Precious stones are born with flaws, a fact that has been around for thousands of years. So, it is completely normal for a diamond to have some imperfections, speaking of which, are caused by a range of factors that have played their part in the process of the stone’s development. Only a small percentage of the diamond offer on the market is labeled “Internally Flawless”, featuring outstanding clarity characteristics. But, at the same time, flawless diamonds are the most expensive ones and are not affordable for everyone.
“What are the different types of diamond inclusions?”, “How they affect the overall price and value of the jewelry piece?”, “How to identify them?”. All these and much more will be discovered in the lines that follow. Stay tuned.
WHAT ARE DIAMOND INCLUSIONS?
Diamond inclusions are particles of minerals, crystals and other elements that make part of the stone’s inner structure. They are commonly seen as flaws that do not allow the diamond to reach its optimal quality and value. Sometimes, they are so tiny that are not visible to the naked eye. But sometimes, they can be so striking that it might lead to changing the whole perception of diamond’s beauty. In general, inclusions and blemishes are not desired for any type of diamond, because they can interfere with the light passing through the stone and decline its sparkle for which this precious stone is most desired for. The second major downside of a diamond having inclusions is vulnerability, meaning an increased risk of scratching and chipping. That is why it is very important to be familiar with the diamond inside, so that you can easily detect any existing flaws and protect the success and quality of your purchase.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIAMOND INCLUSIONS?
There is a range of inclusions that can occur within a diamond, so let's say a word or two about the most frequent ones.
They appear as hair-like lines in the area around the girdle, hence, the name. Bearding inclusions do not happen while the stone develops deep down the Earth’s mantle, they occur during the cutting process as a result of improper diamond bruting. They usually showcase grayish color, which is actually, the main factor that determines the stone’s appearance. The darker the beard, the less alluring the diamond, as simple as that.
As the name suggests, cavity is a type of inclusion which appears as a hole in the stone. So, how this hole is formed? There is just one possible answer to this question; it is during the polishing process of the diamond when a crystal particle splits from the stone’s body and creates a void on its surface. Removing cavities from diamonds can be done, but this would mean losing more diamond mass, which will consequently affect its price and value. In diamond cutting, most artisans prefer to save as much diamond mass as possible, even if that would mean to doom it with a lower clarity grade. The reason? A larger diamond brings more money, obviously. Of course, this should not be always the case, because some diamonds feature large, too evident cavities that have to be removed, as they will burden the stone’s overall performance.
A cloud in a diamond represents a cluster of internal inclusions that look like pinpoints. Generally, they are harmless and do not have a negative impact on the stone, but there are rare cases when they do. For instance, if a cloud is too large or too dense, it can make the diamond appear murky and diminish the transmission of light within. Cloud is a type of inclusion that makes part of diamond’s clarity properties.
This is a shallow gap on the diamond’s surface, usually located near the culet and girdle. Diamond inclusions like this one do not occur during the stone’s development, but are man-made. Therefore, a diamond gets chipped by an improper wear, accidental knocks mostly.
Diamond is often described as a crystal or mineral, but sometimes, a diamond can feature tiny bits of different minerals within its structure that are called “crystals”. The actual difference is in the chemical properties of these crystals which are not the same as the chemical properties of diamond. Some of the most common types of crystal inclusions in diamonds are particles of black carbon, red garnet and green peridot. Since they are all colored, they are not desired for a diamond, because the presence of any color rather than white will lower the color grade of the stone. This is one of the first rules in diamond grading.
A feather inclusion is a type of tiny fracture within the stone. Small feathers are transparent and are almost invisible to the naked eye, while others are white-colored and are more transparent. The way a feather inclusion appears partially depends on the viewing angle of the stone, as the light direction changes and consequently, it changes the color of the feather. In extreme cases, feather inclusions have a negative impact on diamond durability, especially if located near the girdle or if they reach the surface. According to the diamond grading report, feather is the most common inclusion in natural diamonds.
Irregular crystallization during the diamond’s development is the reason for it to contain grain lines, which are considered the second less-desired diamond inclusions after the cloud. They decline the stone’s overall clarity grade, hence the importance of being not just aware, but also educated on their existence. Grain lines, popularly known as “graining”, can appear white or colored. As you can already imagine, colored graining is more dangerous for a diamond’s clarity than white graining and it can also interfere with the stone’s overall beauty. Severe graining appears in the form of reflection or creases.
This type of inclusion is long, thin and needle-shaped. It can be transparent or colored, but the best thing about it is that it can be seen only at 10x magnification. Therefore, needles are the less dangerous diamond inclusions of all and they have almost no impact on the stone’s beauty, sparkle and value. But, if they appear in cluster, then it is a whole different story. The consequences will be greater to the extent that they can destroy the diamond’s clarity, which is, undoubtedly, the worst-case scenario ever. Needle inclusions are most common for si2 diamonds.
Another type of inclusion that is formed as the diamond grows. That is why it is often referred to as “growth defect”. Twinning wisps occur under unfavorable conditions during the stone’s process of formation and are manifested by taking the growth pattern in a different direction. Twinning wisps are generally, a mixture of various diamond inclusions, such as feathers, pinpoints and clouds.
Hopefully, this guide helped you to better understand the importance of diamond inclusions for the quality and reliability of your next purchase. For any questions or concerns, get in touch with the KobelliTeam at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for stopping by!
Photo credit: GIA