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What Are Inclusions in Diamonds?

What Are Inclusions in Diamonds?

Diamond clarity is crucial when searching for the perfect diamond ring. Inclusions can impact both the visual appearance of your diamond along with the grading.  

But what exactly is diamond inclusion? And how can it affect your stone's value? Let’s find out.

What Are Inclusions in Diamonds?

Because diamonds form under extreme pressure and heat, they develop internal and external features called clarity characteristics. These characteristics are unique for each diamond and are comparable to birth marks. 

"Blemish" is the term for defining external anomalies, while "Inclusions" refer to internal irregularities extending from its surface into the diamond. 

As the name suggests, an inclusion is anything trapped or "included" within the diamond. These impurities are trapped minerals within the stone. Additionally, breaks or disruptions within the carbon lattice also come under inclusions.

Types of Diamond Inclusions

Before you start assigning inclusions under good or bad, let's briefly look at some of the significant types.

Pinpoint Inclusion

Pinpoint is the most common type of diamond inclusion. It is when entrapped minerals or crystals appear as tiny black or white dots.

Feather Inclusion

The most “desired” type of inclusion is a feather inclusion. This refers to small cracks or fractures that typically blend into the facets of the stone.

Crystal Inclusion

Crystal inclusion is the appearance of scratches and lines on the diamond. Depending on the type of crystal, it can be colored or transparent.

Diamond Clarity

Diamond clarity refers to the purity of stone and the degree to which it presents inclusions and blemishes. 

The lower the number of these imperfections, the higher the diamond clarity grade. It is important to note that no diamond is entirely pure. However, diamonds without inclusions or with fewer inclusions are highly valued and cost much more than a diamond with many inclusions. 

Gemological Labs, such as GIA and EGL USA, use different clarity grades to classify diamond inclusions. 

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale is divided into the following categories:

  • Flawless (FL): These diamonds are entirely pure and don't have any inclusions and blemishes visible under 10× magnification.
  • Internally Flawless (IF): Internally flawless diamonds have no inclusion but may present minor blemishes under 10× magnification.
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2): These diamonds have minute inclusions, which are difficult to find and locate under 10x magnification.
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2): Diamonds with VS1 or VS2 grade have minor inclusions that are relatively easy to spot under 10x magnification.
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2): Slightly included diamonds have noticeable inclusions that are quickly noticeable under 10x magnification.
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3): Diamonds under this clarity grade have noticeable inclusions under 10x that are mostly visible to the naked eye. At lower clarities, it may compromise the brilliance and durability.

Guidelines for Grading Diamond Clarity

Experienced gemologists grade diamond clarity after analyzing five key inclusion characteristics.


The first priority is to assess the size of inclusion and its cumulative effects. Larger inclusions lead to lower clarity and can impact the stone's durability.


The greater the number of inclusions, the lower the clarity grade. However, judging the visibility of the inclusions rather than their number can provide a more accurate grading score.


The location of inclusions affects their visibility and impact on the clarity scale. Inclusions in the center are easily visible and have lower clarity.

Inclusions closer to the pavilion have the potential to reflect, while those near the girdle can lead to chipping and damage.


The nature of the inclusion refers to the depth. Superficial inclusions don't penetrate and are confined to the surface. The deeper and more visible the inclusion, the lower the clarity grade. 


Relief indicates the distinctness of the inclusion to the diamond—or how much contrast there is between the inclusions and the diamond. Inclusions with greater relief or contrast results in a lower clarity grade.

Should You Buy a Diamond with Inclusion?

While lab-grown diamonds are perfect in all ways, many people still prefer natural diamonds with some inclusions. Inclusions make each diamond unique and, in most cases, are minor enough to maintain the integrity and beauty of the stone. Many people that own natural diamonds with small inclusions embrace these birth marks that also help them identify their stone.  

However, the most significant advantage of buying diamonds with inclusions is the price tag. Diamonds with inclusions are much more affordable than natural diamonds with higher clarity grades. You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars, by investing in a natural diamond while loving it’s rare, slightly flawed, and natural appearance. 

At Happy Jewelers, we believe that you should select your diamond on how it looks to the naked eye and not the graded diamond certificate. For example, although a diamond is graded with SI2 clarity, it could present itself as an SI1 or VS2 depending on the location of the facets. Alternatively, inclusions can blend in with facets or can be covered with a prong. 

In summary, diamonds with inclusions are your go-to choice if you have a conservative budget and want a natural diamond!