Worst Types of Positions for Inclusions And Flaws

In a perfect world, every diamond should be flawless. In reality, imperfections are usually present in diamonds as a result of their chaotic formation process. When it comes to assessing value and other individual characteristics, inclusions play a large role in determining what a cutter does with the rough crystal. 

For example, different flaws present in rough stones can define decisions cutters make when choosing the shape and facet patterning of the polished diamond. The presence of flaws can also influence the final outcome of clarity and color grade of a diamond.

Where Are the Worst Positions for Inclusions in a Diamond to be Found?

The location of flaws can affect the diamond in two major aspects – its visual appeal and durability. The first aspect we are going to look into is how flaws can severely impact the diamond’s appearance.

Due to the way our brain is wired to work, we tend to focus our attention towards the center of an object when we look at things. When we look at diamonds, the same theory applies. That is why inclusions located directly under the table facet are the easiest to get picked out.

a very poor choice of included diamonds

Inclusions under the table can be seen easily!

In the second example below, the positioning of the dark crystal inclusion is a serious concern. Not only is the inclusion located in a super obvious location, it is also reflected by the pavilion mains onto the bezel and upper girdle facets. The black splotches seen in the 11 o’clock orientation (indicated by the red arrow) is a result of this mirroring effect.

multiple reflections of inclusions

Impact of this huge inclusion is made worse as it is reflected by the pavilion mains.

dark crystal in emerald cut diamond

Bigger diamonds generally need higher clarity grades to stay eyeclean.

JamesAllen.com offers a massive inventory of loose diamonds with magnified videos and images to help you SEE exactly what you will be getting. Experience their awesome website for yourself today!

Consideration of Durability Factors Posed By Inclusions

The location of inclusions can also impact a diamond’s durability. For example, if huge feathers or cavities lie close to the girdle, the diamond will be more vulnerable to chipping. Gemological labs like GIA will take such durability issues into account and assign a lower clarity grading to the stone accordingly.

Compared to inclusions located near the center of the diamond, flaws found near the girdle could be covered up by prongs (prongable) so that they remain hidden from view. However, when a prong is placed on top of an inclusion, it will subject the weak point to a higher level of mechanical stress.

In an unguarded movement when the ring is worn, a sudden force in the right direction can possibly bring about catastrophic damage. Likewise, improper techniques and inexperienced jewelers can cause diamonds to be chipped during the setting process. That is why you need to be careful and seek professional advice when buying such diamonds.

feather that reaches diamond girdle

The feather that reaches surface of diamond’s girdle is visible only at certain tilt angles

The Effect of Carat Weight on the Visibility of Flaws

In the grading process, the carat size of a diamond is a direct factor that affects how clarity grades are assigned. For example, in smaller sized diamonds (<0.30 carats), a grade making SI2 inclusion is usually not visible to the naked eye. However, if this particular inclusion (with exact size and shape) was found in the same location of a one carat diamond, it is likely that the stone will receive a VS2 or SI1 clarity grade instead.

The rule of thumb is – as the carat size increases, the tolerance and visibility of flaws also increases. You will need higher clarity grades for larger diamonds in order for them to stay eye clean. That is to say, if you are looking for larger diamonds (> 2 carats), it would be extremely difficult for you to find SI1-SI2 diamonds without eye visible inclusions.

To illustrate this, here is an example of a diamond that is over 3 carats in weight and it isn’t eye clean despite obtaining a respectable VS2 clarity grade by GIA.

vs2 black crystal inclusion 3 carats size bad relief

It’s always a good idea to inspect your diamond before purchase

I always advocate the need for tangible data before making a purchase. This is something that reliable vendors like JamesAllen.com and WhiteFlash.com provide in their comprehensive listings. I strongly encourage you to check them out!

What Is Still Worth Buying?

If you intend to buy from a local brick and mortar store, always request the vendor to let you to examine the diamond under magnification. Check to see if you can notice anything obvious under the loupe or microscope.

