Advice on Cutting Rough Diamonds for Profit (2022)

Advice on Cutting Rough Diamonds for Profit (1) John Betts - Fine Minerals> Home Page> Minerals For Sale >Diamond Crystal Galleries

Advice on Cutting Rough Diamonds - Faceting Uncut Diamonds Into Gemstones for Profit

Are you interested in buying rough uncut diamonds and having them faceted into cut gemstones to making a profit?

My advice: Do not do it! Stop! The risks are toohigh!


Many visitors to this site have inquired about buying rough/uncut diamondcrystals and having them cut into faceted gemstones. I always advise thatthe potential savings and profits are not worth the risks involved in theprocess. It is possible to save lots of money -- if you know what you aredoing and you have an experienced diamond cutter. But an ordinary lapidary,familiar with cutting gemstones from other precious gem materials, is notskilled enough and does not have the equipment to cut diamonds. Additionally,an inexperienced diamond cutter can ruin a diamond.

  • A bad cut can magnify internal flaws. A good cut will conceal flaws.
  • A bad cut can exaggerate bad color. A good cut will enhance internal color.
  • A bad cut can enlarge internal flaws, or possibly split the stone.

If you want a faceted diamond gemstone, then youshould buy a faceted diamond gemstone.

Why? Because you must have years of training to evaluate diamonds, diamondsare difficult to cut well, there are risks of failure at every step.


I have sold thousands of rough uncut diamond crystals from microscopic diamondsinvisible to the naked eye to a 49 carat diamond crystal. Some diamonds wereindustrial grade; others were gem-grade cuttable diamonds. I have sold diamondsto the magician David Blaine for his illusions. I have sold diamonds to artistsfor use in their artwork. I have sold diamonds to museums and universitiesfor exhibits and education. I have sold diamonds to collectors that seekdiamonds in varying colors, crystal forms and from worldwide localities.

And I have sold many diamonds to jewelers.

Most of the diamonds I sell are set in jewelry uncut - in the same form thatI sold them. Rough diamond jewelry emerged as a major jewelry trend in 2002-2003.Martha Stewart even featured uncut diamond engagement rings in her Weddingmagazine. Jewelry companies like Todd Reed, DeBeers,and Diamonds in the Rough started selling lines of diamond rings withrough uncut diamonds. From the jewelers perspective there was more profitbecause there was no loss of carat weight due to cutting process and therewas no cost to employ a diamond cutter. Additionally, rough uncut diamondsare guaranteed conflict-free, which cannot be said about faceted diamonds(unless you buy your own rough and have it cut).

But I also sell gem-grade cuttable diamonds. I have sold diamonds to noviceswho are just learning. I have sold diamonds to jewelers that think they knowwhat they are doing, but do not. I have sold diamonds to professionals inthe diamond industry. And I have cut diamonds into gemstones.

So, why do I advise against buying rough uncut diamonds to be faceted?

Skills Required

Every diamond is cuttable to some extent. But if a diamond is heavily flawedor included it will not yield a large clean gemstone that is worth more thanthe rough stone. A flawed diamond will have too much waste and will not yielda profit. As a buyer of rough diamonds, you need to be able to evaluate thecutting potential. You need to be able to look at a diamond crystal and determinewhether it will yield a large enough gemstone to make a profit. You needtraining.

The best training is to learn how to cut diamonds. It takes years ofapprenticeship to learn how to facet a diamond, how to get the maximum yield,how to not ruin a diamond. Even if you are a trained cutter, evaluating adiamond is not easy and there is much room for error. It is not a clear-cutprocess. Ask 10 diamond experts their opinion and you will get 11 opinionsof a diamond's potential.

Since you cannot easily get the training necessary, then you will never beskilled at evaluating rough diamonds.

Difficulty Cutting Diamonds

The hardness and "grain" of diamond crystals make them difficult to facetinto finished gemstones. Not just any lapidary can do the job. A skilledfaceter that has cut gemstones of emerald or aquamarine cannot cut a diamondbecause it requires special wheels and cutting head and the diamond mustbe correctly oriented during the process otherwise it will never take a finishedpolish. And, as mentioned before, it takes years of apprenticeship to learnhow to cut diamonds.

An unskilled diamond cutter can ruin a diamond in the process. A good diamondcutter can minimize the visibility of a flaw while maximizing the carat weightof the finished gemstone. An unskilled diamond cutter can magnify the visibilityof internal flaws; can burn off a fancy color; yielding a small stone oflittle value.

Risks of Failure

The key to successfully buying a rough diamond and making a profit by cuttingit is buying a quality stone at a low price and having a skilled cutter maximizethe finished quality and carat weight. As you can see there is potentialfor failure at every step. You could pay too much. You could buy a poor qualitydiamond. Your diamond cutter could lack experience. The finished diamondgemstone may be too small. The cut may be bad. The flaws may be visible.The color may be lower quality than anticipated.

One other risk that needs to be considered: Diamond cutters may "pocket"your diamond and switch a lower quality diamond in its place. Or an unscrupulousdiamond cutter may keep your stone and facet a lower grade stone sendingyou a lesser quality finished gemstone. This is why you must select yourdiamond cutter very carefully.

How to Proceed

If you are not deterred by my warnings, and you still desire to have a roughdiamond cut into a faceted gemstone, then here is some advice:

What to Buy

First buy a good rough diamond. Diamonds labeled as"cuttable" or "gem-grade"are suitable for faceting into gemstones. If you do not see those terms inthe description of a diamond then you should not assume that a diamond willyield a gemstone.

