When diamonds form, deep underground and under extreme pressure and heat, defects in the crystalline structure can form, and mineral impurities are trapped in the stone. The size of these impurities and imperfections determines a diamond’s degree of clarity. Diamonds without these impurities are very rare. All diamonds contain very small particles of pure carbon as a building block. These are the particles that turn each diamond into a rare unique stone and are called “inclusions”.
Most diamonds come with inclusions. There are many different types of inclusions, but fluff and crystals are the most common forms of impurities found in diamonds. Inclusions in diamonds have an international rating scale. The ranks on the rating scale are: Flawless or Internally Flawless (FL / IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 / VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 / VS2), Slightly Included (SI1 / SI2), and Included (I1, I2, and I3). The price of the diamond varies according to the inclusion values.
What Are Inclusions?
Inclusions are imperfections in a diamond or other stone. Diamond inclusions are features that occur within the stone. They are often referred to as imperfections because their presence means that the diamond cannot be classified as internally flawless. Not many of us can afford internally flawless diamonds, so some degree of inclusions should be expected. These little imperfections are like fingerprints, a feature that gives us all an individual signature.
Getting to know your diamond inside and out makes the stone more personal – and will help you identify the gem if it has been lost or stolen. These imperfections make the diamond less sparkly because they interfere with light as it passes through the stone. Worse are the types of inclusions that can make the diamond more vulnerable to chipping.
Remember, there are few perfect diamonds and the perfect ones are quite expensive, so the diamonds we buy have varying amounts of internal and external imperfections. You can save a lot of money on the diamond if you choose to buy one with more inclusions. Here are the types of diamond inclusions:
- Crystals and Mineral Inclusions
Diamonds can have embedded tiny crystals and minerals. Most of these crystals cannot be seen without magnification, but a large piece or group of crystals resulting from a diamond’s appearance reduces its clarity and value. There are times when a small crystal can add character to a diamond.
- Pinpoint Inclusions
Pinpoints are extremely small light or dark crystals in which diamonds can appear on their own or in clusters. Smaller clusters of pinpoints can create a hazy area called a cloud that will affect the clarity of the diamond.
- Laser Lines
Laser lines are not included in a natural diamond. These vapor-like pathways are left behind when lasers are used to remove dark crystal inclusions from diamonds.
Feathers are cracks in the diamond that look like feathers. Small hairs generally do not affect the durability of a diamond. A place prone to accidental impact unless it reaches the surface at the top of the stone.
Diamond chipping is a lint-free flat crack. A split has the potential to split along the length of the diamond if struck at the right angle.
- Girdle Fringes, Beard
Girdle fringes or beards are hair-like lines that can occur around the girdle during the cutting process. Minimal bearding is usually not a problem, but extensive burrs are usually polished or removed by recutting the diamond.
- Grain Lines, Growth Lines
Colorless grain lines generally do not affect diamond clarity unless found in large masses. White or colored grain lines can reduce the sharpness of a diamond.
Inclusions can be intimidating, so don’t just rely on a clarity grade to tell if the inclusion of a diamond messes with the beauty of the diamond. This is especially true if you’re shopping for clarity grades rated SI or lower. Always shop for diamonds from a seller you trust and find someone who can answer your questions about the diamonds you’re considering.
Not only do inclusions affect the clarity of a diamond, but make blemishes as well. For more information on imperfections that can affect the clarity and strength of a diamond, learn more about surface blemishes on diamonds.
Inclusions, Stains, and Clarity in Diamonds
The clarity of the diamond is a quality of purity that expresses the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Having information about the quality factors of diamonds means that you know that the beauty and value of the diamond are formed by these factors.
- Inclusions and Stains Are Not Defects
Diamond clarity is one of the parameters within the 4C principle (the others are color, cut, and carat weight). Clarity plays an important role in determining the overall beauty, aesthetics, and ultimately value of a diamond. Diamond clarity is graded based on parameters that describe the inclusions in the diamond and the blemishes found on its surface.
Inclusions and blemishes in the formation of a diamond; crystal structure may occur as a result of cutting-polishing-setting processes and general wear. Inclusions can completely close the inside of the diamond. Stains are limited to the surface of the diamond. Gemologists examine the diamond at 10× magnification to determine its degree of clarity.
You may hear some people describe inclusions and blemishes as “imperfections”. However, most gemologists think of them as powerful identification tools. Inclusions are one of the parameters that help distinguish some natural diamonds from synthetic diamonds. Because each diamond has a different combination of inclusions and blemishes, diamond clarity acts as its traces and gives each diamond its own identity.
- Treatments Can Make Diamond Clarity Visible by Reducing Inclusions
Laser drilling is the first of two common methods used to make stones more attractive and valuable. It is a method that makes it possible to remove or lighten the inclusions in the stone. If the material within the inclusion cannot be evaporated by the laser, it is dissolved or “bleached” by a strong acid introduced through the channel. The resulting white appearance is generally considered more attractive than a dark spot that does not return light. Laser-drilled diamonds are also graded, as the process is permanent. However, the drill holes obtained may affect the clarity of the diamond. This is taken into account in the rating process.
