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I have practiced quite a few cutting methods over my 35 years of diamond cutting, but it was exactly 20 years ago when a major event triggered my mind to think differently. It was my first official journey developing a new diamond cut…, a faceting design which had no prior art in our diamond world.
This was before the flow of diamond cut patents which mostly flooded the diamond IP world over the last decade or so, with the majority quite inefficient and not marketed.
It led me to think out of the box, how else would I be able to innovate? Since then many journeys have come and gone and those learning roots developed into a grown tree with many branches, flowers and fruits, each representing different cutting styles and forms.
This article is a short representation displaying an exceptional philosophy in cutting and polishing diamonds which we developed at GemConcepts through our years of research & development.
This article is not about Octavia Diamonds, rather about the unique crafting methodic behind our 3D optical symmetry diamond cuts and can be accomplished with every multi faceting style.
Actually what I call controlling the lights from within the diamond.
Octavia Diamonds are considered a rare bird in the world of Asscher cuts or emerald cut faceting styles in particular. Its rarity factor is not just in the quality of material but rather in its rare craftsmanship and unique cutting & polishing journey from rough to completion.
Methodically, Octavia Diamonds are cut very differently than other similar faceting styles (e.g. sq emerald/Asscher Cut). To achieve the required 3D optical symmetry level, a different cutting method was developed through years, and even then, each diamond dictates its exclusive journey and duration.
In order to simplify, I chose to share a few collages each displaying nine intervallic snips/moments reflecting a *centralized part of the cutting and facet placement journey of an Octavia Diamond. This will be followed by similar collages representing the unique and final fine-tuning stage taking us to completion.
…and what better than to show it in colors and sketches, so please excuse the lack of real diamond pictures this time…
*This part of the journey is centered between blocking/forming stage and final finish or 3D optical symmetry fine tuning.
Lets begin with the wireframe collage (fig 1) which displays renditions of nine different progression moments between the 2.66 carat (no. 1) and 2.33 carat (no. 9).
From top left (no. 1), what is shown is a 3D scan of the diamond after initial blocking which entails accurate circumference shaping and preliminary crown-pavilion-table faceting. By the time we reached this stage, we already lost about 50% of its original rough weight mass.
Figure 1 – Wireframe renderings – displays progression of facet placements
Diamond 1 is after creating a very precise and even girdle contour which becomes the base of the cut. If this crucial stage is not precisely crafted and balanced there will be no possibility to complete an Octavia Diamond satisfactory. (see fig 2)
As noticeable, diamond 1 possesses 8 crown facets (4 mains & 4 corners) and 4 preliminary stepped pavilion facets contouring an already (pretty much) temporarily centered culet. There are some minor pavilion corner facets starting to show up.
As mentioned above, approximately 50% of the rough diamond weight mass was already lost getting to this stage which took about 2-3 working days to achieve.
Figure 2 – Rendered profile view of diamond no. 1 (fig 1)
Moving on to diamonds 2 through 9 we are able to notice that each of the 8 succeeding pictures (different stages) show progression of further facet placements and movements on both the crown & pavilion simultaneously.
The ability to cover ground on both crown & pavilion concurrently is what makes this journey so unique. This capability took quite a lot of years to learn, there is no real chronological order as it is mainly intellect dependent.
Although this central processing stage is shown in a nine picture collage, the actual diamond was subjected to a couple hundred 3D scans and took 2-3 working days to get to the facet configuration as exhibited by diamond no. 9
While I do realize the wireframe models of fig. 1 are quite technical to the untrained eye, I believe demonstrating the process in colors may offer more apprehension. For this I chose to utilize a rather familiar tool called ASET virtual reflector.
Picturesque (color) Demonstration
ASET (Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool) is a very helpful tool developed to simplify or rather translate the diamond’s language of light into a more laymen friendly display.
Each of the 4 colors (red, green, blue and white) represent crucial optical elements which are all interconnected on how a diamond ultimately plays its lights.., or better, how appealing it is to its viewer. (see fig 3)
Figure 3 – ASET hemisphere – translating play-of-lights into colors
In general, the 4 colors display and translate where the diamond is catching its lights or obstructions from (light and obstruction sources):
Red: displays direct light from above (strongest usually).
Green: displays in-direct light bouncing off objects like walls or outdoor fixtures etc. (less intense).
Blue: displays obstructions to light reflections caused by various objects in environmental space like the viewer itself when looking face-on to the diamond. (see eye in fig 3)
White: (or see-through) is rather simple and points out to where light leaks out of the bottom pavilion thus not reflecting light or obscurations back to its viewer.
Figure 4 contains exactly the same 9 diamond models as in figure 1 but painted in ASET colors, and similar to the wireframe collage display the faceting progression until all the facets and proportions are almost in their respective designed positions on diamond no. 9.
