Diamond cutters and other workers in the diamond industry cut and polish rough diamonds in such a way as to reflect maximum light.
Diamond cutting involves a number of stages, each requiring a specialised tradesman to do the job:
Sorter: Diamonds are first sorted by diamond sorters into various shapes, sizes, colours and qualities.
Marker / Designer: Diamond markers’ skills are similar to those of architects. Markers and designers decide what the final diamonds will look like when completed.
Polisher: There are an infinite number of ways in which a diamond may be polished and the decision as to how the diamond should be marked will be based on an attempt to maximise the value of the finished product.
Diamond Sawyer: Sawyers saw the diamond using copper discs spread with diamond powder and oil. Sawyers set stones in holders containing plaster. Stones are then placed in sawing machines and the lines on the diamonds carefully aligned with saw-blades.
Diamond Cutter: Cutters create perfectly round diamonds with the optimum diameter. Industrial diamonds are used to cut diamonds. Diamond cutters receive diamonds from sawyers to start the second phase of finishing off the rough diamond.
Cross Worker: Cross workers lay the foundation of the diamond and follow instructions to obtain the optimum value for finished products. The work is done on a polishing disc covered with diamond powder. The diamond is held in a clamp and 18 facets are polished one by one.
Brillianteer: The last process of refining the rough diamond is to polish it. The sharp edges of the top and eight angles are cut away so that in the end the brilliantly shaped diamond will have 58 facets which reflect light to give it its characteristic brilliance.
Nearly all diamond-cutting factories are located in the Witwatersrand area, resulting in these artisans living in or moving to that area.