Almost all diamonds sold as jewelry are cut and polished, but do you know how this is done and how important it is? Let’s see why proper cut and polish are crucial, and learn how diamond cutting is done.
Why Diamonds Need to Be Cut and Polished
Natural diamonds mined from the earth are called “rough diamonds,” and most of them, especially those that will be sold as jewelry, are sent to undergo cutting and polishing. This is done for several reasons.
First, cutting a diamond in a certain shape creates a stone that is symmetrical and has a standardized outline, making it easy to fit in standard jewelry settings.
Second, different customers may prefer different diamond shapes, and diamond vendors respond to this demand by offering a variety of shapes.
One of the most important reasons for cutting a diamond is to create a stone that reflects light so as to maximize the diamond’s brilliance.
Not all diamond shapes are meant to achieve maximum brilliance, though, but the round brilliant cut, which is the most popular diamond cut, is created with this very purpose.
Perhaps the most important goal when cutting diamonds out of rough material is to maximize the value of the resulting stones.
This is not an easy task as the cutter needs to balance weight, cut proportions, and clarity in order to achieve a combination of characteristics that will yield the highest value.
For example, cutting out a piece that has a visible flaw in it will make the resulting diamond more valuable in terms of clarity but will reduce its weight and may make its proportions less than ideal, resulting in a lower cut grade.
How Diamond Cutting Works
Since diamonds are very hard, cutting them is not easy at all. Rough diamonds are sawed and cut using special blades and laser equipment.
First, the cutter decides how many pieces a certain rough stone will be cut into, and the goal is usually to maximize the value of the cut diamonds while minimizing waste.
Very often, the uncut piece is scanned and then analyzed using 3D computer modeling to determine the best way to cut it.
After the rough diamond material is cut into smaller pieces using a saw or laser, each stone is further shaped and faceted before being polished.
Diamond Faceting: What It Is and Why It Is Important
Faceting is an important step in diamond cutting. This is the process whereby small facets are cut into the uncut stone until it is shaped in its final form. The number, shape, and arrangement of a diamond’s facets determine its cut type.
For example, the round diamond cut has a predetermined number of facets, and their shape and arrangement conform to a set of standard guidelines.
Faceting is important because the shape and layout of a diamond’s facets determine how much of the light captured within the stone will be retained and reflected back, and how much of it will leak out.
This is crucial because the more light a stone returns, the more brilliant it looks.
Disproportional, unsymmetrical, and poorly arranged facets will result in a poor (and low-grade) cut, and such a diamond will let most of the light leak out of it and appear dull and dark.
Not all diamond cuts are designed to maximize brilliance, though. For example, the facets of the emerald cut are not arranged and shaped in a way that makes the diamond sparkle as much as a princess-cut stone does, for example.
Polishing Diamonds: The Importance of a Smooth Surface
Polishing is the final stage in the diamond cutting process. This is the step where the surface of the diamond is made smooth by using polishing tools.
The importance of polishing has to do with the way a diamond lets light in. In general, a smooth surface facilitates light entry, while a rough surface can obstruct light and thus make the stone less brilliant.
Although not as crucial as the proportions of facets, the way a diamond is polished can make it achieve its full potential for brilliance and sparkle, or detract from it.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Diamond Jewelry?
For diamond jewelry, we highly recommend James Allen because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before buying it.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).