Richard von Sternberg of EightStar Diamond Company has been invited by the Gemological Institute of America to speak at its Southern California Carlsbad campus on Aug. 25.
The subject of von Sternberg’s talk will be “the missing chapter in the history of diamond cutting.” This will include explanations of the current plethora of diamond branding efforts, the increasing emphasis on how diamonds are cut, and the new generation of diamond viewers—available at diamond sales counters—that show reflected image patterns.
Von Sternberg also will touch on the unprecedented steps taken by diamond grading laboratories to rise to the challenge of analyzing Cut. This is an issue that von Sternberg raised in the early 1990s when he coined the phrase “diamond performance.”
“For 500 years diamonds were basically cut for weight,” says von Sternberg. “In the 19th century, some cutters began to promulgate ideas about cutting for beauty and, in 1919, Tolkowsky published his Diamond Design, which would have far-reaching consequences for the diamond industry. Even though Tolkowsky was not the only diamond expert interested in the paradigm shift of his day, his name and concepts loomed largest in association with what later came to be called the ‘ideal cut’ of round brilliant-cut diamonds.”
It was in the 1980s, notes von Sternberg, that a Japanese invention called the FireScope shifted the focus of diamond analysis from a diamond’s outside to its inside. This revolution came to the United States in 1990, and has begun to shape the way all cutters will cut diamonds, the way institutions will grade diamonds, and the way consumers will buy diamonds in the future, says von Sternberg. The major emphasis is now given to the “fourth C” of diamonds—their Cut.
Von Sternberg aims to shed light on the origins of this revolution—or, as he says, this “monumental paradigm shift from the metric of diamond proportions to the metric of diamond performance.”