What Are Inclusions In Diamonds?

Imperfections have a funny way of taking something beautiful and making it more unique or distinctive. When it comes to the world of diamonds, it's important to remember that nearly all diamond specimens will include some kind of internal imperfection that may or may not be visible to the naked eye. These flaws, or "inclusions" are completely natural and are taken into consideration by experts when grading a diamond's overall clarity and value.

Can A Diamond Be Flawless?

Yes. Experts in the gemstone industry use the term "Flawless" (FL) to describe diamonds that have no inclusions visible under 10x magnification. However, flawless diamonds are considered so rare that most jewelers will never see one in person. "Internally Flawless" (IF) diamonds are also considered rare and extremely valuable but, unlike flawless diamonds, may have imperceptible external imperfections.

How Do Inclusions Affect Value?

The clarity grade of a diamond, and by extension its value, is assigned based on the size, position, and visibility of its inclusions. Most inclusions in diamonds are extremely small and are hardly noticeable to the untrained eye. Jewelers carefully determine a diamond's grade after a thorough inspection under 10x magnification and assign it one of the following grades:

  • FL – IF = Flawless or Internally Flawless
  • VVS1 – VVS2 = Very, Very Slightly Included
  • VS1 – VS2 = Very Slightly Included
  • SI1 – SI2 = Slightly Included
  • I1, I2, and I3 = Included

What Are Different Types Of Inclusions? 

Naturally occurring inclusions in diamonds are a result of extreme heat and pressure during their formation deep within the earth. While there are several different types of inclusions, here are the most common:

  • Pinpoints appear as tiny black or white specks within the diamond, and are the most commonly found inclusion.
  • Feather inclusions look like tiny cracks or white fractures that can catch light. Feathering is fairly common, often translucent, and may affect the diamond's durability.
  • Cavities are actual holes or empty pockets within the diamond's structure. While they are quite rare, they lower a diamond's value significantly.

When shopping for your own diamond, it's important to remember that nearly all the gems you look at will contain some kind of inclusion. These flaws make your diamond unique, and do not necessarily reduce its overall beauty. If you have more questions about inclusions or the 4C's of Diamonds, contact the experts at Siebke Hoyt Jewelers today!