the latent beauty in its true light ; and, in fact, on the regularity
of the facets and the perfect polish depends the value of the stone,
nearly as much as on the original material; for, although no art
can render a yellow brilliant white, still the purest stone, cut by
unskilful hands, remains a dull mass, without life or lustre.
is generally supposed that Louis van Berghem, or Berguem, was the first
discoverer of the art of cutting and polishing diamonds by their own
powder, in 1456; but this must be somewhat inaccurate, as already in
1373 the Emperor Charles had the clasp of his cloak ornamented with
diamonds ; and in church ornaments of even earlier date, were set
diamonds with a table and four ground edges, and with the lower part
cut as a four-sided pyramid.
the inventory of the effects of the Duke of Anjou, made between the
years 1360 and 1368, there is mentioned a diamond cut into the form of
a shield. As yet, however, the mode of cutting was rude, and added
scarcely at all to the lustre of the diamond, causing it to be ranked
as less in value than many other gems.
1407, the art had made sensible progress under the direction of a
clever artificer named Herman; and although the stones were still
imperfectly cut, yet they must have had some lustre, as we find, that
at an entertainment given to the King of France by the Puke of
Burgundy, in 1410, the Duke of Burgundy gave away ten diamonds, which
were valued at four hundred gold crowns, a considerable sum in those