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How to Read the Symmetry and Polish of Your Diamond

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How to Read the Symmetry and Polish of Your Diamond

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend or so they say. But those who really know diamonds know that they are not all cut the same. It’s not just the cut that matters, either. There are four conditions typically used to judge a diamond, called the 4Cs. They are: cut, clarity, carat weight, and color. How a diamond reflects light and even the overall shape are important. When choosing a diamond, these factors will affect the price scale. Is it crooked? Is one side higher? When you’re checking for the polish (think shininess) and the symmetry (does it make an even diamond shape). Below are a few tips on how to judge your rock by its symmetry and polish.

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Why Does Polish Even Matter?

The polish on a diamond directly relates to how it’s priced. Think of the polish as the cherry on top of a sundae. It was nice before, but becomes better with the extra touch. The polish of a diamond will also affect how well your diamond does when set with other stones. The more clarity and brilliance the diamond has, the stronger it makes the other gems seem. A strong diamond polish will make the other gems, like rubies or sapphires, also pop and create an even more luxurious look.

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Hand Polishing vs. Polishing Wheel

But how is it done? Before you get the rag and the glass cleaner out, know that polishing is something done by professionals. Generally, this happens during the cutting and shaping process. The cutter has two options when choosing how to polish a diamond: hand polish or a polishing wheel[1]. Both are a bit like using high-grade sandpaper but hand polishing allows for more control. Also, hand polishing is best when the diamond is already on track to being highly valued, in terms of brilliance and smoothness. A polishing wheel is definitely faster and uses industrial-strength diamonds to brighten them. It’s during this specific step that the value placed on a diamond can either fall or rise dramatically. It’s just a matter of how well the cutter does his job.

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What Can a Polish Can Do?

A polish will determine the value and grade of a diamond. Sometimes, a cutter may even try to pass off a diamond as better than it is because you can’t see the fine marks on the diamond’s surface. You can, however, feel them, as there will be streaks or ridges in the table. This is why the polishing step is so vital because it may successfully buff out any imperfections to reach a grade of excellent or it might add some scuffs that result in only being labeled good or very good. These rankings determine how your diamond is priced and in general, you’ll want to purchase a stone marked excellent.

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Types of Diamond Symmetry

When referring to diamond symmetry[2], what you’re looking for is the perfect setting of the top (called a crown) and the bottom (the pointy tip end called a pavilion) when they join together in the middle (called a girdle). When the crown and pavilion are properly set, they create the traditional diamond shape that we all know.  The flat top of diamond is called a table and must also be perfectly parallel with the girdle in order to get the right effect. But if any of these three factors are off (maybe a girdle is too wide or the pavilion’s angles are not uniform), your diamond will be considered asymmetrical.

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Judging By the Naked eye

Just by looking casually at a diamond, you will likely not be able to tell if the pavilion’s angles are misaligned or if the girdle has waves. While you need magnification to see the exact matching up of points within the diamond, there is one thing you will be able to determine without it. When diamonds are asymmetrical, their internal structure is weak and it’s considered that the points fold over themselves and create blocks. This means there are extra obstacles to light passing through the stone. This lack of symmetry means your diamond will not sparkle as well as it could if it were properly aligned and had a grade of excellent[3].

Featured photo credit: Angeljana/Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Gia: Diamond Polish and Symmetry Abbreviations
[2] Your Diamond Teacher: Diamond Symmetry
[3] DocPlayer: Polish and Symmetry Craftsmanship

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