Diamond Clarity: What are Diamond Inclusions?

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Welcome to The Ring Adviser's Weekly Diamond Finds. This is the first of several instalments where we will take an in-depth look 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: What are Diamond Inclusions? 

There are many types of inclusions and blemishes that contribute to a diamond's Clarity. These can be both internal and external. If the inclusion is internal it was caused by a solid, liquid or gas that was trapped within the structure of the diamond while it was being formed. So, instead of having a perfect crystal structure, there's something else in the way. The inclusion can even be another diamond trapped inside. Whatever its composition though, the net effect is that it produces an obstruction to the light rays entering and leaving the diamond. As such, not only can it be a physical imperfection, it can also hinder the diamond's reflective properties.

Types of Inclusions:

  • Crystals or Minerals - Internal
  • Cavities - External
  • Clouds - Internal
  • Feathers - Internal
  • Knots - External
  • Bearding - External
  • Graining - Internal
  • Pinpoint - Internal
  • Laser lines - Internal
  • Twinning Wisp - Internal

While all these different categories simply describe the type of inclusion, which are all naturally made with the exception of Laser Lines, the important thing to remember is that they do not affect the structural integrity of the diamond. As stated above, what they affect is the diamond's ability to reflect light.

To simplify this, let's imagine a hallway between two rooms. One room has a powerful light and the other doesn't. If the hallway is clear, the light will travel from one room to the other with virtually no diminishment of its intensity. Now, if you add something to the hallway, let's say a desk, a box, whatever, what effect does that have on the light? The introduced object will cast a shadow and physically block some of the light from reaching the other room. That is the exact same effect that inclusions have within a diamond.

In our next installment, we will look at the difference between inclusions & blemishes and why there is a distinct difference between the two and a diamond's physical appearance.

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