Diamond Clarity: Diamond Inclusions vs Diamond Blemishes

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Welcome to The Ring Adviser's Weekly Diamond Finds. Today we will continue our in-depth analysis at Clarity. The second most important factor in determining the worth of a diamond, Clarity refers to the number of inclusions found within the diamond, as well as their location and color. While most people are familiar with the basic terminology that corresponds with Clarity, this series of posts will provide greater detail as to what is lurking within the intricate structure of your diamond.

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Diamond Clarity: Diamond Inclusions vs Diamond Blemishes 

In the last post, we detailed what inclusions are and how they can be located within or on a diamond. While there can be external inclusions (a bit of a misnomer, I know), these are not the same as Blemishes. Blemishes, while sometimes natural to the stone, are more often than not a side-effect of the diamond cutting process. As such, most blemishes are unintentional. The reasons for this are varied, but essentially it comes down to the manipulation exerted on the diamond throughout the heating, cutting and polishing process. Needless to say, the act of fashioning a raw diamond into a finished product you would find on an engagement ring is sizable. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect some degree or errors. These errors are Blemishes. As with Inclusions, Blemishes are not only physical imperfections, they can also hinder the diamond's reflective properties.

Types of Blemishes:

  • Abrasion

  • Extra Facet

  • Lizard Skin

  • Natural

  • Nick

  • Pit

  • Polish Lines

  • Burn Mark

  • Rough Girdle

  • Scratch

  • Surface Graining

So now that we understand the difference between Inclusions and Blemishes, how can we tell them apart? Luckily, within each certified diamond, there is a Diamond Certificate. A GIA Diamond Certificate will provide you with the type of Inclusion and/or Blemish found in the diamond and its general location. Let's take this Round 1.01 Carat diamond from James Allen as an example. 

At an I1 Clarity, there's clearly a lot going on. Plus, at the 20X magnification provided by James Allen, we can see many of the inclusions. But, can we quantify them? This is where the diamond certificate will come into play. As you can see below, the diamond's Certificate will specify the type of Inclusion/Blemish found, as well as the location. 

Now that we know the difference between Inclusions and Blemishes, and have established a way to categorize them and locate them on the diamond of your choice, in our next installment we will look at the specific type of Inclusions and review their characteristics.

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