In the jewellery trade, an engagement ring cut refers to the shape of the gemstone mounted into the ring, such as an oval, pear, or heart, but it can also refer to the specific quality of the cut of the stone with respect to its light-reflecting qualities. In this second meaning of the term, it is generally known that an engagement ring cut can have a direct impact on the price of a jewellery piece, but have you ever wondered how this process happens?
When diamonds, or any jewel for that matter, emerge from the earth, they are rough and unrefined. It takes hours of cutting and polishing to turn a rough diamond into the stunning gemstone we know. Technically speaking, the process of making an engagement ring cut is the practice of changing a gemstone from a rough one into a faceted one. The finished faceted product is what we see when we visualise a diamond in our heads, or what we see in the glass case of a jewellery retailer.
However, not just anyone can fashion an engagement ring cut from a rough stone. Due to the extreme difficulty of the process, it requires specialized knowledge, tools, equipment and techniques.
As mentioned earlier, this notion of ‘cut’ primarily relates to the specific quality of cut within the stone, not the shape of the stone itself. The quality of a cut determines its brilliance and therefore its value.
In its most general explanation, the process of fashioning an engagement ring cut from a gemstone includes several steps: planning, cleaving or sawing, bruting, polishing and final inspection.
Cleaving or Sawing
Cleaving is the severance of a piece of rough stone into separate pieces, to be finished as separate ones. Sawing is the use of a diamond saw or laser to cut the rough into separate pieces.
This is the process whereby two gemstones are set onto spinning axles that rotate in alternate directions, which are then positioned to grind against each other to shape each into a round form. This is also known as girdling.
This is the process whereby facets are cut onto the surface and a final polishing is performed. This step gives the jewel its brilliant sparkle.
The final stage involves thoroughly cleaning the stone in acids and examining it to see whether it meets the quality standards which are set by the manufacturer.