Diamond cutting: cleaving and sawing

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Diamond cutting: cleaving and sawing

It is not an easy task for a diamond cutter to transform a rough diamond crystal into a sparkling gem. Diamond cutters need to have a great understanding of the diamond crystal. This knowledge is vital because each rough diamond is an individual challenge. Some crystals can be cut into one single beautiful gem whilst other crystals need to be divided into two or more pieces of rough.

There are two possible methods for dividing rough diamond crystals: cleaving and sawing.

Imagine cleaving as splitting a piece of wood along its grow structure! Cleaving diamonds involves splitting the rough crystal along one of its 8 cleaving planes. The diamond cleavers of Amsterdam where ones world famous for their cleaving skills. The largest rough diamond ever found, The Cullinan with a weight of 3.106 ct. was cleaved in Amsterdam! It requires enormous skill and concentration to perfectly cleave a diamond. One mistake and the valuable diamond will be destroyed.


The process involves cementing the crystal in a wooden holder and with another sharp piece of diamond the cleaver scrapes a notch or “kerf” in the place where the mark is. Now the cleaver places a steel blade into the kerf and with the blow of a hammer the blade is forced to split the diamond perfectly in two pieces.


To saw a diamond, the rough crystal is placed in holder which is lowered onto a round spinning blade of phosphor bronze prepared with diamond powder mixed with oil. The diamond sawing machine rotates at high speed, about 6.000 rotations a minute.


To saw a rough crystal of 1 carat it takes a full working day of 8 hours.


At ZAZARE DIAMONDS we are delighted to show you these cleaving and sawing tools in real !



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