by Mitch Endick
Precious stones are cut and polished to develop the beauties which are latent in them. The diamond in its natural found state is not spectacular. The diamond in a natural state is merely a luminous gray pebble. The diamond does have however, inherent qualities which can be made beautiful. By properly cutting and polishing a diamond, it has the power to reflect and disperse light falling upon it to an extraordinary degree.
Cutting and polishing the diamond will bring out the natural luster or surface power of reflection. The idea is to throw back as much of the light rays as possible. Angled facets are taken advantage of to reflect and refract even more light. Knowing the exact angle to which rays of light are bent on entering, are key to knowing where to place facets to catch fugitive rays that try to pass through the stone by driving them back and forth up the diamonds walls and finally shooting them out and into the beholders eye.
When diamond cutting and polishing first began to take place, two stones were rubbed against each other to grind away the skin of the natural facets and make polished surfaces. Using this crude and outdated method, very little of the stones original weight was sacrificed. As the cutting and polishing methods have continued to improve, so has the number and placement of facets. The modern cut consists of fifty eight facets. This arrangement remains the perfect modern cut. During all of the years of improving the refining process, cutting has remained paramount. Cutters will often times sacrifice magnificence in order to have a heavier stone. The royal magnificence of the diamond can be fully attained only by fitting its proportions to the natural qualities of the stone.
It was in America that cutting stones for brilliance rather that weight began. It was popular in Europe to cut more for weight and less for beauty. Beginning with Henry D. Morse, cutting for beauty became a trademark. He would not hesitate to sacrifice material in order to make the finished stone as perfect and beautiful as possible. Machinery to perfect facets was perfected in his shop, and he taught and insisted on mathematical exactitude. Due to demand European cutters have had to confirm to it.
While a buyer of stones can not always tell by measurements whether or not the stone is cut to its best proportions, he can decide the question by its appearance. An equally proportioned stone shows an equal distribution of light and brilliancy. If the stone is cut too shallow or too deep it will not be as brilliant as a perfectly cut one. The trade has come to find that the proper spread of the stone is of a great importance. A lighter stone that has the same spread diameter as a heavier one may be more brilliant, thus the there is a demand for shallow cut stones. If a stone is just as brilliant at twenty feet as it is at one foot the stones proportions are definitely close.
The diamond, being the hardest substance known to man, can be cut only by diamond powder. In order to make a diamond cutting blade, diamond dust is pounded in a mortar if hardened steel, and the powder is used to charge the wheels upon which diamonds are ground.
The first step in diamond cutting is to examine the crystal and decide which way it should be cut to achieve optimal results. Flaws and imperfections in the finished stone should be avoided. Preservation of material, and proportion preserved are both also necessities.
After the cutting of a diamond, next comes polishing. The work is done on a horizontal wheels which make about two thousand revolutions per minute. During the polishing faze, the diamond is kept moist with a mixture of olive oil and diamond-dust. The extent to which stones are polished differ, so like the edges of the facets to be sharp like a knife, while others want them to be less pronounced. If the edges are thin they are less likely to chip, or split.
In todays market it is almost impossible to stock almost any amount of perfectly cut stones. The waste and care necessary to produce them add a considerable amount to the cost. Never the less the public is becoming increasingly more aware of the value of this kind of work. The customer is becoming more willing to pay the difference between a decently cut stone and a fine cut stone. It does take time to truly appreciate a fine cut stone, but the more a person is acquainted, the more confidence he will have with what the dealer has sold him.