What Is An Inclusion in A Diamond?

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Diamond clarity is an important aspect to consider when searching for the perfect diamond. One of the key characteristics of diamond clarity is inclusions. Inclusions are small imperfections within a diamond that are created due to the extreme pressure and heat that diamond's experience when they form.

Almost all diamonds have inclusions; in fact, perfectly flawless diamonds are so rare that most jewelers will never see one.

Fortunately, most inclusions can only be seen under 10x magnification, so they are unnoticeable to the naked, untrained eye. Diamonds with large inclusions, or a large number of inclusions, will have a low clarity grade. You want to avoid diamonds with fair or poor clarity grades.

At the same time, let’s take a deeper look at diamond inclusions and how professional gemologists grade them.

Types of Diamond Inclusions

Not all inclusions are made equal. Knowing more about them will help you make an informed purchase decision.

  • Pinpoint inclusions are the most common type of diamond inclusion. They are essentially tiny black spots, like blackheads on skin, which are noticeable on the table of a diamond.
  • Feather inclusions are the second most common, and possibly one for concern. They are small internal cracks, and if they are present from top to bottom, the diamond’s durability could be compromised.
  • Diamond cavities are the least common inclusion. A cavity inclusion is a small hole in the diamond, just like a tooth cavity. If you see a diamond with a cavity—don’t buy it. These type of diamond are usually considered “industrial grade” and not used in jewelry.
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How Gemologists Grade Diamond Inclusions

Reputable third-party diamond certifying labs, such as the GIA and AGSL, use a strict guideline for identifying and determining diamond inclusions. Location, the type of inclusion, and its size are all factors that could impact a diamond’s clarity grade.

The following are the four guidelines reputable gem labs use:

  • First Priority: Gemologists will first ascertain the size of the inclusion. This is a priority because the larger the diamond inclusions the more impact it has on the clarity grade.
  • Second Priority: The next priority is to identify the number of visible inclusions a diamond possesses. For instance, if a diamond has multiple on the table, the clarity grade will be less.
  • Third Priority: Gemologists will take into account where they are located on and within the diamond. Since diamonds are graded from top to bottom, an inclusion on the bottom or pavilion will be less likely to decrease the clarity grade.
  • Fourth Priority: Lastly, gemologists determine if diamond inclusions are internal or external. For instance, external inclusions, like on the table, can decrease clarity grade. However, if a diamond has no internal inclusions, it can still be graded as Internally Flawless.
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Diamond Inclusions and Value

As mentioned above, diamonds with more external inclusions will be graded accordingly. This will affect the price and subsequent value of the gem. For example, chips and breaks are far more noteworthy than something like small feathers.

It is important to understand that diamonds can also be chipped or suffer a break during setting. If you’re buying loose diamonds, be sure to have your diamond examined before and after setting to track any damage.

Key takeaways:

  • Remember that diamond inclusions are simply part of a diamond’s magnificent development. Almost all diamonds on the market will have some degree of inclusions.
  • Inclusions can take a backseat to other purchase preferences since all reputable jewelers will offer high definition imagery and GIA or AGS certifications.
  • Brilliance diamonds will mainly have clarity grades of VS1 and VS2 to ensure confidence during purchase. This follows the GIA clarity grading standard as well.
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When it comes to diamond inclusions, there are certainly key aspects to consider prior to buying that brilliant symbol of devotion. Every diamond is unique, and even their slight flaws add to their fiery beauty!

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