|This article is about the current version of DF.|
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A gem cutter is the profession of a dwarf whose highest skill is in gem cutting. Performed at a Jeweler's workshop, gem cutting is the basis of the gem industry, turning mildly valuable gem clusters you find as you mine away rock into valuable decorations for furniture and trade goods. It is the counterpart to gem setting; together, the two belong to the category profession of the Jeweler, and indeed if a dwarf has a relatively balanced skill level in both, they will be known as a Jeweler. (More often than not, migrants who are skilled in gem cutting will also be similarly skilled in gem setting.)
Large amounts of mining are bound to produce dozens of rough gems, so gem cutting is a method of developing wealth quickly, especially for new players. Cutting and encrusting with a gem more than triples the value of the rough gem, which is then multiplied by a quality modifier based on the gem setter's skill. A masterwork gem decoration is worth 40x the value of the original rough gem.
Cutting a gem can result in a cut gem, a large gem, or a gem craft. Cut gems are the most likely, and are used by a gem setter in creating gem windows and encrusting other objects. Large gems and gem crafts are only created one-third of the time. Large gems are currently only useful for trade. The skill level of a gem cutter affects the cutting speed, and quality of large gems and gem crafts, but not the quantity of crafts produced1.
Gem cutters can cut not only gems proper, but regular stone and glass as well. Although cut stone is next to worthless, it still provides experience points, and can be used to keep a jeweler busy while you mine out a fresh batch of gems. It is also the only way to decorate with stone, and an easy way to create windows without fuel or sand. However, with a magma and a sand source, raw green glass can be mass-produced, which is worth the exact same as the cheapest gems.
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How one cuts gems without a chisel or any other tool is a source of much study. The predominant theory is that dwarven teeth, sharpened and conditioned by years of eating the tough flesh of plump helmets, function as a crude cutting tool hard enough to cut diamonds. This is followed by polishing the gem using the tough fibers of their beards, just as it's used to smooth surfaces.