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Diamond Inclusions: What Are They And Which Are The Worst?

20 mins read time
Diamond Inclusions: What Are They And Which Are The Worst?

Diamond jewelry is one of life's more refined treasures. Whether you're a diamond novice or an experienced collector, each new piece is an exciting investment. 

When you have the opportunity to treat yourself or a loved one to diamonds, it's crucial to know what kind of quality you're receiving with your purchase. That’s why shopping for diamond jewelry can quickly become confusing if you’re not a licensed gemologist.

You've likely heard of evaluating a diamond's "4 Cs," but what does that really mean? While you search for diamond jewelry, you may have seen different scales grading a diamond's clarity, but what are those scales measuring?

As they search for premium diamond jewelry, many shoppers become puzzled by all the unique terminology in the diamond world. You want a piece that will hold its value for years, but may become puzzled by all the unique terminology in the diamond world, like "very, very slightly included," “SI1,” and "H color grade." 

Plus, not every retailer is honest about the specific details of the diamonds they are selling, and you might decide you need to have a third party evaluate your piece for authenticity—but how do you know that third party is honest?

When it comes to finding the best diamond engagement rings, earrings, or tennis bracelets, it can help to be informed about a piece's clarity level and the gemologists that can help you confirm your diamond’s grading. 

Let's explore this segment of the four Cs and find out more about diamond inclusions. 

What Is an Inclusion? 

In your search for the best diamond jewelry, you may see the word "clarity" listed as a way to measure a diamond's worth. 

Clarity is more than a descriptive word indicating a see-through appearance. In diamonds, this term refers to the absence of inclusions.

Inclusions are slight imperfections throughout a stone that influence its appearance and the way it interacts with light. Gemologists grade these imperfections on a scale, which can inform your decision to purchase a particular piece of diamond jewelry. 

How Can I Ensure my Diamond Jewelry Has Excellent Clarity?

If all of these ratings are given by gemologists with a powerful magnification tool, how can you be sure your diamond jewelry is authentic? 

One way is to buy from jewelers who include a detailed IGI report. This report shows you your diamond jewelry's exact specifications from a trusted expert source. Reputable jewelers will be able to provide you with this kind of report.

Do Ethical Diamonds Have Exceptional Clarity?

The reason diamonds have imperfections is because of natural influences in their environment as they grow. These influencing factors are no different in lab-mined diamonds. 

Though lab-mined diamonds are made in a more controlled environment, they're subject to imperfections like natural-mined diamonds. Regardless, it is possible to find high-clarity lab-mined diamonds at a more affordable price than the natural-mined alternative.

Types of Diamond Inclusions 

Did you know 14 possible types of diamond inclusions get measured on a diamond grading report? We won't dive too deeply into each type, but learning briefly about them can help you be informed while searching for the perfect diamond ring or tennis bracelet. 

  • Laser Drill Hole: This type of inclusion isn't visible. It's left behind when a laser drills into a diamond to remove a black inclusion.
  • Crystal: These have the nickname "baby diamonds" because they appear to be smaller stones that got trapped inside a larger diamond while they grew. 
  • Needle: This type of microscopic inclusion is usually long, thin, white, and translucent. 
  • Pinpoint: Pinpoints are one of the most common kinds of inclusions. Under 20x magnification, they look like white or black pinpoints of light.
  • Cloud: This kind of imperfection is white with a hazy appearance, like a cloud.  
  • Twinning Wisp: Twinning wisps mimic skin stretch marks in their appearance. 
  • Knot: Remember crystal inclusions? When they reach the polished surface of a diamond, they're known as "knots."
  • Feather: A feather is a minuscule crack inside a gemstone's body that mimics a bird's feather with its translucent appearance.
  • Chip: Chips typically occur as openings near a diamond's edges.
  • Cavity: Cavities can be a problematic inclusion within a diamond. When oil and dirt become trapped inside, this inclusion can become more visible.
  • Bruise: This kind of inclusion typically occurs near a diamond's crown and appears as a sustained injury after a damaging impact, just like a bruise on the skin.
  • Etch Channel: These might get confused with laser drill holes since they're both long, thin channels. However, these are natural inclusions usually left by intense heat. 
  • Natural: Natural inclusions are imperfections that experts regard as adding character and beauty to a gem's value. 
  • Indented Natural: An indented natural is the same as a natural inclusion, but it extends into the inside surface of a diamond. 

What Do Different Clarity Ratings Mean?

Now that you know more about the different types of diamond inclusions, you might want to see how these imperfections impact a diamond's worth on a practical level. 

Gemologists grade each of these inclusions on a scale between Included and Flawless. As a diamond approaches a Flawless grade, it increases in value. Still, though flawless is the best grade, you don't have to choose an entirely perfect stone to find one that's brilliant and valuable.

Diamond Inclusion Grading Scale 

Here are a few of the standard clarity ratings and their meanings:

  • Included (I1, I2, I3): These diamonds contain multiple obvious imperfections when observed through a 10x magnification.
  • Slightly Included (SI1, SI2): Diamonds with this rating contain noticeable imperfections under a 10x magnification.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2): Diamonds with this rating contain barely noticeable imperfections at a 10x magnification setting.
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2): This diamond clarity rating indicates inclusions that are extremely difficult for even a trained gemologist to observe at 10x magnification.
  • Internally Flawless: This rating shows that the diamond in question has no visible imperfections at a 10x magnification.
  • Flawless: This rating means that the diamond being observed has no flaws or imperfections at 10x magnification.

Who Can Judge a Diamond’s Clarity?

The imperfections that determine a diamond's clarity are rarely discernible by the naked eye. 

Typically, trained gemologists use a magnification loupe to observe a diamond's characteristics at a 10x magnification. Next, they determine the shape, position, size, and number of inclusions within the stone. These observations yield the clarity rating for the diamond that influences its market value, listed above.

These trained gemologists are often the experts at GIA, the creators of the 4 C’s standard that measures clarity, cut, color, and carat weight. 

The Gemological Institute of America makes up the reputable GIA acronym. This institute's mission is to connect people to understanding gems and protect diamond buyers with their International Diamond Grading System. 

GIA is an independent, non-profit organization that focuses on conducting gem research and setting standards for determining diamond quality. One of their primary functions relevant to our discussion today is their diamond grading. 

How Do I Know if My Diamond Is a GIA Diamond?

Jewelers can submit the diamonds they source to GIA for grading to ensure they sell you quality stones. This measure helps them to be confident in their pricing and their guarantee to you as a buyer.

Did you know that you can also test jewelry of your own? If you've received an heirloom piece of jewelry, you can send it to GIA to have it graded. When you receive your report, you'll have a better idea of its worth and specifications.

You might be wondering how retailers can submit their diamonds for evaluation and grading without an amount of bias involved. Thankfully, GIA uses an anonymous process to ensure fair, objective results in their grading documents. It's one more factor that can help you feel secure as you consider buying diamond jewelry that's perfect for you. 

What About IGI Certification?

The International Gemological Institute is another organization that grades diamonds based on strict international standards. At Noémie, we proudly offer you engagement rings that are GIA graded and fine handcrafted diamond jewelry that is IGI certified. Simply put, ordering the diamond jewelry of your dreams from Noémie means you can feel confident in your purchase every time. 

We know your life holds multiple momentous occasions that are worth celebrating. You can commemorate these milestones with quality IGI and GIA diamond jewelry from Noémie.

Is It Important To Prioritize Purchasing a GIA Diamond When Trying To Avoid Inclusions?

Perhaps you'd like to know a few reasons why you might benefit from choosing a diamond that has a GIA grading report. Let's look at a few possible scenarios.

To Make a Wise Wedding Purchase

Are you getting engaged or married soon? When it comes time to purchase the engagement ring for your partner or select your wedding bands, you'll probably have a budget in mind. 

If you've budgeted a moderate-to-high amount for your bands, it might be because you prefer an elaborate diamond with an exquisite cut and premium color and clarity. A GIA report can help you confirm that the diamond ring you buy from a retailer is the real deal. 

To Ensure a Diamond's Four C's Are as Advertised

Do you have an anniversary coming up? Perhaps you want to recognize your partner's recent promotion or milestone within their job. 

If you buy diamond jewelry to commemorate the occasion, you may look at the four Cs to judge whether a piece is valuable. When you receive the GIA report with your jewelry, you can be sure you chose an excellent article.

To Evaluate a Piece of Heirloom Diamond Jewelry

If you've recently received an heirloom diamond necklace from within your family, you may be wondering what it's worth. Sending your necklace to GIA to have it graded can help determine how valuable this family artifact is.

How to Choose the Perfect Diamond Jewelry for You 

You might know the four Cs, but how can you know which aspect to prioritize in your search for diamond jewelry? Let's look at a few guiding principles to keep in mind.

Opt for VS Clarity 

When it comes to inclusions, you don't have to go for flawless. If your stone has excellent color and cut, you might go for one with nearly perfect clarity to stay within your budget. 

As you browse diamond rings and other jewelry, a good rule of thumb is to stick within a VS clarity range. VS implies that a diamond is very slightly included, meaning it's a high-quality stone that would make for an excellent piece of jewelry. 

Prioritize F/G Color Grade 

Aside from clarity, you might wonder what color grading you should prioritize while looking for the best diamond jewelry. Gemologists judge diamonds on a scale of D to Z, with D being the most attractive colorless stone. 

Finding the right diamond for you doesn't have to be challenging. By selecting a stone with an F/G color grade, you'll ensure that you have a beautiful diamond that's affordable and valuable.

Choose 18-Karat Gold or Platinum 

Your diamond jewelry should be supported by high-quality metal. When it comes to the metal you choose for your jewelry, you may want to know that not all metals are equal. 

If you prefer gold, you'll want to choose 18-karat gold since it's more valuable than 14-karat gold and more durable than pure gold. Rather than selecting silver, go for platinum that's strong and durable through any adventure life may bring your way. 

Noémie Handcrafted Jewelry You'll Love 

Are you looking for the perfect diamond engagement ring for proposing to your beloved? Perhaps you've desired a classic diamond line bracelet for years. Let's explore the high-quality Noémie diamond jewelry that's perfect for your craving.

Jewelry That’s Perfect for Anniversaries

Celebrate the milestones all around you with exquisite diamonds. Maybe you've met a personal goal and want to revel in your journey, or you want to recognize your partner's hard work. These pieces can help you turn those dreams into reality. 

Emerald-Cut Diamond Band

Emerald-cut jewelry is well-loved for its unique symmetrical style. This option is ideal for those who enjoy uniquely cut gems and geometric motifs. 

Custom Letter Necklace

Give your loved ones a custom letter necklace to celebrate their hard work and recognize their individual charm. Pavé diamonds surrounding their initial will warm their heart.

The Noémie Split-Hoop Diamond Earring 

Don't forget about earrings as you search for ideal hand-crafted diamond pieces to enhance your jewelry collection. Do you enjoy incorporating nostalgic designs with a contemporary flair into your daily attire? You'll adore our Split-Hoop Diamond Earrings. They're inspired by Paris in the 1920s, and they display 14 radiant VS clarity diamonds.

Compass Diamond Pendant

This piece of jewelry is a reminder that you can always find your way to your destiny. In 18K yellow gold, our Noémie Compass Diamond Pendant showcases thirty-four round sparkling VS clarity diamonds. It's a beautiful piece you can pair with other necklaces or wear on its own. 

Diamond Hoop Earrings

You might already wear hoop earrings, but these are uniquely glamorous. Our Noémie Diamond Hoop Earrings display VS clarity diamonds both inside and outside their hoops. These earrings contain a 1-Carat weight of sparkling diamonds, making them a stunning accessory to dress up your look. Choose them in 18k gold or platinum—whatever suits your taste.

Certified Diamonds for "Just Because" Occasions

Maybe you have a friend or relative with a birthday coming up. Perhaps someone you love recently had a baby, and you want to honor them with a gift that's just for them. These Noémie IGI pieces can help you celebrate. 

The Noémie Tennis Bracelet 

Have you been craving a diamond line bracelet to sport in your everyday casual wear? The tennis bracelet is a timeless style that has proven its value over time. 

If you adore casual glamour, our Tennis Bracelet is the perfect addition to your jewelry collection. You can personalize this classic piece by selecting 18-karat white gold, black gold, or rose gold.

Trois Hoop Diamond Earrings

This earring set is unique in its design. If you have singly-pierced ears, each stud can provide the illusion of multiple piercings. With three diamond-studded hoops attached to one post, this earring set is one-of-a-kind. 

Five Diamond Necklace

If you're looking for a piece of diamond jewelry that's understated and remarkable simultaneously, this five diamond necklace is for you. Each stone is bezel-set to create a delicate piece of jewelry perfect for everyday wear.

Huggie Baguette Earrings

These diamond earrings draw inspiration from the geometric styles of the past. Our Huggie Baguette Earrings feature a close-knit hoop design that causes them to hug your ears. On the outside, they display brilliant VS clarity baguette-cut diamonds. You can customize this pair to your liking in 18k rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, or black gold. 

Quality Diamonds for Life's Romantic Moments

Are you ready to make things serious with the person you've been seeing? Maybe you want to surprise your beloved with a diamond necklace as an expression of your love for them. These diamonds can help make your romantic moments memorable. 

The Noémie Lab-Grown Solitaire Ring 

Our Lab-Grown Solitaire Engagement Ring combines a classic design with contemporary diamond technology. This lab-grown focal stone boasts an impressive value that's chemically identical to an earth-grown diamond. In an F/G color grade and VS clarity, this band meets high expectations with an attractive price. It will only look more stunning when you add a diamond eternity wedding band beside it.

The Noémie Oval-Cut Eternity Band 

If you're searching for wedding jewelry, you may want to find unique pieces you can enjoy for a lifetime. Our Oval-Cut Diamond Eternity Band is an ideal choice for a wedding band to compliment your engagement ring. Each rare oval cut diamond lining this band features VS clarity stones with a gorgeous F/G color grade. 

Chevron Diamond Band

Have you been looking for a diamond band that's as unique as you are? Perhaps you enjoy understated glamour with modern details. 

Our Chevron Diamond Band marries uniqueness with simple elegance in one ring. It features beautiful round VS clarity diamonds set in 18K rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, or platinum. Wear it alone or pair it with an engagement ring for a beautiful wedding jewelry combination. 

Solitaire Diamond Ring

While shopping for engagement jewelry, you're likely keeping an eye out for rings that have excellent cut, color, and clarity. Our Noémie Solitaire Diamond Ring is an example of that. This classic engagement ring style features a bold solitaire diamond with a VS clarity and G color rating. You can customize which metal you prefer and the carat size to ensure your ring is to your liking.

Vintage Diamond Band

Do you enjoy vintage clothing, cars, or interior decor? You may also be interested in vintage-inspired diamond rings. 

Our Noémie Vintage Diamond Band displays a whimsical silhouette inlaid with gorgeous VS clarity diamonds. This ring draws inspiration from the past while elevating your modern wardrobe. You can customize this band by choosing 18k rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, or platinum. You can also engrave this piece for added personalization.

To Wrap It Up 

Finding ideal diamond jewelry for your preferences shouldn't be difficult. At Noémie, we're pleased to provide only the best quality fine hand-crafted jewelry, so you never have to wonder if your piece has value. 

Our diamonds are always VS clarity, meaning they are flawless to the naked eye and will sparkle brilliantly for years to come. Knowing our diamond quality never wavers means you can choose the Noémie pieces you adore with complete confidence in their value. 

Whether you're searching for a striking diamond engagement ring or a gorgeous diamond bracelet to treat yourself, you can trust that Noémie's diamonds will always impress with world-class clarity. 

 

Sources:

Diamond Inclusion Types | Your Diamond Teacher

Clarity | GIA 4Cs

What is Diamond Clarity | GIA 4Cs 

How to Select Diamond Clarity | Jewelry Designs

Diamond Grading Report | IGI

Color D-to-Z | GIA 4Cs