Thursday, June 12, 2008
Way back in 1998, our team of cutters set its sights and skills on producing a consistent “go-to” alternative for anyone who might wish to own a top performing diamond other than round.
Our dream was to create a truly aspirational diamond that shared the same exacting standard of perfection and beauty as the very best rounds.
The passionate pursuit of this vision led to a revolution in both design and performance. Not content to simply tweak existing styles of cut which were made to yield extra weight, we focused all our energy on creating the most intensely beautiful fancy shape.
After initial success in perfecting the modern round brilliant, it still took over two years of development and more than 30 working models to achieve perfection within a "square frame". In 2000, we finally introduced a breathtaking new fancy to the market that we call Dream. Fancy that.
It is an uncompromising cut. As I’ve said before, other fancy shapes are mostly made to yield more weight from rough crystals that would otherwise not produce “suitable” round brilliants.
Experiments with new faceting techniques led us to discover much higher levels of light performance than previously associated with fancy cuts. Dream hits the “sweet spot” of diamond beauty every time.
Dream received a US Patent for unique design in 2002. The variations of the square that were described in my previous post rely on step-cut or streched-out brilliant style facets that quite frankly lack sufficient sparkle.
These versions usually have extremely flat tops and open tables. My buddies tell me that the lack of a decent crown is what prevents the ordinary princess from becoming a true Queen aka the height of royalty.
Dream's full crown consists of an innovative arrangement of triangular facets in highly symmetrical series that are specifically designed to produce the highest degree of dynamic contrast brilliance – for superb fire and scintillation.
There are other equally immpressive aspects to this diamond’s design. The main facets alone are a remarkable acheivement. They are challenging to make because they must be precisely positioned by “eye” – literally “floating” without touching the table or the girdle, which are a diamond cutter's most constant anchor points of reference for precise alignment and measurement.
The Dream table is bistro sized and intimate, so that it doesn’t glare back at you like a glass-covered conference table. And, the pavilion facets replicate and mirror the base of the best round brilliants, a style which has proven to deliver optimum brightness.
If you think I’m just boasting, just wait 'til you see the pictures...
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Diamonds are cut to make them look better. It’s as simple as that. However, like I said in my last post, they haven’t always looked as good as they can today.
The owners of rough diamonds have often demanded the seemingly impossible from diamond cutters. “Make my diamond as pretty as it can be, but don’t “lose” any precious weight!”
That’s kind of like asking Michelangelo to carve the Pieta without losing his marble(s). Know what I mean?
The trick to success was for diamond cutters to facet according to the contours of the original rough crystal. This approach favored maximum weight retention over maximum beauty. That's why the world's museums are full of odd shaped diamonds of yore - roses, domes, flats, lozenges, parallelograms, you name it.
Using better equipment and more focused on beauty, diamonds these days are cut more uniformly. The “traditional” shapes are mostly round, rectangular, triangular and elliptical. These are sub-divided into variations of brilliant and/or step-cut depending on their faceting style.
The brilliant has evolved in style over the past 300 years or so, from the 30 facet Mazarin Cut in the 1600’s up to the 58 facet super Ideal rounds of today, such as Hearts on Fire. In between, there were the cushion-shaped Old Miners of the 18th Century and the round Old Europeans of the 19th Century.
Elliptical shapes such as the oval, the pear and the marquise – named after Louis XV’s mistress Marquise de Pompadour - are also cut in the brilliant style. They are all notable for having stretched-out triangle and kite-shaped facets.
The step-cut looks just as it sounds, like a series of parallel and intersecting stair steps. The classic step cut is the emerald cut - usually rectangular, but in special cases it's square. In the early 1900’s several more steps were added to the square emerald by the famous Asscher family – cutters of the Cullinan Diamond. While extra step cuts can be quite colorful they still don’t sparkle like a round.
In 1970 Basil Watermeyer created the Barion Cut to bring the classic brilliance of the round to the step cut. His innovation was to modify the pavilion (bottom) of the emerald cut to mimic the round brilliant. He published his designs, yet did not patent them. In 1977 Henry Grossbard patented a similar style in New York and called it the Radiant.
The princess cut is a generic square cut from the early 1980's developed to retain the most possible weight from octahedral rough. From this cutter’s perspective, the princess is a throwback to the days of cutting exclusively for weight, not for beauty. It yields approximately 70% weight from the original crystal, compared to around 50% for the best made rounds! It also has noticeably less brightness and colorfulness than most cuts mentioned above.
Searching the web, I recently found a site with at least a hundred names and styles of new diamond design, but as with the Platonic solids there are really only a few basic shapes to begin with and everything else is pretty much derivative.
Until you start Dreaming…
About The Diamond Wizard
Maarten de Witte is an original member of the team that created Hearts On Fire, the World's Most Perfectly Cut Diamond®. He began his career in diamonds over 25 years earlier as an apprentice at the American School of Diamond Cutting – eventually becoming its Director. more