Diamond inclusions can tell a unique story about a particular stone, but they invariably lower its value. There is one exception, however. Diamond cutters with an eye for nature’s art have created “diamond slices”—thinly sliced sections of large, highly included rough for jewelry designers.
The idea, say the manufacturers who create these pieces, is to cut the rough to show interesting patterns while keeping the stone’s original outline. The more interesting the inclusions and their patterns, the higher the price.
Approximately five exhibitors at the September Hong Kong Watch and Jewellery Show were featuring diamond slices.
Raja Malpani, president of Mumbai-based Dynamic International, said most diamond slices are prepared in India, with some Israeli production as well. Dynamic offered the largest pieces seen at the show and provided samples for these photos.
Diamond slices start as large, highly included or opaque rough. Generally the manufacturers laser-slice the rough stones into 2 or 3 mm thick slabs of irregular shape, ranging from 5 to 20 mm depending on the shape of the original rough. They apply extremely shallow “pavilion” facets to one side, polishing a flat “table” on the other. The prices can vary widely between $10 per carat for opaque pieces to $700 per carat for transparent stones with decorative inclusion patterns.
Diamond slices have been in the market for three or four years, according to Malpani. Several U.S. designers (including Gara Post of Los Angeles and Ashley Morgan of San Francisco) have included them in their collections but Malpani said they have just started selling in Asia.
The manufacturers recommend that designers bezel-set the slices because diamonds, while extremely hard, are brittle and can chip or crack fairly easily.