The making of a diamond is a multi-step process which begins with its unearthing. An unearthed diamond has none of the luster and brilliance of a fully polished and well-cut one. Its radiance and fire comes from its clarity and light distribution, which will be unlocked through the process of cutting.
There are five steps that separate a rough diamond from the centerpiece of a ring, the first step is called marking. This is when the expert surveys the stone and determines where it can best be cut to ensure beauty while losing the least weight possible. The surveyor will mark the stone with India ink to determine the place where it will be cut.
The marker is showing where the diamond will be cut
Once the stone has been marked, the second process is to begin, cleaving. Cleaving is the actual process of cutting the diamond. The stone is placed in a holder called a “dop” and secured with cement. Then, a groove is worked through all the marked places on the stone using another diamond (because diamonds are the only thing strong enough to cut a diamond). Then, a knife is placed inside the groove and hit with a mallet. This skill takes years to master and can potentially ruin, or even shatter the diamond.
The diamond cutter in action
Once cleaving has been finished the diamond moves to the next stage of its shaping, sawing. Sawing rids the diamond of its imperfections and is the final step in determining the shape of diamond it was destined to become (round, oval, etc.). The saw is made of phosphor bronze, it is coated in diamond powder and oil, and its speeds are approximately 15,000 rounds per minute. Instead of further cutting the diamond, sawing will leave the maximum percentage of the stone in tact.
The saw is removing the imperfections so the diamond’s fire can show without taking any unnecessary weight away.
Once sawing is completed, the next step, called bruiting, can begin. This step is focused on the girdle of the diamond. The girdle is the part formed around the thickest part. This band will be rounded during this stage by a lathe, a high-powered spinner that will be done until the girdle is perfectly round at its girdle.
The diamond’s girdle is being rounded to show its smooth finish
After bruiting comes the last stage of making a polished diamond, blocking. This part of the process is where the diamond will acquire its facets. To do this, the stone is lowered on to an iron disc known as a scaife. The professional individually works each facet; brilliant cut diamonds typically contain 58 facets. After this process is completed, a diamond is ready to be placed in a piece of jewelry where its fire and brilliance can be shown.
Different diamond varieties have a diverse number of facets