The second is the fracture filling process. This is the process of filling cracks, fractures, and laser drilling holes that reach the surface with a glass-like material close to the refractive index of the diamond. Fracture filling does not “heal” the fracture or increase the true clarity of the diamond. The original fracture is still there. It becomes more difficult to view after the procedure. However, this process is not permanent. Possible damage may occur when exposed to high heat during some jewelry repair, setting, or cleaning procedures. As a result, many laboratories, including the GIA, do not grade broken-filled diamonds.
- Some Types of Inclusions Can Make a Diamond Vulnerable to Damage
In general, if a diamond has durability issues, it cannot escape the friction and pressure of the cutting process during machining. However, certain inclusions can make a cut diamond more vulnerable to damage, especially if it is near the girdle, the upper (crown) and lower (pavilion) parts of the diamond, and the narrow section that separates it, which acts as the setting edge.
- Less Is More Valuable When It Comes To Diamond Clarity
When it comes to diamond clarity and value, those with less clarity, such as diamond color and value, are always more valuable. Diamonds with little or no clarity are rare and fall into a more expensive pricing range as rarity increases their price. In fact, diamonds with no visible clarity under a 10x magnifying glass are called “perfect.” These diamonds are so rare that many diamond dealers never see one in their careers.
Cheaper diamonds often have inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye. Clarity features may be more visible on some diamond cuts than others. For example, inclusions will be easier to see when compared to an emerald cut diamond with an oval cut diamond. Characteristics of emerald cut diamonds are that they have inclusions in long, rectangular facets more easily visible than smaller facets of a bright cut.
However, if a diamond has a lot of clarity or is mirrored in many aspects of the diamond, it will be much easier to see, regardless of its shape or cut style. It is worth noting that inclusions normally have a much greater impact on the beauty and value of a stone than stains. Because most stains are very easy to clean.
- Ratings Found on the global standard GIA Diamond Clarity Scale
Diamond clarity was defined by the GIA in the 1950s using standard terminology. The quality is based on the visibility of inclusions and spots by a gemologist at 10x magnification. The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale consists of six categories, some of which are subdivided, for a total of 11 specific classes. These are:
Flawless (FL): No inclusions and stains are visible under 10x magnification.
Internal Flawless (IF): No inclusions and only minor blemishes (very few) visible under 10x magnification.
Contains Very Little (VVS1 and VVS2): Inclusions ranging from difficult to view (VVS1) to very difficult (VVS2) under 10x magnification
Contains Slightly (VS1 and VS2): Small inclusions ranging from hard to view (VS1) to slightly easy (VS2) at 10x magnification.
Contains Slightly (SI1 and SI2): Inclusions that are easy to view (SI1) or very easily (SI2), noticeable at 10x magnification.
Includes (I1, I2, and I3): Under 10x magnification, there are inclusions that are normally visible to the human eye and can impact transparency and gloss.
- Examine Details on Certificate to Ensure Diamond Clarity
If you decide to buy any diamond, remember that it must have an internationally valid certificate. These certificates present real data on the scale of certain and accepted standards in the world. Craft Diamond, with its expert and professional team, has an internationally valid diamond rating and an evaluation certificate.
In addition, Craft Diamond, working with HRD Antwerp, one of the most respected diamond grading and evaluation laboratories in the world, does not sell any uncertified products in its product range. The certified diamonds you will buy must have a diamond clarity degree determined by the GIA. The scale written in Article 3 is a diamond clarity scale that is accepted and applied around the world.
When it comes to clarity in a diamond, what should come to mind is the correct reflection of the light. Defects that prevent the reflection of light reduce the value. For this, first of all, it is necessary to review the factors that affect clarity. The first of these elements is cracks. The fact that the diamond is cracked is the most basic factor that reduces its value. In addition, the fact that it is crushed and damaged to a visible extent also has an effect on clarity.
Another factor affecting clarity is scratches. This situation, which is not very obvious when viewed from the outside, is noticeable when checked closely with measuring instruments. In addition, the stains that do not come off and the color tones of the stone itself can cause defects in the diamond.
The clarity scale of the diamond varies between F and I. The diamonds in the FL-IF category are the most flawless and trouble-free diamonds. Therefore, the group with the highest value is this group. Then come the diamonds in the VVS1-VVS2 category. They are light diamonds with very few imperfections that can be seen with the naked eye.
VS1-VS2 are diamonds with small spots on them, while SI1-SI2 are diamonds with visible spots from the outside. These very small spots cause a decrease in the value of the diamond, but their preferability level is high. It has imperfections that make it difficult for the naked eye.
The clarity level of the diamond you buy is important. From this point of view, diamonds in category I1 are included in a slightly less preferred group compared to other categories. Diamonds with more damage, scratches, and dents are included in this group. Apart from this, the group at the end of the clarity scale and in the worst diamond class is called I2-I3. Diamonds in the I2-I3 category are not available in the market by many jewelers.
