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When to Choose a Sintered Bur over a Plated Bur

When to Choose a Sintered Bur over a Plated Bur

sintered diamond burs

Sintered Diamond Bur Vs. Electroplated Diamond Bur

What is the difference between a sintered bur and a plated bur? Why are sintered burs so much more expensive? Are they worth the cost? When should I use them instead of plated burs? These are all questions that most beginner gemstone carvers ask. In this article we are going to go over everything you need to know about sintered diamond burs and plated diamond burs.

What is a Sintered Bur?

A sintered diamond bur has several layers of diamond particles spread throughout the head of the bur to make it longer lasting and more durable. The layers of high-quality diamond grit slowly reveal themselves as your wear the bur down during cutting. This makes it cut very different compared to a plated bur.  A good sintered diamond bur will cut cleaner, more precise, and faster than a plated bur. Sintered diamond burs can be used to cut a wide range of different materials including hard woods, porcelain, gemstone/rock, and glass. Sintered diamond burs can be redressed with an aluminum oxide stick to bring the diamond particles back to the surface of the bur.

What is a Plated Bur?

A plated diamond bur has a diamond grit layer electroplated to the surface of the bur. A plated bur, once used and worn, will not cut anymore. Or when they start getting old they will start cutting slower. This is because the diamond on the bur is merely a thin layer of diamond grit that can be worn off after a few uses. Plated diamond burs are usually much cheaper and easier to find. 

Why are Sintered Burs expensive? Are they worth it?

As mentioned before, plated diamond burs are usually 4-5x cheaper than a sintered diamond bur. So are sintered burs worth it?

Sintered burs have been proven to last 5-10x longer than a plated bur. Sintered diamond burs will never get dull like a plated bur. Since there are diamond particles evenly mixed throughout the entire head of the sintered bur, even when you start wearing away the outer skin there is more diamond underneath to show itself. This means that even when you have worn away 95% of the bur, it will still be cutting the same as when you first bought it!

So sintered diamond burs are completely worth the price, especially if you are doing detailed carving. 

When Should I Use Sintered Diamond Burs?

Each diamond bur has its own responsibility when cutting. Most gemstone carvers like to do their initial rough carving with plated diamond burs. This way they do not have to waste their sintered burs on trying to take away large amounts of material. Use a range of plated diamond burs to get your initial shape and carving. Then go back with a sintered bur to clean up your lines and cuts. 

Gemstone carvers also like plated burs for large gemstone carvings because it is easier and more cost effective to get large plated burs than it is to get large sintered burs. Plated burs, even though they don't last as long, are still very effective cutting tools. There are professional gemstone carvers who do not use sintered burs at all! 

Sintered burs tend to cut much cleaner than a plated bur which allows you to do fine detailed work without having to worry about chipping the gemstone. They also are essential when you are carving a gemstone that is soft or has challenging cleavage planes. The sintered bur will be more precise when trying to cut small, detailed lines in a gemstone. Use the sintered diamond bur whenever you are worried about the gemstone chipping or when you are trying to get extreme detail.

Fire agate cutters love sintered diamond burs because of the precision they need in order to reveal the colors within the gemstone. Jade cutters also love sintered diamond burs because they can expand their designs further when cutting.


In conclusion, both a sintered diamond bur and a plated diamond bur are essential when doing a gemstone carving. They will both do the same thing, however how effectively they get it done will change drastically depending on which one you are using. Plated diamond burs are great for beginner gemstone carvers because they will keep your cost down and perform just fine. As a beginner, you will also not notice a huge difference between the two burs. 

However, if you are an experienced gemstone cutter, then Cutting Edge Supply suggests adding a few sintered burs to your arsenal of tools. Sintered diamond burs will last 5-10X longer than a plated bur and they will perform more efficiently.

Find sintered diamond burs here at Cutting Edge Supply. We have a wide variety of different shapes, sizes, grits, and even brands to choose from. If you are looking to expand your sintered bur collection, check out our Cutting Edge Supply Sintered Bur Wallet to find 115pcs of different sintered diamond burs.

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