When it comes to the 4Cs of diamonds, most experts would agree that the cut determines the overall beauty of the stone. During the cutting process, a professional will work with a rough diamond stone to turn it into the sparkling facet gemstone you see in jewelry stores.
Since diamonds are some of the hardest materials on earth, cutting them has always been challenging throughout history. However, diamond cutting has evolved dramatically since 1980. With the latest technology, much of the process is done through programs on the computer. A diamond cutter is able to plan the process better, administer more precise cuts, and improve the overall quality of the finished gemstone all through computer systems.
Diamond cutting has come a long way. If you’re curious to learn more about how diamond-cutting techniques impact the quality of the stone, we’ll go over the history of diamond cuts, the latest methods and techniques, and how the new advancements in the industry have impacted quality and diamond value.
What Is Diamond Cutting?
The practice of diamond cutting has been around for centuries. During this process, diamond cutters will shape a rough stone into a gemstone with facets. This process increases the brilliance, sparkle, and beauty of the diamond, making it hugely desirable for various jewelry pieces, like rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
Cut refers to different aspects of the diamond–shape, and quality. The shape is the outline of the stone, like oval, round, or square. The quality refers to the cut within the shape, like how well its facets reflect light.
How is the diamond value affected by the cut? The overall price of a diamond is largely determined by the quality of the cut. Does the diamond have great symmetry and brilliance? If so, the diamond will be deemed of high quality and priced accordingly. Conversely, a diamond that is poorly cut will not be worth as much, despite performing well in other areas of the 4Cs.
If you are shopping for diamond rings, then the cut of diamonds should be one of the most important factors for you to take into consideration. As long as you have a high-quality cut diamond, then you can opt for lower grades in color and clarity without sacrificing beauty. Also, due to the proliferation of automated cutting machines, fancy-shaped diamonds are available. These creative shapes of diamonds are generally more affordable than traditional round diamonds. So, if you’re looking for diamond rings on a budget, opting for a fancy-shaped diamond ensures a bit of uniqueness as well as affordability.
History of Diamond Cutting
In the last half of the fourteenth century, diamond cutting hit its first big milestone with the creation of the “pyramidal point cut.” With this technique, diamond cutters would smooth irregularly shaped natural stones to get the perfect octahedral (eight faces) shape. Up until this time, rough diamonds received no cutting, and only natural stones were used.
By the end of the fifteenth century, the natural octahedral crystal shape was no longer the only shape of a diamond. Thanks to improvements in manufacturing techniques, more creative diamond cuts were possible. Some of the first styles of diamond cuts were the rose cut and the hogback (a precursor to the modern-day baguette cut).
Though diamond cutting used to be a handcrafted skill, thanks to modernization, machines have largely replaced craftsmanship. In 1900, the motorized diamond saw was invented, which allowed for the commercialization of the round brilliant-cut diamond (the most popular cut today).
However, even with the advent of modern technology, diamond cutters still need immense knowledge and skill to create beautiful diamonds suited for high-value jewelry.
What Are the Beginning Stages of Modern Diamond Cutting?
Before the physical diamond-cutting process can begin, diamonds must first be assessed. Planning the cut is the first step to ensure that the finished shape will work with the features of the natural diamond. Diamond cutters want to avoid excess waste of rough stone as this lowers the value of the diamond.
With the latest technology, diamonds can be scanned into software, which will determine the most optimal cuts for a particular rough stone. These systems are able to account for inclusions and estimate important final qualities, like color and clarity, from 3-D scans. Thanks to modern computer software planning, diamond cutters can quickly see the best plan for a specific stone to get an estimated market value of the proposed diamond cut.
Marking is also a way for diamond cutters to determine the best possible shape and cut. In this method, cutters will mark the diamond with ink to indicate points. But with the technology and planning software, making marks on a diamond isn’t as common as it used to be.
What Are Diamond Cutting Techniques and Methods?
There are several stages of cutting to get beautiful finished products like diamond rings. In addition to these stages, there are also different techniques available. The most modern techniques include computer software programs and laser sawing to get precise and optimized diamond cuts.
Sometimes, a rough diamond will be split into separate gemstones. When that happens, diamond cutters will need the cut the stone into two pieces with either a cleaving or sawing method.
During the cleaving method, a cutter will hit a hammer against a well-placed chisel, breaking the diamond in half. However, this only works when placed between the planes of the crystal. If cutters need to go against the grain, they will need something much tougher. In this case, cutters will use a diamond saw or a laser saw.
The laser saw is much quicker than a diamond saw and is able to get extraordinarily accurate cuts. With this technique, the intended cutting patterns are programmed into the computer software so that the whole cutting process is fully automated, with a technician monitoring the cutting progress on the screen. There are a few notable benefits to laser saws compared to previous techniques, including
- They have better precision and accuracy that can be repeated.
