By Åse Anderson
Rose-cut diamond engagement rings have a timeless, vintage-inspired quality, which more than makes up for their perceived lack of sparkle. As the round brilliant cut, and even its cousins the cushion cut and princess cut, have become ever more ubiquitous, the subtler but undeniably beautiful rose cut has seen a definite resurgence. I would even go so far as to say that its lack of “flashiness” is part of the appeal of rose-cut diamonds, for brides who want vintage-style engagement rings that are cool and edgy rather than ostentatious.
One of the oldest styles of diamond cutting, the rose cut emerged in Europe in the 1500s but it had been used in India for much longer. While rose-cut diamond engagement rings were popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras, they all but disappeared with the arrival of the round brilliant cut in 1750. Today, good quality rose-cut engagement rings are extremely hard to find, as many were snapped up by jewellers looking to cut them into the round brilliant shape that imbued the diamond with fire and light. Because solitaire engagement rings did not become de rigueur until the late 19th century, many vintage-style engagement rings will feature clusters of rose-cut diamonds rather than a single large stone.
Unlike the more rigid design parameters that dictate the number of facets on a round brilliant-cut diamond, rose-cut diamonds can have anywhere from three to 24 facets. Named after its shape, which resembles that of a rose bud, the cut features a flat bottom with a dome-shaped crown that rises to a single apex. The honeycomb pattern of large triangular facets does not unleash the fire of the stone and, in fact, jewellers would often apply a thin layer of gold or silver foil to the back of the diamond to increase its dazzle.
Recently, modern rose-cut diamond engagement rings have emerged as an attractive option for those looking for a vintage-inspired ring with a contemporary twist. Often rose-cut diamonds are set into bezel settings as this protects the stone and allows the jeweller to set the stone lower into the ring, giving it a brighter appearance.
With a definite nod to the romanticism of a bygone era, the Sofia Kaman solitaire engagement ring combines a rose-cut diamond with a matt gold band. The rose cut also lends itself well to coloured diamonds as seen in Jo Hayes Ward's contemporary engagement ring, and the romantic Rapunzel ring by Polly Wales, both of which are set with grey rose-cut diamonds.