May 31, 2022
5 min read

How are diamonds cut?

How are diamonds cut?
How are diamonds cut?

Diamond cutting is a real art. Let’s get to know this process closer, take a look at its history, consider the stages of diamond cutting and learn secrets known only to real masters.

Diamond cutting is a complex process of sculpting a rough stone and transforming it into a polished diamond. The better the diamond is cut – the greater the brilliance and fire it demonstrates. 

Sometimes the stone’s cut is confused with the shape. Although these two terms work together to create the overall diamond’s appearance,  they are not the same. The cut is all about math and geometry – the cutter has to determine the way to cut facets and angles in order to let the light shine through it. While the shape is about the overall look. 

As you see, the cut is a more complex and comprehensive concept. 

History of diamond cutting

Diamond cutters have always been highly skilled and masterful sculptors. 

They began their creative work in the Middle Ages, when diamonds became stylish and fashionable in Europe. 

The first guild of diamond cutters was established in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1375. The guild called the Diamantaire developed the first types of cuts. Initially the most popular cut was the point one – it just followed the natural shape of a diamond.

Later, the table cut appeared – it became the first major faceting technique. Then, the step cut was developed, becoming the precursor to the emerald cut. 

The 16th century was marked by the creation of special tools for diamond cutting – and by the invention of rose and transition stone cuts. European cutters started bruting, faceting and polishing gems with special diligence and professionalism.

How are diamonds cut?

The new understanding of what a diamond should look like appeared during the Baroque era – in the 17th century. The candlelight demanded more sparkling designs – and brilliant cut came on stage. However, these brilliants were far from modern round gems as they were too asymmetrical.

The 18th and 19th centuries were the era of the old mine cut stones. 

And then it started spinning, the progress did not stand still: the invention of the electric bruting machine, the motorized diamond saw, the asscher, the baguette, the princess cuts…

Today the diamond cutting is concentrated in several cities around the world: New York, Tel Aviv and Antwerp, the hometown of MAD. High technology and incredible skill of the cutters allow us to produce perfect symmetrical diamonds.

The first step of cutting – evaluating

How are diamonds cut?

There are several factors that should be taken into account when planning a stone cutting. 

First of all, the purpose of cutting is to maximize the gem’s value. Thus, the shape is determined by the initial shape of a diamond, its inclusions and flaws. Today, special scanning devices and 3D models are used to develop the most optimal cutting option. 

Typically, round and square brilliant cuts are preferred if the rough stone is an octahedron – in this case, several diamonds can be cut from one crystal. If a crystal is oddly shaped, it is more likely to be cut as a fancy cut. 

Secondly, diamond cutters assess weight retention analysis. It allows them to find the best combination for the cut and polished stone, and its ratio to the price per carat.

Thirdly, it is necessary to study color retention in a rough stone as it will influence a diamond’s color grade, which, in turn, directly affects the price. 

Finally, it is time for quite a sad fact: even with present-day technologies, cutting is always about dramatic weight loss – about 50%. 

The second step – the cutting itself

How are diamonds cut?

After various assessments of the diamond, it is time to proceed to the cutting.

The first step is to cleave the rough gem into separate pieces. 

The next step is about creating the shape. This process is called bruting – a diamond cuts a diamond. Here’s what it looks like: two diamonds set on spinning axles turning in opposite directions, polish each other, acquiring the necessary shape. Creating fancy shapes is a more time-consuming process than creating a round one. 

As soon as the diamond begins to take shape, the cutter polishes it and cuts facets in order to reveal its true brilliance. These steps are called faceting and polishing. During the faceting, each facet is ground in order to keep the diamond symmetrical. While polishing, the diamond is polished with fine diamond powder to make it smooth.

The third step – the final

How are diamonds cut?

Finally, the diamond is cleaned with acids. Later an examination takes place to grade the gem’s cut, color, clarity and carat weight – the legendary 4Cs.

A well-cut diamond perfectly reflects light and boasts brilliance, fire and flicker.

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