What Are Inclusions In Diamonds?

What Are Inclusions In Diamonds?

Inclusions are small flaws, imperfections, or impurities in a diamond. Most inclusions result from the natural process of how diamonds are formed in the extreme heat and pressure of the earth's mantle. The intensity of the conditions necessary to create them is what gives diamonds their hardness, and is also why nearly all diamonds have inclusions. Some imperfections considered "inclusions" are also created due to errors in the process of cutting and polishing a diamond, including chips and laser drill holes.

What Do Inclusions Look Like?

The appearance of a diamond inclusion, if visibly detectable, depends on the type, size, and location of the inclusion. Each type of inclusion has different features, and some may require examination by an expert to be identified. Inclusions are more visible when they are located in the center or on the table of a diamond. In some diamonds, inclusions are clearly visible without magnification. However, many diamonds with inclusions are considered "eye clean", meaning no inclusions can be seen without 10 to 30X magnification. 

Types Of Inclusions

Feather:

A feather inclusion is the general term for any fracture in a diamond that  appears white. 

Crystal:

Diamonds can include other minerals and crystals, even precious stones. 

Needle:

A crystal inclusion that is thin, elongated, and rod-like in appearance.

Cloud:

Many closely grouped pinpoints that appear as a cloudy or hazy spot.

Diamond Cavities:

Tiny holes that extend to the surface of the diamond. This rare type of inclusion can damage the diamond's integrity and is best to avoid.

Internal Graining:

Caused by irregularities during the growth of a diamond. Internal graining can affect transparency and create distortion in the form of lines, curves, or angles. 

Pinpoints:

Tiny crystals that look like small, dark dots. 

How Do Diamond Inclusions Affect Clarity

Among the 4Cs by which diamonds are graded, cut trumps clarity, but clarity is the second-most important factor. Inclusions in diamond affect clarity, so they are the primary focus of clarity grading. Less than half of one percent of all diamonds are graded as internally flawless, and far fewer are graded as flawless. 

Because of the extreme jump in price, it may not be worth the money to purchase a flawless diamond even if you find one. Chances are you won't be able to tell the difference between a flawless diamond and an eye-clean diamond with a very, very slight inclusion.  

There are six categories of grades for clarity, some of which are followed by a number. For example, a VS1 diamond is a better grade than a VS2. 

Diamond Clarity Chart:

  • FL – Flawless
  • IF – Internally Flawless
  • VVS1 & VVS2 – Very, Very Slightly Included
  • VS1 & VS2– Very Slightly Included
  • SI1 & SI2 – Slightly Included
  • I1, I2, & I3 – Included

 

The Unusual Appeal of Inclusions

If you truly want a perfect diamond, you may want to consider a diamond that is lab-grown. Lab-grown diamonds are affordable, sustainable, and conflict-free. If you're set on a natural diamond, there's no need to worry about the presence of inclusions. Inclusions make each diamond special, and certain buyers find them appealing.

There's no doubt that inclusions will save you thousands of dollars when purchasing a diamond, and you may actually love the way your included diamond looks. "Salt and pepper" diamonds may have hundreds of inclusions, which create a very unique look that fits the name. In these diamonds, the omnipresence of inclusions is showcased as a selling point.

Salt and pepper diamonds and other diamonds with inclusions are increasingly popular for good reason. They are very affordable and have an unusual beauty that sets them apart from all other stones. If you are wondering whether to buy a diamond with inclusions, we absolutely recommend considering the possibility. 

To find out more about diamond inclusions or to browse our collection, don't hesitate to contact us.