What Is A Polki Diamond? Everyting You Need to Know

Polki diamonds are having a renaissance in the western jewelry market. Famous jewelry designers are talking about this brand of gemstones, and celebrities are flaunting it. But, just what is a polki diamond, and why is there so much buzz about it?

This article will explain everything you need to know about polki, from the history of these diamonds to common questions jewelry enthusiasts ask.

What Is a Polki Diamond?

Polki is an Indian word describing a raw, uncut, and unpolished diamond in its natural state. The art of using raw diamonds in jewelry dates back to more than 2,500 years ago as part of the culture and traditions of the Mughal people.

The Rajput, an upper caste of the Indian subcontinent, later picked up and popularized the art of using uncut diamonds, especially in their wedding jewelry. Eventually, the use of polki made its way to Indian royal families. The tradition is still alive and well, with the state of Rajasthan being the biggest marketplace for handcrafted jewelry adorned with raw and uncut diamonds.

Today, making polki jewelry has been updated, and the diamonds resemble modern diamond cuts such as the round brilliant, cushion, and princess cuts.

In the past, polkis were used in their natural, unfaceted form. But, many of those used in modern western jewelry-making are laser-cut to proportional pieces, polished, and faceted lightly. The result is more brilliant and clearer polkis with fewer inclusions than the traditional ones.

The three types of polkis are Syndicate, Zimbabwe, and Khilwas. Syndicate is the highest quality polki. Zimbabwe polki comes in second and refers to diamonds coming from Zimbabwe in Africa. The lowest quality polkis are known as khilwas.

Tips For Choosing Polki Diamonds

Tips For Choosing Polki Diamonds

Polki diamonds are valued based on color, clarity, and treatment.

Color

The most important consideration when choosing a polki diamond is color. Generally, in their natural unpolished state, polkis tend to be brown or yellowish. Clearer polkis with the least visible color are preferred and fetch more value than those with color.

Clarity

Clarity refers to the ratio of inclusions in a diamond. Polki diamonds are unpolished and unfaceted and will therefore show inclusions. Jewelry designers prefer using polkis with the least amount of inclusions. The fewer the inclusions, the more valuable the polki is. Clarity is so important that it is often valued over carat weight when valuing polki diamonds. Jewelers value a raw uncut diamond with fewer inclusions than one with too many inclusions and a high carat weight.

Treatment

Sometimes, polki diamonds are treated to enhance their appearance. Jewelry designers insert an amount of filler to improve the stone’s clarity and color. Khilwas polki receives the most treatment because it has too much visible color and inclusions and wouldn’t look the best when making commercial-grade jewelry.

Are Polki Diamonds Different From Natural Cut Diamonds?

A polki diamond and a cut diamond are fundamentally the same, but there are some differences between the two. Both are natural, but traditional polki diamonds are unmodified—they are uncut, unpolished, and unfaceted.

On the other hand, cut diamonds are natural, but they are polished, faceted, and modified from the rough and raw state to a polished, brilliant, and sought-after gem. As a result of these modifications, natural cut diamonds reflect more light and have a brilliant appearance. Polki diamonds lack this sparkle; what they do have is a raw, rustic, old-world appeal increasingly sought-after in the jewelry markets in the east and west.

Are Polkis Worth Buying?

Are Polkis Worth Buying

Although polki are diamonds in their raw, natural, and purest state, they are surprisingly less expensive than cut diamonds and, in some cases, may not be worth much. The reason is that polkis tend to be cloudy, lack clarity, have a lower color grade, and don’t have the faceting that makes diamonds attractive. As mentioned earlier, the GIA does not grade polkis using the 4Cs, making them less valuable than ordinary cut diamonds.

In light of this, is a polki diamond worth buying? If you buy these raw diamonds hoping to make a profit later, they are not worth buying. These raw, uncut, and unpolished diamonds do not have a resale value—once you buy one, you cannot resell it back to the owner or anyone else. Unlike cut diamonds, polki diamonds cannot be melted, repurposed, or reused elsewhere the same way that cut diamonds would.

