Everybody is always on a quest for the PERFECT inclusion-free diamond ring.
ESPECIALLY in an engagement ring.
I mean who wants to give the bride-to-be a flaw?
People are always willing to sacrifice color, cut and carat weight, but in no way do they want to give her a diamond that’s riddled with inclusions.
What are inclusions?
Inclusions are nature’s birthmarks…
Flaws that were born with the diamond a billion years ago. The inclusions actually crystallized inside of the rock. So they never get bigger, they never get smaller, they are basically identifying marks of the Diamond that have been there forever and will remain there forever.
Just like us, we have moles and freckles and birthmarks that identify us. Everything made in nature has them. There’s nothing really wrong with them, some diamonds just have more than others.
BUT… and here’s the BIG BUT… WHERE the inclusions lie inside the diamond, how BIG the inclusions are, and what COLOR the inclusions are, make a BIG difference in the overall beauty of a diamond and the value of a diamond. Inclusions can be other minerals, irons, deposits, or even other pieces of carbon that crystallized differently from the rest of the diamond.
Diamond’s are 100% pure carbon
When you look at a diamond, a lot of times you’ll see black spots or cloudy areas in the stone and sometimes you’ll see lines that look like cracks or chips.
These are all different types of inclusions. You could put 2 diamonds side by side, they could both have 5 inclusions each. But one stone could be rated higher than the other and could be worth thousands of dollars more. It’s insane to think about, but it’s true.
Generally speaking, if the inclusions are what they call a white inclusion (where the inclusion actually looks white), vs a black inclusion (black spots, pepper-like inclusions), the diamond will be prettier and most of the times will sparkle more and look bigger.
White inclusions tend to hide better in the brilliance and shine.
Black spots are easier to see with the bare eye.
If your inclusions fall to the outside of the diamond, around the outer edge of the girdle, the diamond will look better and the inclusions will be less obvious.
Sometimes if the inclusions are deep within the diamond, near the base of the point (the base is called the pavilion, the point is called the culet), the inclusion will look like 4 inclusions, because the pavilion creates a fun-house mirror effect and reflects the inclusion all the way around the base.
If your inclusion falls around the edge of the diamond near the girdle, you get better results. This is because a good jeweler can actually hide the inclusions with prongs or the mounting.
So not all inclusions are actually bad. You could have one, cover it up, and save literally thousands of dollars.
But let me make a couple more points worth considering… If you’re still thinking to yourself “Good inclusions? This guy is nuts.“, bear with me…
There are some pretty good reasons why you should have some inclusions in your diamond.
Because there is no perfect diamond!
That’s right! You may be on a journey for a perfect stone, but just like people, they don’t exist. What people often forget is that a diamond that’s rated Flawless, can still have inclusions.
Nothing’s perfect and some people will get so obsessed with a virtually Flawless diamond that they slack off and get a I-J color or a diamond that’s cut too deep.
So much for the perfect diamond.
Perfection doesn’t exist anyway…
You could place an SI1 clarity diamond, one that’s way further down the clarity list, up against that Flawless diamond… And if the lower quality diamond has a better color grade, or a better cut, it will look 1000% better than the higher clarity diamond. Believe it or not! It’s a stunning difference.
A Flawless diamond is only as good as the rest of the stone.
When you think about inclusions, spend your money wisely on something that’s visible. And what I mean by that is, if you can’t see the difference with the bare eye, who else would?
If you can’t see the difference between an SI1 diamond and a VVS clarity diamond, then why spend more money? You may see the difference under the microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe, but that’s about it. I would rather spend my money on something that I can see.
Something that does make a difference. Unless you can see a huge ugly inclusion with the bare eye, then get yourself a better cut or color instead. You won’t regret it!
One more excellent point about inclusions…
(Or diamond’s fingerprint.)
If your diamond has a couple of small inclusions inside it, you’ll be able to see them with a loupe or a microscope. You’ll always be able to see the inclusions inside the diamond. They won’t change or move. They will always be there.
If you can remember where those inclusions are and what they look like, then you’ll always be able to identify your diamond. ALWAYS! Think about that. You will always be able to scope your diamond, anywhere, anytime and say without a doubt “Yes, that’s my diamond!“
If you take your ring in for a retipping, scope your diamond first.
You can even draw a little diagram of your stone with the inclusions. When you get your ring back from repair, scope it again just to verify that it’s yours. People always forget this part, they’re so happy to get their ring back, that they forget to look closer. But I say “get into the habit“… It’s good practice. And without a doubt you’ll know, that you got YOUR diamond back.
Flawless = Bad
That’s the really bad thing about having a FLAWLESS diamond. A Flawless diamond has no visible birthmarks. No real way to identify it.
That Flawless stone could be a fake and you’d never know it. (And as a side note, “Flawless” almost sounds like it has some flaws, just less of them, now doesn’t it?)
See inclusions CAN be good
I’m not saying that I’m fine with a ton of inclusions. I’m just saying that a diamond that has a lot of beauty and sparkle and a few identifying marks that are NOT visible to the bare eye, can be a good thing. As long as they’re small, there’s no harm.
I would stay away from black inclusions. If it looks like pepper then run.
Buy inclusions that are small and white so the diamond’s sparkle will hide them. Don’t get inclusions that are large or look like chunks of salt, those are bad. Fine little dots, feathers or pin points are fine. But if they resemble a long line or crack… No way! Those types of flaws can weaken a diamond and cause the stone to break.
And please, always check a girdle for chips… A lot of diamonds get broken during the setting process by the jeweler’s steel pliers and pressure. So magnify them and check… You owe it to yourself.
Lastly, remember to always scope your diamond before and after any jeweler works on it…
Your wallet and your fiance will thank you.
Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist and Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
Let Richard help you choose the best diamond, the most dazzling engagement ring, and save as much money as possible. Read more about the author here. Follow Richard on social media; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Contact Richard Scott here.