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Diamond Inclusions to Avoid

When it comes to selecting a diamond, the presence of inclusions is an important consideration. While it’s true that almost all diamonds have some level of inclusions, not all inclusions are created equal. Understanding the types of inclusions to avoid can help you choose a diamond that strikes the right balance between beauty, durability, and value.

In this article, we will delve into seven diamond inclusions that you should steer clear of when making your purchase. By avoiding these inclusions, you can ensure that your diamond retains its brilliance, durability, and overall quality.

Diamond Inclusions

Diamond inclusions are imperfections that can be found in a diamond. These imperfections can occur during the diamond’s formation deep within the Earth or during the cutting and polishing process. Inclusions can be located on the surface or within the interior of the diamond.

Surface inclusions refer to imperfections that are visible on the outside of the diamond. Examples of surface inclusions include fractures, chips, naturals (undeveloped parts of the original crystal’s surface), and scratches. Interior inclusions, on the other hand, are imperfections that are contained within the diamond. These may include etch channels, clouds (clusters of tiny inclusions), feathers (small cracks), cavities (voids within the diamond), and twinning wisps (lines caused by irregular crystal growth).

Inclusions can vary in size, position, and color. The extent of inclusions in a diamond affects its clarity grade, which is a measure of the diamond’s overall purity. The clarity grade ranges from flawless (no visible inclusions under 10X magnification) to I3 (diamonds with prominent and easily visible inclusions). As the clarity grade decreases, the visibility and impact of the inclusions increase.

image gia clarity scale

The presence of inclusions has a significant impact on the quality and value of a diamond. A flawless diamond with no visible inclusions at 10X magnification commands a premium price due to its rarity and exceptional clarity.

Which Diamond Inclusions Should You Avoid?

1. Chips:

Chips are small, shallow openings on the surface of a diamond, often caused by accidental impact or mishandling. These chips can weaken the diamond and make it more susceptible to future breaks. Moreover, chips cannot be easily repaired and require recutting, which reduces the carat weight and value of the diamond. It is advisable to avoid diamonds with chips and instead opt for a smaller, undamaged diamond to ensure both durability and value.

2. Dark Crystals:

Crystals can form within a diamond, and while some may be transparent and have minimal impact on quality, dark crystals should be avoided. These dark-colored crystals, which can be red, green, or blue, hinder the entry of light into the diamond, resulting in reduced fire and brilliance.

with dark crystals appear dull and lackluster. It is preferable to choose a diamond with either transparent crystals or small, well-distributed crystals. Additionally, selecting a diamond where the crystals are covered by the setting can minimize their impact on light performance.

3. Feathers:

Feathers are internal cracks or fractures in a diamond that resemble feathers. The visibility and impact of feathers depend on their size, color, and location within the diamond. Large feathers near the girdle can pose durability concerns, particularly if the girdle is thin.

Additionally, large and dark feathers diminish a diamond’s brilliance by obstructing the passage of light. However, smaller, transparent feathers within diamonds of excellent or very good cut can still exhibit strong light performance. Careful consideration should be given to the size and location of feathers when evaluating a diamond’s quality.

4. Cavities:

Cavities are larger, crater-like openings on the diamond’s surface. Unlike chips, cavities are not typically formed during the diamond’s natural formation but are man-made errors during the cutting and polishing process. These cavities not only compromise the durability of the diamond, making it prone to further breaks, but they can also accumulate dirt and grime over time, resulting in visible black spots.

Although cavities can be removed through recutting, this process reduces the diamond’s carat weight and overall value. It is advisable to choose a smaller, cavity-free diamond to ensure both longevity and appearance.

5. Laser Drill Holes:

Laser drill holes are inclusion types resulting from a process to remove other flaws within a diamond. By drilling a small hole to reach an internal inclusion, the inclusion is either bleached or burned with a laser. While the dark inclusion is eliminated, the drilled tunnel remains.

Diamonds with laser drill holes are considered clarity enhanced, which diminishes their value compared to natural diamonds. Most buyers prefer natural diamonds without artificial treatments, resulting in lower demand and pricing for clarity enhanced diamonds.

6. Knots:

Knots are crystal inclusions that penetrate the surface of a diamond. They are often visible to the naked eye and can affect the diamond’s durability. Knots are noticeable because they extend to the diamond’s surface, appearing as raised areas on the facets.

While the color of knots may not be problematic, their visibility is undesirable, particularly if the diamond is intended to be eye-clean. Careful inspection and consideration should be given to the presence and prominence of knots when choosing a diamond.

7. Indented Naturals:

Indented naturals are inclusions found near the diamond’s girdle, where the polished surface dips below the original rough surface. These inclusions are typically discovered during the final preparation stages of a diamond.

While they may cause fewer durability issues compared to chips or cavities, large or multiple indented naturals can still make the diamond more vulnerable to breakage and can accumulate dirt and grime over time, affecting its appearance. It is recommended to avoid diamonds with prominent or numerous indented naturals to ensure both durability and cleanliness.

Can Inclusions Provide Benefits in Diamonds?

Inclusions can indeed have some benefits when purchasing a diamond, particularly in terms of affordability. By accepting minor inclusions, buyers can lower the price of the diamond and find options within their budget. It involves making trade-offs and determining which qualities are most important. Exploring the number, size, and type of inclusions can help find a diamond that fits one’s price range.

For example, comparing a flawless diamond priced at $9,780 to a diamond with the same characteristics but a VS1 clarity grade (inclusions visible under magnification) priced at $6,900, the buyer can save $2,880 or 42% by opting for the diamond with inclusions.

This trend becomes more pronounced as one compares flawless diamonds to those graded between I1 and VS2 on the GIA clarity scale. Increasingly visible inclusions progressively reduce the price.

A recommended guideline for clarity is to purchase an eye-clean diamond, usually with a clarity grade of SI or above. Larger diamonds may benefit from a clarity grade of VS2.


When purchasing a diamond, it’s important to consider inclusions as they are a common aspect of nearly every diamond. Flawless diamonds, without any inclusions, are rare and come with a premium price tag, which may not be feasible for many buyers. Therefore, most buyers have to make a decision regarding the types of inclusions they are willing to accept.

It is advisable to avoid inclusions that have a significant impact on the diamond’s durability, aesthetic appeal, and light performance. Examples of such inclusions include chips, dark crystals, and long feathers. By being aware of these types of inclusions and their effects, buyers can make informed decisions.

In cases where it’s not possible to physically examine the diamond before purchase, it is recommended to choose an online retailer that provides high-resolution photos of the specific diamond. This allows buyers to assess the impact of the inclusions on the diamond’s performance.

By understanding the variety of inclusions that exist and their potential consequences, buyers can be better prepared to choose a diamond that meets their preferences and will stand the test of time.

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