Diamond History

The working of stones by which their natural surfaces are improved dates back to many centuries. The art reached a high standard in Egypt over 5000 years ago, and it is known that the Egyptians worked comparatively hard stones, such as quartz, by pounding and rubbing with a stone held in the hand. Sawing was carried out by means of a copper blade, together with the help of an abrasive power. These processes are represented in many tomb paintings.

The Egyptians also knew of a method of drilling, which was effected by a tubular drill, a hollow copper tube, and this was rotated either by rolling between the hands or by means of a handle, an abrasive powder being used at the same time. A copper or stone point was also sometimes used, as well as a crescent shaped flint fixed in an eccentric handle. The abrasive powder was probably very finely ground quartz sand, aided by water. Even today, these principles are followed in the main by many lapidaries in the East who do not possess the modern advantages of electric power, modern abrasives, and improved tools which are in use elsewhere.

The cutting of diamonds probably originated in India over a thousand years ago, and in due course the art passed to Constantinople and then to Venice. In the Fourteenth Century, it is known that lapidaries were at work in Nuremberg, Paris, and Bruges, but religious persecution drove the cutters to Antwerp and Amsterdam, where most of the work has been carried out for so many years. There is no doubt that, for centuries, precious stones such as diamond, emerald, and ruby were kept in the same form as that in which they were found, and the first attempts at cutting and faceting were aimed at improving the natural faces of the crystals. Flaws were covered by small facets, and many of the old Indian stones remained like this for centuries before they were re-cut. Many of these were, however, engraved on the surface with some device, for the craft of engraving gems dates back to Babylonian times. diamond painting zubehör

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