Diamonds are a natural mineral formed under high pressure and temperature within the mantle of the Earth. Diamonds are the hardest known natural substance on the planet. They are mostly used for creating expensive jewelery and are the preferred gemstone for wedding and engagement rings. They are also used for polishing, cutting or grinding other materials. If you have ever wondered how the hardest natural substance on Earth is cut, keep reading to find out.
How are diamonds cut?
The oldest method of cutting diamonds is called cleaving. In this method a chisel is placed at a weak point in the diamond and hit with a mallet. This breaks the larger diamond into smaller pieces that can be cut further. The final cutting, grinding and polishing was traditionally done with another diamond or with ground up diamonds.
In 1456 Lodewyk van Berken invented a diamond polishing wheel called a scaif. The scaif was infused with olive oil and diamond dust (ground diamonds), which made it possible to polish a diamond from all angles to best reflect the light. This not only made diamond cutting and polishing easier, but it led to an increase in the popularity of diamonds.
Another breakthrough came in the 1870′s with the bruting machine and in 1900 with the invention of the diamond saw. The diamond saw takes longer to use than a chisel, but it is less likely to
Today, these basic techniques and machinery are still used together with more modern methods. The first stage is the initial analysis of the diamond to find the best direction for cutting. This is often done with the help of x-ray or lasers. The second stage utilizes a hammer and chisel or diamond saw to split the diamonds into smaller pieces. The last step is to shape the diamond by polishing it. This takes a long time and once completed the diamond is checked for flaws, which are then corrected.