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Table Cut Diamonds – A Precursor to Modern Diamond Cuts

Table cut engagement ring

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Diamond cuts have come a long way, evolving from the original point cut to today’s stunning round brilliant cut. Along the way, there were several important stages, one of which is the table cut.

The table cut, known for its large surface on the top of the diamond, is a simple, dated diamond cut that is still sometimes used for diamonds today. They’re ideal for the lover of all things vintage and someone after a minimalist, clean look for their diamond.

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Here’s what you need to know about table cut diamonds.

History of the Table Cut

The first type of diamond cut was known as the point cut and dates back to the 1300s. Here the diamond was cut into an octahedral shape by polishing the rough. This was a basic improvement to the natural rough shape of the diamond but was the first time that diamonds were actively polished and shaped for jewelry.

Point cut diamond

The point diamond cut

The next major development in diamond cuts was the table cut, which occurred around the middle of the 15th century. One of the points of the octahedral shaped diamond was cut off, creating a flat surface, or table, on the top of the diamond. This was called the table cut and was highly popular up until the early 1600s. Even today, the top surface of the diamond is called a table.

Creating table cut

The table cut is born

Square shape diamond engagement ring on girl's finger

Table cut in a modern engagement ring setting

With the improvements in diamond cutting technology, the table cut fell out of favor. Over the succeeding years, these antique table cut diamonds were recut into more brilliant, advanced diamond cuts making them a rare find today.

Specifications of the Table Cut

Table diamond set in an engagement ring closeup

While there are some variations to the table cut, the main characteristics are as follows:

  1. The table cut contains one large table and a deep pavilion. The pavilion of the diamond refers to the bottom half of the diamond, which is usually invisible once mounted into a ring setting.
  2. From the top view, the table cut features the table surrounded by four, sloping rectangular facets on each side.
  3. The table cut is not brilliant and doesn’t feature impressive light performance. It’s not comparable to modern cuts like the round brilliant or princess cut in terms of sparkle.
  4. Table cuts expose the clarity and color tints of the diamond because it doesn’t have the intense faceting structure to hide such flaws. As such, a high-quality diamond is required for this cut.
  5. It showcases the diamond in the simplest way and is ideal for minimalist engagement rings.
  6. Table cuts utilized a large amount of the diamond rough with minimal wastage, as they took the natural shape of the diamond.

Variations to the Table Cut

Several variations of the table cut exist, but these are often rarer and weren’t as popular as the standard table cut.

Double Table Cut Diamond

This refers to a diamond that has a table on both sides, the top and the bottom. Double table cuts are extremely rare and very hard to come across. They are flat diamonds with little to no light performance as they have no pavilion for light to refract from.

Mirror Cut (a.k.a Spread Table Cut) Diamond

The mirror cut is a table cut that has a larger table. This is done by sawing off the point of the diamond much closer to the center, creating very thin upper girdles. From the top view, the table would look like a mirror with its large flat surface and thin surrounding facets. The mirror cut created a shallower diamond but was sometimes used to maximize the diamond rough.   

Table Cut Diamonds Today

Not every bride wants a sparkling, brilliant diamond. Some gravitate towards more unique cuts and vintage styles. The table cut is perfect if you want something completely different to what most brides today lean towards.

While most retail stores don’t offer table cut diamonds, as there is little to no demand for this diamond cut, you may be able to have one specially cut and designed into a ring for you. Alternatively, you’re bound to come across table cut diamond rings on estate and antique stores.

Etsy, for example, feature several antique table cut diamond rings at the time of this writing that date back over a 100 years. Such rings are perfect if you love vintage or quaint things and want to get off the beaten path.

Antique table cut diamond ring

A table cut diamond ring vintage from the 19th century.

See it here

As there’s a resurgence and renewed interest in vintage styles, old table cuts may become more well-known. While they’ll never enjoy the popularity that they once did, they can still be gorgeous when mounted onto a matching ring setting.