Among brilliantly shining diamonds, melee can play a supporting role to other gemstones,
or a number of them may be set together to become beautiful jewelry.

“Melee” refers to small diamonds of less than 0.2 carats, and these are considered separately from other diamonds. Melee diamond is used in jewelry that is designed with several diamonds set together, or as side stones used to emphasize other colored stones. In fact, melee diamonds are used in almost all of the jewelry appearing in this book, so it is important that they not be overlooked when discussing gemstones.

After the Second World War, melee diamond was polished in Antwerp, Belgium, as well as in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. But due to production costs rising with the economic resurgence following the war, Idar-Oberstein has since lost its place as a diamond cutting center. Meanwhile, India’s polishing production grew rapidly during the 1960s. Progress has continued due to factors such as low production costs, outstanding management, and a traditional understanding of jewelry, with over one million people involved in the polishing industry during its peak. Even now, India represents over 90 percent of the world’s melee diamond polishing industry in production quality.

Incidentally, the melee diamonds that are supplied to India by De Beers, the diamond syndicate that distributes about 70 percent of the world’s rough diamonds, are rough stones that take time to polish because of their small size and irregular shape. Melee rough with good appearance and uniform size is sent to polishing factories in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently there are about 5,000 cutters in Bangkok, producing melee diamond such as those on the next page that are superbly cut from high-quality rough. Large quantities of full-cut melee with 58 facets for use in high-end jewelry, as well as single-cut melee diamonds used in expensive watches, are polished in Bangkok, attesting to the high quality of cutting there.

It is thanks to the low production costs in India and Thailand that we can currently purchase a piece of jewelry containing a number of fairly high-quality melee diamonds at prices as low as $2,000 to $3,000.

Ring, Gold
Diamond 25 pc
2.19 ct
US $7,000