1 - PRE-PROCESS SORTING
Before cutting and polishing begins, the rough
diamonds may need to be sorted into categories to help with workflow and
prioritise certain rough diamonds to complete orders. The teams may look at:
and assess the need for window polishing, where one
or more very small facets are polished onto the rough to allow the planner
to make a more accurate decision around clarity features.
2 - PLANNING AND MARKING
Planning is the process of deciding how to cut and
polish a diamond to maximise its value. In today’s manufacturing environment,
planners use a combination of their skills and technology.
The planning stage includes:
a 3D surface model of the rough diamond (not used for small diamonds due to
the cutting and polishing to maximise yield
Once the plan has been chosen, if the stone needs
to be cut it will be marked by pen or automated laser marking to show the
cleaver/sawyer where the cut should be made. It is during this planning stage
when the decision on whether to saw, cleave or polish the diamond will be made.
3A – CLEAVING
Many diamonds require dividing into more than one
part to get the best overall yield and/or clarity. One process used to divide a
diamond is cleaving, and is often performed on stones where the structure has
internal cracks and fractures so a better over-all clarity can be achieved with
its removal or avoidance.
The cleaving process involves:
Kerfing the stone - the creation of a notch or groove that will
enable the cleaving. This can be completed manually using another diamond,
or by laser.
Cleaving the stone into two or more parts between the crystallized
layers along the lines of its growth is completed using a sharp blade.
This will remove the heavily included area of the diamond.
Laser kerfing is highly accurate, allowing precise
control of the location, direction, width and depth of the kerf and even the
removal of small pieces of diamond. Diamond cleavers need an extensive
knowledge of the structure and qualities of diamonds.
is preferable to sawing wherever possible, since it involves less wastage.
Diamond cleavers need exceptional skills and in-depth knowledge of the
structure and properties of diamonds. They must understand the inherent
potential of every individual stone. Their familiarity with the different types
of rough stones enables them to maximize the potential of every gem, especially
those with a complex or heavily included structure.
3B – LASER SAWING
‘Laser’ stands for ‘light amplification by the
stimulated emissions of radiation’.
It has revolutionised the diamond cutting industry,
offering savings in time and money. It enables the cutting of material that
would have been unworkable previously, and can greatly reduce the risk of
damage. It also allows an almost limitless assortment of fancy shapes, as you
are not restricted by the crystal structure of the diamond. The reason you are
not restricted is because the laser burns the crystal structure.
Once the stone has been laser sawn, it looks blackish and opaque. Cleaning
procedures return it to its original appearance.
3C – SAWING
Blade sawing can only be carried out on a diamond
in certain directions which are different from the cleavage directions. Before
any sawing takes place the stone is marked with a line where the blade will
divide the stone.
The sawing machine consists of a metal frame that
has a weighted arm mounted from the back. The diamond is held in a clamping arm
that is mounted on the arm above the saw blade. At the rear of the arm there is
a counter weight which controls the lowering of the diamond onto the saw blade
allowing the sawing action takes place. The sawyer can be responsible for
multiple machines and is in charge of changing pressure of the weight and
applying sawing powder to the blades. It takes approximately an hour to an hour
and half to saw 1ct. of diamond.
During blade sawing, weight loss of approximately 2% is expected.
4 - BRUTING
Bruting is the process of rounding or shaping the
diamond by rotating it against another diamond. The cutter works on sawn,
cleaved or whole stones. At this stage the stone receives its precise shape -
the exact diameter and location of the girdle and the locations of the table
and the culet.
5 - BLOCKING
Blocking is the process of creating the basic shape
of the diamond. It involves the polishing of eight facets on the crown, and
eight facets on the pavilion of the diamond.
Blocking the pavilion section of the diamond will form the culet,
where the eight lower facets come together to form a point. These eight
facets are polished at the same angle.
Blocking the crown is the process of creating eight facets at the
same angle while forming the table.
Blocking can be done on the polishing wheel setup.
6 - BRILLIANTEERING
This is the final stage in transforming the
The operator will polish the bottom facets creating the 16 lower
girdle facets and the 8 pavilion facets.
They will also polish the top facets creating the table, 8 star
facets, 8 bezel facets and 16 upper girdle facets.
This is for a Round Brilliant Cut but the same
method is deployed for fancy shapes – albeit to different shape plans.
7 - FINAL QUALITY CHECK AND ANY
As the transformation comes to an end, the final
stage is a quality control check to look at yield as well as:
Naturals – these are small areas of the natural rough diamond
surface which have been deliberately left on the polished diamond as proof
of efforts to maximise yield. If any naturals are too large, they may be
rejected and returned for re-polishing
The quality checking process involves the use of
microscopes as well as loupes, and will ensure that the best diamond is finally
released from the rough crystal.