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 pave-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 micropave jewelry designs.
Grunberger says jewelry makers 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.
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
Professional Jeweler March 2005