always a risk when putting the diamond to the diamond wheel. Recutting diamonds does not always change the color and clarity grades. While these changes would be a bonus, the goal is to give new life to old stones that would need repair regardless.

This article is from the May-June 2023 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.

Image: Tulip Crown Jubilee diamond ring in 18-karat pink gold. (Under the Crown)


Tulip Crown Jubilee diamond ring in 18-karat pink gold The Art of Giving New Life to Old Stones

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