In antiquity, stones were polished smooth with flat bottoms and domed tops. Today this in known as a cabochon cut. The faceted stone came later. At first it was learned that a gem crystal could be divided along the cleavage points and then polished along the flat surfaces. Light would reflect off the smooth surfaces. The lapidary in ancient times would only attempt to polish the softer gems such as agate, carnelian, garnet and lapis. The hardest stones polished were rubies and sapphires. The diamond, if even known at the time, was most likely used as a tool. In the late 15th century, the French gem cutter, Louis de Berquem, discovered that, by using a paste of diamond dust and olive oil, he could cut facets with planned regularity. It is from this discovery that the fine, precise art of gem cutting evolved.
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