By now, we reached 2/3rds of our journey….
Figure 4 – ASET translation – same models from fig 1 painted in colors
A Fine-Tuning Odyssey
As mentioned above, no Octavia journey can be mirrorly repeated, each diamond will dictate a slightly different path to a successful finish. This next stage that I am about to touch upon is the most momentous and time consuming part of the whole journey and its final stage.
Fine-tuning, when looking at Merriam-Webster for a definition we get:
“A : to adjust precisely so as to bring to the highest level of performance or effectiveness, B : to improve through minor alteration or revision”
I like to think about this last stage as an odyssey simply because it really is an intellectual quest. Since currently all non-contact diamond scanning technologies admittedly possess margin of errors in their measurements, getting accurate information via 3D scans is quite incomplete.
And when we are specific about light rays, these margin of errors, no matter how miniscule, will still affect the direction of lights and the way they reflect…, now simply multiply each error times 57 facets and you understand the info received from a 3D scan is far from reality on a macro level.
In order to differentiate between real and virtual errors, we must learn to think and act differently than we did for the last 25 years, when 3D optical symmetry cuts just started to appear on the market. As the title points out, a new philosophy!
Now let’s get back to colors….
Fine Tuning means Fine Tuning
If we look back at figure 4 and the 9 different faceting stages, their individual weight-loss from 2.66 carat (no. 1) to 2.33 carat (no. 9).., this is calculated at 12.4% weight loss for this centralized process.
Let’s move onto the next figure 5, we already notice that diamond no. 1 starts with a weight of 2.33 carat and completes at diamond no. 9 at 2.30 carat. This is calculated at 1.20% weight loss which is considered minimal for the amount of work this process entails.
This unique approach carries its own agenda, and for such a minimal weight losing process, it definitely takes the most time and expertise to truly master. It actually is a never ending process since we all know perfection doesn’t exist. We just need to choose the point where we say stop.
And if you are a perfectionist…, you’re in trouble!!
Figure 5 – Fine-tuning means controlling the lights – in colors
Please notice that for this stage of the process I have not included a wireframe collage as I did for the previous central stage. The reason being that the facet junction lines move so subtly our eyes won’t be able to notice a difference between each diamond sketch.
At this stage, we are barely removing any diamond material, we are merely hovering over the facets adjusting their slope’s and azimuths (index) in fractions of one degree. Like caressing the diamond…, caution: can be very addictive when mastered!
Colors on the other hand are much easier to discern, the reason figure 5 is presented, and even then the nuances are barely distinguishable but with colors one can definitely see the various facet & virtual facet movements to successful completion when they all fall into their designed positions (fig. 5 – diamond no. 9).
In order to point out an area for easier distinction, I suggest focusing on the central focal area visible through the extremely small table of the diamond. Although most of the reflections scattered across the diamond crown are kinetic, the central part is more sensitive to motion and can be noticed easier.
Should you wish to concentrate on other areas of the crown, I suggest following a specific faceting/color pattern area through the 9 sketches. All the facet movements have one objective, to bring the three dimensional optical symmetry and polish finish of this diamond to its superlative standing and at the same time to its nearest designed proportions.
In order to help put things into some perspective, I am adding a collage demonstrating various virtual models (fig 6) I have exercised for this purpose. This collage starts with the completed 2.30 carat Octavia Diamond (top left) and shows what would happen if I select just 1 facet out of 57 (in this case P3, yellow border) and adjust it by 1/10 (tenth) of a degree for each interval Aset sketch (1 to 9).
Again, even though many areas of the crown are in slight motion, we can visualize how sensitive each facet is to the light it captures and reflects back. Following through the 9 models we can clearly notice the color change (red to blue) of the P3 facet through each interval.
Not only does this act affect that specific P3 facet, but it affects all the opposing facets as well.., just one single facet with minimal angle movement.
As shown above, red is direct light while blue is complete obstruction of light. A drastic change for 6 tenths of one degree. Actually, I believe this exact range is the GIA allowance within their excellent cut parameters. This fact alone says a lot about their cut grading system if you really think about it.
Figure 6 – Virtual exercise – single facet sensitivity to light
I am well aware I am showing a very complicated process to understand, let alone practice physically. I strongly believe that lapidaries should at least be aware of this path of thought and at the very least begin better understanding the optical connection between diamond material and lights…
Luckily it is very interesting but at the same time challenging and for people who have the diamond cut bug I would warmly recommend starting exploring such experimental avenues…, you never know where this might take you.
One thing I can promise, the next level is much more intriguing than our age-long process we have explored for way too much time.., its time!
All visuals courtesy of OctoNus & AGSL