Precious stone cutter


Precious stone cutters use cutting machines and tools to cut or carve diamonds and other gemstones according to diagrams and patterns while considering different specifications. They are experts at fabricating jewellery such as rings, brooches, chains and bracelets from gemstones.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to precious stone cutter:

diamond cutter
jewelery fabricator
gemstone cutter
opal polisher
gem cutter

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a precious stone cutter.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Precious stone cutter is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Precious stone cutter career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to precious stone cutter.

precious stone setter
filigree maker
jewellery assembler

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of precious stone cutter. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of precious stone cutter with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

jewellery and watches shop manager
personal property appraiser
computer-aided design operator
wholesale merchant in watches and jewellery

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of precious stone cutter.

  • Gemstones: Types of minerals or petrified materials that are cut and polished for use in jewellery, classified according to type, characteristics, and value.
  • Jewellery processes: Materials and processes involved in creating jewellery items like earrings, necklaces, rings, brackets, etc.
  • Characteristics of diamonds: Key characteristics of diamonds that affect their value: carat weight, cut, colour and clarity.
  • Manufacturing of jewellery: The manufacturing of different type of jewellery such as rings or necklaces out of various metal types such as silver, gold, diamond and other precious stones.
  • Gem cutting forms: Gemstones can be cut into different shapes such as faceted stones, cablochons, spheres or beads. They can also be fit together with other precious stones or different materials as in the case of inlays or mosaics. Finally, they can be carved to produce intaglios or cameos.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of precious stone cutter.

  • Use jewellery equipment: Handle, modify, or repair jewellery-making equipment such as jigs, fixtures, and hand tools such as scrapers, cutters, gougers, and shapers.
  • Attend to detail regarding jewellery creation: Perform great attention to all steps in the design, creation and finishing of jewellery.
  • Ensure conformance to jewel design specifications: Examine finished jewellery products to ensure that they meet quality standards and design specifications. Use magnifying glasses, polariscopes or other optical instruments.
  • Examine gems: Closely examine gemstone surfaces using polariscopes or other optical instruments.
  • Record jewel weight: Record the weight of finished jewellery pieces.
  • Cut gem stones: Cut and shape gemstones and jewellery pieces.
  • Use precision tools: Use electronic, mechanical, electric, or optical precision tools for precision work.
  • Grind gemstones: Shape gemstones using equipment such as diamond or silicon carbide wheels to obtain a rough though more regular form called the preform.
  • Calculate value of gems: Determine appraised value of gemstones such as diamonds and pearls; study price guides, market fluctuations and grades of rarity.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of precious stone cutter. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Wet tumbling: Process of tumbling, employing water and other agents inside a wet tumbling barrel to clean and remove burrs from metal parts and stones in order to smoothen them.
  • Cultured pearls: The process of creating pearls by inserting a piece of tissue in the centre of the oyster to help create pearls under controlled conditions, instead of the accidentally occurring natural pearls.
  • Imitation jewellery: The materials and processes used to create imitation jewellery, and how to manipulate the materials.
  • Watches and jewellery products: The offered watches and jewellery products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Jewellery product categories: Categories in which various types of jewellery can be found such as diamond fashion jewellery or diamond bridal jewellery.
  • Coining: The process of shaping metal parts with a high relief or very fine features, such as coins, medals, badges or buttons, by pressing the surface of the metal between two dies.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of precious stone cutter. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Pass on trade techniques: Pass on knowledge and skills, explain and demonstrate the application of equipment and materials and answer questions about trade techniques for the manufacturing of products.
  • Repair jewellery: Make jewellery repairs, such as enlarging or reducing ring sizes, soldering pieces of jewellery back together, and replacing broken or worn-out clasps and mountings.
  • Advise customers on jewellery and watches: Provide customers with detailed advice on watches and pieces of jewellery available in the store. Explain about different brands and models and their characteristics and features. Recommend and provide personal advice on pieces of jewellery, according to the customer’s needs and preferences.
  • Apply restoration techniques: Select and apply appropriate restoration techniques in order to achieve the required restoration goals. This encompasses preventive measures, remedial measures, restoration processes and management processes.
  • Evaluate restoration procedures: Evaluate the outcome of conservation and restoration procedures. Evaluate the degree of risk, success of treatment or activity and communicate the results.
  • Adjust jewellery: Reshape jewellery mountings.
  • Smoothen rough jewel parts: Smoothen rough parts of pieces of jewellery using hand files and emery paper.
  • Create jewellery: Create pieces of jewellery using precious materials such as silver and gold.
  • Detect product defects: Report in case the product arrives with a defect from previous processes. Understand the type of defect and send it to the right person.
  • Use specialised equipment: Use specialised equipment such as electron microscope, telemetry, digital imaging analysis, global positioning systems, and computer modelling in studies and analyses of production methodology.
  • Perform enamelling: Apply enamel paint on surface using brushes.
  • Select gems for jewellery: Select and purchase gems to use in jewellery pieces and designs.
  • Polish gemstones: Use polishing agents or fine grades of diamonds to remove small amounts of stone in order to get a shiny surface that will improve light refraction or reflection.
  • Sand gemstones: Use abrasives to remove scratches and irregularities on gemstones. The abrasives used for this process are finer than the ones used for grinding gemstones. The sanding process is used to create flat surfaces on a stone, such as facets, is called lapping.
  • Operate microscope: Operate a microscope, an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye to see.
  • Record jewel processing time: Record the amount of time it took to process an item of jewellery.
  • Estimate restoration costs: Estimate the cost implications of restoring and replacing products or parts.
  • Develop jewellery designs: Develop new jewellery designs and products, and modify existing designs.
  • Estimate cost of jewellery and watches’ maintenance: Estimate the total cost for the maintenance of watches or pieces of jewellery.
  • Select restoration activities: Determine restoration needs and requirements and plan the activities. Consider the desired results, the level of intervention required, evaluation of alternatives, constraints on actions, stakeholder demands, possible risks and future options.
  • Think creatively about jewellery: Generate innovative and creative ideas to design and decorate jewellery.
  • Maintain jewels and watches: Use cleaning equipment to properly care for jewellery and watches, as per customer request. This might involve cleaning and polishing watches and pieces of jewellery.
  • Estimate value of used jewellery and watches: Assess used metal (gold, silver) and gems (diamonds, emeralds) based on age and current market rates.
  • Clean jewellery pieces: Clean and polish metal items and pieces of jewellery; handle mechanical jewellery-making tools such as polishing wheels.
  • Tend tumbling machine: Tend a machine designed to smoothen metal or stone surfaces by having the different pieces rub against each other inside a tumbling barrel, monitor and operate it according to regulations.

ISCO group and title

7313 – Jewellery and precious-metal workers

  1. Precious stone cutter – ESCO
Last updated on October 1, 2022

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