Diamonds aren’t flawless. Almost every diamond has a naturally occurring flaw or imperfection because of the complexity of its formation from carbon into a rough stone. These flaws are technically known as inclusions. Also popularly known as diamond birthmarks, these blemishes often influence the clarity and colour of a diamond.
The diamond cutter assesses the rough stone by the different types and positions of the flaws and then chooses the shape of the polished diamond and its facet pattern.
Both durability and the visual appeal of a diamond are affected by the location of the inclusions or flaws. In this post, we’ll discuss the effects one by one.
How Inclusions Affect Visual Appearance of a Diamond
To understand how inclusions affect a diamond’s appearance, let’s go over the different parts of a diamond.
1. Table: The table is the largest facet of a diamond, covering the flat surface on the top.
2. Crown: This is the area encircling the diamond just below the table but above the girdle.
3. Girdle: It’s the widest point of a diamond and forms its outer edge. The crown and the pavilion meet at the girdle. Its measurement gives the diamond’s perimeter.
4. Pavilion: This is the bottom side of the diamond that joins the girdle with the culet.
5. Culet: It’s located at the bottom of a diamond and is the smallest facet.
There are several types of inclusions. The most commonly seen are chips, feathers, pinpoint and carbon crystals or black dots. Chip inclusions are tiny openings at the edges, surface or the facet bridges of a diamond and they can be removed by re-cutting and polishing. Feather inclusions are an internal crack in the diamond which can run across any length of the diamond. Pinpoint inclusions are tiny black dots that appear as blackheads inside the diamond. Crystal inclusions are basically mineral deposits or bits of diamond trapped inside the diamond.
Each of these inclusions are unflattering to the appearance of the gem.
How Inclusions Affect the Durability of a Diamond
The locations of the inclusions also affect the durability of a diamond. Huge feather inclusions that are located near the girdle of a diamond, are vulnerable to cracking and chipping. Diamonds with this type of inclusion flaw are given a lower clarity grading by gemological institutions like GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society).
Although inclusions near the girdle can be covered up by prongs, it’ll also lead to additional mechanical stress, thereby weakening the diamond further.
Chip inclusions can be caused by a poorly done setting process. Handling of the diamond by an inexperienced jeweler or stone cutter is another reason. This type of inclusions can result in severe damage during any unguarded movement of the diamond.
Which Inclusions Should You Avoid?
Since attention is generally focused towards the centre of an object, inclusions that are located on the table facet can be marked easily. They’re very unappealing to the eye.
Although there are several types of inclusions and the visibility depends on the type of inclusion present, huge feathers, carbon crystals or black dots and chips are the worst type of inclusions. You should avoid buying diamonds with these inclusions.
The location or position of the inclusions in a diamond will impact the resale value of the stone. When you go to sell your diamond, all factors including the inclusions, carat and colour will be taken into consideration for its value estimation. It’s important that a diamond is eye clean (the inclusions can’t be seen with naked eye) and within the VS (Very Slightly Included) range for its worth as a smart investment.