“Are diamond inclusions bad?”
I get this common question all the time.
The full answer to that question can help you get the diamond you want at a price you can afford — or even at a lower price than you could afford.
At the end of this article (scroll right down if you’re in a TL;DR mood) you’ll see a killer example of how diamond inclusions can actually be good.
I’ve Been There Too: Obsessed With Diamond Clarity
We’ve all been there, at least temporarily: literally obsessed with diamond clarity. Shopping for hours sometimes looking for the “perfect” diamond. By “perfect” when obsessed like that, we mean “flawless.” By flawless, of course, we mean “without any inclusions.”
Some people, I regret to say, even make a less than great choice in a diamond, because they assumed all inclusions are bad.
- The short answer: Not all diamond inclusions are bad.
- The slightly longer answer? Well that’s where things get interesting, because in this article I’m going to give you some information here that you can absolutely use to score the best looking diamond possible for your budget.
What Are Diamond Inclusions?
First of all, what are inclusions again?
They’re the “flaws” in a diamond. Every diamond has them. Inclusions are anything inside of a diamond that disrupts the flow of light through its pure crystalline nature.
Some inclusions are black. Some are white. Some are gray. Some are shaped like pits. Others are shaped like feathers, needles, or clouds. And really the variety of color and shape is almost endless.
Inclusions can occur anywhere within a diamond, of course. And this is the key to the whole solution of “using” inclusions to get the best looking diamond possible for the lowest cost possible.
How Does Location Affect Whether Inclusions in a Diamond Are Bad?
Because inclusions can occur anywhere within the diamond, you can easily guess that some locations of inclusions are worse than others.
Some Bad Locations for Inclusions:
- Near the top of the diamond (called the “Table”)
- Near the facets angling down off the top of the diamond (These facets together are known as the “Crown”.)
- Near the very bottom of the diamond (called the “Culet”)
- Near any edge or point in the diamond
Inclusions near the Table of a diamond are generally considered to be bad. It’s because obviously they are top and center, distracting anyone viewing the diamond from above. Since a diamond mounted on a ring is almost always viewed from above, this is the worst possible place for inclusions.
Inclusions hear the Crown of a diamond are in a slightly “less bad” location, but honestly they are still almost top and center. So they’re very distracting to anyone viewing the diamond from the most common vantage point — the top.
You might think an inclusion located in the bottom of diamond could be ok. Strangely, if you’ve never seen this phenomenon yet, but inclusions near the Culet are almost as bad as those located near the Table. An inclusion in the Culet is often “reflected” from many facets that are coming together in the Culet. So, that one inclusion can appear to be multiple inclusions, as it is being reflected off of multiple facets.
Edges or Points
Inclusions that exist very near or on an edge or angle are especially visible. Depending on the inclusion type, they may also be dangerous to the structure of the diamond. Inclusions can be much weaker than the surrounding crystalline structure of the diamond. So if the inclusion is on or near an edge or a point, it can cause the diamond to crack if the diamond is cleaned improperly, for example ultrasonically. Or if the diamond accidentally brushes against a hard object such as a brick wall.
Some “Good” Locations for Inclusions
Here are the best locations for inclusions – in order, with the best coming first in the list:
- Near but not on the outer edge of the diamond (called the “Girdle”).
- Anywhere that happens to be concealed by the ring in which it is mounted
- Dispersed in the center of the stone
Inclusions located in the Girdle can be virtually invisible. (Not always, but they can be.)
Inclusions that are concealed by the ring can be considered invisible for all practical purposes. You can’t see them if they’re hidden by the ring.
Tiny inclusions that are dispersed in the center of a stone can also be virtually invisible.
In the End, One Thing About Inclusions Is Not Complicated
Ultimately, whether an inclusion in a diamond is bad for its visual appeal is simple.
You decide if it’s bad by looking at it.
Keeping in mind that no diamond is perfectly clear, ask yourself one reasonable question:
Is It “Eye Clean”?
Or, to ask that question in some detail:
Can I see any inclusions …
- With my naked eye (not using a jeweler’s loupe … of course wear your glasses 😉 )
- While looking down at the diamond
- Which is mounted on a ring
- Which is worn on a hand
- And viewed from an arm’s length away
“Eye Clean” is an industry term. It’s not used by the GIA. So you won’t find “eye clean” noted on a diamond grading report.
These are a list of clarity grades which, most industry experts agree, are always eye clean:
- Flawless (FL) – always will be eye clean
- Internally Flawless (IF) – always will be eye clean
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) always will be eye clean
- Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) always will be eye clean.
And this is a list of grades which may or may not be eye clean:
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) diamonds (may or may not be eye clean).
Finally, here’s a list of diamond clarity grades which are virtually never eye clean
- Included (I1, I2, and I3)
So, as you can see, if you want an eye clean diamond, while keeping the cost as low as you can, so that you can afford the most beautiful gem you can find, then you should look for eye clean Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) diamonds.
How Do Diamond Inclusions Affect Price? (This Is Where Inclusions Can Actually Be Good)
Diamond inclusions bring the price of any diamond down.
This is true with inclusions that are easily visible to the naked eye.
It’s also true even in eye clean diamonds. You can find diamonds in which the inclusions aren’t visible to the naked eye. But the difference in price can be substantial all the same.
How to Get a Diamond That Looks Just as Good as a $5,000 Rock — for Only $3,000
That’s a dramatic heading. But it’s true! And similar savings are available throughout many diamond price ranges. It boils down to finding eye clean diamonds among SI1 and SI2 grades.
You can easily verify this, and even play this intoxicating game of “find the eye clean diamond and save thousands” using James Allen’s incredible diamond search engine and 3D imaging technology.
Here’s a 1.03 CARAT F-VS1 EXCELLENT CUT ROUND DIAMOND
Based on its clarity grade, obviously going to be eye clean. It’s priced at $5,470
Now compare this 1.01 CARAT F-SI2 EXCELLENT CUT ROUND DIAMOND
- Notice it’s an SI2 which is (almost certainly) “eye clean”. (You can enjoy seeing what you think of it at James Allen, using their incredible 3D imaging of their loose diamonds. Of course, only looking at a diamond in person can 100% confirm that it is eye clean. But the 3D imaging gives a great look, and you can verify, in almost every case, using the imaging alone.)
- Notice, too, that this second diamond has all the same grades in other areas of Carat, Cut, and Color.
The only difference is the Clarity grade!
And the price! It’s $3,040
Saving Thousands Is the Best Reason Why Diamond Inclusions Are Actually Good
Jus shop among Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) diamonds, looking for eye clean bargains. These gems are not all that hard to find, either.
I Can Supply You the Information You Need to Take Action
Want me to help?
I’m happy to.
- Book a free consultation
- Tell me your needs and your budget, and I’ll supply excellent options for you to choose from.
- Give her the diamond engagement ring of her dreams, knowing you didn’t overpay.
(All of this is at no cost to you.)