What Is a Diamond Pinpoint Inclusion?December 14, 2022 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog
Picking out the perfect ring includes selecting a diamond with pure clarity. To ensure you’ve found the best balance of value and beauty, you need to know what kind of imperfections to look out for in a diamond and how something like a pinpoint inclusion affects the quality and price.
This guide will discuss pinpoint inclusions, some of the most common flaws found in gems. We’ll go over everything you need to know about pinpoint inclusion and how it can affect your diamond shopping experience.
- What is a Pinpoint Inclusion?
- How to Locate Pinpoint Inclusions
- Is a Pinpoint Inclusion Bad?
- How to View Pinpoint Inclusions Through a Loupe
- Talk to a Diamond Expert
What Is a Pinpoint Inclusion?
Pinpoint inclusions are among the most frequent impurities that occur within a diamond. However, inclusions are entirely natural. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any inclusion-free stone. They’re a consequence of the diamond forming process.
Stones develop under extreme pressure under high temperatures within the deep layers of the earth. As their structure begins to form, diamonds develop markings. In a way, these marks are similar to blemishes on human skin.
Diamond clarity refers to the extent to which these imperfections are present. The fewer inclusions in a diamond, the more unique and valuable the diamond is.
There are several different markings, each with a specific shape and size.
Pinpoint inclusions are tiny crystals embedded in the diamond structure visible when the stone is magnified. They usually appear as tiny white or black specks. When examined through a powerful magnifying glass, they resemble small flashes of light emanating from the gem. They are challenging to identify, even for trained gemologists.
Pinpoint inclusions can be so imperceptible that they won’t be listed on official diamond grading reports.
What Are Cloud Inclusions?
While it’s pretty typical to find pinpoint inclusions spaced out across the diamond’s surface, sometimes several specks are located close to each other. This clustering of pinpoints is referred to as a cloud inclusion. There must be at least three inclusions in the same area to be considered a cloud. In diamond clarity assessment, cloud inclusions are located more easily. One pinpoint inclusion on its own is hard to catch, while clusters appear as more prominent marks.
How to Locate a Pinpoint Inclusion
Certified experts follow a strict protocol and can locate diamond inclusions through thorough assessment.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the International Gemological Institute (IGI) are two of the world’s most highly respected diamond examination laboratories. The organizations issue detailed diamond grading reports, including information about the location and type of stone inclusion. The laboratories follow strict rules to accurately identify the markings and where they occur.
Criteria for Locating Inclusions
Expert gemologists need to take into account several aspects when searching for inclusions. However, the location and size of the specks are considered to be the most critical aspects.
Some of the most crucial guidelines for locating a gem inclusion are:
It’s essential to determine how big the inclusion is to gauge its impact on the diamond’s value. Pinpoint inclusions are not likely to decrease stone value, but larger ones are sometimes a cause for concern. Bigger pinpoints could reduce the diamond’s durability, and their presence is a key factor in diamond pricing.
Similarly, a large cluster holds potential for substantial quality damage. An increased presence of inclusions lowers a diamond’s clarity rating, indicating that the gem is not entirely pure.
Professionals will pay attention to how many pinpoints are detected. As the inclusion number bumps up, the clarity rating goes down. But in the case of pinpoint inclusions, this is an incredibly rare occurrence.
Where the inclusion forms is crucial in grading diamond quality. Surface marks won’t harm the stone’s beauty and value. However, crystals burrowed deep in the gem structure degrade the diamond’s brilliance, resulting in a more affordable price tag.
The effect an inclusion has on a diamond needs to be thoroughly studied. Some pinpoints can be so small that they leave no surface damage. At first glance, the diamond seems to be intact. But upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the inclusion has compromised the gem’s inner structure.
Understanding how inclusions are located and how they affect diamonds is helpful for both first-time and experienced buyers. They can choose a stone that fits their budget and will serve them for years to come.
Pinpoints in Grading Reports
Once the GIA or IGI experts have conducted a diamond examination following these criteria, they’re ready to release an official report. Diamond certificates list pinpoint inclusions under the clarity section. The documents contain pictures and diagrams that outline the pinpoint inclusions’ position and density. This is beneficial for prospective buyers and helps them understand the diamond’s true quality.
