Inclusions are natural, tiny imperfections that form either naturally or during the diamond cutting process. The majority of inclusions are naturally found within diamonds and are used to identify and distinguish diamonds. Here are the diamond inclusions you may find in a diamond or on a GIA grading report. All natural diamonds will have inclusions. It is immensely rare to find a diamond with no inclusions, and these diamonds carry a premium.
Feather: A clarity inclusion that describes a break in the surface of a gemstone that extends inside. It is a common clarity characteristic that can occur naturally. Feathers can look transparent and almost be invisible. Or in certain angles and lights have a grayish or white appearance. Feathers that are more visible detract from the clarity of the diamond.Try to avaoid very large feathers that are near the surface or girdle of the diamond, as those can be more visible.
Crystal: A clarity inclusion that forms during the diamond growth process within a diamond. It is used to determine the clarity grade. Crystals can exist in different colors within the diamond. Most commonly, they are found in black and white. White crystals are not always very distracting or visible. However, be careful if your diamond has black crystals, expecially larger ones. These are obvious, even without magnification at times. Black crystals are the result of embeded carbon. Other colored crystals are far less common within diamonds.
Cloud: A clarity inclusion that describes a group of tiny pinpoints within the diamond too small to individually distinguish under 10x magnification. A cloud can give a slightly hazy appearance where it is located within the diamond. Smaller coluds are typically not a major problem. When clouds cover a majority of the diamond area, they can cause an undesirable veil of haze that diminishes the sparkle. This is often hard to spot, however when looking at two magnified diamonds, one that is cloudy and another that is not, it is easier to see the difference.
Pinpoint: A very small crystal inclusion that looks like a tiny dot at 10x magnification. Pinpoints are usually quite small ad require magnification to view.
Natural: A small manufacturing remnant of the rough diamond skin that remains after the diamond cutting and manufacturing process. Naturals are typically located on or near the diamond’s girdle.
Indented Natural: A portion of a diamond’s natural, rough skin that is left on a polished diamond during the manufacturing process in order to maintain diamond weight. It differs from a natural in that it is slightly protrudes inward. Typically indented natural can happen when a portion of the rough diamond is left unpolished during the cutting process. Indented natural can be found near the girdles of diamonds.
Needle: A thin crystal that is visually needle-like and found inside the diamond. It is often as thick as a pinpoint but longer like a feather. Needles are typically white or transparent. Single needles are not as noticeable. However, in clusters or close together, needles can affect the clarity of the diamond negatively.
Knot: A crystal inclusion that extends to the surface of a diamond. Larger knots are not desirable as they are very visible even without magnification.
Chip: A small break on the diamond surface, typically located on your near facet junctions. It is usually man made and caused by wear and tear.
Cavity: An opening created when part of a feather breaks away. This can happen when a diamond is being manufactured, as a small piece of it falls or breaks away as the diamond is being shaped. Small cavities are not typically a problem, however you should avoid larger cavities.
Twinning Wisp: A clarity inclusion formed by a series of cloud, pinpoints or crystals. It may look like a large marking on a diamond plot, but is often difficult to see. Twinning wisps are the result of irregularites in the crystal structure of the diamond that occur as it is forming. Typically when diamonds are forming, specific environmental conditions are needed. When a diamond stops and starts regrowing the twinning wisps can form. Twinning wisps are a more desirable inclusion than crystals.
Internal Graining: Lines sometimes visible under 10x magnification that result from irregular crystallization. Internal graining lines cannot be polished away and follow no particular pattern. They cross facet junctions. Graining is typically caused by uneven crystal growth within the diamond and can look like white or colored lines. When larger, they can also appear like bigger creases.
Surface Graining: Transparent line-like formations on the surface of a diamond caused by crystal structure irregularities. Surface Graining can be difficult to identify even under magnification.
Chip: A chip is a small nick or opening that occurs on the surface of the diamond. This can happen on the edges of the diamond. Typically chips happen as a result of wear and tear or manufacturing accidents. Avoid diamonds that have large chips.
Etched Channel: This is a narrow and small tunnel that is found on the diamonds surface and and goes into the body of the diamond. This is a natural inclusion but can look similiar to a internal laser drill treatment. This inclusion forms when diamonds are coming up to the surface of the earth. When judging the impact of the etched channel, look at the clarity grade of the diamond. This will help you understand how much of an impact the inclusions has on the diamond.
Below you can see examples off the most common inclusions on real diamonds. Remember that diamonds viewed under magnification will always appear to have displeasing inclusions. Always check with a Four Mine gemologist to see the impact of the inclusion on the actual beauty of the diamond.