Diamond Inclusions

Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2021 in Diamond.

Like a fingerprint, every diamond is unique. One of the main contributing factors to a diamond’s individuality is its inclusions. An inclusion is an internal characteristic that is created during the formation stage of a diamond. They tell a story of the diamond’s journey from about 100 miles beneath the earth to its surface. Inclusions help gemologists separate natural diamonds from synthetic ones and are evaluated (along with any external blemishes) to determine the clarity grade of a particular diamond. Gemologists assess the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these inclusions and assign one of the following eleven clarity grades to a diamond:

  • Flawless (FL): No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF): No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • Very, Very Slightly Included(VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1and VS2): Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1and SI2): Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3): Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

A diamond’s inclusions and clarity grade help determine the value of a diamond. Typically, the fewer inclusions a diamond contains, the more valuable that diamond will be. Almost all diamonds contain inclusions. It’s extremely rare to find a flawless diamond completely free of inclusions. However, it’s important to note that even though most diamonds contain inclusions, there’s a good chance that these inclusions cannot be seen without a microscope. You likely won’t be able to tell the difference between a VS and SI diamond by just looking at it without the assistance of a microscope. Because of that, some diamond buyers feel more confident about selecting a diamond with a lower clarity grade instead of compromising on a different quality factor, like diamond cut or carat weight.

Inclusions come in all shapes and sizes. That’s why no two diamonds are exactly alike. Some of the most common varieties of diamond inclusions include:

  • Feather: An often white and feathery break in a gemstone

feather inclusion

  • Crystal: A mineral crystal located within a diamond

Crystal inclusion

  • Cloud: A shallow opening typically located at the girdle edge, facet junction, or culet that is caused by damage to the diamond’s surface

cloud diamond inclusion

  • Needle: A thin, elongated crystal that looks like a tiny rod

needle inclusion

  • Pinpoint: A very small crystal that looks like a tiny dot

pinpoint diamond inclusion

  • Knot: A white or transparent diamond crystal that extends to the surface after fashioning

knot inclusion diamond

  • Grain Center: A small white or dark concentrated area of crystal distortion that might have a thread-like or pinpoint-like appearance

grain center inclusion

  • Bruise: A tiny area of impact accompanied by very small, root-like feathers that typically occur at the facet junction

bruise inclusion

  • Bearded Girdle: Very small feathers that extend from the girdle surface into the stone

bearded girdle inclusion

  • Indented Natural: A portion of the diamond’s original surface that dips below a polished diamond’s surface

indented natural inclusion

  • Internal Graining: Lines, angles, or curves that might appear white, colored, or reflective and are caused by irregularities in crystal growth

internal graining inclusion

  • Internal Laser Drilling: A surface-reaching feather caused by a process used to diminish the visibility of an inclusion

internal laser drilling inclusion

  • Laser Drill Hole: A tiny, surface-reaching tunnel produced by a laser light beam

laser drill hole inclusion

  • Twinning Wisp: A series of pinpoints, clouds, or crystals that form in a diamond’s growth place

twinning wisp inclusion