Polki jewelry can be repurposed or spruced up by cutting the joints of the jewelry and rearranging them differently. But, this might not be possible if the jewelry has meena work, which can be spoilt if the jewelry is cut up and rejoined.

That said, polki jewelry can sometimes be more expensive than other types of wedding jewelry, yet polkis, as we have seen, don’t have much value in themselves. What makes polkis comparably expensive is making the jewelry, which is technical, time-consuming, and few people are skilled at this art.

Polkis may not be worth much compared to cut diamonds, but they tend to hold quite some sentimental value, especially if a piece is passed on as an heirloom from one generation to the next. So, all in all, it may not be worthwhile to invest in polki diamond for profit, but if you are after a piece of jewelry that oozes old-world charm, then you might get value for your money.

Outside of India, from where polkis originate, these raw diamonds used in high-end jewelry are rapidly gaining popularity. Sellers and buyers are considering factors such as clarity and carat to determine the price of polki diamond. As more and more jewelry lovers in the west and other parts of the world learn about polki, these raw and uncut diamonds will become more valuable.

What’s The Difference: Polki, Kundan, and Jadau

The terms polki diamond, Kundan, and jadau are often used interchangeably, but they all have different meanings.

Like polki, kundan is a type of jewelry native to India. The jewelry is made using glass, gemstones, and refined 24k gold known as Kundan. The glass and gemstones are mounted onto gold foils, giving them a shiny and refined appearance.

The backside of Kundan jewelry is designed using an enameling artwork technique known as meenakari, making it possible to wear the jewelry both ways.

The highly refined 24k gold used to make the jewelry is very bright and attractive, making Kundan jewelry seem extremely valuable. In the real sense, the gold content in the jewelry is very low, and the stones tend to be the most dominant aspect of the jewelry. As such, Kundan is not as expensive as you might expect it to be, just as is the case with polki diamonds.  But, like polki, some Kundan antique jewelry, especially those with authentic meenakari, can fetch quite a good amount of money.

The main difference between the two is Polki jewelry is made using raw, uncut diamond, while Kundan jewelry uses glass and non-diamond gemstone. The diamond and gold in polki jewelry may not be worth as much, but Polki is more expensive than Kundan. Kundan, like polki, does not subscribe to the 4Cs, which makes both less valuable than expected.

Compared to cut and polished diamonds, polkis have many inclusions, a lower color grade, and lack the brilliance diamonds are known for. Still, polki diamonds are brighter in appearance than Kundan, but Kundan jewelry’s gold setting is clearer and shinier.

Polkis also have a more natural and raw appearance, with each stone possessing its own beauty. Kundan, on the other hand, looks glassier but still makes for beautiful jewelry. Another common feature is that both types of jewelry feature meenakari artwork on the underside, making the jewelry more beautiful and valuable.

Another common term in Indian jewelry making is jadau. This term is mistakenly used to describe jewelry, but jadau isn’t jewelry; rather, it is the technique and skill used to create kundan and polki jewelry. ‘Jad’ means embedded, which is the method craftsmen use to make jewelry. The process is complex and cumbersome, making the final product too pricey for the ordinary person.

So, should you choose polki or Kundan?

Kundan and polki diamond jewelry have pros and cons that you should consider when deciding which one to invest in. Kundan is mostly costume jewelry and is best worn during occasions and events such as weddings. These large, chunky pieces of jewelry may not be the best for everyday wear.

Polki diamond jewelry is also very popular among brides and can be clad during weddings and other such celebrations. However, there are plenty of choices for polki diamonds that you can wear every day.

You should also consider your budget when choosing between polki and Kundan. Polki is comparably pricier because it is brilliant and is made using natural diamonds. If you are on a budget, Kundan jewelry might give you value for money.

Summary

Polki has strong links to traditional Indian rites, rituals, and celebrations. But, these jewelry designs are rapidly making their way into the contemporary fashion scene.

Modern jewelry designers are recreating polki with attributes such as wearability, versatility, and functionality in mind. So, if you are looking for polki diamond with a modern rendition, you can be sure to find a jeweler with just the piece you are looking for.

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