Inclusions are natural identifying characteristics such as minerals or other internal characteristics that appear while diamonds are formed in the earth. They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers. To view these inclusions, jewelers use a magnifying glass, commonly called a "loupe". This tool allows jewelers to see a diamond at 10 times its actual size so that inclusions are easier to see.
The position of inclusions can affect the value of a diamond. There are very few flawless diamonds found in nature, thus these diamonds are much more valuable. Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity, which was established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The clarity scale, ranging from FL (Flawless) to Included (I), is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x. The greater a diamond's clarity, the more brilliant, valuable and rare it is.
Not Actual SizeA 1-carat diamond costs exactly twice the price of a half-carat diamond, right? Wrong. Since larger diamonds are found less frequently in nature, and are thus more rare, a 1-carat diamond will always cost more than twice a 1/2-carat diamond (assuming color, clarity and cut remain constant). Cut and mounting can make a diamond appear larger (or smaller) than its actual weight. Shop around until you are confident that the jeweler can provide the proper "frame" for your diamond.