It is almost impossible to say exactly when and where the skills of the the diamond polisher originated. It was probably in India around 11th century. By the early part of the 14th century the art of diamond faceting had reached Europe via Venice.
1. The Point Cut.
First known form of polished diamond was referred to as the point cut and comprised of just slightly polishing the rough diamond crystal. This cut represented the only recorded faceting or flat polishing of the diamond up to the 14th century.
2. The Table Cut
In the 14th century the table cut appeared. This was an adaptation of the point cut where one of the points was ground away to produce a table. A culet (bottom facet of the diamond) was often ground flat. This developed into a full table cut. Remained popular until the 17th century.
3. The Rose Cut.
The Rose Cut was probably introduced in the early 15th century and consists of a faceted dome with a flat base. The appearance of the diamond can be quite pleasing and the weight loss is small. Most stones cut in this way lack Fire and Brilliance. Rose cuts were often set in closed-back settings and remained popular throughout the years. There are many famous diamonds cut in this style including the Great Mogul. Larger stones were often cut as double roses and briolettes. Famous diamonds cut as a double rose include the Sancy.
4. The Single and Double Cut
The table cut developed in the early 17th century into the single cut by grinding away the edges of the Octahedron (Diamond Crystal)
A rounded version of the single cut with angles similar to those found in the modern round brilliant cut is still used today for small goods. This is also called the eight cut.
The double cut exists in several forms and is sometimes called the “mazarin” cut after the 17th century French statesman and collector of diamonds – Cardinal Mazarin
5. The Triple Cut – Brilliant Cut
The triple cut was probably developed in the mid 17th century and was the first brilliant cut. It comprises 58 facets including the table (top) and culet (bottom), and was often cushion-shaped in outline with deep crown and pavillion. This is often called the old mine cut.
6. Old European Cut.
With the introduction of machines and mechanical polishing wheels in the 19th century it was possible to achieve truly round cuts. This cut also has 58 facets including the table (top) and culet (bottom). It has smaller table and large culet, with deep crown and pavillion. At this point in time diamond was still rare and it was essential to retain as much weight as possible from the original rough. Only after the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in the late 19th century, did experiments with angles and proportions start.
7. The Modern Round Brilliant Cut
Credit for the modern round brilliant cut is claimed by some to belong to an American named Henry Morse.
Henry Morse opened the first cutting factory in the USA in 1860 and spent many years experimenting with angles and proportions of the round brilliant, changing its shape from thick and dumpy to more slender proportions of today.
This work was continued by others:
1919 – 19 year old Marcel Tolkowsky produced his thesis the “American Ideal Cut” – which is the basis of the modern round brilliant cut.
1940 – Eppler produced the “European Cut”
1970 – International Diamond Council (IDC) produced a set of ideal ranges for Diamonds.