THE HISTORY OF DIAMOND CUTTING
Pre_ Roman Diamond:
Perhaps, no one has any evidence of the first founded diamond, but according to the history, the first diamond that could role an important play in human’s life was called “ adamas “ which means indomitable or invincible in Greek word. This were choosing to describe the features of diamond which was an extremely hard medieval, now we know that diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, but how about biblical time? Referring to the history written by Greeks, this word had been used to indicate of diamond being known to Greeks, but there is no proof of it.
Probably, gold, iron, or even corundum, were the purpose of using this word “ adamas “ the time of the first steps of diamond’s role in human’s life is unclear but, clearly the first place of its discovery was India.
A man named Arthasastra, that could be dated back to the 4th century BC gives us the first proper insight in when diamonds were first used, but the real value of diamonds were mentioned with classification of it.
Definitely you can find some ring and cut diamond remained from Romans in British museum. Pliny, wrote about diamonds on his book named “naturalis historia “and he said: the substance possesses the greatest value, not only among the precious stones, but of all human possessions” clearly he did not mention anything about the fashioning part of it, all he cared about was the hardness of this stone.
Considering some other notes of him, related to diamond’s description if you say confused some other minerals with diamond Herbert Tillander, who has written an excellent book on the history of diamond cutting, express his doubt about Romans having access to perfect crystals, the Indian would have kept the better quality stones for the native market.
The belief of diamond power was that the owner is protected by this stone and in order to lose its power, need to change the state of it from natural one.
So cutting diamond became a taboo but referring to Tillander’s, cutting diamonds started when the removing matter of the faces became popular, and this idea perfectly make sense.
THE INTRODUCTION OF DIAMOND CUTTING:
Until 18th century India was the only source of diamonds. Ratnapariska by Bhudda Bhatta, an Indian text which, at least dates back to 6th century notes the following:
“wise men should not a diamond with flaws as a gem, it can be used only for polishing of gems and it is of little value “
In order to create diamond powder polishing other gemstones with full crystal isn’t feasible so this text must have indicated the grounding up of bad quality diamonds.
Based on the point that somewhere in Al_Biruni;s book has been named a stone “ diamond” because its crystal faces could be polished, as a matter of fact the polishing diamonds with diamond dust wasn’t well known yet by the 10th century.
The oldest known cut diamonds refer to the 13th century back in medieval Islamic jewelry.
According to the historical references, Venice back in 1330 where the first place that European diamond cutting started. Obviously, the cutting diamond, and shaping it into a perfect crystal would not have been reached the west by that time and the lack of this techniques were completely felt by the designers and the local market and the Islamic middle men would certainly have picked the eyes out of the supply as well, at first diamond cutting would been nothing more than superficial polishing of the existing rough.
There were some places that influx luxury goods into Europe following the venation reopening of the east such as the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish in 1510 the city of Goa was conquered by the Portuguese which was the main source of Indian diamond. This matter made European diamond supply to grow considerably and important fact about those day’s diamond was that the status of diamonds would have only risen from super rare to rare.
At the end of 15th century the main polishing center of Europe was North Sea, Paris, Bruges and Antwerp Rose, after a while the cutting communities let Jews to participate in the trade and fashioning of diamond, the changes of those country diamond cutting was on copper plate just like the picture here, which shows clearly that diamond weren’t always a girl’s best friend. The diamond weight before and after cutting was the reason of different type of shapes that appeared. The crystal shape was no longer holy and cutting techniques improved which resulted more creative cuts. There are some references in some books which has been written about the diamond cutting and its 11.50 ct weight before cutting and only 50 ct after that. this development led the industry to a shift from a mere polishing of natural crystals to genuine faceting. The rose cut was made of the early table cut that received extra facets on the crown and pavilion. Longer rectangular stones formed a forerunner to the Baguette cut, combining different diamond cutting create Rosette the table cut and point cut were the more popular ones.
There is some information about the physical properties of diamond that we should know to understand the diamond cutting:
First of all is what you already know that diamond is the hardest substance in the world, second is that diamond has directional hardness it means the hardness is much more in octahedral compare to dodecahedral, the point is the hardness in gemological context, is the ability of withstand scratching, not to withstand blows.
Putting diamond dust into a wheel make them change a random crystallographic planes, some of them can hit the stone on which the cutter is working with their softer direction and slowly cause the facet to be formed.
Only few particles in diamond dust would be effective at last cutters make a few degrees differ on facets from the harder crystallographic planes.
The picture below is a thin bits of diamond formed the earliest Rose cuts which had so much improvement in fashioning until 20th century the shield is great example of fashioning by cleaving.
In addition to other stage of cutting diamond, diamond sawing mixing diamond powder with oil and running the wire across the stone is what the call sawing, of course cleaving was preferred because of its easier method.
The birth of brilliant:
Over the 17th century the luxury parties needed some more sparkling design something that could compliment the rose cut stones; Brilliant
The amazing brilliant cut that we all know today is really far from the first diamonds which called brilliant. They didn’t used to be symmetrical and depending on the roughness the outlines could change.
The round brilliant was rarely truly round and square shapes were close to cushion shapes of today’s cut, pavilion based cut is what both the 17th century brilliant and 21st century have in common (the bulk of the weight is the lower part of the stone).
Two important people in the history of diamond cutting were Henry D.Morse and Charles M.Field in the early 1870’s, the reason was the bruiting machine that they invent, the first electric bruiting Machine was invented in 1891, that was the time that the very first really round brilliant was born. The amount of diamond influx from south Africa caused the glory days of cutting houses to start, plenty of customers, and supply of rough and mechanized machines changed the whole shape of the ancient diamond cutting into modern diamond cutting, over those days some other amazing cuts appeared for different kind of tastes such as Princess cut which was developed in sixties and for those who wanted something out of ordinary Asscher cut 1902 was created and Baguette cut was reintroduced in 1912.
The Jews were the main people who seriously run the diamond industry in Antwerp an Amsterdam, after Hitler’s prosecution of the Jewish population the industry in these two cities never recovered and diamond cutting centers were erected elsewhere. Nowadays you can mention Israel and India as main centers of diamond cutting.
3D modeling, laser sawing are the best friends of this industry in order to maximize profits.