Clarity Characteristics in a Diamond | GemTrove


Diamond Clarity Characteristics and Inclusions


Internal characteristics of a diamond may be classified as: cavities, cleavage, clouds, included crystals or minerals, feathers, internal graining, knots, laser drill hole, needle, pinpoint, or twinning wisp.

External characteristics are abrasion, naturals, nicks, pits, polish lines, scratches, chips, breaks, grain boundaries, or extra facets.

Crystal diamond Inclusions 

Crystal is a mineral deposit found inside the diamond, which is sometimes alone, or in groups.


Pinpoint diamond Inclusions 

Pinpoint is a very small crystal that is often whitish in colour. When pinpoints are clustered together, they can form a cloud in a diamond. This is a minute crystal that looks like a tiny dot at 10X magnification. Pinpoints are usually white but can be dark occasionally.


Cloud diamond Inclusions 

Cloud is a tightly grouped pinpoint inclusion. Where single pinpoint is generally difficult to detect under 10X magnification, can be detected when they form a cloud together. When three or more pinpoints group together they are indistinguishable from each other and looks like a transparent cloud inside the diamond. Some clouds look like a light haze while others are dense making it difficult to see through.


Cavity diamond Inclusions 

A cavity is usually the result of a natural flaw in the rough diamond which looks like an opening or depression in the surface of the diamond. A cavity is the void left when a surface –reaching crystal drops out or is forced out during cutting or polishing. The cutter has decided to leave it there to retain weight of the diamond. Removing the cavity will result in losing about 25% of the diamond's weight. Cavities are deeper than chips.


Chip diamond Inclusions 

Chip is a shallow nick in the surface of the diamond that is usually created during the cutting of a diamond.



Bruise diamond Inclusions 

A bruise is a chip kind of mark on the surface of diamond that may also have a root-like feather radiating into the diamond.


Feather diamond Inclusions 

Feather in a diamond is a fracture that time and again has fine lines radiating from it, that resembles a feather. Most importantly feathers appear transparent or white which totally depends on the viewing angle of the diamond. These are breaks in the stone that resemble feathers. Feathers can compromise the durability of the diamond (than any other inclusion) if it runs through a major length of the stone or has stress points where it can break. A feather might look shiny and white, glossy, or transparent, depending on the viewing direction

Needle diamond Inclusions 

A needle is a very fine, thin and elongated inclusion that is very similar in appearance to a feather, but it does not have radiating lines. These are long, thin crystals that look like a rod under ten times magnification. Needles look white, bright or dark.


Twinning wisp diamond Inclusions

A flat ribbon of pinpoint or cloud inclusions is called twinning wisp. It is caused by natural falsification or deformation during the crystal's growth. These come from distortion during the diamond crystal's growth.


Natural diamond Inclusions 

Natural is identified as the small remains of the model rough stone’s surface that are left unpolished on the finished diamond’s surface. Such types of inclusions are generally found on the girdle of diamonds. This refers to the original surface of the diamond, which has not been polished and left as it is. might have growth markings that look like triangles (trigon's) or parallel grooves. Some diamonds may have indented naturals where a portion of the natural dip below the polished surface of the diamond. A cutter usually leaves this either at the girdle or pavilion where it is less noticeable.


Indented Natural diamond Inclusions 

The indented natural blemishes occur when an actual depression or indentation is left by a natural in the surface of a finished diamond.


Extra Facet diamond Inclusions 

A facet that is not a part of the diamond’s shape’s standard cut. Diamond cutting artists due to the flaw or limitation generally create these extra facets in the original rough diamond.



Internal Graining diamond Inclusions 

This is also due to irregularities in crystal growth. It is visible as lines, angles, or curves and might be whitish, coloured or reflective. Internal graining can give part or all of the stone a hazy look. It is not a common inclusion in diamonds.



Grain Centre diamond Inclusions 

This is a small concentrated area of crystal growth distortion. It looks like transparent tornadoes caught inside the diamond. They can occur alone or in groups.



Bearded Girdle diamond Inclusions 

These are minute feathers that extend from the girdle surface into the stone. This results when the diamond is cut or bruised. Though it doesn’t pose any risk to the durability, extensive bearding can lessen the brightness of the diamond.



Knot diamond Inclusions 

A knot is an included diamond crystal that extends to the surface after cutting and polishing. A knot is visible with a diamond loupe under proper lighting conditions.. Knots sometimes look like slightly raised areas on a facet. The presence of knots may affect the clarity of the diamond.


Laser Drill-hole diamond Inclusions 

It is a tiny tunnel produced by a laser beam.The tunnel extends from the surface to a dark included crystal inside the diamond. This is done to introduce acid to dissolve or bleach the inclusion and make it less visible.Laser drill-holes are permanent.



Fracture filling diamond Inclusions 

Laser drill-holes and surface reaching feathers are sometimes filled with molten glass to make it less noticeable. This leaves an evidence behind which is called flash effect. This can be seen as a flash of colour that changes to a second colour when you rock the diamond back and forth.


Blemishes in diamonds 



An abrasion is a series of minute nicks along a facet junction. It gives the junction a white or fuzzy appearance. Abrasions usually occur because people handle and store jewellery carelessly, and the diamonds rub against each other.




A pit is a small characteristic that usually looks like a tiny white dot. Pits usually result when pinpoint inclusions are pulled from the diamond during the polishing process. In other words, a pit is a tiny cavity.




The breaking off of a small piece of diamond on the surface is usually referred to as chipping. Chips are shallow and easy to remove by polishing.




Nicks are minor surface chips caused by abrasion due to long and hard wear. Most nicks occur along the girdle; however, they may also appear along the facet junctions or elsewhere. These are sometimes repaired by adding extra facets.




These occur when loose diamonds are stored together in the fold over diamond papers or from contact with other diamonds in a jewellery box. They appear as abraded facet junctions and scratches on facets.



Extra Facets

Extra facets are additional facets placed on a diamond without regard for the diamond's symmetry. They are usually done to polish out a minor blemish such as a natural or a nick.



Rough Girdle

A rough girdle is an irregular, granular, pitted girdle surface. A rough girdle is usually accompanied by bearding or feathering and can be a risk to durability at the girdle.



Burn Marks

When a diamond is polished too quickly, heat from friction builds up enough so that the surface clouds slightly under the metal jaws holding the diamond. The surface of the diamond can also be burnt by exposure to a very hot fire such as a house fire or exposure to a torch in the setting process.


Twin Lines or Surface Grain Lines

These are lines caused by large inclusions that are oriented differently from the main crystal. They stand out as visible lines at the surface. They are differentiated easily from polishing marks by the fact that they run across facet junctions. These surface grain lines or twin lines are seldom visible to the eye and typically very minor in importance.

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