Knowledge, Technique, and Taste in Transit: Diamond Polishing in Europe, 1500–1800

  • Karin Hofmeester
Part of the Europe's Asian Centuries book series (EAC)


In the early modern period, diamond polishing techniques shifted from India to Europe and then from one urban centre to another. The circulation of knowledge and techniques and the people involved in these circulations are subject of this chapter. It shows how merchants, jewellers, and polishers each needed specific types of knowledge and how written sources as well as ‘learning-by-doing’ played a role in their transfer. An increasing knowledge of proportions, geometry, and refractions stimulated the development of new types of cuts, culminating in the brilliant. Equally important for innovations were the availability of various types of stones and changes in fashion. The chapter suggests therefore that new cuts developed in court workshops and circulated to other workshops via sketchbooks and engravings.


Diamond polishing Technology transfer Brilliant cut Sketchbooks Engravings 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Hofmeester
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.International Institute of Social HistoryAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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