(Emerald inclusions, image courtesy of Gem-A)
When searching for the perfect gemstone to include in your jewellery, whether that be within a diamond or an emerald, you may think that the best option for you is one which has no inclusions at all and perfect clarity. In reality, inclusions within your gemstones are incredibly common – in fact it is extremely rare to find a gemstone which is completely void of inclusions, and when you do it is usually much less characteristic and unique than those that do.
Inclusions are usually in the form of some sort of dislocation or irregularity in the crystal lattice causing a visible flaw within its body. These ‘flaws’ can be so small and minute that they are only visible under the microscope but built up upon one another within the crystal structure can define the gemstones colour and properties. Due to their natural formation upon creation, inclusions can tell us a lot about the origin of the gemstone, how exactly it was formed within the Earth, and aid in identification of the stone.
(Natural ruby inclusions, image courtesy of The Natural Ruby Company)
Furthermore, it is not uncommon to find a gemstone which holds inclusions of other minerals within its crystal structure, for instance zircon within a sapphire. Most of the time, these mineral inclusions are formed either before or during the surrounding crystal structure. In other occasions, if these gemstones have fissures or cracks within its body hydrothermal liquids can invade and crystalise into new minerals.
(Asterism within a black sapphire, image courtesy of Pinterest)
Within some trades and dealers, gemstones are undervalued due to their inclusions causing irregularities in colour, shape, cut, and properties. However, inclusions within a stone can also cause some gorgeous optical properties which are highly desired by many people. Some examples of this are the light phenomena of ‘cats eye’ which produces a brilliant band of light off a gemstones surface, and ‘asterism’ which produces a gorgeous star-like reflection. Inclusions within Dendrites can produce sprawling tree-like structures within its crystal lattice, and rutile within quartz can produce dazzling golden spikes in star formations within its body.
Out of all the gemstones, diamonds tend to be the only ones which are graded for clarity due to their inclusions affecting their light refraction and carat. Inclusions within all other gemstones tend to add to their character and so are not graded. A diamond’s clarity not only takes into consideration the internal inclusions but also the outer surface quality, with the higher clarity tending to be much more valuable than that with a lesser clarity. The stone is listed under a number of clarity grades and sold on the market – In this way it is clearer to the client of which kind of diamond they are receiving.
(Diamond hosting inclusions, image courtesy of Brilliance)
(GIA diamond clarity grading, image courtesy of Online Diamond Buying Advice)
So depending on what kind of dazzling gemstone you’re looking to purchase, it is important you take into account their inclusions and how they can affect the gemstone. In regards to emeralds and sapphires, inclusions can intensify colour and increase the beauty of the stone itself, as well as provide a visual history of the gems creation. Diamonds with less inclusions are far more sought after when looking for the most perfect shining stone in your ring or necklace, but substituting some of that brilliance with a few inclusions will save you some pennies whilst also providing you a beautiful forever rock.