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With diamond prices riding high, Lucy Marles, one of our jewellery experts, explains the difference between modern round brilliant-cut and old brilliant-cut diamonds.

A Late 19th Century Graduated Diamond Riviere Necklace (FS34/348), which realised £9,000 in April 2017.

A Late 19th Century Graduated Diamond Riviere Necklace (FS34/348), which realised £9,000 in April 2017.

Diamonds are currently the most valuable 'white' gemstone and are valued based on their colour, clarity, size and brilliance.

Diamonds are shaped and cut in various ways which determine their brilliance. One of the most popular diamond cuts is the 'modern round brilliant-cut', introduced in the early 20th century. Modern round brilliant-cut diamonds are uniformly faceted as opposed to 'old brilliant-cut' diamonds, which are less uniform in proportion, have a polished culet point and are deeper.

Old brilliant-cut diamonds were most prevalent during the Georgian and Victorian eras. The illustrated late 19th century riviere necklace is a fine example comprising graduated, old brilliant-cut diamonds set within open backed, cut down collect settings that allows light into the stones, resulting in a magnificent piece of timeless jewellery.


  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Jewellery Auctions
  • Diamonds

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About the Author

Lucy MarlesLucy Marles

Lucy Marles is the jewellery specialist at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

Lucy began working for Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood in 2011 on a part-time basis. Lucy now works full time as a jewellery specialist and oversees the day-to-day running of the jewellery department.

Prior to working with Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood, Lucy Marles completed a secretarial diploma at her local college. From 2007, Lucy worked for many years within the beauty industry, which led her to run her own part-time business.