How Were Diamonds Cut in Ancient Times?

Diamonds are one of the most coveted and valuable gemstones in the world. They have been used for centuries to create exquisite jewelry and adornments.

However, the process of cutting diamonds was not always as advanced as it is today. In ancient times, diamond cutting was a much more laborious and time-consuming process.

Ancient Diamond Cutting Techniques

The earliest known diamond cutting techniques can be traced back to India in the 4th century BC. The Indians used simple tools like bow drills and sandpaper made from diamond dust to shape and polish rough diamonds. The diamonds were cut into basic shapes like points and table cuts.

The Point Cut

The point cut was the first style of diamond cutting that emerged in ancient times. This technique involved grinding away one end of a diamond to create a pointed shape. The pointed end was then used to set in jewelry or for decorative purposes.

The Table Cut

The table cut was another early form of diamond cutting. This style involved grinding two sides of a rough diamond flat, creating a table-like surface on top of the stone. The bottom half of the diamond would remain uncut, giving it a natural appearance.

Medieval Diamond Cutting Techniques

During the medieval period, diamond cutting techniques began to evolve beyond simple point and table cuts. By this time, diamonds were highly prized throughout Europe, especially among royalty and nobility.

The Rose Cut

The rose cut was one of the most popular styles during this period. It involved shaping a rough diamond into a dome shape with triangular facets arranged like petals around a central point.

The Mazarin Cut

The Mazarin cut was another popular style during this era. It featured 17 facets on top with four triangular facets below, giving it an elongated shape.

Modern Diamond Cutting Techniques

Modern diamond cutting techniques have come a long way since ancient times. Today, diamonds are cut using advanced technology and precise techniques that allow for maximum brilliance and fire.

The Brilliant Cut

The brilliant cut is the most popular style of diamond cutting today. It features 58 facets arranged in a specific pattern that maximizes the diamond’s brilliance and fire.

The Princess Cut

The princess cut is another popular style of diamond cutting. It features a square or rectangular shape with pointed corners and up to 76 facets for maximum sparkle.


Diamond cutting has come a long way since ancient times. While early techniques were basic, they laid the groundwork for the advanced methods used today. From simple point and table cuts to the intricate patterns of modern brilliant and princess cuts, diamond cutting has become an art form in its own right.