- They are more efficient.
- They require less human skill and supervision.
- There is less of a chance for human error.
- There is less material waste.
- There is not a lot of daily maintenance for these machines.
During this stage of the diamond-cutting process, the finalized outline form of the diamond is completed. A computer-operated bruting machine works by automatically spinning a diamond against another diamond. From this process, a round-cut diamond is formed. Or another fancy-shaped diamond is formed from this process, like a square-cut or heart-shaped cut.
Before the bruting process, there was no efficient way to shape the outline of rough diamonds. But with an automated bruting machine, round-cut diamonds are made easily. However, even with computerized machines, the process for fancy-shaped diamonds, like the heart shape, can be challenging due to the curves. That’s why heart-shaped diamonds can be more expensive than other fancy-shaped diamonds.
The final stage before the diamond’s completion is polishing. In this phase, the diamond is typically polished and faceted by an automatic machine that ensures quality, accuracy, and speed.
The diamond is placed onto the arm (called a tang) of a rotating wheel, which is covered in diamond dust. This wheel is placed against the diamond and smoothes the facets, creating reflecting light.
This process takes incredible precision, as one wrong move could mean a huge drop in the quality and beauty of the diamond. If a facet is incorrectly placed, that could mean the brilliance of the gem is diminished as the light will leak inside the diamond instead of reflecting it back to your eye.
How Do These New Techniques Impact Quality and Efficiency?
Diamond cutting has come a long way from the natural crystal shape centuries ago. With modern technology, not only are unique and brilliant diamond cuts possible, but the automation in the production process has sped up the manufacturing process dramatically.
With better and more capable planning technology, cutters are able to assess diamonds accurately and get the best yield out of a rough diamond. It also helps to avoid costly mistakes and errors due to the complex planning software.
During the physical cutting process, automated machines allow for fewer human errors and greater productivity levels. Laser sawing, for example, is able to cut through diamonds with greater precision in less time than the diamond saw. And, in the bruting and polishing processes, efficiency and accuracy are also increased thanks to the automated machines.
The brilliance and shape determine the overall beauty of the diamond, which is why cut is the most important factor when assessing the quality of a stone. Before modern technology, diamond cutting was pretty limited because they were such hard stones to shape. But with the advent of automated machines, fancy-shaped diamonds and brilliant-round cut diamonds are able to be created easily.
The brilliant round-cut diamond is the most popular and expensive cut of diamond due to its beauty and sparkle. Using the tools available in the twentieth century, diamond cutters back then were able to achieve the round look that’s possible today. However, most of these round diamonds are different from modern round cuts, as they do not have the brilliant sparkle that reflects back to the eyes or the perfect symmetry that we’ve come to expect from brilliant round cuts.
How Do New Cutting Techniques Impact Diamond Shape?
Though round shapes are the most in-demand cut of diamonds today, fancy-shaped diamonds are increasingly becoming popular alternatives to save a bit of money. When talking about diamond value, round shapes are typically higher than fancy-shaped diamonds due to their brilliance. They also require more of the rough diamond, leading to more waste than other types of shapes, which hikes up the final price.
Thanks to modern advances in diamond-cutting technology, fancy-shaped diamonds are easier to cut and use up more of the rough diamond. Though they typically don’t hold the same value as round-brilliant cut diamonds, they can be a budget-friendly alternative to the round shape, as they are often priced much lower.
This means that if you’re looking to purchase big diamond rings on a budget, you’ll be able to afford a fancy-shaped diamond with a lot of surface area. The Princess cut diamond is a relatively new cut and was introduced around the 1960s. Besides the round cut, the princess cut has the most brilliance compared to other cuts. It’s also more affordable than the round-cut diamond. So if you’re looking for the brilliance of round cuts, then going with a princess cut can save you money.
The latest diamond-cutting techniques have increasingly evolved over the last century. With new technology, diamond cutters are able to cut more precisely and efficiently than ever before due to automated machines and computer programming. This has affected the most popular diamond cut today, the brilliant round cut. Though this particular cut was created in the early 1900s, modern technology has allowed for greater precision and symmetry when it comes to the diamond’s facets. Because of this technological advance, brilliant-cut diamonds are more brilliant and able to reflect light more magnificently. In addition to round cuts, modern technology has also allowed for more creative cuts, so fancy-shaped diamonds have become more accessible to the general public. There are many beautifully cut diamonds to choose from in our collection. Whether you’re looking for the perfect diamond ring with a brilliant round cut or you’d like a unique fancy-shaped diamond, there are options available for varying price points and preferences.