10 Jun 2023
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How Portraitcut Diamonds Are Redefining Understated Luxury
A Cut that’s Trending
By: Diamond World News Service
May 4 2023 4:21PM
Reference: 26881  


The unique flat surface and vintage charm of portraitcut diamonds are capturing the attention of jewellery enthusiasts and collectors across the globe. Priyanka Talreja Garegrat explores how this classic form of diamond-cutting has evolved into a style that signifies understated luxury

The portrait-cut diamond is crafted to create a unique window-like effect, resembling a slender pane of perfectly transparent glass. It is one of the oldest forms of diamond-cutting, believed to have originated in India during the 16th and 17th centuries. According to legend, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was fond of portrait-cut diamonds and used them to protect and enhance the miniature hand-painted portraits in his jewels. This practice of placing portraits beneath the gems to enhance their appearance and protect them gave birth to the name "portrait cut.

This trend found its way to Europe in the 19th century, when both men and women started wearing hand-painted miniature portraits of their lover's eyes on a ring or locket, which would then be covered with a portrait-cut diamond. This way, the lovers felt connected to each other, even when physically apart. Unlike typical natural diamonds that exhibit brilliance, portrait-cut diamonds are meticulously crafted and polished to a level surface that resembles glass. Achieving the ultra-thin, clean diamond cut required for portrait-cut diamonds necessitates top-quality rough stones and expert precision cutters.

The Portrait-Cut Look: Like Water Floating on the Skin
Today, the portrait-cut diamond represents an understated and crisply tailored style of jewellery. This look is for women who prefer the ‘barely there’ glamour. Because these stones are flat, designers today prefer to use very little metal around them, making them look like they are floating on the skin. Portrait-cut diamonds are also versatile and can be fashioned into a wide variety of shapes, ranging from classic round and oval cuts to more unconventional shapes such as hexagons, triangles and kites. This flexibility allows designers to create unique and striking pieces that can be tailored to meet individual preferences. While the antique portrait cuts had a brown cast, the contemporary ones are found in higher colours, such as D, E, and F.

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