However, it’s best to reach out to an experienced vendor and get professional input. Two diamonds may have similar markings located in the same area. But if the inclusion severity is different, one diamond will receive a higher grade.
A top-rated stone has more brilliance and preserves its value over time. As diamonds buyers are not always familiar with the difference between diamond grades, a reliable seller can clear up any confusion. They’ll go over the paperwork and conclude how visible the diamond specks are.
Inclusions in Lab-Produced Diamonds and Natural Diamonds: What’s the Difference
Natural diamonds, mined from the earth’s core, and lab-made diamonds are both prone to pinpoint inclusions.
The controlled environment of laboratories is designed to replicate the natural process of diamond formation. The inclusions can be bigger or smaller. However, as scientists develop more advanced methods, the pinpoints on lab-produced diamonds become more imperceptible. As pinpoints fall under internal inclusions, lab-made stones rarely have pinpoints visible to the naked eye.
Is a Pinpoint Inclusion Bad?
Many types of inclusions will result in a low-quality diamond, but pinpoint inclusions won’t usually cause any notable damage. In fact, their presence may even help customers pick out a diamond of their choice. Depending on the size and location of the crystals, buyers could get a better price.
Diamond shopping is all about finding the most optimal compromise. You should see which stone qualities matter to you and which drawbacks are acceptable. This ensures that you get a beautiful diamond that’s within your budget range. Inspecting the inclusions within the diamond and their size should help you reach the most economical decision.
As a general rule, buyers should go for eye-clean diamonds. These stones appear completely untainted. A cursory visual inspection won’t pick up any external imperfections. When viewed from different angles and under different light conditions, the stones don’t show any marks.
Flawless diamonds (FL) are hard to come by.
Virtually every diamond has some form of an external or internal mark. However, well-stocked sellers who specialize in carrying unique and vintage pieces offer many options. Even the pickiest diamond enthusiast will be able to select an incredible flawless option. For example, this emerald-cut Picadilly ring is an excellent choice for a timeless engagement ring and will amaze diamond collectors.
Quality Diamonds With Pinpoint Inclusions
A single pinpoint inclusion does not affect a diamond’s shine and overall performance. For this reason, the presence of one or two pinpoints doesn’t degrade the stone value.
However, it’s much more common to come across diamonds with cloud inclusions.
When the pinpoints have a high density, they can lead to cloudiness and obscure the gem’s sparkle. But smaller clusters allow the diamond to retain a top clarity rating. The pinpoints can only be seen when magnified, giving the stone a virtually flawless appearance. Such diamonds look sophisticated but come at a more reasonable price.
Buyers interested in eye-clean diamonds should consider options with pinpoint inclusions. Although the flawless diamond and its speckled alternative look identical, customers could save up to $3,000 with the tainted choice.
As FL diamonds are a rarity, stones with slight inclusions offer a wide range of choices that cater to many tastes and budgets. The Bowery ring’s blue sapphire accents make it an excellent statement piece, while this Tiffany ring would make a delicate yet striking engagement ring. They come at a fraction of the price of their FL counterparts.
How to View a Pinpoint Inclusion With a Loupe
A jeweler’s loupe is a specialized magnifying tool that makes diamond inspection more convenient. Loupes typically have a magnification power of 10x, allowing people to discern markings on the diamond, including pinpoint inclusions. If you have no experience in diamond shopping, using a loupe could help you find the perfect fit.
A loupe will uncover any diamond quality trouble.
As we’ve mentioned, the grading certificate will include inclusion information. But it won’t always disclose whether these are only surface-level inclusions or deep-structure crystals. If cloud clusters are present, you can check their density and see whether they dim the diamond’s brilliance. This is an efficient way of ensuring the stone is eye-clean.
Once you’ve identified the inclusions with a loupe, try spotting the marks with your naked eye. If you’re unable to see them, you’ve probably found a gem with exceptional characteristics.