Recently a novice bought three diamonds from me. Here are the descriptionsI wrote for each diamond crystal:

Diamond #56514 - 1.10 carat fancypink-orange complex crystal. Lustrous natural diamond crystal with complexform that has bright internal flashes visible in some orientations and inclusionsthat give fancy pink-orange color. Has a few dark inclusions visible under20x. (below)

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Diamond #55863 - 1.26 carat orangetetrahexahedral crystal. Lustrous transparent orangey natural diamond crystalwith bright orange internal reflections when viewed from certain angles.The diamond crystal tetrahexahedral form and has a few very small internalinclusions and subsurface gletz. (below)

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Diamond #43634 -1.36 carat pale-pinkoctahedral crystal. Lustrous dodecahedral natural diamond crystal with pale-pinkcolor that is highly valued by collectors and jewelers. The crystal facesare highly lustrous with complex crystallization patterns that give excellentsparkle. The bottom is cleaved. (below)

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None of the above diamonds are cuttablegem-grade diamonds.

Look at the photos -- each is visibly flawed and could not possibly be cutinto a gemstone. How he got the idea that these were cuttable gem-grade diamondsis a mystery. He did not tell me he wanted to have them faceted. If he hadconsulted me, I would have informed him that none of the crystals selectedwere gem-grade and all had flaws that were clearly visible. Most importantlynone of the diamonds were described as cuttable or gem-grade. These are industryterms used for describing top quality diamonds with potential for being facetedinto finished gemstones.

Here is a description for a cuttable diamond:

Diamond #56508 - 2.01 caratcuttable yellow octahedral crystal. Superbcuttable transparent yellow diamond crystal with lustrousconvex faces that it brilliant natural sparkle. The diamond crystal hasno internalfracturesand onlytwo microscopicinclusions that can be eliminated during facetingto yield IFgrade. (below)

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When selecting diamonds for cutting you must buy carefully, fully read thedescriptions, study the photographs. Finally inspect the diamond once youreceive it. Evaluate the quality of the diamond to determine if it is cuttable.

All diamonds sold on this site have a no-questions-asked money back guarantee.Any diamond may be returned within two weeks of receipt for a full refund.This two week period is your evaluation time to assess the diamond.


Why buy a rough diamond and have it cut?

Lower cost

A rough diamond is significantly less expensive than a faceted diamond gemstone.

Conflict free

Rough uncut diamonds are guaranteed conflict-free. They are not used to fundmilitias or civil wars. They are not blood diamonds.

In response to war atrocities the United Nations instituted the KimberleyProcess which involves sealing diamonds at the mine in tamper-proof containerswith documentation of legitimate origin. The Kimberley Process was devisedby the major diamond producing nations to protect the integrity of theirproduction and prevent blood diamonds from entering into the legitimate diamondmarket. The process has been an overwhelming success and diamond smugglinghas been drastically reduced from conflict countries.

Any time a rough diamond crosses international borders, going in or out ofANY country, it must accompanied by a Kimberley Process Certificate (KPC).When a rough diamond enters the United States, the KPC is filed with theDepartment of Commerce. Every time it is sold thereafter within the countryit must be accompanied by a Warranty of Kimberley Process which providesa paper trail back to the KPC on file.

At this time the Kimberley Process has not been applied to finished faceteddiamond gemstones.

Potential Profit

Following is an example of the potential profit possible in faceting a roughuncut diamond into a gemstone.

If you bought this diamond for $29,500: "Diamond #50946 - 4.85 caratcuttable F-color octahedral crystal. High quality white diamond graded atF color (colorless) with asymmetric octahedral form. The crystal faces havecomplex crystallization patterns giving a striated appearance. One smallinclusion in the bottom corner can be eliminated when cut (VS1+)" thenhad it faceted by an expert diamond cutter it could yield a 2.00 carat whitediamond which would be at least VS1 clarity.

According to the September 7, 2012 Rapaport Diamond Report (the industrypricing guide to diamond prices) a 2.00 carat round brilliant F-color VS1diamond is worth $21,800 per carat, or $43,600 total value (now you canunderstand why a good diamond cutter, that can maximize the carat weightof the finished gemstone, is so important.)


As you can see it is possible to profit by buying rough diamonds and havingthem cut into gemstones. But there is significant risk and requires muchknowledge.

You should learn how to use a 10x or 16x loupe and scrutinize each cut diamond.You need to evaluate the cost-per-carat against the flaws and imperfectionsvisible in the cut diamond. You should partner with a trustworthy diamondcutter.

See our other diamond galleries:

Half-Price Diamonds 50% Off

Diamond Crystals in unusual crystals and clusters

Diamond Crystals under 1 carat

Diamonds Priced $400 - $999

Diamond Crystals for Natural Diamond Jewelry

Diamond Crystals 1-2 carats

Diamonds Priced $1000 and above

Jewelry designs with natural uncut diamonds

Diamond Crystals under 2-5 carats

Gem-Grade Diamonds

Diamond Crystals over 5 carats

Advice on Cutting Rough Diamonds

Do you think you found a diamond? Learn how toidentify diamonds.

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© John Betts - Fine Minerals,New York , NY - All RightsReserved.
a division of, dealerof Fine Minerals since 1989.

The minerals illustrated on this site were purchased from collectorsor wholesale suppliers for resale purposes. The owner of this site did notcollect the minerals and collectors should not assume access is permittedto the property based on inclusion in this site. Please contact the propertyowner to obtain legal permission before entering private property.

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