Whether you’re shopping for an engagement diamond, anniversary ring, or Valentine’s Day jewelry, knowing the basics of diamond clarity inclusions vs. blemishes will help you make a better buying decision. So what are inclusions and blemishes, what’s the difference, and why do they matter?
Inclusions and blemishes affect a stone’s clarity, which is one of the 4 Cs that diamond experts and savvy shoppers use to evaluate loose diamonds and diamond jewelry and to assign a dollar value to them. (The other Cs are cut, color, and carat weight.)
Flaws inside and out: inclusions vs. blemishes
Inclusions are flaws within a diamond itself, some of which are present when the diamond is created by nature. Graining, feathering, and tiny crystals inside the stone are all examples of inclusions, and all of them can affect diamond clarity by impacting the way light moves through the stone.
Blemishes are external flaws that come along after the diamond is mined and cut—and in some cases, diamonds suffer blemishes from rough handling while being worn. Examples of diamond blemishes include chips, scratches, and errors during the cutting and polishing stages.
So which matters more to diamond clarity, inclusion vs. blemishes?
When it comes to grading diamond clarity, inclusions vs. blemishes really becomes all about the inclusions, because almost all diamonds contain them. Nine out of eleven of the clarity grades recognized by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) focus on the number, size, position, and quality of inclusions. Blemishes are really only taken into account when grading extremely rare and very expensive flawless and internally flawless stones. In the battle of inclusion vs. blemishes, inclusions dominate.
How do inclusions affect diamond clarity grading?
The GIA breaks diamonds with inclusions into four main groups from least flawed to most, with each group having two or three subdivisions:
- VVS (very, very slightly included)
- VS (very slightly included)
- SI (slightly included)
- I (included)
How do you know if a diamond you’ve got your eye on has inclusions or blemishes?
Ask for the stone’s GIA clarity rating, which is the standard scale recognized by gemologists and jewelers around the globe. If the stone you’re interested in doesn’t have a GIA rating, you may want to hire a specialist diamond grader to check it for blemishes and inclusions, which can usually only be seen by a trained eye using the right equipment.
How much does diamond clarity matter when you’re buying a loose stone or diamond jewelry?
It depends! Obviously you want the best value for your money and you want a diamond that reflects your love, but your budget matters, too. If you have $10,000 or more per carat to spend, a rare flawless diamond is within your reach and makes an epic gesture as a gift. If your diamond budget is smaller, there are plenty of beautiful stones available that deliver true diamond sparkle. After all, most diamonds are flawed and most of us never notice—we’re too busy admiring that engagement ring or those gorgeous earrings.
Are you planning an unforgettable proposal? Find your perfect diamond today at Dara’s Diamonds, and create a memory to last a lifetime.