What does it mean to be called a "Diamond in the Rough"?
In our daily lives we come across so many metaphors without thinking twice about their meanings:
- Have your cake and eat it too
- A wolf in sheep’s clothing
- The black sheep of the family
- The icing on the cake
However, when someone refers to you as a “diamond in the rough”, you find yourself in a dilemma as to whether you should take this phrase as a compliment or an insult. Perhaps an understanding of rough diamonds and the processes they undergo before they transform into stunning gems, will shed some light on what is implied when someone refers to another person as “a diamond in the rough”.
From dull stone to brilliant gem
Buried almost one hundred miles beneath the earth’s crust, are tomorrow’s diamonds. In their most natural state, they dwell in countries like Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and India, as they await their first breath of fresh air. Approximately 130,000,000 carats (26,000 kg) of diamonds are mined annually, but only 20% of these are considered to be of gem quality.
When recovered from secondary deposits or solidified volcanic pipes, rough diamonds have dull, battered external surfaces. They are usually covered by a gummy opaque skin, and have been compared to “lumps of washing soda”. Generally speaking, diamonds are quite unattractive in their rough state. As a matter of fact, upon seeing a rough diamond, it is difficult to believe that it has the potential for transformation into a pricey radiant gem.
Diamond miners who recover and identify diamonds, do require some level of skill. However, the determination of what kind of yield a diamond will give, and an educated estimation of the color and clarity of a rough diamond, can come only from an expert gemologist with trained, keen eyes.
The irregularly shaped rough diamond that is mined from the earth bears no resemblance to the finished product that the consumer eventually sees. To create a beautiful stone, the rough diamond must be cut and polished. The result is a beautiful, fiery, brilliant gem.
After polishing, the diamonds are reclassified according to their cut, color, clarity and carat weight. The polished ones are then sold to diamond wholesalers or jewelry manufacturers in one of the 24 registered diamond exchanges around the globe.
Let your inner diamond shine
Now that you understand the diamond refining process, I think you will agree that when someone has metaphorically referred to you as a “diamond in the rough”, that person is actually taking the disguise of the keen- eyed gemologist. He sees an unpolished diamond with the potential for brilliance, and believes that with the right amount of refining and polishing, your true capacities will be unveiled.
Remember that every brilliant diamond was once a diamond in the rough, but not all stones are classified as diamonds. If someone calls you a “diamond in the rough”, take it as a compliment, and begin to take your first steps to unlace the brilliant sparkle that dwells within you.