Diamond Louping Rules
Before inspecting a diamond, there are two rules you should know.
First, the stone or jewelry piece you’re examining should be thoroughly cleaned. Never touch the diamond with your fingers. Stones are incredibly delicate, so your fingerprints will leave a dirty imprint. If you’re looking at a diamond with a cloudy surface, you’ll get inaccurate results.
Next, the room where you’re viewing the diamond should have good lighting. It shouldn’t be too dark, but it shouldn’t be too brightly lit either. Excessive light hurts the eyes, and you won’t be able to focus on the diamond. Harsh LED lights are not the best option, but diffused lighting will get the job done.
How to Conduct a Diamond Inspection With a Loupe
When assessed by experts, diamonds are always handled with tweezers. Holding a diamond with tweezers takes some getting used to if you’ve never done it before. But once you’ve got the hang of it, this will keep the diamond surface smudge-free.
Try not to be too rough with the tweezers since too much force will cause cracks and fractures. Locking tweezers are a great tool if you’re uncertain about using regular tweezers. They’ll keep the diamond in one position and minimize the risk of losing or damaging the stone.
Keeping the arms close to the body will make your hands more steady. To get an even sharper image, move the loupe around until you’ve found the best placement. Check whether the diamond’s facing upwards when you’ve got a clear view. You should then inspect the stone from several angles to ensure there are no hidden inclusions.
Compare your findings to the details in the diamond’s verification report. If there are inconsistencies, contact a trusted jeweler to get a second opinion.
If you’ve decided to shop through a reputable vendor, you might not even need to perform an independent loupe inspection. Sellers are dedicated to providing buyers with a hassle-free customer experience and add pictures and videos to online diamond listings.
While the images help customers see how the stone’s brilliance performs in daily lighting conditions, the videos have an additional purpose. They’re an opportunity for people to get a close-up view of the diamond from the comfort of their homes.
How the Location of a Pinpoint Within the Diamond Affects the Price
Diamonds receive different clarity ratings based on their inclusions. The extent to which the inclusions are present can significantly reduce diamond prices.
Stones with no detectable inclusions fall into the Flawless (FL) category, while gems with superficial imperfections make up the Internally Flawless (IF) group. The diamonds are rated as Included (I) when there are more prominent visible markings. However, most gems have imperceptible inclusions only detected with a loupe. These stones are divided into three groups: Very, Very Slightly Included (VVSI), Very Slightly Included (VSI), and Slightly Included (SI).
Flawless diamonds are so rare that their high pricing should be no surprise. But no one will be able to differentiate between a flawless gem and its slightly included counterpart. Even jewelers will have to reach for their loupes to tell them apart. They carry the same beauty and shine, but slightly included gems come at a fraction of the price.
Going for a diamond with tiny inclusions can help customers save up to 25%.
Unless you’re a diamond collector, buying a flawless stone won’t be the soundest investment. Within the slightly included range, you’ll find many dazzling and budget-friendly options.
Keep in mind that even diamonds with identical inclusions can have different price points. This is due to other quality factors like cut, color, and carat weight. When you’re diamond shopping, you should also consider these aspects. The final decision will ultimately depend on your personal preferences.
Skip Included (I) Diamonds
Diamonds labeled as “included” are not eye-clean and have a poorer light reflection. The inclusions change the stone’s inner structure, giving it a less impressive shine. These stones are also less solid and could crumble as time passes. A chipped diamond is a bad investment and is less appealing than sturdier gems. The larger the diamond is, the more obvious its flaws are to the naked eye.
To get a gem whose beauty won’t diminish over time, buyers should look at the reasonably priced and eye-clean VVSI, VSI, and SI diamonds.
Talk to a Diamond Expert
Diamond inclusions, especially pinpoints, can be challenging to detect when your gem knowledge is limited. However, their size and placement can be instrumental in guiding you towards your dream stone.
To ensure you find the right option with limited inclusions, reach out to an expert. The Estate Diamond Jewelry team will provide further information on stone inclusions and how they affect diamond integrity, ensuring you find the best diamond deal that’s in line with your preferences.