Diamond Cutting

Tavernier's greater interest at Raolconda seems to have been in the several diamond cutters who were present, working on steel mills. 'lf the stone be clean, they only give it a turn or two upon the wheel, not caring to shape it for fear of losing the weight. If there be any flaws, or any points ... they cut all the stone into Fossets (facets); or if there be only a little flaw, they work it under the ridg of one of the Fossets, to hide the defect.' Tavernier became wary of purchasing faceted diamonds after seeing this, and he went on to compare the differences in cutting and polishing techniques. He observed that the Indian wheel did not run quite so evenly as it did in Europe and 'they cannot give that lively polishment to the stones.' 

But he also wrote 'Though a Diamond be naturally very hard, having a kind of a knot, as you see in wood, the Indian Lapidaries will cut the Stone, which our European Lapidaries find great difficulty to do, and usually will not undertake to peifonn; which makes the Indians require something more for the fashion.' It is this rather open-ended statement and the mentions of' cut' and 'fashion' that have remained contentious. Some maintain he was providing the first description of the cleaving process, dividing a diamond along its natural grain, but others are not so sure.

 

All historical texts above from: Een Streling Voor Het Oog, Antwerpen 1997

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