No two diamonds are alike. Inclusions in a diamond are often referred to as the diamond's unique fingerprint.Speak With a Specialist
Clarity refers to the number of “inclusions” that are found inside a diamond. Inclusions are scratches, trace minerals, or other tiny characteristics that can detract from the way light bounces from mirror to mirror (known as facets) within a diamond. Most inclusions in a diamond occured more than a billion years ago when it was formed. The diamond may have been exposed to a sudden temperature change or a trace of another element was embedded into the diamond as it formed.
It is extremely rare to find a diamond without inclusions; when one is found it is ranked “flawless” and is very costly. Inclusions are distinguishing characteristics which represent the uniqueness of each diamond and are often called the diamond's fingerprint because no two stones are exactly alike.
The number of inclusions in a diamond is ranked on a scale based on the visibility and location of these little characteristics when the diamond is under 10x magnification. Two common diamond grading houses are the Gemological Institute of America [GIA] and the American Gem Society [AGS]. Each has its own unique way to rank and ‘grade’ a diamond’s clarity. Below is a chart showing the rankings from Flawless to ‘Included’ and which AGS numbers correspond with which GIA letters so you will be better able to compare “apples to apples” in your diamond search.
“Feathers” look like a bird’s feather in the stone and can be a structural problem if any of the tiny cracks are close to the diamond’s surface.
“Pinpoints” look like clear or white bubbles within the diamond and can change the way light is distributed depending on their size.
“Carbon Spots” are black, brown, or other colored dark dots or specks in the diamond. Many low priced I clarity stones are priced low because of distracting carbon spots in obvious places that cannot be hidden.
“Clouds” are actually just a group of pinpoint inclusions. Clouds look like empty masses within the diamond and can cause the diamond to be more susceptible to breaking if close enough to the surface.
“Needles” look like empty thin tubes and can be very obvious or small. If they are close to the surface or stretch long enough they may cause the diamond to be more susceptible to cracking.