Imperfections are what make each Diamond Unique

When determining Diamond Clarity, gemologists will rate its purity and will note the imperfections inside it.  These imperfections are generally referred to as “Inclusions”. So what are they?

Deep in the earth, under intense pressure and heat, diamonds form from pure carbon. However Mother Nature almost guarantees that within these carbon molecules, some form of impurity will exist, or some form of imperfection in tiny parts of its structure.  They will be present within the rough stone when mined. These are an integral part of the diamond, sealed inside, and are classified as inclusions.

During the cutting process, part of the decision making will be about how to minimize the presence and location of these inclusions, so as to have less of an effect on the polished gem. Higher quality cuts on high grade rough gems will be more likely to sacrifice carat weight so as to avoid heavy inclusions.  However, even the finest quality stone will most likely retain some type of inclusion, which remain absolutely invisible to the naked eye.

When certified by a reputable diamond grading agency, the primary inclusions which affect Diamond Clarity, including location and type will be specified on the report.  The lab reports use a plotting diagram – literally marking the location of the inclusion.

(Another type of Clarity Classification Factor, Blemishes, are usually external and most often man-made during the cutting process)

There are many types of Inclusions, and there are a range of terms to describe them: Below are some common examples:

Diamond Crystals:  These are basically little diamonds that were enclosed within a bigger diamond crystal as it was forming.  A good analogy to this would be like small ice cubes which freeze inside a big ice cube while setting  in your deep freeze.  One could think of these crystals as “Baby Diamonds” within the Big Diamond.  Under this category of Diamond Crystals there are different types such as pinpoints, clouds, needles and knots.

Pinpoint Inclusion: These are very tiny, much smaller than other crystals, and looks like a pinpoint of light, visible under high magnification such as 20X or even more. Because of their really small size they can be very hard to identify.  This is why under the comment section of a lab report “pinpoints not shown” might be stated. Pinpoints when indicated will usually be represented on a grading report by tiny red dots around the size of…you guessed it, a pinpoint!

Diamond Cloud: A group of, usually 3 or more, pinpoint size diamond crystals, positioned very close to each other.  Most of these pinpoint crystals are translucent and are almost impossible to discern…however, if the group or cloud is large enough and covers a large portion of the diamond, it might affect light performance and visual clarity.  On a diamond grading report, clouds will be represented as circles or formations comprised of small red dots or pinpoints.

Diamond Needle: A thin, long diamond crystal … different to other crystals in that it is not rounded in shape.

Diamond Knot: A crystal which extends to the finished diamond’s polished surface.  Knots may appear to be raised sections on a facet’s exterior or group of facets.  Differences in the polish quality may be visible on the surface of the knot and the facet where it is located.  Knots may possibly cause weakness in the Diamond’s resilience and possibly jeopardize its longevity.

Diamond Feathers: A feather is like a tiny crack within the diamond.  The significance of a feather (like all inclusions) will depend on its size and location.  A feather which is deeply embedded within the diamond and is reasonably small should be of little concern, whereas a feather which is long, or cuts through the surface of the diamond, should be carefully evaluated.

Diamond Twinning Wisp: A twinning wisp looks like a small ripple within the diamond.  Most twinning wisp will not affect the clarity of  the diamond as they are very small and not easily visible.  The Wisp happens as a result of growth defects caused by problematic surroundings as the diamond is forming,  feathers, pinpoints and crystals twist together within a twinning plane.

Inclusions are like Diamond’s fingerprints, each one containing its own set of individual and varied marks which make it special and unique.

It is worthwhile to reiterate that most inclusions are completely invisible to the naked eye and need significant magnification to be noticed even by trained gemologists.  It is the much less common, more prominent ones which will have an effect on the overall brilliance of the diamond and which may even be noticeable to the average person.

The Importance of Diamond Cut

By now you are probably familiar with the 4 C’s: diamond cut, diamond claritydiamond color, diamond carat weight.  These are the characteristics that will determine the price of the stone or stones.  But one of them is by far the most important, the one you should focus on.

We strongly believe that diamond cut is the characteristic worth spending extra money on.  The cut grade reflects the quality in which the diamond was cut, the quality of the facets – which affect the sparkle.  Unless inclusions and blemishes are serious, they will not affect the appearance significantly.

You can see in the chart here which qualities we recommend.  For clarity, we suggest I1 or better.  For cut, we recommend a rating of good, very good or excellent.

The bottom line: Diamond cut is worth the extra money.  Don’t spend money on clarity at the expense of cut.

Finding the perfect diamond is an exciting process.  It’s all about finding the right style, your personal style.  To do this we recommend familiarizing yourself with the diamond shapes and diamond settings available, in addition to learning the 4 C’s.

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