Cutting and Polishing

Because diamonds are the hardest mineral on earth, they can only be cut by fellow diamonds (Journey of a Diamond). The following steps described in the Natural History Magazine describe how diamonds are cut (How diamonds are polished):

1. When diamonds are first received to be cut and polished, they have many surface irregularities that need to be removed. A diamond is held firmly at the end of a stick and a deep scratch is made onto the diamond by another diamond (see example #1 below). Pressure is applied to this deep scratch by a hard metal object and the irregularities are chiseled off.

Example #1: Diamond placed at the end of a stick

Photo Source: Cutting a 20 Carat Rough Diamond


2. The diamonds are then roughly shaped by a process called bruting. During this process, the diamond you are trying to shape is rubbed by another diamond on a spindle (see example #1 below). This process gets the diamond as close to the real shape that the designer seeks.

Example #2: Diamond being shaped by another diamond

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Photo Source: Cutting a 20 Carat Rough Diamond


3. The polishing portion is now ready to begin; this step produces facets (sides) for the diamond that gives it its sparkle; 58 facets is the standard amount of sides given to a diamond but you can add more or less (see example # 4 below). The diamond is held on a metal rod and each facet is produced by a spinning polishing wheel sprinkled with diamond dust (see example #3 below). Each facet can take hours to produce.

Example #3: Facets being produced                                        Example #4: Ideal 58 Facet Layout

rough7.jpg - 9.18 KB                      Brilliant Cut Diamond Facets!

Photo Source: Cutting a 20 Carat Rough Diamond        Photo Source: LEARN THE 4 C’S IN 4 MINUTES!


The finished product is a diamond cut and polished to the designers specifications. This process happens largely in Amsterdam and New York City (How Diamonds are Polished). The employees in these locations are paid very well and work in acceptable conditions. However, some workers in India that cut and polish diamonds are not so fortunate. Adult workers no older than 20 and sometimes children work many labor intensive filled hours and are crammed in tiny rooms to cut and polish diamonds (A diamond’s journey: Grime behind the glitter?). These rooms are not properly filtered and the constant exposure to diamond dust is hazardous to the workers health (A diamond’s journey: Grime behind the glitter?). Wages for these workers are not regulated so putting an exact average salary for these workers is hard to do; some companies pay their employees well and others do not (A diamond’s journey: Grime behind the glitter?). There are other locations across the world that impose these same harsh working conditions for their employees.


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