The table cut is the earliest form of diamond cut, the shape is that of the naturally occurring crystal itself with only two facets, one to form a table and the other, a culet. Prior to about the early 16th century, diamond crystals were employed in jewelry in their organic octahedral shape aka not cut at all. Jewelers of yore had figured out that diamond crystals could be polished using diamond dust (diamond can only be cut/polished with diamond), but the addition of the two cuts were thanks to developments in the technique of cleaving. Advancements in stone cutting over the following centuries left table cut diamonds firmly in the past, which makes this table cut diamond solitaire particularly interesting. The 14k rose gold mounting is fashioned in a stirrup shape with bifurcated shoulders and dates to the late 19th or early 20th century. The table cut diamond, however, is much much older, probably cut sometime in the 17th century. If we were asked to speculate, we would guess that the gem was probably harvested from someone's family jewels and repurposed as the focal point in this very cool ring.
VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901)
The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone.
The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”.
During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.