Inclusions are imperfections in diamonds. You can think of them as natural birthmarks that appear within a diamond as it’s created, deep within the earth.

Nearly every natural, earth-mined diamond will have some inclusions, and they can even show up in lab-grown stones, too. Truly flawless and colorless diamonds — less than 1% of all diamonds mined — can be expensive. 

Today, the diamond experts at Victoria Marie Jewelers are here to explain inclusions for the average diamond shopper. Whether you’re looking for an engagement stone, an investment piece, or a pair of diamond stud earrings for Mom, we’ll teach you the basics of diamond-buying today. 

The “4 Cs” of Diamond Quality

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) describes the “four Cs” of diamond shopping as:

  • Carat weight — the size of a diamond
  • Color grade — colorless is preferred
  • Clarity grade — the lack of inclusions
  • And cut grade — how perfectly and symmetrically a diamond is cut

When we talk about inclusions, we’re talking about defects in a diamond’s clarity. They aren’t usually visible to the naked eye. 

Scoring Diamonds for Clarity

Per GIA, diamonds are scored for their clarity, looking through a magnification of 10x.

The scores range from:

  • FL — Flawless
  • IF — Internally flawless
  • VVS — Very, very slightly included
  • VS — Very slightly included
  • SI — Slightly included
  • I — Inclusions are obvious

FL and IF diamonds are the most prestigious and the most expensive.

Diamond Inclusions

GIA lists several types of inclusions. For the sake of this blog, we won’t get too technical about them. Just know that a clean, blemish-free diamond is always preferred. You should avoid dark streaks, white streaks, spots or pits when diamond shopping.

“What if I like a diamond with inclusions? Should I buy it?”

There are other factors at play when determining the value of a diamond. A large diamond that’s well-cut and nearly colorless will still be valuable with a minor flaw, but a poorly cut large stone with a visible dark streak might not be worth anything. Remember, many inclusions aren’t visible to the human eye without magnification.

Ultimately, choosing the right diamond is a balance of appearance, size, quality and budget. And sometimes, a stone will “speak to you.” If you’re attracted to a stone that’s unique because of its inclusion, go ahead and buy it. Your jewelry should make you happy. 

To learn more about diamonds and diamond grading, contact us. Our team of diamond experts and gemologists are standing by.