Slice Diamonds 101: A Newcomer’s Handbook

Alternative sliced diamonds, with their perfect imperfections and subtle sparkle, are a fresh way to wear the world’s most famous gemstone.

When you first encounter a diamond slice, it can be hard to know what you’re looking at. Flat and organically shaped, with no obvious facets, these alternative gemstones do not look at all like what we’ve been trained to think of as diamonds.

Yet diamonds they are.  A diamond slice is like a delicate sliver of nature’s art. Rather than faceted into a traditional brilliant shape, slice diamonds make use of the parts that would have been discarded during the usual cutting process. Starting from a large, highly included or opaque rough, craftsman use a laser cutter to slice the rough diamonds into 2 or 3mm thick pieces. The result? A gem that’s outline is entirely organic and determined by the shape of the rough from which it is sliced. 

Now what makes these diamonds so fascinating? For me, it’s the unique and dramatic striations that cut through these stone. While these dark and cloudy inclusions are  a no go for a conventional faceted diamond, in slices these marks are celebrated as the great singular quirks of nature. And these patterns – which lend these stones the nickname of salt ‘n’ pepper diamonds – exude a sense of originality. What’s more is that no two slices are twins. I’m often reminded of the uniqueness of every slice when I am outsourcing stones.  Finding matching pair for earrings? It’s like nature’s little test, challenging me to seek out harmonious albeit imperfect combinations for the earrings I design.  

Slice diamonds draw inspiration from the rich history of polkis, a– a form of hand cut diamonds that dates back to the Mughal era. While polkis are characterized by a flat back and a thicker, faceted surface, I find that the essence of this ancient craftsmanship is reimagined within slice diamonds. Growing up in India, polki jewellery was everywhere – from gifts to my parent, to a feature in almost every bridal trousseau. But as much as I admired this ancient craftsmanship, I found the sparkle of the stones to be too harsh. In these pieces, polkis were placed on silver or gold foil backings in order to maximise their sparkle, and while exquisite though they were, never quite meshed with my style.  So here, my affection for slices took root. Swapping the foil-backed polkis for translucent slices I am able to interweave tradition with modernity and pay homage to my heritage while crafting jewellery that effortlessly resonates with contemporary aesthetics.