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Diamonds, known as "rough diamonds" are stones in their natural state. "Rough diamonds are not brilliant and can appear greasy. Diamond cutting encompasses a number of processes that bring out the beauty of gem diamonds. These processes include cleaving, sawing or laser cutting, and polishing. A diamond cutter seeks to enhance the brilliance and fire of each stone and to eliminate imperfections, such as cracks and cloudiness. The cutter develops a plan that will accomplish these goals while still producing a gem of the greatest size and hence maximum value.
About half of a natural diamond's size is lost in diamond cutting. The wholesale cost of uncut diamonds is far below that of cut and polished gems, however, some customers are willing to pay a great deal of money for uncut diamonds. Many "rough cut" diamonds are unsuitable for cutting because of the flaws in the stone, however in some cases a rough stone is selected for a particular piece of jewellery because of its unique shape in its uncut form. There is a great difference between the uncut diamond and the final cut and polished one.
The uncut diamond may appear like a lump of molten glass. The challenge for diamond cutters is to uncover the true beauty and potential of the diamond. In 1919, the master gem cutter and mathematician Marcel Tolkowsky, calculated the proportions for the perfectly cut diamond. Today, the "ideal" or "perfect cut" diamond proportions are based on his model. Uncut diamonds are often adorned with smaller polished diamonds for a contrast in effect and sparkle.