Frank Darling’s Inclusion Guide
By Lead Gemologist Erica Hirsch, GIA GG
Inclusions. They sound like a good thing, but, they’re small naturally occurring blemishes inside of diamonds. Inclusions can block light from bouncing around inside your diamond, making it less brilliant.
The size, type, location and number of inclusions determine a diamond’s clarity grade. Diamonds with higher clarity grades are more rare, and more expensive.
If inclusions are large enough, they can be seen by the naked eye. You may hear a stone described as “eye clean,” to which most gemologists would reply, “who’s eyes?”. Generally, this means a stone’s inclusions ”cannot be seen with normal vision within a distance of 6-12 inches”.
Diamonds are reflective by nature — that’s why they sparkle. But, that reflectivity also means a single inclusion can be reflected many times, multiplying it’s appearance, like a Hall of Mirrors.
With a little care, this can be avoided. The best way is to look closely at the diamond and examine the certificate. We’ll explain how here.
If you’re still unsure, our concierge gemologists are here to help. See that window in the bottom right? Send us a note and we’ll walk you through it. No pressure, diamonds have enough of that.
A few rules worth following
Images courtesy of the GIA
Needles are typically small and undetectable.
Pinpoints are acceptable in small numbers.
Twinning wisps are ok when there are just a few.
Feathers are colorless and OK if they do not reach the girdle.
Inclusions you want to avoid
No if’s, and’s or but’s about it
A hole in the diamond
A crystal inclusion which is generally visible.
Laser Drill Hole
Indicates that the diamond has had its clarity artificially enhanced.
A visible piece of the rough diamond’s original surface.
A twisted, or separated plane within the diamond
A chip in the diamonds surface
A worm like tunnel
A small hole
These inclusions could impact the integrity of the diamond leaving it vulnerable. Diamonds are hard, not tough. You wouldn’t think twice about cutting something with a sharp knife on a ceramic plate but think how careful you are when placing it in the sink.
Still not sure? See our complete glossary of inclusions and key to reading an inclusion plot map below.