Entering the Niche Trade of Diamond Cutting

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jul 4, 2020

Jul 4, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

Don't even attempt to cut diamonds until you have some idea of what you're doing. If your goal is to work as a professional diamond cutter, you don't need any advanced college degree. In fact, over 50% of professional diamond cutters only have a high school diploma. 


However, it is still wise to seek a trade school education and earn a post-secondary diamond cutting certificate. One highly reputable school is the American Institute of Diamond Cutting in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Another great school is the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. 


The tuition rates could be anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000. Most students need anywhere from 2 to 5 months to complete the diamond cut certification course. Once you have your certificate, you can showcase a professional education credential to your clients and prove you are knowledgeable in the field of diamond cutting.  


Your diamond certification program will cover all aspects of the diamond cutting process, such as diamond grading, how to use cutting equipment and faceting equipment, diamond industry terminology, and how to consider carats, clarity, color, and cut when appraising the diamond. 


Your final test will be to cut and shape a diamond in a particular way. You'll also have to show that you can repair diamonds too. If you pass the hands-on test and receive your certification, you can use it to find employment at virtually any retail jewelry store or rough-diamond brokering business in the world. These employers want to see that you have skills in this business. Your certificate will prove that to them.


Some diamond cutters open their own businesses and offer multiple services, such as diamond appraising, cutting, brokering, or consulting. There are so many ways you can find employment and make money with your newfound education. Let your creativity and imagination run wild. 


Make sure you check with the local laws of your area. Some jurisdictions require a jewelling professional to obtain specific business licenses before selling their cutting services. The licensing requirements might even include having a certification from an approved diamond cutting school. 


We've already mentioned two approved schools before. Check with your local business license office to find the right schooling if you don't live near these schools. 


The Job


Diamonds come in all different shapes, sizes, and designs. A skilled diamond cutter is responsible for its beautiful and unique appearance. Diamond cutters are craftsmen who specialize in the art of cutting and shaping diamonds from raw stones. They know how to use the proper diamond cutting equipment and tools to create the perfect looking diamond.


The process requires you to cleave and brute the diamond before finally faceting it. Diamond cutting is not an easy skill to learn. It requires a lot of training and practice before you can get good at doing it. If you make one little mistake in the cutting process, you could ruin the diamond's value. Therefore, you must take diamond cutting seriously and learn the necessary steps to get it done right each time. 


There are two types of diamonds available on the market: lab-grown diamonds and natural earth mined diamonds. The lab-grown diamonds are just as the name states. Scientists use advanced technological equipment to engineer diamonds in a laboratory by duplicating the same natural processes that form diamonds in the ground. Basically, they apply heat and pressure to carbon atoms to produce diamonds in a controlled laboratory environment.


The second way to acquire diamonds is to mine for them in the ground directly. Diamond miners have to dig about 90 miles below the surface of the Earth to find natural diamonds. According to scientists, natural diamonds were formed in the Earth's crust around three billion years ago. That is why natural diamonds are much more expensive for consumers to purchase because of how difficult and rare they are to retrieve.


How to Cut a Diamond


You'll need to obtain a raw diamond to use as the starting point. Raw diamonds are what comes from the ground without being cut or modified. Once you start cutting the diamond, it will be considered a rough-cut diamond. It is the closest type of cut diamond that you can get to a raw diamond. For this reason, it is the most valuable cut diamond. 


Use a highly sophisticated diamond mapping machine to find the inclusions of the diamond. The inclusions are the natural birthmarks and irregularities within the diamond. A diamond assessor or grader always searches for these markings when they magnify the diamond to observe it. A flawless diamond would be a diamond with no markings whatsoever, which is extremely rare. 


The mapping results from the machine will tell you the specific locations of the inclusions. The diamond cutter uses this information to create a cutting and polishing plan to remove as many inclusions as possible. They will use ink to mark the diamond in the locations where cuts will get made. 


A laser saw, or cleaver is the cutting tool used in this process. The device you choose should depend on the specific growth planes found on the stone. If you see parallel lines on the diamond, then an old-fashioned cleaver will do the trick. But if you've marked the diamond in small or unusual areas, a laser cutter is the best option. 


The next step is to brute or girdle the diamond by putting it onto a spinning axle device. All the high-speed spinning will cause the tiny rough parts to fly off the diamond. You should be left with a round and clean looking diamond. Now you're ready to polish the diamond and make it look sparkly and beautiful. 


Polishing is one of the most challenging parts of this process. It involves putting the diamond on a "tang," which is a rotating arm. As the diamond rotates, it is applied to a spinning wheel underneath known as a Scaife. The surface of the wheel is coated with a mixture of diamond powder and olive oil. Each facet of the diamond must be polished to create maximum aesthetic appeal.


Diamond cutting is definitely a trade that not too many seek outright, but it is a position that can be intriguing and fascinating to many people and may be the trade for you.