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The diamond symmetry rating on the lab report refers to the precision that the facets of a diamond are aligned with each other. However, it is primarily an indication of meet-point-symmetry that is based on how well the points of the align at the junction points. It also takes into account factors such as crown/pavilion angle variation and misshapen or misaligned facets.

As a matter of fact, most people wrongly assume that diamond symmetry is the consistency of facet shape, size, and alignment. Consequently, the term for that type of symmetry is optical precision and the labs don't take that into account. Be that as it may, optical precision is a critical component of light performance as can be seen in the examples below:

Recommended
AGS Ideal Diamond Symmetry Black by Brian Gavin.

Ideal Diamond Symmetry Black by Brian Gavin.

GIA Very Good Diamond Symmetry Grade.

Blue Nile Diamond Symmetry Very Good.

GIA Very Good Diamond Symmetry Grade James Allen.

James Allen Diamond Symmetry Very Good.

Obviously, there is a dramatic difference in the overall appearance and sparkle factor of these diamonds. Be that as it may, they all have proportions in the middle of the spectrum for the ideal cut rating. In that case, we know that the difference is due to the degree of diamond symmetry and optical precision. As can be seen, the Black by Brian Gavin Diamond is the clear cut winner.

Diamond Symmetry Grades:

Most laboratory issued diamond grading reports rate symmetry on a scale that include ratings such as Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent or Ideal. In general, the determining factors of each grade are as follows:

AGS Ideal & GIA Excellent Symmetry:

Black by Brian Gavin Diamond Fire.

Black by Brian Gavin Diamond Symmetry Ideal.

As a matter of fact, the industry standard for diamond grading is 10x magnification. In that case, there should not be any misshapen or misaligned facets visible under 10x magnification.

Consequently, you might be able to see something under higher degrees of magnification. The same principle holds true for diamond clarity characteristics. Although that may be true, we tend to use higher degrees of magnification when evaluating diamond symmetry.

That's because it can be very difficult to detect slight variations in facet alignment and structure using only 10x magnification. Be that as it may, we then have to scale down the magnification to make a proper assessment of diamond symmetry.

Super ideal cut puppies like this Black by Brian Gavin Diamond are brighter because of the higher degree of symmetry. In that case, there is an obvious benefit to focusing on diamonds with the highest overall cut grade.

Very Good Symmetry:

Example of GIA Very Good Diamond Symmetry.

Very Good Diamond Symmetry from Blue Nile.

The spectrum for very good diamond symmetry allows for one or two minor symmetry characteristics that are visible under 10x magnification. As stated previously, most diamond graders use higher degrees of magnification to locate these areas more easily.

On the left, is the GIA diamond grading report for the diamond shown above in the middle of the row. It's a 1.22 carat, H-color, VS-2 clarity, from Blue Nile with GIA Very Good diamond symmetry.

As you can see, we circled the very good symmetry grade in red for your reference. In addition, the polish and overall cut grade are also very good. Be that as it may, it's obvious why we recommend a minimum of Excellent/Ideal diamond symmetry.

Consequently, some people say that it's practically impossible to distinguish between the diamond symmetry grades. However, I think that the examples provided at the top of the page speak for themselves. Perhaps those other people don't have anything better to offer, or they simply don't know better?

Good Symmetry:

Example of Good Diamond Symmetry James Allen.

Example Good Diamond Symmetry James Allen.

The photograph on the left is an example of GIA Good diamond symmetry. In this case, it's a 1.10 carat, E-color, VS-2 clarity, round diamond from James Allen. That is not to say that this is typical of James Allen Diamonds. After all, they offer a broad selection of options in all the different diamond symmetry grades.

As you can see, numerous inconsistencies of facet alignment and shape are visible here under 35x magnification. In this case, the lower diamond symmetry grade is creating a substantial amount of obstruction under the table facet. As indicated by the red arrows that we added to this photograph.

Consequently, this diamond has proportions in the middle of the spectrum for the zero ideal cut rating. However, the heavy concentration of obstruction and a myriad of misaligned facets combine to make this diamond look dark.

Fair Symmetry:

Diamonds with fair symmetry will exhibit numerous inconsistencies in facet shape and alignment. In that case, the luster will be below average and less impressive than the examples shown above.

Poor Symmetry:

Obviously, there will be a significant amount of misaligned and misshapen facets. As a result, the luster is likely to be minimal and the diamond will lack life.

AGS Numerical Diamond Symmetry Scale:

The American Gem Society Laboratory (AGS) uses a numerical system to represent the Symmetry Grade of the diamonds that they evaluate. The numerical grades and associated degree of visibility of the Symmetry Characteristics are as follows:

  • AGS-0 Ideal: Extremely difficult to locate under 10x magnification.
  • AGS-1 Excellent: Very difficult to locate under 10x magnification.
  • AGS-2 Very Good: Difficult to locate under 10x magnification.
  • AGS-3 Good: Relatively easy to see under 10x, not visible to the unaided eye.
  • AGS-4 Good: Easy to see under 10x, extremely difficult to see with unaided eye.
  • AGS-5 Fair: Very easy to see under 10x, very difficult to see with unaided eye.
  • AGS-6 Fair: Obvious under 10x, difficult to see with the unaided eye.
  • AGS-7 Fair: Relatively easy to see without magnification.
  • AGS-8 Poor: Easy to see without magnification.
  • AGS-9 & AGS-10 Poor: Obvious to the unaided eye.

Obviously, we recommend a diamond symmetry grade of either AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent. At the very least, the symmetry rating of the diamond you select should be Very Good.

It goes without saying that a diamond symmetry grade of AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent is going to cost a little more than one that is Very Good. That is, of course, taking into account that the other characteristics of the diamond are comparable. That's because it can take up to 4X longer to on the wheel to create better diamond symmetry.

Although that may be true, better diamond symmetry will improve the visual performance. Consequently, we tend to clump round brilliant cut diamonds with proportions within the range we recommend into the ideal cut classification. Assuming that they also have AGS Ideal or GIA Excellent polish and symmetry.

Criteria for the Overall Cut Grade:

  1. 1
    Polish.
  2. 2
    Proportions.
  3. 3
    Symmetry.
  4. 4
    Light Performance.

Factors of Diamond Symmetry:

As stated previously, the symmetry grade is primarily an indication of meet-point symmetry. In other words, the grader determines the grade by evaluating how well the facets meet-up at the junction points.

Although that may be true the diamond symmetry grade is also based on factors such as: 

  • Crown angle/height variation (unequal crown angles).
  • Extra facet (not required by the cutting style).
  • Girdle thickness variation (inconsistent variation).
  • Lower half girdle facet variation (inconsistent).
  • Misaligned facets and junction points.
  • Misshapen facets (inconsistencies within the facet group).
  • Missing facets (as it affects asymmetry).
  • Non-Octagonal Table Facet.
  • Non-Pointing (facets fail to connect)
  • Out-of-Round (deviation from the circular shape).
  • Pavilion angle/depth variation.
  • Star angle/percentage variation.
  • Table Off-center (table alignment left/right).
  • Unequal upper half facet angles.
  • Uneven Outline ("out of round" like a flat tire).

As you would expect, the GIA has some great examples of these diamond symmetry characteristics for your reference.


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