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How Are Diamonds Cut?


Gabrielle Marks

There are five distinct steps involved in diamond cutting: marking, cleaving, sawing, girdling, and faceting.


The first step in the cutting process is to decide exactly where to cut the rock to gain its greatest value.  The planner takes into consideration all of its flaws and marks the exact proportions that will be cut from the stone including the direction of the grain so as not to shatter the stone.


The act of cleaving is to split by through a fissure with a sharp instrument.  The cleaver will take the marked diamond and will cut grooves along the lines that the planner made with another diamond instrument.  Using a steel wedge and mallet and will split the diamond along the grooves.


The sawing process is quite lengthy and takes extreme precision.  The cleaved diamond is placed in a secure holder called a dop and lowered onto a saw with a blade containing diamond dust to aid in the cutting.  The entire process can take four to eight hours—even longer if the diamond contains knots.


In the girdling process, the stone is given its cone shape for jewelry mounting.  The process is accomplished through a lathe and a second diamond pressed against the first.


The standard facet is the 58-facet brilliant cut. A blocker generally places the first 18 facets by holding the stone down on a disk sprinkled with diamond dust at a particular angle.  The brillianteer will place the remaining 40 facets and polish the stone.



“diamond cutting.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <>

“Cleave – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <>.

“facet – definition of facet by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia..” Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus – The Free Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <>.

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