Now here’s where it gets a little technical, but I promise that I’ll make it as painless as possible. Knowing this information will not only help you understand black dot paste better, it will also help you understand diamonds better! That’s a pretty good trade off, right?
To understand black dot paste jewelry, you must first understand older cuts of diamonds. Very simply, older diamond cutting techniques created an extra facet on the very bottom of the diamond, called the culet. The modern round brilliant diamond has such a small culet that it looks like it comes to a point at the bottom. Older cuts like Old Mine Cuts and Old European Cuts had much larger culets. In fact, some were so large that when I’ve shown this feature to people in the past, they tell me that it looks like a “hole” in the middle of the diamond when viewed from the top.
These diagrams will help.
This is what I mean:
Keep in mind that this wasn’t done to deceive. Wealthy women of the era happily wore these paste pieces and couldn’t have cared that they weren’t diamonds. In fact, Marie Antoinette is said to have worn paste liberally! “Paste” was interchangeable with diamonds. That’s why so many paste pieces are set in precious metals like silver and gold- because there was virtually no distinction between the two. Paste fit as easily into a fine jewelry wardrobe as our own fine jewelry items today. Because of this, you can still find “black dot paste” jewelry available today, although it can be rather scarce. If you find it, buy it because you may not see another!
If you’re a beginner, you may not have noticed that extinction area in diamonds before when looking at antique pieces. It becomes really obvious when it’s explained though.
Now compare what you just saw to actual Black Dot Paste jewelry from The Spare Room. The open culet “look” is clearly visible. That’s why Black Dot Paste has a black dot!
Thank you to Jacqueline Smelkinson and Marcia Moylan for allowing me to use their fabulous inventory of black dot paste jewelry. You can find more on their website here.