If you’re searching for that perfect diamond, chances are you’re familiar with the 4 C’s. These four diamond clarity grade factors include cut, clarity, color, and carat. One of the most important characteristics of a diamond is its clarity. Diamonds are graded on a scale that goes from internally flawless (IF) down to included (I). The higher the quality, the clearer and cleaner the diamond will appear to the naked eye. A diamond with a lower clarity grade will feature more visible inclusions.
What Are Diamond Inclusions?
Diamond inclusions are characteristics found inside a diamond that appears during the different stages of a diamond’s creation. Diamonds are created through extreme pressure and heat, which inevitably will create an internal diamond inclusion — both lab grown and mined diamonds will include these features. In fact, an absolutely flawless diamond is nearly impossible to find. However, if you’re worried about finding a diamond that will look clear and bright, don’t worry. Accordingly, many of the inclusions in diamonds can only be seen under magnification. Use the below diamond clarity grade chart to help you determine which clarity characteristics are right for you!
Diamond Clarity Grade
|No diamond inclusions or blemishes visible to the trained eye under 10X magnification
|Internally Flawless (IF)
|No diamond inclusions visible to the trained eye under 10X magnification
|Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)
|These have inclusion(s) so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to observe under 10X magnification. The difference between VVS1 and VVS2 is a matter of a very fine degree
|Very Slightly Included (Vs1 and VS2)
|Minor diamond inclusions may be observed with effort under 10X magnification by a trained grader. Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Inclusions are noticeable under 10X magnification
|Included (I1, I2, and I3)
|Inclusions in diamonds are readily observable under 10X magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance
Types of Diamond Inclusions
While all diamonds have inclusions, not all diamond inclusions should be treated equally. It’s important to know what to look for to ensure you’re picking a diamond with clarity characteristics that will stay beautiful for years to come. There are three different types of diamond inclusions that affect the diamond’s appearance: pinpoint inclusions, feather inclusions, and diamond cavities.
Pinpoint inclusions are the most common type of diamond inclusion. This type of inclusion looks like a small crystal dot and is typically hard to see unless viewed under 10x magnification. Most of these pinpoints are white in color, but you will find the occasional black or gray colored pinpoints. So long as these pinpoints are not visible to the naked eye or compromise the clarity of the diamond, there’s nothing to worry about. If a diamond has more than 3 of these internal inclusions, this can be classified as a ‘cloud,’ which is another type of diamond inclusion and looks more like a hazy smudge on the diamond’s surface.
Feather inclusions are the second most common diamond inclusions you’ll find, are feather inclusions, and these aren’t always ideal to have. This is an actual break, fracture, or crack in the diamond that looks like a feather (really, it does!)
Depending on the size or location of these ‘feathers,’ this can be no big deal or a pretty big problem. Most of these ‘feathers’ are white/ transparent and hard to see, even with 10x magnification. If the location of these ‘feathers’ is completely enclosed by the diamond, these cracks and fractures won’t get bigger and thus deteriorate the overall durability of the diamond. However, there can be ‘feathers’ that are located on top of the diamond or inside the diamond that wiggle all the way to the surface. All in all, these are the feathers you don’t want. This type of crack or fracture can grow and expand, hurting the durability of the diamond. Talk with your jeweler about your diamond’s clarity grade if you’re concerned about these types of diamond inclusions.
Finally, we have diamond cavities. These diamond inclusions are less common, but avoid any diamond with this type of inclusion. A cavity is a small hole in the diamond and typically forms when a feather breaks during the polishing process, causing a deep opening at the diamond’s surface. This can affect the durability and cosmetic value of your diamond.
Diamond Inclusions and Price
As mentioned earlier, the higher the diamond clarity grade, the more expensive it will be. In that case, the number of diamond inclusions will impact the diamond’s appearance, price, and value of the stone. It is important to understand these characteristics when buying a diamond to ensure you’re getting the best diamond for the amount you choose to spend. Clean Origin diamonds are certified by some of the top grading labs, so you can be sure that your diamond has been expertly evaluated.
Remember, no matter if you’re looking for a mined or lab created diamond, both are graded on the exact same characteristics. Any natural diamond inclusion you’ll find on a mined diamond is the same as what you’ll find on a lab created diamond. The only difference is that a lab diamond will cost up to 50% less, which could allow you to opt for a diamond with better clarity!