Forums General Discussion Oldest Gem Design Challenge

18 replies, 8 voices Last updated by  JTheesfeld 9 months, 2 weeks ago
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    I am amazed at the efforts you are putting into documenting excellent faceting history! Your series of web pages are most valuable…please keep up the great work!

    A link on your own website to the following publication, might produce the oldest documented gem design I have found to date. It is:

    Diamond Design
    A Study of the Reflection and Refraction of Light in a Diamond
    by Marcel Tolkowsky, B.Sc., A.C.G.I.
    with 37 illustrations

    E. & F. N. Spon logo
    London: E. & F. N. Spon, Ltd., 57 Haymarket, S.W. 1
    New York: Spon & Chamberlain, 120 Liberty Street

    Contained in this document, by Marcel Tolkowski, are diagrams of an SRB with very specific, although somewhat complicated, angles for faceting. I would consider this a complete, documented design, dated 1919. This entire Diamond Design Study is completely fascinating to anyone interested in seeing the details of how Marcel Tolkowski worked out the proper design for an SRB.


    Justin Prim

    Jeff, I didn’t know if Tolkowsky counted since it’s not necessarily laid out like a faceting diagram. You are correct though he does give images and angles. Speaking of diamond design, have you read American Cut: The first 100 years? I just read it and its a fun and historical read about the creation of the modern SRB and all the steps it went through before Tolkowsky and after.

    Glad you enjoyed my website. It’s a great way for me to stay organized in my research while also being able to share my findings with others. I have been in deep research mode for a bit over a year and it’s pretty incredible what’s out there to be found if you can figure out where to look.



    Has anyone checked in with Scott Sucher? While he has re-created the famous old diamonds-he may have run across what you’re looking for.




    Yes, Scott and I have discussed this many times. Scott’s replica research comes from many sources, mostly old images, one line diagrams, and whenever possible, actual inspection of the gems. Rarely are full designs available, and his replica techniques are amazingly complex, in order to get exact facet layouts. There are many old gems, but old designs are very rare. We still have not found an actual design with diagram, index settings and angles over 100 years old. This is mostly because complete designs evolved along with technology, and faceting technology is relatively recent. Have you, or anyone else, found anything earlier. If so, I would love to know about it.

    I do encourage everyone to visit Scott’s websites at
    and his new site at

    There is so much to learn from Scott’s efforts!

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