Learn the Lingo: Inclusions vs. Blemishes - Gunderson's Jewelers
Learn the Lingo: Inclusions vs. Blemishes

Shopping for a diamond can be a stressful undertaking, but the team at Gunderson’s are here to help make that process as easy as it can be—even fun! That’s why we’re committed to educating our clients on the lingo that they may encounter during their search for the perfect diamond. Gunderson’s is the leading authority on diamonds in the Midwest. and we’re excited to share that knowledge and passion with you!

When discussing diamond clarity, most of the imperfections found in a diamond can be classified as either an inclusion or a blemish. The easiest way to tell an inclusion from a blemish is this: inclusions are found inside of a diamond crystal, and blemishes are found on the exterior of a diamond crystal.

Inclusions: What are They?

Diamond inclusionInclusions are small imperfections that found their way into a forming diamond crystal. You have to cut them some slack—diamonds have a rough time being born. For millions of years, they are stuck miles under the surface of the Earth, contending with tremendous heat and pressure. When they finally make it to the surface you can’t really blame them for having a few scars from their journey.

While most inclusions look like tiny black specks inside of an otherwise white diamond, their actual chemical makeup can be quite interesting. Sure, some of those black specks can be particles of carbon that didn’t quite cooperate when the rest of them turned to diamond. Others can actually be microscopic gemstones growing inside of a diamond! No, it’s not science fiction—that little inclusion in your diamond may be an emerald (or garnet, or peridot…!) crystal. And not to get too crazy, but a common inclusion is a diamond being formed inside of another diamond. No joke!

Rest assured, if you buy a diamond that is certified by a gemological lab, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the inclusions will be measured and plotted by a team of highly trained gemologists.

Inclusions: Why Should I Care?

Inclusions in a diamond can effect two things: the value of your gemstone and the amount of ‘sparkle’ it gives off. Essentially, the more inclusion your diamond has, the less it sparkles, and the value of the gem decreases. By shopping with the experts at Gunderson’s, each diamond in our inventory has been hand-selected and chosen for their low number of inclusions. We’re happy to show you the inclusions under magnification in any diamond you’re interested in.

Blemishes: What are They?

natural blemishBlemishes are a mixture of both natural and man-made ‘errors’ on the surface of a diamond. This is unlike inclusions, which are exclusively naturally occurring and are found on the inside of a diamond crystal. Blemishes also have the unfortunate ability to be structurally detrimental to the strength of your diamond.

When a diamond cutter gets a rough diamond gem to cut, he or she must first find a way to maximize the yield—basically, find a way to cut as many high-quality diamonds with as little waste as possible. Ultimately, there are only so many diamonds that can be cut from a piece of rough—some of them will have an exterior issue, known as a blemish.

Naturally occurring blemishes are essentially inclusions that break the surface. Beware, these surface-breaking inclusions can be detrimental to the structure and strength of your diamond. Not all surface-breaking inclusions are serious enough to make the diamond unfit for daily wear—the professionals at Gunderson’s will help guide you on selecting the perfect diamond for any occasion.

There are man-made blemishes, too. These occur when the diamond is being cut. No matter how trained and experienced the diamond cutter may be, all humans make errors! Unlike inclusions, man-made blemishes are harder to find to the untrained eye. The trained professionals at Gunderson’s are able to identify and share any blemish with you before your purchase.

Blemishes: Why Should I Care?

Like inclusions, blemishes have the same effect on sparkle and value of a diamond. The bigger the blemish, the less the sparkle and value of the diamond. Unlike inclusions, blemishes on the surface of a diamond can be very detrimental to the structural integrity of the gemstone. For example, a feather inclusion that breaks the surface around the girdle of the diamond, when hit at just the right speed and angle, can cleave the stone in half! Don’t worry, the diamond experts at Gunderson’s make sure that you are matched with a diamond that is not only beautiful but strong enough to withstand years of wear.

Learn the Lingo: Trust the Experts!

Shopping for a diamond is so much more rewarding when you know what you’re looking at. We hope that you now have a working understanding of the difference between inclusions and blemishes. Keep in mind: all diamonds come with their own unique set of charms and flaws. What may be the perfect diamond for one person may not be the one for you. For a comprehensive diamond shopping experience, let the experts at Gunderson’s guide you to the diamond of your dreams.