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Diamond setters are responsible for several tasks related to the quality, appearance and stability of diamonds. They examine diamonds and settings, polish and cut the stones, maintain gem equipment, place diamonds into their final position, and try to maintain an economic, clean work environment. Diamond setters can work exclusively with diamonds, but their skills can be used with any gem.
A main duty of a diamond setter is to examine diamonds. During this process, the diamond setter looks for evidence of how to cut the diamond, its value, flaws, peculiarities and overall shape. This information determines how the diamond setter then proceeds with the diamond. To complete an examination, the diamond setter uses tools such as polariscopes, refractometers and microscopes, as well as chemical solutions. After the examination the setter grades the diamond based on established grading systems.
Examination also can extend to the setting in which the diamond is to be placed or already is located. The diamond setter is concerned with whether the diamond is or will be stable within the setting. Without this stability, the diamond might be lost.
Diamond setters sometimes grind or cut diamonds into the desired shape for jewelry. This requires extreme skill, because cutting or grinding improperly lowers the aesthetic appeal and overall value of the diamond. These workers also often drill into the settings prior to putting the diamond in its final position. Examination of die holes is another task, which diamond setters complete through resistance measurements or via electronic micrometers.
It also is a diamond setter's job to polish diamonds, either physically and chemically. Physical polishing involves using tools such as polishing wheels or felt, while chemical polishing entails putting the diamond in a bath to remove residues.
A variety of equipment is used on the job. They must position the diamond within the equipment properly to prevent damage and get the desired results. In addition, diamond setters are responsible for regulating, cleaning, troubleshooting and coordinating replacement of the equipment they use. This sometimes involves disassembling the equipment, so diamond setters need a good mechanical sense.
When actually setting a diamond, diamond setters might use soldering techniques to secure the stone. They also might raise a metal ridge around the stone, tap the edges of the setting with a jeweler's hammer or press prongs around the stone. They must be adept at transferring these techniques to many different types of jewelry or tools.
Employers expect diamond setters to keep records of all the work they do. Diamond setters also are supposed to think of ways to make their workspace and the overall business more efficient and profitable. Customer service also is important because diamond setters often need to advise customers on what to do with a diamond or guide them through a purchase.