A History of Diamond Cuts from the 1400s to the end of the 1600s
In the 1400s, diamond cutting techniques evolved. A Flemish stone-polisher named Lodewyk van Beren, started the idea of absolute symmetry when fashions influenced the facets of diamonds. He created a diamond cutting and diamond polishing wheel called a scaif, which used a rotating polishing wheel that had diamond dust and olive oil on it. It was a slow process that would grind away the surface of the facet.
Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy, was a fan of Berken’s Perfect cut, and he paid a high price for three perfect cut diamonds. Because of the advancements that Beren made, a pear-shaped cut was eventually created which became a popular stone from the time. The Sancy diamond and the Florentine Diamond are both rumoured to have been cut by Beren. Nicholas Harlai of Turkey purchased the 55 carat pear shaped Sancy diamond.
In the 16th century gem cutters named Giacomo Tagliacarne and Giovanni delle Corniole made more progress in the art of faceting diamonds. A new type of cut called the Rose cut was created during this time period. Diamonds cut in this style were very popular because of the high amount of brilliance created with this cut compared to cuts of the past.
The limitations of the Rose cut led to the creation of the Brilliant cut. In the 1600s, Jean-Baptist Tavernier was one of the masters of the early diamond trade. He pioneered Europe’s diamond trade with India. He was born in Paris, but had ancestors from Belgium. He wrote a book called, “The Six Voyages of Jean-Baptist Tavernier.” In this book he gave a first hand account of the historically important diamond cuts from India’s past. For example, Jean Baptist documented the Florentine Diamond’s cut in drawings from 1657 when he saw it in the collection of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
The first Brilliant cut was introduced in the 1600s, and the man thought to be responsible for this cut is Jules Cardinal Mazarin, an Italian ambassador. He was fascinated with gemstones and he created the first Brilliant cut diamonds known as Mazarins or double-cut brilliants. These stones had 17 facets on the crown. Cardinal Mazarin purchased the Sancy diamond in the mid 1600s.
Advances in diamond cuts continued to be made as diamond cutters began to learn different techniques to cut diamonds. They also created different cuts to bring out the brilliance of diamonds like never before.
The 1700s brought about even more advancements in diamond cutting that led to an increase in the popularity of diamonds.