Professional Jeweler Archive: Tiny Treasures

March 2005

Merchandise | Diamonds

Tiny Treasures

Grunberger Diamonds specializes in cutting small diamonds to exacting standards

By Robert Weldon, G.G.

Some of the fully cut (58-facet) stones Grunberger Diamonds fashions at its factory are so small you can hardly make them out with the naked eye – some as small as 0.005 carat, or half a point.

“Our strength lies in identical make for smaller goods [0.005 carat to 0.37 carat],” says David Grunberger, whose grandfather, Samuel Grunberger, founded the company over half a century ago in Antwerp, Belgium. “We’ve been cutting to exacting standards since long before the word ‘ideal’ became part of everyday vocabulary. All of our diamonds are round brilliant cuts designed to exhibit the hearts-and-arrows effect. This requires perfect symmetry.”

The company is trademarking the brand name “Grunberger Precision Cut,” which its principals say clearly defines their product.

Size Matters Not

While some jewelry manufacturers might think a diamond under a third of a carat doesn’t need to be cut with razor-sharp precision, Grunberger does. Homogeneity is important to diamond setters, says Grunberger, because it saves time in matching diamonds for their finished jewelry. The final look of a finished piece of jewelry is improved, particularly when the diamonds are channel- or pavé-set, where even untrained eyes can quickly spot discrepancies in color, quality and size. Some designers use diamonds as small as half a point in popular micro-pavé jewelry designs.

Grunberger says jewelrymakers also tell him the slight difference in price for his goods is more than offset by the efficiencies gained at the bench. Along with the time savings, fewer diamonds are chipped because bench personnel don’t have to work extra hard to make them fit a piece of jewelry.

Asian Connection

During a review of operations in the 1960s, David’s father, Marcel, decided the company’s future lay in mass production of small quality-cut diamonds. That pointed toward cutting in the Far East. The company opened one of the first diamond factories in Thailand and invested years in training the new cutters under strict Belgian supervision. The factory was soon doing well. “It was at the peak in terms of quality and productivity,” says Grunberger. But labor costs began to rise in the early 1990s, so the family sought new areas in which to grow. The company decided to move its manufacturing facility to Vietnam, where it now employs some 850 cutters who work to the same rigorous Belgian standards.

In the late 1990s, Grunberger opened its first office in New York City to serve the U.S., its largest market. The headquarters remain in Antwerp.

• Grunberger Diamonds Inc., New York City; (212) 869-5317.

This suite of Grunberger Precision Cut diamonds ranges from 0.01 carat to 0.30 carat. The company specializes in small ideal-cut diamonds. Photo by Robert Weldon.
At 20X magnification, this 0.01-ct. diamond clearly exhibits crisp proportions and brilliance. Photo by Robert Weldon.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications