Diamond Clarity – What Are Inclusions and Blemishes?

Clarity, being one of the four C's, is one of the most emphasized components of evaluating the value of a diamond. Blemishes and inclusions essentially make up the two facets of diamond clarity grading. One example of an inclusion is laser lines, which result from enhancement procedures. When a diamond has a scratch or abrasion on the surface, this is what's known as a blemish.

Diamond Inclusions

An evaluation of a diamond's clarity consists of factoring in eight different types of inclusions. An inclusion generally is located within the diamond and is thought of as a flaw. As a result, the it will receive a lower grade and will not be as valuable.

Sometimes an inclusion results from the abnormal growth of crystals. They will at times appear on in the form of slight lines and streaks. Inclusions can also be caused by structural flaws, such as tiny cracks in the diamond.

Inclusions negatively affect the beauty and brilliance of a diamond because they do not allow light to freely pass through. They have been referred to as "nature's fingerprints" and are natural imperfections, but are not able to be seen by the naked eye.

Crystals or minerals embedded in a diamond are examples. These could also be smaller diamonds that got stuck inside the larger diamond while the crystal was forming.

A few other kinds of inclusions include:

  • Feathers
  • Knots
  • Cavities
  • Internal graining

Diamond Blemishes

The amount of blemishes a diamond has is another key factor used in figuring out a clarity grade. Blemishes are imperfections that appear on the outside surface of the diamond. More often than not, a blemish is a result of a natural occurrence. However, it can also be caused by cutting and polishing the diamond.

Blemishes though are not easy to detect with the naked eye, meaning that they do not affect the beauty of the diamond very much. Therefore, if you are more of a casual buyer and do not care about owning a perfect diamond, this plays to your advantage. Diamonds with blemishes will get a lower clarity grade, which will make them more affordable for you while still getting a beautiful diamond.

Some examples of blemishes include:

  • Grain boundries
  • Scratches
  • Pits
  • Nicks

An important point to remember when searching for diamond jewelry or a diamond is to buy from a jeweler or company that you can trust. A qualified jeweler will assist you in understanding diamond clarity even more and selecting the diamond you want.


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