During the diamond growth process, microscopic impurities or imperfections become present within the diamond. These imperfections are known as diamond inclusions. Inclusions are extremely common within diamonds and are essentially birthmarks that give every diamond uniqueness. You may have heard the phrase “no two diamonds are ever alike.” Well, inclusions are the reason. No two diamonds will have the same number, size, location and type of inclusions, even if they have the same clarity grade assigned by GIA. Inclusions have direct implications on a diamond’s sparkle. Inclusions, again, depending on the size, number, location and type, can reduce diamond sparkle by preventing light from refracting and passing through the diamond and back to your eye. Based on the factors mentioned above, a diamond’s clarity is subjective graded and set in a range. This range is known as the diamond clarity scale. It was created by GIA and is the industry wide standard for diamond grading and comparison.Browse Diamonds
Selecting a Clarity
Our key tips for selecting the right clarity grade: Clarity grade should always be selected in conjunction with the other 4 C’s of diamonds. For example, we do not recommend select a D color, I1 clarity diamond. The most popular clarity grades are VS2 and SI1 because they offer the best value without disrupting diamond sparkle. Choose diamonds with inclusions that aren’t in the absolute center of the diamond. More inclusions isn’t typically a bad thing. Avoid diamonds with a single large grade setting inclusion because it is more likely to be visible. In diamonds under 0.75ct, inclusions are smaller and more difficult to identify. In diamonds larger than 0.75ct, consider an SI1 or higher clarity grade to avoid distracting eye visible inclusions. Additionally, if selecting a lower clarity grade, consider a higher cut grade as a well cut diamond can mask clarity setting inclusions to keep sparkle and brilliance high.
How is Clarity Graded
Gemologists always grade diamond clarity at 10x magnification. They identify and plot as many inclusions as possible. In diamonds below 1.00ct, there is typically a smaller GIA report called a dossier. A dossier has no diamond plot on the certificate. Diamonds larger than 1.00ct have a diamond plot on the GIA certificate.
Clarity grading is a subjective process. Trained gemologists identify the type, size, location and number of inclusions. They determine the grade based on a couple of inclusions and assign the grade.
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.
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.
Crystal: A clarity inclusion that forms during the diamond growth process within a diamond. It is used to determine the clarity grade.
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.
Pinpoint: A very small crystal inclusion that looks like a tiny dot at 10x magnification.
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.
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.
Knot: A crystal inclusion that extends to the surface of a diamond.
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.
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.
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.
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.