The History of Diamond Cutting

It is believed that diamonds were first discovered in India around 800 BC. The first recorded diamond cutting also took place in India around the 14th century. At that time, diamonds were cut using primitive techniques and were primarily used for decorative purposes rather than as gemstones. Thus the first diamond cut is believed to be the “point cut” which turned a rough diamond into a dice-like shape and only involved the simple polishing of the octahedral crystal faces of a rough diamond to create more even facets.

In 1652 the English Thomas Nicols published the book “A Lapidary: or, the History of Precious Stones, with Cautions for the Undeceiving of All Those That Deal with Precious Stones” in which he described diamonds as “sparkling”. This changed the perception of diamonds, boosted international diamond trading and established the practice of diamond cutting. Prior to the publication of Nicol’s book diamonds were deemed valuable because of their rarity, but commonly had a rough look, comparable to a dull, partially transparent rock. Nicol’s book initially helped popularise the rose cut. With advances in tools and techniques more precise and complex diamond cuts evolved. It wasn't until the 17th century when, with the development of the bruting machine, diamond cutting truly became its own craftsmanship.

Modern Diamond Cutting Techniques

Today, diamond cutting has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Advances in technology have led to the development of laser cutting and other high-tech techniques that can produce some of the most precise and brilliant diamonds in the world.

In fact, diamond cutting is only part of the process of transforming a rough diamond into a sparkling gemstone. The term “facetting” comprises cutting and polishing a rough diamond. By facetting a rough diamond multiple surfaces are shaped. Flat surfaces are called “facets”. These facets reflect light and create the desired sparkle effect. Other factors, such as the shape of the stone, the facet cutting angle, the ratio of stone length, width and height also impact how sparkly the diamond is. The outline shape of facets can vary depending on the desired cut design and does not have to be flat. Surfaces can also be round, triangular, rectangular, or kite shaped.

The most popular diamond cut today is the round brilliant cut, which was first introduced by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919. In his PhD thesis Tolkowsky concluded that a diamond cut with 58 perfectly proportioned facets would maximise a diamond's sparkle, brilliance and fire. To achieve this, the 58 facets are arranged symmetrically around a centre point of the stone and are polished in such a way that when light passes through, it reflects off multiple surfaces creating the signature sparkle we associate with diamonds. The Ada ring in White Gold shown below features a 0.42ct brilliant cut lab grown diamond. 

Ada ring in White Gold 


If you fancy a necklace with maximum sparkle take a look at our Maise Necklace. It is available in yellow gold and white gold and features a 0.2ct brilliant cut lab grown diamond.

Maise Necklace

Another popular diamond cut is the princess cut. It features a square or rectangular shape and also has remarkable light refraction properties. It is essentially a modernised version of the classic round brilliant and one of the most sought-after diamond cuts. The reason therefore is that, when comparing cost per carat, princess cut diamonds are more budget-friendly than round brilliants. Our gorgeous Naila Stud Earring features a princess cut stone held in a modern and contemporary four-claw setting.

 Naila Stud Earring

If you are looking for a staple piece necklace, check out our Maura Necklace in 18K White Gold. It comes with a scintillating princess cut GENTLE DIAMOND surrounded by a halo of micro diamonds set on an adjustable slider chain of up to 45cm length.

Maura Necklace in 18K White Gold  

Other popular diamond cuts are the emerald cut, which has long, flat facets that create a unique, understated beauty or the elegant long and rectangular baguette cut diamond . If you need more guidance read our detailed blog posts on How to Pick Diamond Earrings or picking the best size diamond stud earrings for everyday wear.

Evaluating a Diamond's Cut

When evaluating a diamond's cut, there are several factors to consider. These include the proportions of the diamond, the symmetry of its facets, and the overall polish and finish.

In addition to these three aspects, there are also certain guidelines which can help to determine whether or not a diamond has an ideal cut. These guidelines are based on Tolkowsky’s theories as well as centuries of refinement from master craftsmen from all around the world. 

In general, diamonds with ideal cuts should have symmetrical facets that are evenly spaced around the circumference of the stone with no visible chips or damage. The table of the stone should be relatively flat with no deep dark spots or curves when viewed from above. The crown angle should be between 33°-35° which creates maximum light return and sparkle while maintaining strength in the structure.

Another important factor to consider is the impact a gemstone has on the environment and society. At CARAT* LONDON we only use lab grown diamonds. Lab grown diamonds are physically, chemically and optically identical to mined diamonds. If you want to understand more about our GENTLE DIAMONDS, read our post on lab grown vs natural diamonds.

Why Diamond Cut Matters

In conclusion, the cut of a diamond is a critical factor in determining its value and beauty. Understanding the history and evolution of diamond cutting, as well as modern techniques and factors to consider when evaluating a diamond's cut, can help you make an informed decision when purchasing CARAT* LONDON jewellery. Find all our lab grown diamond products here: Lab grown diamond bracelets, lab grown diamond earrings, lab grown diamond rings and lab grown diamond necklaces