Inclusions are the internal defects of a diamond and diamond clarity is the measure of a diamond’s internal defects. Inclusions in diamonds consist of several types including foreign material crystals, another diamond crystal or structural issues like small cracks show up in a diamond as translucent or whitish. Diamond clarity is determined by inclusion numbers, size, color, location, visibility, and orientation. A diamonds clarity system has been created by the Gemological Institute of America along with additional organizations. Each system grades diamond clarity based on inclusions that can be seen by the trained professional using 10× magnification.
High clarity graded diamonds are rare and the highest clarity diamonds are even rarer. Gemstone diamonds are diamonds that have a clarity rating high enough to be graded as gemstone quality. 20% of diamonds mined are of gemstone clarity and the remaining 80% are employed in manufacturing and industry. Most diamonds of gemstone quality feature a large proportion of inclusions. Gemstones with little or no visible inclusions are labeled “eye-clean”. High quality gemstones with little or no inclusions are what diamond buyers want and prefer used in their jewelry. Diamonds with visible inclusions used in jewelry are placed in a setting so that the inclusions are not visible.
Gemstone quality diamonds with inclusions normally do not impact the diamonds’ functional visual use in jewelry if installed in a jewelry setting properly. By placing the diamond with inclusions in a setting so its defects are under or behind setting prongs, this strategy will make the defects not viewable. Diamonds that do not transmit light well are likely full of inclusions. The inclusions if large enough and near the surface of the diamond may be the cause of a fracture where the diamond actual breaks. It is not wise to buy diamonds with large amounts of inclusions and use them in high quality custom jewelry.
Major societies, like the Gemological Institute of America, grade diamonds in scale range from imperfect to flawless.