The Power of a Princess CutMay 31, 2019
How to choose the Perfect Engagement RingJuly 23, 2019
What your diamond does with light (how much it sparkles) is greatly influenced by the elements of polish and symmetry
Diamonds are discovered from deep inside the earth to be refined to an exquisite finished gem.
Symmetry and polish are key aspects of cut that come together as the all-important culmination of this journey. Diamond polish occurs after the diamond is cut, and achieves a brilliantly smooth surface.
That said, it’s not uncommon for the process of polishing to leave behind flaws, but these are so minuscule they can’t be seen by the naked eye.
Common polishing marks
Gemologists use extremely high magnification to evaluate the extent of polishing marks, which will help them determine the overall grade of the stone.
Common polishing marks include:
Scratch – An almost transparent white line
Nick – A tiny notch found on girdle or facet junctions
Abrasion – A collection of nicks at a facet junction
Lizard skin – A bumpy texture on the diamond’s surface
Rough girdle – An unpolished girdle
Burn marks – A white haze on the gem’s surface caused by the polishing wheel’s high temperatures
Pit – A small opening in the surface of the diamond, usually caused by minute inclusions falling out during the process of polishing
When we refer to diamond symmetry, we’re talking about the alignment and conformity of facets on a finished gem. But although symmetry is desirable, diamond cutters sometimes sacrifice symmetry in order to achieve the highest grade from the rough stone.
Symmetry flaws are planned and calculated ‘mistakes’ so that a cutter can retain weight and get rid of inclusions.
And the winner is…
So which is more important to the final look and value of a diamond – symmetry or polish? This question doesn’t really have a straightforward answer. That’s because the two aspects work together to achieve the same end goal. Facets and angles direct light through a diamond, while its polish ultimately determines how brilliant that light shows up.
You could have a near flawless polish, but if a diamond is riddled with asymmetry then it will still look dull. However, if you’re pressed to make a choice then polish would have to win out.
The reason for this is that a diamond’s brilliance is reduced when it’s not properly polished, whereas asymmetry is common and doesn’t really affect the overall look of the gem.
Take a look at our Diamond Cut article to find out all the factors one should consider when selecting the perfect cut and if you're looking for different examples of symmetry and polish, browse through our collections, here.