I often get questions about polished crystal and how it differs from natural crystal. When I talk about polished crystal I am referring to crystal which has had its sides and or faces cut and polished with a machine, like the picture above.
Natural crystal is crystal which has not had its shape altered and remains the same as it was when it grew in the earth. The crystals above are natural (unpolished) crystals.
Sometimes crystal is polished because of surface dings or marring caused from the mining process. Lots of Brazilian points come to us completely polished; termination, bottom, and sides. At times just one side or face and the base (which is usually beveled as well), will be polished while the rest of the crystal is left in its natural state. Sometimes the crystal points are so damaged that they would be unusable (due to sharp edges, etc), so in these cases it is really beneficial and best for the crystal that they do this.
Many times a point will be polished into a Generator (six equal faces with a centrally located point) or even Channeler or Dow. However, while the termination may have been ground or polished externally into that shape, the internal structure is still going to have the energy of the configuration prior to the polishing.
To demonstrate, let’s take a look. Imagine a crystal in your mind’s eye. Grasp the crystal around the body, turn the crystal and look straight down into the termination of the point. Imagine it as a clock face. In a Generator crystal, for example, all the faces will come together in the middle and the tip of the crystal will be in the very center of the clock face.
Let’s imagine a crystal which has its tip or termination leaning over to one side (as the crystal in the photo below). As we know, the energy of the crystal will spiral up the body and out the tip.
Understand that this crystal which originally had a non-centrally located termination has a natural energy flow which is spiraling up and out left or right of center. If this leaning-termination-oriented crystal were physically altered, the energy would still want to come out where the termination used to be (rather than the center). If were artificially polished or ground into the shape of a Generator configuration (tip in the center of the clock face), the energy will still end up coming out the center, but it won’t be as intensely focused out the center as a crystal which occurred in that configuration naturally. In the picture, I have drawn the actual energy flow of this natural crystal point in tan. I drew in pink where they would probably trim and polish this crystal. You can see in this pretend cut and polished crystal the energy wants to come out sort of off-center so it will have to re-direct to come out the new now centrally-located tip.
This is the reason people sometimes feel that polished crystals aren’t as “powerful” as natural crystals. In truth, what they are feeling is the discrepancy between the directional flow that the artificially polished termination indicates the energy is going and the flow it actually has determined by the internal molecular structure. I think innately we feel this difference and notice something is “off” but can’t put our finger on it.
I have found the energy can seem “muted” or less intense in polished points, and I attribute that to the fact that the surface features have all been ground away. Pictured left is another natural crystal with pink energy line and tan proposed cut termination. In this example, the sides of this point would also be ground away. As you can see, Barnacles, Keys, Crystal Imprints, as well as Self Healing, Bridges and multiple terminating bases such as Extra-Terrestrials would be lost. Also lost to polishing are surface features such as Lineated Sides and Faces, Record Keepers, Etching and Sacred Sigils.
It is important to note that a polished natural quartz crystal is still sentient and still works with us but the energy may feel less “raw”, “natural” or “immediate”. There is no better or worse, there is no right or wrong. It is simply helpful to have the knowledge about the differences between the two to help you understand what you may be experiencing.
If you pick up a new crystal and it is polished or have one in your current family of crystals, sit with it a moment. Feel the energy. Decide whether it is a match for you based on how you connect, not whether or not it is natural or polished. Depending on your needs and the co-creative contract you make with the crystal, a polished point can be a very useful friend to have. You can never go wrong if you decide in the moment from a place of non-judgement. This is a good practice to follow in many areas, is it not?