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Diamond Inclusions

by Haley Anhut
Last updated on February 1, 2022

If you’re searching for that perfect diamond, chances are you’re familiar with the 4 C’s. These are the four factors that a diamond is graded on and 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 more clear and clean the diamond will appear. A diamond with a lower clarity grade will feature more inclusions.

What Is a Diamond Inclusion?

Diamond inclusions are characteristics found inside a diamond, that appear during the different stages of a diamond’s creation. Diamonds are created due to extreme pressure and heat, which inevitably will create some internal inclusions in all diamonds — both lab grown and mined. 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. Many inclusions found in diamonds can only be seen under magnification. Use the below chart to help you determine which clarity grade is right for you!

Flawless (FL)No inclusions or blemishes visible to the trained eye under 10X magnification
Internally Flawless (IF)No 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 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 are readily observable under 10X magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

Types of Inclusions

While all diamonds have inclusions, not all inclusions should be treated equally. It’s important to know what to look for to ensure you’re picking a beautiful diamond that will stay beautiful for years to come. There are three different types of diamond inclusions: pinpoint inclusions, feather inclusions, and diamond cavities. The first is 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 grey 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 pinpoint inclusions, this can be classified as a ‘cloud’ which is another type of inclusion and looks more like a hazy smudge on the diamond.

The second most common inclusion you’ll find, are feather inclusions, and these aren’t always ideal to have. This is an actual break, fracture, or crack that is in the diamond, that looks like a feather (really, it does!) But, 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 are ‘feathers’ that are located on top of the diamond, or inside the diamond, and wiggle all the way to the surface. 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 if you’re concerned about these types of inclusions on your diamond.

Last, we have diamond cavities. 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.

Inclusion and Price

As mentioned earlier, the higher the clarity of a diamond, the more expensive it will be. The number of inclusions found in a diamond will impact the 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. And remember, no matter if you’re looking for a mined or lab created diamond, both are graded on the exact same characteristics. The natural inclusions you’ll find on a mined diamond are the same as what you’ll find on a lab created diamond. The only difference is that a lab diamond will cost up to 40% less, which could allow you to opt for a diamond with better clarity!