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What’s a Point Cut Diamond?

Raw diamond on black background

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The point cut is believed to be the very first diamond cut and dates back to the 1300s. It was a very basic procedure and was more a form of polishing the diamond than actual cutting. In any case, it set the foundation for subsequent diamond cuts.

Let’s take a look at the history of the point cut and why it was important.

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What is the Point Cut?

Diamonds are the hardest known natural substance and for a long time, the idea of cutting a diamond was almost impossible. Prior to the point cut, diamonds were simply used in their natural state because there was no technology at the time to polish or cut a diamond. Because diamond rough is octahedral in appearance, this natural shape was used as is.

Point cut diamond

The point cut

In the early 1300s, the first step in the long history of diamond cutting was taken, when the process of polishing diamonds began. This first form of diamond ‘cut’ involved polishing the diamond rough to remove blemishes and to create smooth facets. Poorly formed diamond rough could also be shaped into the octahedral shape that was in demand. These diamonds are known now as the point cut even though it wasn’t really a cut.

Creating table cut

The table cut was created around a 100 years after the point cut by slicing off the top of the diamond to create a large, flat table top.

By the 15th century, the point cut was superseded by other more advanced cuts, including the table cut and the single cut. Over time, point cuts fell out of favor as more advanced cuts came along. Today finding a point cut from the past is very rare, as most of these cuts were refashioned into more advanced shapes.

How Was the Point Cut Used in Jewelry?

Point cut diamonds were typically mounted into ring settings, with the point reaching upwards in a pyramidal shape. Here’s an example of an antique 16th century gold ring with a point cut diamond. At this time, diamonds were extremely rare and only the upper classes could afford them. It was a gemstone for royalty and the nobility.

Almost all diamonds at this time came from India, where they were highly valued for their supposed metaphysical powers. Diamonds were prized for their durability and hardness, rather than for their brilliance and sparkle as they are today. It was only in the early 18th century when diamond deposits were found in Brazil that the gemstone became more accessible.

Point Cuts Today

Point cuts today are almost non-existent, in that hardly anyone fashions diamonds into this shape anymore. It’s easy to see why.

First, point cuts don’t enhance the beauty or sparkle of the diamond, simply looking like a lump of glass. With today’s advanced technology, diamonds can be faceted into complex arrangements that bring out the inner sparkle of the stone.

Second, while a point cut utilizes the entire diamond, today a single diamond rough is typically cut into two or more pieces and shaped into stones. While a round diamond often results in a lot of wastage of the rough stone, often two square shaped diamond cuts can be fashioned from a single rough. This is also why round diamonds are so expensive and square ones are more affordable, all else being equal, of course.

Third, there aren’t many designs with which point cut diamonds are compatible. Apart from certain ring styles, in drop earrings or pendants, point cut diamonds would be very restrictive.

And lastly, the only reason anyone would want a point cut diamond today is to evoke the past and to wear a truly vintage style of diamond. Apart from that, there’s really not much reason to wear point cut diamonds.

At the time of this writing, there were no point cut diamonds or jewelry available online, apart from one being sold as a valuable antique. This means that this is a cut that’s been relegated to the past. Unless there’s a revival of sorts, the point cut will remain simply a charming stage in the history of diamond cutting.