Diamond Clarity and Inclusion Relationship
The clarity of the diamond is the evaluation of minor imperfections on the surface and inside the diamond. Surface imperfections are called blemishes, while internal defects are known as inclusions. In most cases, the beauty of the diamond is not affected by this as most of the remains are invisible to the naked eye. When it comes to inclusions, gemologists often use the term “internal features” rather than imperfections. Internal features are what give the natural diamonds their character.
With clarity, the degree of purity of laboratory diamonds is indicated. The degree of clarity specified here is based on the size, number, and position of the inclusions by 10X loupes and is determined from LC to P3. Extremely rare Flawless (FL) or Flawless Inside (IF) diamonds are the highest degrees of clarity and are very rare. Diamonds with a SI or VS clarity grade are much more affordable but visually look the same as higher grades. You can choose a SI or VS clarity diamond with inclusions that cannot be seen through the crown without magnification.
Clarity refers to inclusions in or on the surface of the diamond during its formation or subsequent damage. Each one is different from the other with the traces formed during the crystallization process of the diamond, this is called nature’s fingerprint. The number, size, and position of the traces determine the clarity class. Terms used in American-based organizations such as the GIA (Gemological Institute Of America);
FL – IF – VVS (1-2) – VS (1-2) – SI (1-2) – I (1-2-3)
Terms used in European-based organizations such as CIBJO (Comite International de Bijouterie Joaillerie, et Orfevre);
LC – VVS (1-2) – VS (1-2) – SI (1-2) – P (1-2-3)
Diamonds are divided into clarity classes according to the location, size, and amount of traces. It is the subject that requires the most experience in the 4C rule. While the stone has a certain standard for its cut, color, and carat, there are differences in interpretation in clarity. Two different experts may have different opinions, and they may differ by one level. Such cases are also seen in international laboratories, a few experts examine and the majority say is accepted.
In order to determine the clarity class of the diamond, we should look at the crown of the stone with loops that magnify it 10 times in a light where we can see the inside of the stone easily. Spotlights reflecting from the surface of the stone are not enough for us to see the inside of the stone. Loops with more than 10x magnification are also available, but they are not used for clarity examination. Examination criteria were determined according to the loupes magnifying 10 times. When viewed with more magnifying loupes, the traces in it will appear larger to the eye, so it may be thought to be in a lower class in terms of clarity.
Diamond Clarity Classes According to the Number of Inclusions
The logic of looking at the stone from the crown is that the glitter is from the crown, and it is classified according to the degree of visibility of the traces among that sparkle. When looking at the stone from the cone, it is like looking through a mirror, as it is far from the play of light, and it may look worse than it is. Let’s define the clarity classes:
- LC (Loupe Clean) – Loupe Clean
It is the class in which there are stones that are so clean that a small trace is not seen when viewed with a loupe that magnifies 10 times. The name is clean because it looks clean when viewed with a loupe. The term is used by European-based organizations, and it is the highest class of clarity.
- FL (Flawless) – Flawless
It is the same class as the loop clean, the term used by American-based organizations.
- IF (Internally Flawless) – Flawless Inside
Nothing is seen when viewed with a 10x magnifying loupe. What distinguishes this class from Flawless (FL) is that when viewed with a microscope, nothing can be seen inside the stone, only external defects on its surface.
- VVS (Very Very Slightly Included)
When we examine the stones belonging to this class with loupes that magnify 10 times, we will be able to see the existence of traces instantly and we will not be able to confirm it. A stone cannot be said to be in the VVS class without examining it under a microscope. It is divided into 1 and 2 in VVS. Number 1 is given to those who are close to the upper class, and number 2 is given to those who are close to the lower class.
- VS (Very Slightly Included)
When VS stones are viewed with loupes magnifying 10 times, they will either have traces that are small to the eye, or there will be traces that are invisible at first glance and will be noticed as a result of a long and careful examination. What distinguishes this class from VVS is that it can be detected in the loop without any doubt. It is the clean class of stones that are frequently traded. It is also divided into two.
- SI (Slightly Included) – Lightly Traced
When we look at the stones in this class with a loupe, we should easily see the traces inside. It is the middle class of stones traded in the market. It is also divided into 1 and 2 in the same way. As we know, there are differences in interpretation about clarity. The most common is the differences of opinion between SI 2 and I 1, and since there is a serious price difference, a transition class called SI 3 has been created. We can see this in limited laboratories such as EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) and in the globally accepted RAPAPORT price list.
- I (Included) / P (Pique) – Traced
The rough definition is that they have traces that can be seen even with the naked eye, without the need to use a loop. It is called I (included) in American-based organizations and P (pique) in European-based organizations. This class is divided into three.
Best Diamond Hoop Earrings That You Can Buy Online
- La Joya 1/2-1 CT TW Certified Lab Grown Diamond Huggie Hoop Earrings for Women and Men -Shimmering GH Color And VS/SI Clarity Up Diamonds – Solid 14k Real Yellow or White Gold Hoop and Huggie Earrings