If you can’t, chances are you probably won’t catch any flaws with your naked eyes too. If you are still unsure, consult an independent appraiser or a gemologist and seek their opinion about the stone before making a purchase.

asscher cut diamond with some minor inclusions

Minor inclusions seen at 10X and unlikely to be seen with the naked eye.

Consumers often over-exaggerate the situation in their minds after looking at magnified images where details are blown up in proportions. The presence of a few minor inclusions in the pavilion or some tiny blemishes does not mean that the diamond won’t be beautiful. In fact, most inclusions that can be seen under magnification are actually not visible to the naked eyes.

I’m a practical guy and I believe most of our readers are too. There’s really no need to pay an excessive premium for an internally flawless stone if you don’t have special reasons for getting one. On the next page, I am going to show you a price comparison chart for similar diamonds with different clarity ratings.

Your jaws might drop (literally) after you realize how much more you are expected to pay for higher clarity grades…

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  1. mikke thinggaard-
    May 19, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Thank you for your very informative website!

    I wonder: have seen a certificate from HRD where there is a “circle” of small points in the clarity picture. What does that mean? The stone is 3ct H, and SI2. The stone is EX-EX-EX.

    I have seen another 3ct H, where the girdle is thin 2.5 faceted. Is that too risky..? Should I avoid that stone. this stone is VG-G-EX.
    Best regards

  2. Paul Gian-
    May 20, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Those are pin point inclusions.

    Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/

  3. Niki-
    October 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing you knowledge. I thought l’d done plenty of research but, l’ve learnt more in a couple of hours reading on your site than in days of online searching.

  4. Kim Le-
    June 6, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Hi Paul, I love this website – it’s super useful so thank you for all the advice. I’m looking at this G VS2 3245679292 GIA number . It has some small feathers on the outer, near the girdle. Should I be concerned about it being vulnerable to chipping please?
    Thanks a lot

  5. Paul Gian-
    June 6, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    It’s highly unlikely the feathers would be an issue in a VS2 diamond.

  6. JB-
    July 5, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Hi Paul – your website is an excellent resource!

    I’ve been looking at a diamond GIA 7238943338.

    It is eye clean upon my review, but another jeweler reviewed the GIA cert and said the external knot blemish in the pavilion would make the diamond susceptible to being damaged either during the setting or while she wears it.

    Wanted to get your thoughts…

  7. Paul Gian-
    July 6, 2017 at 5:22 am

    It’s really hard to say without examining the stone in person. As far as I can tell, the knot is the grade maker in this SI2 diamond which could be an issue given the large size of this particular stone. In a way, the person who reviewed it is raising some valid concerns but there’s no way for me to confirm this for you because of obvious limitations.

  8. Mark S.-
    March 5, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I really appreciate the hard work you put into this website. It’s been incredibly helpful.

    I thought I found a good deal on a diamond that has a knot that can be covered by a prong, but now I’m concerned its position could cause damage. I’m also concerned the value of the diamond is much less than I expected. Do you mind giving me your thoughts on GIA 6272393214? It’s an I, VS2.

    Many thanks in advance.

  9. Paul Gian-
    March 6, 2018 at 8:20 am

    For a VS2 diamond, the knot is not a concern I would worry about. And you are placing your priority in the wrong area. Clarity is not your problem here. Cut quality is.

    March 7, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Hey Paul,
    I appreciate all your work and knowledge you have given us consumers. I’ve tried reading and trying to learn as much as possible to find the right diamond at the right price. After plenty I came across one that I can’t seem to rule out. It’s GIA # is 2278854188. The price is actual under my budget and trying to figure out if it’s a good one or not. The clarity characteristics say pinpoint, cloud, and crystal. It looks actually pretty good on james allen 360 super zoom. Just need a second opinion for sure on it.



  11. Paul Gian-
    March 7, 2018 at 9:45 am

    It is a well cut diamond and definitely eyeclean. The inclusions are not an issue here.

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