Those lost trades | EN

The diamond sector has considerably developed over the last five centuries. From the individual mill worked by hand, the hydraulic mills to overall electrification, the cutting workshops have known them all. If the cutting technique, as discovered by Louis de Berquem in Bruges, nevertheless remains the basic principle, several trades related to it have however been lost.

Development of the laser
Other trades have had a tendency to die out since the technical development of the sector. So, the traditional cleaving and sawing technique has been replaced, since 1980, by the laser beam. More powerful and more accurate, it is improving regularly and, in the long term, is bound to replace the sawyer and cleaver trade forever. The preparation and study of rough diamonds, going through a scan, are currently decided by computer calculations. The various phases are performed by the laser beam, which, on the computer's orders, prepares the stone for the last operation cutting. If this operation is still done by hand, various types of semi automatic cutting machines have appeared on the market. The latest generation machines are in fact high precision and more and more reliable robots. The workshop outlay has more or less stagnated over the last five centuries, but today it IS developing fast. More and more, a workshop tends to look like a high technology lab. As for the diamond worker, he has been turned into a white blouse technician. And above all, a high-level computer scientist. •
 
DIAMOND POWDER
For the cutting operations, diamond powder used to be collected from the cleaving and bruiting waste as well as from industrial diamonds (boart) collected as precious product The fragments used to be placed in a mortar on which the apprentice had to hammer, for a long time, to get a powder which would be fine enough to be used in sawing or cutting Since the 60S, powdered synthetic diamond is made available to the workshops better calibrated, it is above all less expensive The prices fell dramatically when the synthetic stone came on the market from dollars 50 to less than one dollar the carat . In the future diamond powder will not be used anymore, because the new cutting technology will use diamond-impregnated scaife with cooling.

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