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Diamond Inclusions — Which are OK, and Which Should You Avoid?

Diamond Inclusions By Lead Gemologist Erica Hirsch, GIA GG

Inclusions. They sound like a good thing but they’re not. Inclusions are small naturally occurring blemishes inside of diamonds. Diamond inclusions can block light from bouncing around inside your diamond, making it less brilliant.

The size, type, location, and the number of inclusions determine a diamond’s clarity grade. Diamonds with higher clarity grades are rarer and more expensive.

If the diamond 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. These reflections multiply its 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.


Images courtesy of the GIA

A photo of a needle. A type of diamond inclusion that looks like a straight line.


Needles are typically small and undetectable.

A photo of a pinpoint. A type of diamond inclusion that looks like a small dot.


Pinpoints are acceptable in small numbers.  

A photo of a twinning wisps. A type of diamond inclusion that looks like a snowflake.

Twinning Wisps

Twinning wisps are ok when there are just a few.  

A photo of a pit. A type of diamond inclusion that looks like a jagged line.


Feathers are colorless and OK if they do not reach the girdle.  


These inclusion types can impact the diamond structural integrity and/or resale value of the diamond.

A photo of a cavity. A hole in the diamond.


A hole in the diamond

A photo of a knot. A type of diamond inclusion that looks like a crystal.


A crystal inclusion which is generally visible.

A photo of a laser drill hole. An indication of clarity enhancement.

Laser Drill Hole

Indicates that the diamond has had its clarity artificially enhanced.

A photo of an indented natural. A piece of unpolished diamond.

Indented Natural

A visible piece of the rough diamond’s original surface.

A photo of a feather. A type of diamond inclusion that looks like jagged line.

Certain Feathers

A twisted, or separated plane within the diamond

A photo of a chip. A type of diamond inclusion that looks like a chip.


A chip in the diamonds surface

These inclusions impact the integrity of the diamond and leave it vulnerable. Diamonds are hard, not tough. You may not 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 unsure? See our complete glossary of inclusions and key to reading an inclusion plot map below. Ready to find the one? Visit our diamond selector to begin your journey. We have one of the largest selections of certified lab grown diamonds available online. All diamonds come with free shipping, free returns and a price match guarantee. Find yours.