A diamond is a rare stone found in the depths of the earth, created by intense heat and pressure. Inclusions, or flaws, are natural formations found in diamonds and vary in their visibility. Inclusions can potentially interfere with the sparkly, light reflecting affect we love about diamonds, but they are also what makes a particular diamond unique and one of a kind. Here are a few of the names used by jewelers of common inclusions and how they might affect the beauty of a diamond, whether negatively or positively.
A Feather is a general term for fissures, or what looks like wisps in a diamond. Small feathers do not usually negatively affect the diamond’s structure unless they rise to the surface where they are prone to accidental blows. Depending on the angle in which they are viewed, feathers may look shiny and glossy, white, or transparent. However, some feathers in a stone can enhance the reflections of light and can make a diamond appear to be even shinier depending on the direction it’s turned. Feathers can also pose a threat to a diamond’s durability, however, and it is important to know which type of cleaning method is used by a jeweler, as ultrasonic cleaning can potentially open and expand feathers.
Crystals or Minerals
Tiny crystals and minerals can be permeated into a diamond through the extreme conditions they have to endure over the many years of formation. Crystals are often smaller diamond particles inside of a larger diamond. They can potentially obstruct the play of light and detract from a diamond’s clarity, value, and grade. However, crystals and minerals can also have a positive effect on a diamond’s beauty, adding to its character. A diamond that has a certain birthstone crystal embedded might make a perfect, unique gift for a person with that particular birthstone.
A diamond with an included crystal that is sitting near the surface can open up during cutting and polishing, resulting in what is called a knot. The knot is raised on the surface and can be seen by the naked eye. Using a magnification device, you may also see the lines of tiny bubbles trailing alongside the knot, where a cutter may have dragged the diamond along a polishing wheel. A knot is an entirely different crystal all in itself, so its growth pattern differs from that of the diamond. In most cases, a diamond cutter cannot polish away a knot.
Cavities are holes found on the surface of a diamond. They are caused from the forcing out of a crystal found on the surface during polishing. This then leaves a gaping hole where the crystal was. A cavity can also be formed when a part of a feathering close to the surface breaks off, leaving behind a cleft-like opening. Like a knot, the tiny bubble trails alongside a cavity caused by the polishing wheel, which can help you tell the difference between a cavity and a chip.
These are just a few of the most common types of inclusions that can be found in diamonds. When shopping for a diamond, it is important to educate yourself first so that you may ask the jeweler questions about not only the presence of inclusions, but also what types they are. Knowing the specific inclusion, you will be able to determine the specific affect it may cause and whether the inclusion is a positive or negative thing.