Inclusions are the internal characteristics of a diamond. Just like fingerprints or birthmarks, they make each diamond unique. If you're searching for a diamond, you'll inevitably wonder whether an included diamond is right for you. While some inclusions should be avoided, most are completely harmless. Inclusions don't usually hamper a diamond's appearance or its integrity, and buying an included diamond can save you thousands of dollars.
What Is a Diamond Inclusion?
A diamond inclusion is a tiny imperfection, flaw, or impurity in a diamond. However, calling a diamond "flawed" because of an inclusion can be misleading. A diamond's inclusions are its signature. In a way, they are what make a diamond a diamond. Inclusions are a direct result of the extreme conditions that allow a diamond to form.
Clarity, cut, color, and carat weight are the 4Cs by which diamonds are evaluated. Clarity in a diamond refers to the absence of inclusions (internal characteristics) and external blemishes. Inclusions have nothing to do with brilliance, sparkle, or fire, all of which make a diamond beautiful. Those three critical features are determined by a diamond's cut, not its clarity.
Types of Inclusions
There are many types of inclusions, and it usually takes an expert to identify them. Some of the most common types of inclusions are:
- Pinpoints: Appearing as tiny black or white dots on the table of a diamond, pinpoints are created by the presence of very small pieces of crystal.
- Crystal Inclusions: Crystals, minerals, or even tiny diamonds can become trapped inside a larger diamond, resulting in a crystal inclusion. The visual impact of a crystal inclusion depends on its size and location.
- Clouds: When several pinpoints cluster together, they can appear hazy or cloud-like.
- Feathers: Feathering occurs when there is a crack, fracture, or break within a diamond. Depending on the size and location, feathers can affect a diamond's structural integrity.
The size, type, and location of inclusions are equally important factors in determining the clarity of a diamond, as well as whether an inclusion is harmful or benign. Diamonds with potentially harmful inclusions are rarely sold as jewels, so it's important to buy from a reputable jeweler.
Virtually all diamonds have inclusions. Even diamonds graded as Flawless (F) or Internally Flawless (IF) may have one or more inclusions even though they are eye-clean, meaning invisible without powerful magnification. It may surprise you that most diamonds fall into the lower categories of the diamond clarity chart.
- F: Flawless
- IF: Internally Flawless
- VVS1 & VVS2: Very, Very Slightly Included
- VS1 & VS2: Very Slightly Included
- SI , SI2 & SI3: Slightly Included
- I: Included
Grades followed by the number 1 have better clarity than grades followed by the number 2. For example, a VS1 diamond has a higher grade than a VS2 diamond. Diamonds graded as SI1, SI2, and I1 are extremely popular. A diamond with a grade of VVS1 is about as close to flawless as most jewelers will ever see.
Remember that clarity has nothing to do with how a diamond interacts with light. A diamond with enough brilliance, sparkle, and fire can outshine just about anything. When it comes to purchasing a diamond, trust your instinct. No grade or chart can predict how appealing a diamond is to you, and inclusions can make your diamond even more special. We recommend looking at a variety of diamonds until you find the right one for you. Contact us to find out more or to browse our collection.